Should the United States Arm Ukraine?

Foreign Affairs' Brain Trust Weighs In

A Ukraine marine officer in September 2014. Jesse Granger / U.S. Army

We at Foreign Affairs have recently published a number of articles examining what the United States and Europe should do in Ukraine. Those articles sparked a heated debate, so we decided to ask a broad pool of experts to state whether they agree or disagree with the following statement and to rate their confidence level about that answer. 

The United States should provide whatever military aid the Ukrainian government needs to defend itself against Russian-supported rebel attacks. 


Full Responses:

LEON ARON is Director of Russian Studies at the American Enterprise Institute. He is the author, most recently, of Roads to the Temple: Truth, Memory, Ideas, and Ideals in the Making of the Russian Revolution, 1987–1991.
Strongly Agree, Confidence Level 10 Along with the obvious moral obtuseness of debating whether to send defensive weapons to a victim of naked aggression, this debate is shot through with strategic myopia. By now, there is ample evidence that for deep ideological, political, and geopolitical reasons, Russia’s president-for-life is well on his way to forging a revanchist authoritarian state that would dominate much of Eurasia as a geostrategic counterbalance to what Moscow perceived as a United States–led “West” bent on world domination and, as part of it, Russia’s destruction. This long-term design, in turn, conjures up an unprecedented strategic challenge for the West: a revisionist, assertive, and increasingly nationalist autocracy in possession of 1,700 strategic nuclear weapons deployed on nearly 500 strategic nuclear platforms/delivery vehicles. It is therefore imperative that in confronting such a challenge, the West adopt the same long-term strategic vision as the one that drives Russian President Vladimir Putin. Within such a framework, only one strategy appears to have a chance of eventually succeeding in modifying Putin’s design: increasing its domestic political costs (a supreme realist, he doesn’t care two pins for world public opinion and other such intangibles) and thus confronting him with hard choices. A democratic, stable, and West-oriented (and eventually Western-allied) Ukraine is the first major, perhaps

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