President Biden’s Thursday evening speech was appreciated.
For well over a year the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation’s Friends of Ukraine Network (FOUN), like many others, had called for the President to make a strong and unequivocal speech explaining why critical US interests required support for Ukraine.
President Biden did so last Thursday evening and his speech to the nation was a critical first step in overcoming the doubts many in the public and some in Congress have about continued support of Ukraine’s objective of defeating the Russian Federation and driving it from Ukrainian territory.
Why “first step”? Because opponents of support for Ukraine have been making their irresponsible case precisely because they do not understand the Kremlin is pursuing an aggressive foreign policy designed to undermine US interests and leadership. By constant and loud agitation, their view has gained purchase with some in our society, including a small, but energetic faction in Congress.
The President’s statesmanlike speech from the Oval Office, noting the dangers to our eastern NATO allies of a Putin victory, was a strong response to the naïve opponents of defeating Russia in Ukraine. But it must only be the start. Opponents of a sound policy have been peddling their meager wares for some time. More must be done to ensure a strong policy that defends American interests the smart way.
FOUN and many others have collectively and individually been making the critical case of U.S. support of a Ukrainian victory and why such a victory is in the vital national security interests of the United States. But there is nothing like the “bully pulpit” of the White House.
Putin made clear his objective in the treaties he sent to the United States and NATO in December 2021. He intends to recreate the geographical boundary lines of the Russian Empire and exert control over the people of that vast space with no concern for their views and interests. That means NATO members – allies of ours – are targets.
With NATO allies as targets, we have a Russia problem, not a Russia in Ukraine problem.
Our cost of providing Ukraine what it needs to defeat Russia is inconsequential compared to the financial and human cost of defending our other European allies should Putin win in Ukraine and cross NATO borders.
The President and his team must make the education of the public regarding Ukraine an immediate priority.
FOUN and others will continue their efforts to address the public and isolated but loud Congressional concerns, but the Administration must take on the opponent’s arguments one-by-one.
Every one of the opponent’s repeated arguments must be exposed and factually crushed by the President and his team.
Ukraine defeating Russia is fundamental to containing Russia. The alternative is chaos in Europe, which would be dangerous for us.
The “forever war” argument goes away if the United States and allies get to Ukraine all that it needs now to defeat Russia. Ukraine can and would win.
No reason to repeat here arguments about slow decisions on weapon platforms and slower deliveries. The President was passionate about his support for Ukraine. With a signal from the “the top” operational delay and congestion can be overcome quickly where there is a will.
Ukraine’s counter-offensive critics must be exposed has depending on ill-informed fantasy predictions regarding the counter-offensive. Ukraine has been exceptional given its resources and concern for its soldiers.
What comparison do critics have to suggest the counter-offensive should have advanced quicker and further? There are none. The United States would never send its ground troops on an offensive without air superiority and long-range precise artillery. Ukraine had to engage Russia with neither but has made solid progress.
We need to provide Ukraine with, among other things, long-range precision artillery. With persistence, persistent, and precise long-range artillery Ukraine can make Russia’s occupation of Crimean untenable.
Some opponents of support to Ukraine have argued the U.S. could not send weapons to Ukraine because doing so diverts attention from Taiwan, now they are saying the same thing about Israel in the wake of Hamas’ savage attack on Israel.
The President was right to say that these two wars are connected.
In both cases the geopolitical logic is naïve. Here is the malign intent of Russia and Iran, our adversaries. Iran has been the principal supplier of weapons to Hamas and Moscow has relied on Iranian drones to attack Ukrainian cities indiscriminately as well as infrastructure.
Russia started and is pressing its war in Ukraine. And the line between the Kremlin and Tehran is a direct one. Not a single launch of a single rocket/drone/missile that has been carried out in Israel, the Eastern Mediterranean, in Iraq, and Syria in these last days happens without Iranian and without Russian assistance on airspace command and control.
Israel is superbly armed, the most formidable military force in the Middle East with weapons systems far more advanced than Ukraine’s.
As the Administration has said, we can provide the necessary assistance needed by both Ukraine and Israel.
And our strategic interests are to make sure both Ukraine and Israel win.
Again, the White House must use its “bully pulpit” to overcome the years-long tenacious but misguided opposition to support to Ukraine.
The President’s speech last Thursday was a great start.