Stephen Hadley, who served as National Security Advisor to President George W. Bush, believes that the United States should begin delivering lethal military equipment to the US-backed government in Ukraine as that government moves ever-closer to another assault on eastern territories seeking independence.
Thus far, more than 4,000 have been killed in Kiev’s attack on the breakaway Lugansk and Donetsk regions, many if not most civilians. That is not enough for Hadley.
Bush’s old security chief has no interest in dialogue or diplomacy. He wants action, stating yesterday at an Aspen Institute conference that:
If I were in my old job I would be thinking of lethal assistance [to Ukraine], yes. But this is why you have a CIA. This is why you have covert action. I would be thinking: do we want to do it explicitly and send a message to [Russia's President Vladimir] Putin? Or do we want to do it covertly? I think we tend now to talk too much and act too little.
Russia has already warned that direct US involvement in the Ukraine crisis would be seriously destabilizing and that US provision of military equipment to Kiev would be a violation of several international agreements and indeed international law.
It could also trigger World War III, as NATO proxies armed with US weapons would be fighting right on the Russian border — just two months after a Ukrainian official threatened Russia with nuclear weapons.
Normally one might write off such statements as the nostalgic waxing of a frustrated former power broker, but Stephen Hadley is not alone. The “arm Ukraine and escalate” faction has recently seen its stock rise in the Obama administration and in the incoming Republican-dominated Senate.
Incoming Deputy Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said at his Senate confirmation hearing this week that the US should reconsider its policy of only providing non-lethal assistance to Ukraine. Blinken, rising to the second most powerful position in US diplomacy, argues in favor of the opposite of diplomacy: war. He states that arming Ukraine would force Moscow “to think twice and deter them from further action.”
He was joined by another Obama administration colleague. On Friday, State Department spokesperson Jeff Rathke said that US lethal assistance to Ukraine “remains an option”.
As might be expected, incoming Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee John McCain promised that as soon as he is handed the gavel the Senate will pass appropriations for weapons to Ukraine and pressure the administration to ship them over.
All this on the first anniversary of the revolt in western Ukraine which led to the overthrow of the elected government three months later.
The revolution was instigated and supported by the United States, with US officials regularly joining the rebels in the streets of Kiev.
One year on, more than 4,000 have been killed, the country is more impoverished than before with no hope for recovery, oligarchs still rule, Ukrainians face no heat in a freezing winter, the currency has totally collapsed, its gold reserves have mysteriously disappeared, the economy is in free fall, the developed and industrialized east has been destroyed.
Some would look at this result as failure. Not the US officials who authored the revolt. US Ambassador to the UN today tweeted a far more joyous note:
Honoring the 1 yr anniversary of Maidan, 10 yr anniv of Orange Rev. & the eternal anniv of the will of Ukrainians to chart their own future.
— Samantha Power (@AmbassadorPower) November 22, 2014
Of course she will not be freezing in a Ukrainian village this winter either.
There is a kind of mental illness that seems to have overtaken those with influence in foreign policy. What looks like failure to the rest of us — think: Libya and Syria — is celebrated as great success.
Ukraine is a disaster? Send in weapons to expand the war! Provoke Russia! Go for broke!
This is madness.
Follow me on Twitter.1:30 am on November 22, 2014 Email Daniel McAdams