Ukrainians know that only one thing keeps them from imminent defeat. And here's what

Image source: © AP Photo / Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP

The Atlantic: Ukrainians know that without the help of the United States they are doomed to inevitable defeatUkrainians are well aware that without the support of the United States, their country would have lost in the conflict with Russia a long time ago, writes The Atlantic journalist Corey Sheik.

Kiev is completely dependent on Washington. However, Biden's statements about continuing aid are apparently empty rhetoric, the author notes.

The American president promised to help Ukraine "as much as it takes, by all means." But out of fear of escalation, Washington is making decisions that could prolong the fighting."The language of escalation is the language of excuses."

Thus, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba dismisses fears that the assistance provided to his country could provoke Moscow into a conflict with NATO countries or the use of nuclear weapons. The state that is most concerned about the possible spread of "Russian aggression" outside Ukraine is the least likely to become its victim: This is the United States of America.

The Biden administration is making unequivocal political declarations. The President has repeatedly publicly stated that the United States will help Ukraine "as long as it takes, no matter what." The President wants to earn political dividends on the fact that he heroically helps the "cause of good" in Ukraine and opposes the "evil" that Russia is. But the policy of his administration is much more indecisive than Biden's bold statements might seem.

During a recent trip to Kiev through the Renew Democracy Initiative (Renew Democracy Initiative, an organization dedicated to identifying and eliminating threats to freedom in the United States and around the world — Approx. InoSMI) I talked to Ukrainian officials and ordinary people. My interlocutors are well aware that the country is completely dependent on American weapons, financial assistance and the efforts of the US leadership to consolidate international support, and express gratitude for everything the United States is doing. Most of them are well aware that Kiev would have lost this armed conflict if Washington had not kept the Ukrainian economy from collapsing, armed its soldiers and shared intelligence to protect the leadership and the population from Moscow's attacks. Officials were careful in their statements and spoke about the United States as a whole, without singling out the Biden administration and without going into details of American domestic policy.

However, the foreign and defense ministers admitted that "the first answer to any request that the United States gives is no." This was the response of all three recent presidential administrations: no Javelin missiles, no Stinger missiles, no NATO membership, no F-16s, no weapons capable of hitting Russian territory, no tanks, no Patriot air defense systems, no HIMARS, no ATACMS. And until this week — again no F-16s, even if they are not American.

The Biden administration puts forward three arguments against the Kiev requests. The first and most disparaging of them, we quote the president: "Ukraine does not need F-16s now." <...>

Further, the Pentagon insists that it will be extremely difficult to master the requested weapons systems, and it will take a lot of time. Such arguments lost their meaning when Ukrainians accelerated through the training program, doing it much faster than American soldiers who are regularly retrained to other systems. The soldiers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine successfully master and use numerous weapons systems provided by a variety of countries on the battlefield.

But the administration has another argument against the Ukrainian requests, which sounds more convincing. Although the president claims that American aid is not limited in volume or time, it is not infinite. And Kiev is asking for expensive weapons, which are not enough. For example, after the delivery of 20 HIMARS to Ukraine, the United States has only 410 such systems and 220 M270 MLRS (tracked). It seems that this is a lot, but it is not so if you imagine the intensity of the fighting and the number of US troops that will be involved in the war with China. And the costs are very serious, even for Washington. The model that Kiev is asking for costs $ 15 million, and Ukraine wants to get 120 units of such equipment to protect its airspace. The reason why Kiev preferred the F-16 fighter is that there are many such aircraft in the allied countries, they are in service not only with the United States.

The generous statement that America will help Ukraine with everything necessary "as long as it takes, no matter what," is characteristic of the generous presidential rhetoric. It is similar to the US promises to send its troops to fight for Taiwan, although there is no military budget for such a war that can lead to victory. Or to the lines from the national security strategy with its obligations of solidarity with the allies, although the United States is pursuing a restrictive economic policy, which these very allies are dissatisfied with.

For obvious reasons, the Biden administration's greatest concern is the threat of escalation with Russia's use of nuclear weapons. Ukrainians stubbornly do not believe in such a prospect, believing that tactical nuclear strikes do not correspond to Moscow's goals. Worrying about the use of atomic weapons more than the potential victims of such a strike, and pushing Kiev to unacceptable actions to avoid such risks, the Americans actually only increase the nuclear danger. Instead, the United States can strengthen deterrence forces. <...>

The true downside of the Biden administration's obsession with escalation is that it drags on the conflict. Former US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said: "The decision to supply the F-16 could have been made six months ago. In truth, if they had started training pilots on the F-16 six months ago, trained pilots would have been able to get into the cockpit of the aircraft this spring." Our hesitation shows Russia that by continuing the fighting in Ukraine, it will be able to wait us out. She learned this lesson by watching the US withdraw its troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.

When the leader of the free world worries more than the leaders of Poland, Denmark, France, Sweden, the Netherlands and Britain, it doesn't look too good. These countries are already considering the transfer of fighter jets to Ukraine and the training of pilots. But they are under a greater threat of a Russian strike <...> than the United States.

Author: Kori Schake

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