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Congress Votes to Arm Ukraine

While all eyes were on the “cromnibus” vote, the House and Senate quietly passed new related bills targeting Russia:

The legislation also authorises – but does not legally require – US President Barack Obama to provide lethal and non-lethal military aid to Ukraine, including anti-tank weapons, ammunition and “tactical troop-operated surveillance drones.”

The only good news to be found here is that the Senate reportedly removed the portion of the bill that would have granted Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia major non-NATO ally status. Approving arms for Ukraine is a seriousmistakethatisn’t going to do anything to help Ukraine, and it will almost certainly make it harder for Ukraine to reach a political settlement with Russia. Giving these countries major non-NATO ally status would have been an even greater blunder, so it is a small consolation that this was avoided for the time being.

As it is, the passage of this legislation was the wrong thing for Congress to do. If Obama doesn’t want to contribute to making things worse in Ukraine, he should veto it. Signing such a bill into law will just goad Russia into more aggressive behavior and will set up the Ukrainian government for another fall. There is no American interest that justifies this contribution to the conflict in Ukraine. It is an unfortunate marriage of the desire to be seen as “doing something” and the knee-jerk impulse to throw weapons at every problem.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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