The US, Not Ukraine, Decides Whether America Defends Ukraine, by Doug Bandow

If the U.S. signs up to defend Ukraine, as Ukraine dearly wants, then look for Russia to sign a defense pact with Mexico. From Doug Bandow at

The drumbeat of war continues to roll across Europe. President Joe Biden is promoting an uncertain message, sometimes aggressive, other times restrained, as he talks with Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky. The Republican Party is more coherent but, as usual, runs from foolish to nutty hawkish.

Merely reckless is former Pentagon official Dov Zakheim, who advocated arming Ukraine, deploying special operations forces to Ukraine, and urging allies to do the same. Taking up the far loon position is Sen. Roger Wicker, who suggested full participation as a combatant, including “that we stand off with our ships in the Black Sea and we rain destruction on Russian military capability,” “we participate. It could mean American troops on the ground,” and “We don’t rule out first use nuclear action,”

To President Biden’s credit, he appeared to take war off the table, insisting that he would not “unilaterally use force to confront Russia.” That theoretically left open the possibility of a multilateral expedition, but no one imagines that Europeans who won’t defend themselves would contribute troops to defend Ukraine.

All that is known for certain is that Russia has staged an impressive military buildup likely intended to coerce, with the threat of invasion, Ukraine. The objective probably is to foreclose a Ukrainian attack on separatist territory in the Donbass and force implementation of the Minsk Protocol, which would grant those areas autonomy. More broadly, Moscow seeks to foreclose Kyiv’s membership in NATO.

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