So I came across these questions at Solomon’s…
Two things. First. Will someone tell me the threat that Russia’s Army poses to Europe? Something stupid happened in Ukraine and we all got a glimpse of the games being played by the US State Dept and Russians. No one is without dirty hands in that affair. But even with the Russians annexing a portion of the basket case that is Ukraine I don’t see a wider conflict being inevitable. Additionally even if you could properly make a case for why we should be willing to spend lives and treasure defending Ukraine, I could easily make the case that the time for action has long passed.
Second. Is it just me or do we use the excuse of training missions to slow walk ourselves into either wars or major commitments that cost us more than they’re worth. Do you remember when the “training mission” meme was first used in the modern era? Yeah. It was used in Vietnam. Fast forward to the end of 2016 and they’re still rolling out that old chestnut.
The first answer is that the Russian Army is poised to take over large swathes Poland, Bulgaria, and Romania while conquering Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania completely. The mess that is Ukraine is the test run to see if the method of “foment some sort of internal conflict to create conditions for a territory grab that won’t trigger a NATO article 5 reaction.” It is really that simple.
The second isn’t even question, it is a statement. There is no direct comparison between Vietnam and Ukraine in terms of historical precedent. Vietnam came about because France didn’t do as good a job dismantling their empire as the Brits did, full stop and end of story. Ukraine came about because Russia didn’t like pro-American politicians who were selling an anti-corruption platform that Ukrainian citizens were buying. We also had training missions to the Balkans as part of supporting the side we wanted to win after Yugoslavia broke apart, so historically it isn’t out of character for the US to do this. We’ve also had plenty of training missions in Africa, and did two wars worth of it in Iraq and Afghanistan after we got done with the major killing part and tried to help those governments stand up a credible security force.
My previous post about how IO affected the perceptions of American citizens is very valid here, you can’t read the above question and statement by Solomon without getting the feeling that the US is somehow being unreasonable. That spin, repeated over time, is why I’ve had to call him out before for acting as a useful idiot for Moscow. Of course he gets mad and full of bluster and denies it, but it doesn’t stop him from repeating the propaganda of Russia Today, Ruptly, or Sputnik which advances the interests of Moscow ahead of anything else.
Now, should the US be in Ukraine? Yes, because what Solomon leaves out are all the OTHER nations that are also part of the training mission to the Ukraine. It simply isn’t just a US only show. That Ukraine and economic sanctions are keeping Moscow from believing that they will have to face an alliance response if they try the “grey zone” tactics in eastern Europe is well worth the price of admission. Russia doesn’t make a move it can’t get away with, and so it is money well spent to draw good hard lines for Russia to understand the limits of Russian grey zone power.