As Memorial Day has passed and we have honored Americans who died in Service to our Country, World War 3 sits on our horizon. Where could this conflagration occur? The Ukraine. Why? The intersection of Putin’s Russia and the incompetent Biden Administration. How do we address this looming disaster?
First, we need to know who the Ukrainians are, what Ukraine produces and why they are important. Secondly, we need to define our National Interest in Ukraine. Once we do that we can figure out how to achieve this goal.
The first step is the easiest. The Ukrainians are an Eastern Slavic ethnic group. Initially known as “Ruthians” who lived in non Russia controlled Ukraine, while “Cossacks” resided in Russian controlled Ukraine. Both groups share Ukrainian heritage and Cossacks play a prime role in Ukraine history. The Ukrainian language is associated with Russian, though not exactly the same. Their primary religion is Eastern Orthodox Christian again, similar but slightly different from the Russian version. Prior to the Russian invasion in 2022 Ukraine was the primary supplier of Sunflower seeds and its oil to the world economy. It also exported wheat and iron and steel. These exports have all but stopped. The Ukrainian government is nominally a semi- presidential republic. The level of governmental corruption depends upon with whom one speaks.
In February 2014, Russia first invaded Ukraine, occupying Crimea. This gave Russia a Black Sea Port, and began the ongoing dispute. Russia has claimed the Eastern portions of Ukraine as their territory, based upon the large ethnic Russian populations of those areas. Of course, that was part of the original Soviet plan to populate occupied territories with ethnic Russians to control the local populace. The US (and the world) took no action.
In February 2022, Russia began a full force invasion of Eastern Ukraine. It was met with more resistance than Russia anticipated and has resulted in a stagnant though quite destructive battlefield over Eastern Ukraine extending to Kiev. While the US has not sent any troops or equipment into direct combat we have contributed $76.8 Billion in military and civilian aid to Ukraine from Jan 24, 2022 – Feb 24, 2023. Council on Foreign Relations updated May 23, 2023.
So, what is our National Interest in Ukraine that is so great we need to spend $76.6 Billion of American taxpayer dollars, in a year? Is it ok that Russia has invaded its neighbor? What is different from 2014? Do we ignore Russian Aggression? Is stopping it worth the potential of World War 3? (It has been reported Russia has moved tactical nukes to Belarus, and they certainly have them in a Russia). To date the stumbling, bumbling Biden Administration only policy statement is essentially “Russia bad”. We can agree that is true, but so what? Ukraine is not a member of NATO which would have required the US to act under Article 5. The various European Nations have a greater National Interest in keeping the Russian Bear inside its borders. Yet many European Countries rely on Russian gas and oil. Go green! So much for solidarity.
Without a coherent stated National Interest, it is impossible to formulate a plan to achieve it. So, here we are, throwing Billions of Dollars at an undefined problem with and undefined solution, but with the potential to start World War 3. Thanks Pedo Joe!