The Chicago Tribune laments that the U.S. isn’t already throwing weapons at the Ukraine crisis:
In that context, it was small consolation to hear an adviser to Secretary of State John Kerry say that the United States is “looking at” possibly sending arms to Ukraine. It would have been more heartening to hear that the weapons and equipment were already there or at least on their way.
Heartening for whom? I suppose it would make some Western interventionists happy that the U.S. was “doing something,” but I’m not sure who else would be encouraged by a decision that would be simultaneously provocative and useless. It would be provocative because it would deepen U.S. involvement in the conflict, and that would only encourage Russia to continue its agitation and incursions. It would be useless because the Ukrainian military is in no condition to fight. Even some of the advocates for sending arms to Ukraine have acknowledged the Ukrainian military’s lack of readiness and training. If U.S. shipments of arms encouraged Ukraine to try to fight a war that it couldn’t win, it would make things even worse and help give Russia a pretext for a larger military intervention.
The Tribune also proposes doing something another useless thing simply because it will annoy Russia:
It could revive the missile defense system that was planned for deployment in Poland and the Czech Republic but then canceled. Putin said it was a threat to Russian security, which at the moment sounds like an excellent reason to build it.
This must be one of the worst reasons to revive a costly, unworkable system that most people in the host countries didn’t even want. Like other knee-jerk hawkish responses to the crisis, this pays no attention to whether it is desirable for the U.S. and its allies to do something, and focuses solely on whether it will anger Moscow. Making policy primarily to spite other governments always leads to poor and rash decisions, as this editorial proves.