America’s Catastrophe in Ukraine Will Dwarf its Debacle in Afghanistan
Failures All Around — Arming, Lecturing, Coordinating, and Sanctioning
For months, Biden warned of a pending Russian invasion of Ukraine but did precious little to deter it. So Putin continued on his path to war with human, economic and political fallout that has been, and will continue to be, tragic. Millions have become homeless and refugees, tens of thousands have died and hundreds of thousands will still die, famine will become widespread around the world with a toll in the millions, physical destruction will be in the trillions of dollars, the world economy will suffer a severe slowdown, if not a recession, and the global political order will be fractured and hard to repair for decades.
First the run up to the invasion.
America and NATO had credible intelligence that Putin would invade. Yet they did not supply Ukraine with essential weapons, many available from former Soviet republics — planes, helicopters, long-range missiles, shore to ship missiles, air defense batteries, howitzers, munitions, armored personnel carriers, tanks and drones — which could have been easily transferred and positioned. Without such needed weaponry, Ukraine was left vulnerable, which in turn gave Russia an overwhelming upper hand, inviting Russian aggression.
In defense of this lapse in judgement, the U.S. committed an even worse mistake through its lecturing and talking points — “no offensive weapons, no boots on the ground and no Russian provocation.” There was no need to make such pronouncements of weakness. Russia could invade without risking retaliation from Ukrainian forces on its soil. If a country is invaded, surely it can retaliate? Yet the United States tied Ukraine’s hands — they had to suffer Russian bombardment and without adequate air defenses and no ability to hit the source of the cannons and tanks that bombarded them from inside Russia! Even when Biden agreed to provide Ukraine with precision-guided weapons, there was a catch that they could not be fired into Russian territory no matter how great the Russian provocation. There has been no such war in my lifetime, where one country is allowed to invade a neighboring country but where the victim is essentially barred from going on the offensive because its “supporters” fear a wider war, again inviting Russian aggression.