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The Folly of Arming Ukraine

The Post is once again demanding that the U.S. throw weapons at the conflict in Ukraine:

The reality is that the beleaguered Ukrainian leader left Washington backed by considerable rhetoric from the Obama administration but little with which he can turn back [bold mine-DL] the continuing Russian aggression against his country.

The reality is that the U.S. could send Poroshenko’s government as many weapons as he desires and it still wouldn’t change the fact that Ukrainian forces are outmatched and can’t win no matter how many weapons they have. Unless the goal is to cause more destruction and contribute to greater loss of life in Ukraine, sending weapons to the much weaker side in a conflict that still hasn’t been settled makes no sense. It is the sort of futile, harmful gesture that someone advocates when he is concerned more with appearing to do something rather than being concerned about the effects of the action. “Well, we were trying to help!” is not an acceptable excuse for making an armed conflict worse.

There are two reasons to agitate for arming Ukraine, and neither of them is good. Either one wants to put the U.S. on a path to ever deeper involvement in the conflict, thus risking a much larger and more devastating war, or one wants to make a vain display of solidarity that will get more people killed. There’s no excuse for encouraging Ukraine to persist in an unwinnable war, and no reason to give Russia a pretext for escalating hostilities. That is why Sen. Corker’s bill on this and related matters should be voted down.

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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