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Trump Would Be a Fool to Arm Ukraine

John Hudson reports [1] on the push to get Trump to approve sending arms to Ukraine:

President Donald Trump’s top advisers are closer now to achieving what seemed unthinkable at the start of his presidency: Shipping millions of dollars of US weapons to Ukraine’s embattled military.

According to the report, Trump’s advisers think that the president will agree to arming Ukraine if they can persuade him that it will lead to “peace” and the Ukrainian government will pay for the weapons. It’s possible that they might sucker Trump into believing this, but he would be a fool to listen to them. Sending arms to Ukraine makes a dramatic increase in violence more likely. It will almost certainly lead to escalation and will make a peace settlement even harder to reach. There is no military necessity for providing these weapons to Ukraine now, unless the goal is to encourage their government to go on the offensive. That obviously won’t lead to “peace,” but rather to a renewed conflict that Ukraine can’t win.

Ukraine isn’t in a great position to pay for the weapons, either. Hudson continues:

Requiring Ukraine to pay for the arms package is not an ideal situation for cash-strapped Kiev, which has allies on Capitol Hill who are more than willing to foot the bill.

In short, Trump’s advisers have to deceive him into thinking that arming Ukraine won’t have the destabilizing and provocative effect that it is very likely to have, and they have to make him think that Ukraine will pay for something that it can’t really afford and that hawks in Congress want to give away. Trump is gullible and doesn’t know enough about these issues to understand the implications, so his advisers will probably succeed. If I had to guess, Trump will end up going along with the bad advice he is receiving. He doesn’t know enough to realize when he’s being misled, and he tends to favor more aggressive policies because he mistakenly thinks they project “strength.” That makes him unusually susceptible to hawkish demands to do irresponsible and destructive things. Arming Ukraine would be an extraordinarily foolish thing for Trump to do, and so it is probably what he will decide to do.

17 Comments (Open | Close)

17 Comments To "Trump Would Be a Fool to Arm Ukraine"

#1 Comment By SDS On November 22, 2017 @ 9:40 am

….”He doesn’t know enough to realize when he’s being misled…….Arming Ukraine would be an extraordinarily foolish thing for Trump to do, and so it is probably what he will decide to do”………..

McMasters was right! He IS a moron…..and I expect McMasters and Mattis want him to do this….so he will….without thinking; and he will blame THEIR idea when it goes south….

#2 Comment By Christian Chuba On November 22, 2017 @ 9:40 am

Ukraine’s economy is in complete disarray, poroshenko’s popularity is in the single digits. Has anyone considered the possibility that he needs to continue the conflict to stay in office and hold his govt together? Nah … only the bad guys think that way and only non-U.S. aligned countries can be bad guys.

The lines have been static for over two years, the artillery duels, instigated by Ukraine are unfavorable to tiny Donbass because the front line runs along their population centers and their infrastructure takes a beating.

By all means, let’s stir the pot because the real goal is to create problems along Russia’s border and Trump is too ill informed to see through it. Some day, Putin will leave office, a real nationalist will be President and the Neocons will find out that Cold Wars are a two way street. The pity is that the wrong people will pay the price.

#3 Comment By Grumpy Old Man On November 22, 2017 @ 11:32 am

In their ignorance, our hegemonists ignore the fact that Russia has geopolitical and other interests there that far exceed our own. Folly!

#4 Comment By SF Bay On November 22, 2017 @ 11:40 am

“It’s possible that they might sucker Trump into believing this, but he would be a fool to listen to them.”

He is a fool. And if the advisers pushing this crazy idea are the last people he talks to it will happen. An empty vessel can be filled with all manner of folly.

#5 Comment By GregR On November 22, 2017 @ 11:43 am

Chuba,

The real goal is to sell weapons everything else is window dressing. Trump has become the Salesman in Chief for American military hardware regardless of who he sells it to or why they want it.

#6 Comment By Kansan On November 22, 2017 @ 12:12 pm

Regarding the headline: are we still lacking for evidence that he is indeed one?

#7 Comment By Clairence On November 22, 2017 @ 7:28 pm

Or we could just give our weapons directly to Russia and skip the bloody transfer on the ground.

#8 Comment By DGJ On November 23, 2017 @ 11:27 am

He will do it, he is a fool. It’ll score cheap points with the leftie media.
Disgusting, much the territory was historically part of Russia, Kruschev gave it to Ukraine.

#9 Comment By Alexey On November 23, 2017 @ 1:22 pm

Was this not the initial goal, to fight against Russia until the last Ukrainian?

#10 Comment By SteveK9 On November 23, 2017 @ 6:21 pm

Russia will respond by doing whatever is necessary to protect the Donbass. That will probably be far short of an invasion of Ukraine. They will send arms (if needed), more ‘irregulars’ will appear. They will provide intelligence, planning, whatever is required to repel the Kiev ‘regime’.

#11 Comment By EliteCommInc. On November 23, 2017 @ 6:31 pm

I m curious why the French, British, and Germans aren’t providing arm if arms is what are needed. It’s their part of the world.

I would think that their arms industries could use a few more franks, deutchmark, pound and euros.

I am really going to eat crow if the executtive mirrors a male Sec Clinton admin.

#12 Comment By EliteCommInc. On November 23, 2017 @ 6:33 pm

franks — francs

#13 Comment By Kurt On November 24, 2017 @ 1:52 pm

I am passionately supportive of the Ukrainian cause and believe our nation must do all we can to oppose Putinism. But, with some sadness, I think Hudson is correct. We would provide some weapons and Putin and his stooges would escalate. At best we might get a couple more vollys but in the end, the isolationist American public would lose their courage.

#14 Comment By craigsummers On November 25, 2017 @ 8:52 am

Mr. Larison

Sending weapons to Ukraine is more symbolic for the US and Ukraine, but it could result in an escalation of the conflict. The value might be in showing the strong support for Ukrainian independence from a Russia which believes that Ukraine falls within its sphere of influence – a relic of cold war thinking. However, there can be no illusions. This is a war that Ukraine cannot win militarily.

The blame for the war falls squarely in the lap of Russia. Russia is managing the conflict in Eastern Ukraine from Moscow to undermine the new Ukraine government. Russia threatened to support a separatist rebellion (in Eastern Ukraine) and destroy the Ukraine economy even before Yanukovych was ousted. Russia illegally annexed Crimea, and they certainly could annex parts of Eastern Ukraine as well. A political solution is necessary, but a long ways off.

#15 Comment By Mark Thomason On November 27, 2017 @ 10:08 am

The US routinely bought weapons from Ukraine to arm its proxy forces. They make cheap and easy to maintain weapons based on Soviet designs. They inherited major parts of the Soviet defense industry.

So now why do they need US weapons? They export weapons.

#16 Comment By rick On November 27, 2017 @ 11:31 am

craig summers,

Russia shouldn’t think Ukraine falls in its sphere of influence? How about the US?

#17 Comment By Eileen Kuch On November 27, 2017 @ 8:22 pm

Kurt’s 100% wrong about Ukraine. He ignored the fact that the current regime in Kiev’s illegitimate, since a coup d’etat orchestrated by the Obama State Dept. sent the democratically-elected President, Viktor Yanukovych, fleeting for his life to Moscow. Before this coup and the protests before it, Ukraine was a peaceful country with a good economy. The only reason the US orchestrated the illegal coup d’etat is that Yanukovych chose close ties with Russia over the EU and its financial part, the IMF.
Contrary to Kurt’s and similar posters’ comments here, Russia has every right to ensure its borders are secure and its neighbors (especially, Ukraine) don’t pose a threat to its security. The US is thousands of miles away; thus, it has no right to interfere in Ukraine’s or Russia’s internal affairs.