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OPINION

Ukraine’s Friends May Doom It – And Us

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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AP Photo/Evan Vucci

The DC establishment people obsessed with Ukraine to the exclusion of all else, who portray themselves as its bestest buddies, are likely to do what they have done on pretty much every other foreign policy question in the last three decades – lead us (and, not incidentally Ukraine) into disaster. One day, if this keeps up, their pathetic flag emojis flying on their Twitter usernames, will be gone – replaced by The Next Thing – and Ukraine will be a wasteland. Hell, we may be a wasteland too. These same foreign policy geniuses who gave us Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya now tell us they are going to destroy the armies of the nation with the most nukes in the world and prosecute its leader, but nah, there’s no chance there’ll be a nuclear war. Let’s just say that with their track record, you should consider investing in lead shielding for your bunker.

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The fact is that Iraq was not the worst foreign policy debacle of the last three decades. Not turning post-USSR Russia into an ally – or at least a not-enemy – was. Now, in large part because Democrat politicians found it in their interests to do so (RUSSIA! RUSSIA! RUSSIA!), Russia is our enemy and it is sidling up to our even scarier enemy, Red China. Great job, everyone. Just spectacular. Letting you people run our foreign policy is like letting the Lincoln Project run a daycare center.

Now we have to deal with a major conventional war in Ukraine. And we have two problems – the gross incompetence of the establishment, led by senile Joe Biden, and the dwindling domestic political support in the US for this endless stalemate that will only be a stalemate until the Russians rebuild their forces and go on the offensive. Biden’s fecklessness and failures rolled out the red carpet for the Russkies and it was only the toughness of the Ukrainians defending their homeland that kept the horde out of Kyiv, albeit at great cost. Not surprisingly, we currently have no real strategic objective, at least none that has actually been debated. Hell, we barely have any debate at all, since to refuse to stick a blue and yellow flag pin on your lapel gets you called a Russian agent. So does asking what America’s interests are. And without an objective, we are adrift.

Instead of a strategy, we have blind action, or inaction as the case may be. We have options, but the options seem untethered to any actual goal. Yet our alleged commander-in-chief has still managed to choose the worst of all possible options and we are seeing the results. Option One was to butt out and let them decide their own dispute themselves – or to push Ukraine to settle. I make no claim on understanding the vagaries of inter-Slavic conflict, and I do not pretend that the government of Ukraine is anything but corrupt to the core. I trained their soldiers there. I think the people are fully justified in fighting the invaders, and I am not adverse in theory to helping them. Further, there are huge implications for doing nothing – we would look weak to foreigners and that has real consequences. Regardless, butting out is not happening, nor is forcing a settlement, but if we had done either the issue – at least in Ukraine – would be long over either through a Russian victory or a settlement that cedes a bunch of Ukrainian territory. 

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Option Two is to go whole hog – give them anything and everything that kills Russians with the goal of driving them all or most of the way out. You hear people talking about M1 Abrams tanks and F16s, but that’s not everything. Those are merely the most visible components of a total force that is modeled on our force. A full commitment means rebuilding the Ukrainian army into a real western army – and I know from experience they are not that. That means comms, logistics, intelligence, and such, not just guns and bombs. You think we have spent a lot so far? We are talking hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars and a lot of time. But they are plucky and tough and it could be done – and they could win. We’d just bankrupt ourselves, and drain our own war stocks, doing it.

Then there’s Option Three, the current plan, which is the worst of all possible worlds. We give the UKRs enough stuff to create a bloody stalemate but not to break it. It becomes a meat grinder of the Ukrainians firing our shells and the Russians firing back and the lines barely moving. This is no sweeping mechanized battle like our forces train for. This is proto-World War One stuff. And it will go on until the Russian build their combat power up enough to retake the offensive. If the midwits running our foreign policy into the ground knew any history, they would be very scared. The Russians got clobbered by Napoleon right until they drove him out of Moscow in defeat. Hitler was doing fine right until the Russians threw him out of the country and took his capital. Russia will come back. It will rebuild and retrain and learn. The Ukrainians, with just enough stuff not to lose for the moment, will face defeat. And everyone will be surprised that one day, suddenly, the entire front is collapsing and Ukrainian forces are in retreat.

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Congratulations on selecting the worst option, establishment. I expect nothing less.

And this may come sooner rather than later because the establishment is killing the chance to avoid this outcome through the application of its trademark stupidity and arrogance. Right now, most Americans are kind of supportive of the Ukrainians. I am kind of supportive of them. But that support is shrinking because it is being undermined by lies and poor leadership. The lies started with the Ghost of Kyiv and other propaganda. It was a sweet short-term sugar rush, but it left a bitter taste. Then came the lies that any questioning of our total lack of any strategic objective meant that you must love Putin – I always love people who were not with me in the Cold War telling me I love Russians. We’re also supposed to believe Zelenskyy is some great guy and, while his steadiness in the defense of his country is admirable, he’s still effectively a dictator. And this week we have the Biden visit lies – we’re supposed to believe this is some sort of brave gambit by a potent leader and instead we see lame photo ops like him staggering around with the Maximum Tracksuit when the air raid siren suddenly goes off without an air raid. So brave! It’s the world’s most awkward propaganda. No wonder people are disgusted. 

And then there is the total mishandling of domestic American support. Again, most Americans get that Putin is a creep and that regardless of their mutual beefs, Russia invading Ukraine and killing a bunch of people is wrong. But that does not translate into mindless support for the establishment writing blank checks and risking Armageddon. But, of course, we cannot debate that because to have concerns is to love Russia and Putin and stuff. But when you are told you cannot ask questions your natural response is to do so, internally if not out loud. 

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And then we see what is going on here at home, with the border wide open, the economy collapsing, and crime rising, and we see that our concerns are being ignored. We see us being ignored. Biden could not make it to Ohio for the chemical chaos, but he could wing his way across the sea to take some selfies with a local potentate. The message the Ukraine-crazy establishment is sending is clear. Ukrainians are more important than regular Americans. Illegal aliens are more are more important than regular Americans. Criminals are more important than regular Americans. Everyone is more important than regular Americans. 

When Mitch McConnell intones that Ukraine is the Senate’s number one priority, that’s a problem. It’s not our number one priority. It’s not even close. And this arrogant dismissal of our own people’s concerns will inevitably drive down support for Ukraine. Donald Trump is already on it. Ron DeSantis recently refused to support the blank check policy. So did Kevin McCarthy. The hardcore “Cut off Ukraine” crew is small today, but the soft, generally supportive mass of regular Americans is not going to be generally supportive for much longer when it is told to shut up and pay up. Who the hell decided that “Sure, we’ll pay Ukraine’s pensions!” was a great idea? We Americans can barely afford gas and eggs.

Moreover, the fact that war remains a possibility hits normal Americans hardest because they fill our military’s ranks – though less so every month as recruiting numbers crater because more and more normals refuse to put their lives on the line for this president and his incompetent, woke Pentagon. Many – but by no means all – of the loudest voices never served and have no family serving; if this goes south, as always, it’s not their or theirs’ blood that spills. Trump was celebrated for not starting any new wars not because his supporters are peaceniks. In fact, many are, or are close to, warriors, and that’s why they believe our blood is to be spilled only where necessary and in the pursuit of victory.

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What are we pursuing in Ukraine? Sending a message about not tolerating aggression? Maybe. Degrading Russian military forces? That’s something, but it can easily backfire as the new iteration of its forces comes back stronger and more experienced from the battle. Maybe making connected people rich? That’s cynical, but that does not mean it is unreasonable to consider. Military contractors are getting rich rebuilding our stocks, and thanks to Hunter Biden we know that DC is awash in Ukrainian cash. 

What we need now is a debate, a debate about exactly what our strategic objective is and how best to achieve it. The current course of attacking dissenters and bulldozing billions through as the DC establishment ignores crying needs here at home is unsustainable. Keep it up and louder, more effective voices will rise shouting that we must abandon Ukraine. And faster than our lame establishment expects, these voices will earn support of a majority of Americans sick of stalemate and silencing. If you support supporting Ukraine, you should demand we debate it right now, before it is too late. 

Follow Kurt on Twitter @KurtSchlichter. Get Inferno, the seventh book in the Kelly Turnbull People's Republic series of conservative action novels set in America after a notional national divorce, as well as his non-fiction book We’ll Be Back: The Fall and Rise of America.

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