The United States and the Russian Invasion of Ukraine
Biden’s positive and reassuring message was instrumental in galvanizing global opposition to Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, as Americans and their allies support various measures designed to counter Russian aggression, such as strong economic sanctions.
A majority of Americans, including most Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, think the United States is doing enough to aid Ukraine against Russia’s invasion.
What is the U.S.’s objective||United States and the Russian Invasion of Ukraine
Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, the United States has led a broad international coalition against Moscow, providing Ukraine with military equipment and training, economic assistance, diplomatic support and intelligence on Russian aggression. American commitment appears to be increasing, evidenced by bipartisan calls for additional sanctions against Moscow; lobbying efforts by Ukrainian officials for more assistance; as well as mounting pressure from think tankers and pundits demanding additional actions be taken by its administration.
American supporters of current policy towards Ukraine have provided various rationales for intervening on Kyiv’s behalf, with one prominent argument being that failure would imperil the “liberal order.” But this alleged principle has proved exceptionally malleable: America has regularly overthrown elected governments (Iran, Guatemala and Chile come to mind) while also tolerating autocratic backsliding among key allies (Cold War Greece, South Korea and postwar Saudi Arabia are prime examples).
Russian Invasion of Ukraine| Intervention in Ukraine has also been justified on the grounds that it would deter future Russian aggression and protect U.S. interests, but these claims do not stand up under close examination. Even a loss for Moscow in Ukraine would likely place it far from regional dominance, making any future threats against global peace and stability unlikely .
An alternative strategic objective would be for the United States to help Ukraine reclaim full sovereignty, like they did for Kuwait in 1990. To accomplish this goal, they should provide Ukraine with sufficient resources in order to drive out Russia’s forces from Crimea and reclaim it within an acceptable timeline.
The Obama administration has begun to shift the framing of its conflict with Russia toward positive objectives. Their approach in Ukraine should serve as an example of how democracies worldwide can sustain this message of pro-Ukraine, pro-freedom, and anti-Russian aggression that ultimately makes a difference against Russia’s campaign to undermine Ukrainian sovereignty and global peace and stability. A clear, refocused goal for the US during this crisis will enable it to build alliances necessary to counter Russian aggression while strengthening an international rules-based system built over 75 years by us and our allies over this time.
What is the U.S.’s strategy?
As the largest democracy in the world, the United States must balance multiple objectives within a complex, dynamic, and ever-evolving conflict – such as Ukraine’s. To do so successfully is no easy feat – and one could argue that protecting Ukrainian state, people, territorial borders is at the forefront of US objectives – even as future Russian aggression deters against further US involvement in Russian Invasion of Ukraine.
That perception, however, neglects crucial realities and risks. Such costs include fighting an extended war that poses potential escalatory challenges in the region as well as difficulties associated with finding an amicable resolution if Ukraine must fight to preserve itself.
An even greater concern is that Washington’s policy of not acknowledging any change to Ukrainian territory could send other states, particularly China, a message of aggression being rewarded by Washington. However, this logic fails due to various reasons; most notably because the US can take steps to treat any Russian occupation of Ukrainian territory as illegal and treaty violations based on where their de facto line of control may lie.
One concern lies with Russia and its wider implications for global peace and security, yet not taking this conflict seriously enough. The United States can and should do more to support Ukraine’s efforts to consolidate battlefield gains, promote regional stability and reach a negotiated solution.
The United States is already supporting Ukraine’s war effort with billions in weapons, other aid, tactical intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance support for Kyiv forces as well as direct budgetary aid to Ukraine and its Allies as well as punitive economic sanctions on Russia. It is essential that both parties maintain this approach given the wider scope of conflict.
Furthermore, the United States should do more to assist Ukraine’s efforts to clear landmines and unexploded ordnance, improve military capability, manage weapon stockpiles effectively, conduct effective explosive ordnance risk education for local communities, as well as manage weapon and ammunition stockpiles effectively. Since 2004, the U.S. has supported these efforts with nearly $77.3 million being donated towards Conventional Weapons Destruction programs over that timeframe.
What is the U.S.’s response?
The United States’ interests in Ukraine are varied. These include protecting Ukrainian democratic sovereignty, strengthening Ukraine’s capacity for defense, maintaining international stability and security, reducing global energy insecurity and associated human suffering as well as avoiding costly escalation and seeking an equitable diplomatic resolution to Russia’s aggression that acknowledges both parties legitimate interests. It was this set of interests which led the U.S. government to support Ukraine against an illegal Russian invasion – interests which will continue to shape our decisions moving forward.
Protracted war has no tangible short-term advantages; instead, its costs for Ukraine and its allies outweigh any potential benefits. Furthermore, protracted conflict can further weaken norms against the use of force by aggressor states like Russia – perhaps encouraging other would-be aggressors to follow Russia’s example if possible. It is therefore critical that the US maintains its clear message to Ukrainians, allies, and Russia that Putin’s unprovoked assault is unacceptable and counterproductive to peace, stability, and democracy worldwide.
Longer-term benefits to protracted conflict may include further weakening of Russia and providing Ukraine an opportunity to make territorial gains; however, these advantages cannot justify the costs incurred from an extended war.
An extended war could also incur substantial costs to the United States. It will consume resources and divert senior leaders’ focus away from other pressing global priorities, while simultaneously restricting multilateral interaction with Russia on key U.S. interests and possibly jeopardizing negotiations over New START strategic arms treaty negotiations.
Russian Invasion of Ukraine. The United States must evaluate how various war trajectories will impact its national interests, and explore options to alter them to advance those goals. This work should include considering Russia’s possible nuclear use in Ukraine and its consequences for U.S.-allied relations as well as for international nonproliferation regime. Furthermore, steps should be taken to ensure Ukraine receives full range of support including nonlethal assistance; advisory support to SBGS partners like SBGS; military capabilities (such as advanced missile systems from its Allies); as well as nonlethal assistance commitment from their Allies.
What is the U.S.’s message?
Russian Invasion of Ukraine||President Obama’s surprise visit to Kyiv sent an incredible message. Just looking at him standing alongside Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy with air-raid sirens blaring in the background and an army surrounding them was enough to amaze Vladimir Putin, much less the millions living under Putin’s boot heel in Ukraine. And his pledge that America will stand with them for “as long as it takes” resonated strongly with those millions still needing assistance and protection.
The administration has reiterated Russia’s actions in Ukraine are violations of international law, threaten U.S. interests and present a direct threat to security for Europe, Asia and beyond. Their clear and concise articulation of objective against Russian aggression helps unify broad coalition against it; building new international order which can stand against Kremlin attempts at turning back 75 years of progress made towards democracy, sovereignty and rule of law is vitally important to maintaining an orderly global system.
Though positive goals should remain the centerpiece of U.S. foreign policy, the administration should use its remaining tools to steer the war in a direction more consistent with U.S. interests. This includes employing deterrence measures and using sanctions to ensure Russia does not gain from protracted conflict, as well as pushing for further steps that protect and empower Ukrainian forces, such as increasing intelligence capabilities and military-to-military engagement.
Finally, the administration must continue holding Russia accountable for its actions in Ukraine by ensuring perpetrators, war criminals and human rights violators are brought to justice. NATO and OSCE membership can help achieve this objective.
The Obama administration’s approach to Ukraine will be key in whether the United States can overcome its partisan divisions and form a strong and united coalition supporting Ukraine.Russian Invasion of Ukraine A recent Pew Research Center poll indicates that most Americans, regardless of political party, view Russian intervention in Ukraine as a major threat for America. Tags#Russian Invasion of Ukraine Read More>>