Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Don't Send Weapons to Ukraine the U.S. Has More Important Priorities at Home; Leave Ukraine to the Europeans

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Don't Send Weapons to Ukraine the U.S. Has More Important Priorities at Home; Leave Ukraine to the Europeans

Article excerpt

The question of whether the United States should provide arms to Ukraine to fight Russia is a high-stakes one that puts front-and- center three of the principal problems now disrupting the conduct of U.S. foreign relations.

The first is spotlighted by the fact that Sens. John McCain, R- Ariz., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., have been in Germany at the same time as Secretary of State John Kerry, declaiming publicly and privately their own versions of what U.S. policy toward Ukraine should be. Their versions are at variance not only with Mr. Kerry's posture, representing that of President Barack Obama, but also in opposition to that of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, their host in Germany.

In a nutshell, Ms. Merkel, supported by French President Francois Hollande, who just met with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Russian President Vladimir V. Putin, believes that neither the United States nor anyone else should provide arms to the Ukrainian government at this time, giving diplomacy and economic sanctions more time to work. There is a meeting scheduled for today in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, among the four leaders to seek long-term peace in Ukraine.

Sens. McCain and Graham want the United States to provide arms to the Ukrainian government, prolonging the war there but also challenging Mr. Putin to face off in a proxy war that risks renewal of the 45-year Cold War that ended in 1990.

Mr. McCain - and less so, Mr. Graham, whom most Americans don't take seriously anyway - is a curious case. He is 78 and Americans usually cut older people with some distinction in their past a certain amount of slack. Mr. McCain was a prisoner of war in Vietnam for six years. He was also the Republican candidate for president in 2008.

The problem is, based on his performance in Germany, he appears to believe that he won the election in 2008, rather than losing it decisively. Or he may be imagining that he is secretary of state, in charge of American diplomacy, instead of being one of 100 senators. The media don't help, giving each of these delusional senators' pronouncements coverage, undoubtedly hoping to stir the pot, perhaps even into a war. NBC's Brian Williams just provided a sterling, disturbing performance of what "war correspondent" status can do, or not do, for a workaday reporter.

The second problem with the United States providing arms to the Kiev government is that to do so would be to take the problem of Ukraine - an archetypically European problem - out of the hands of the Europeans and into ours. Let us recall fondly the famous "Pottery Barn" rule of a former general and secretary of state, Colin Powell, "You break it; you buy it."

Ukraine should remain a European problem. It is hard to imagine a region farther from the United States, physically and spiritually, than Eastern Ukraine. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.