Who’s Watching Whether We Effectively Support Ukraine?   -   March 1, 2022

U.S. Long-Term Interests Require That Ukraine Remain Free and Independent

Russia has invaded Ukraine.  Ukraine’s leaders and people are fighting back.  The U.S. and other nations are imposing partial trade and financial sanctions and diplomatic pressure on Russia.  Putin has given no indication he’ll stop before Ukraine is under Russian control.

As regards Ukraine, Russia’s Vladimir Putin is an adamant aggressor.  But we have no treaty obligation to protect Ukraine.  Is it essential that the United States act to force Putin’s unconditional withdrawal?

The first principle in dealing with an adamant aggressor is to understand whether his actions conflict with our long-term interests.  If they don’t, we should ‘stay on the sidelines’ and not get involved.  But if they do, we must choose – either forego our interests or prevent Putin from realizing his.

President Biden seems to believe that we have an interest in a free and independent Ukraine.  He has said that “Russia alone is responsible for the death and destruction this attack will bring, and the United States and its Allies and partners will respond in a united and decisive way.”  But he hasn’t explained to the American people what our national interests are in this matter, and his actions to date aren’t likely to significantly deter Putin.

There are many reasons for wanting a free and independent Ukraine – economic, humanitarian, security, etc.  But the strongest reason has little to do with Ukraine.  It has to do with China.  Xi Jinping is also an adamant aggressor, and with vastly more resources and power than Putin.  His (and the Chinese Communist Party’s) stated goals are in existential conflict with American interests.  Xi is on record.  He intends to surpass America economically, technologically and militarily to become the world’s undisputed super power by 2049 (see "Xi Jinping and China – Existential Threat to America").   He is building China up in all those areas and more in support of that goal, and he seeks to weaken America at every opportunity.

Just weeks ago Xi and Putin jointly declared a “new era” in the global order and endorsed their respective territorial interests in Taiwan and Ukraine.  They unveiled a long-term agreement that explicitly challenges the United States as a global power, NATO as a cornerstone of international security, and liberal democracy as a model for the world.

The United States has no official relationship with Taiwan.  But it has a strong and continuing unofficial relationship with the island nation.  Twice in recent months President Biden has affirmed a U.S. commitment to defend Taiwan should China attack.  In fact, no such formal obligation exists.  But an unofficial U.S. position to defend Taiwan is widely understood among nations.  Xi is closely watching what the United States does as regards Ukraine.  If we allow Ukraine to be subjugated, Xi may well take that as a signal that he can successfully invade Taiwan.

Effective, decisive support of Ukraine in this conflict is very much in our interest.  We cannot risk halfway measures.

(For more, preview Adamant Aggressors here.)


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