Why don’t they give weapons to Ukraine? 



2014/09/27 • Politics

Article by: Yury Kostiuchenko

The position of a victim of vile aggression does not always allow to soberly assess the circumstances and make appropriate decisions. In a globalized world, all processes are intertwined, and we are all agents within a multicomponent environment. The success of our strategies, and sometimes, our survival, depend on the decisions and actions of each individual, on our consolidated position. 

In some sense, Putin got what he wanted: throughout the past months, the global security system has undergone irreversible changes. What is important for us, is that we are witnessing the formation of a consistent and powerful international anti-Russian coalition. We are not alone in the world, and this is good news for us.

So why aren’t we getting help that we seemingly need to much?

Stopping the conflict means weakening the aggressor, not arming the victim

The modern science of conflictology offers many ways to solve conflict situations. In a state of stress, at war, in conflict, we don’t always understand why some decisions are made or not, which we consider to be obvious.

Meanwhile, the situation may be examined from the formal standpoint. At the moment, everyone understands who the aggressor and the victim are. It is obvious that the resources of the aggressor surpass ours. There is a consensus in the world that peaceful regulation is impervious.

In this situation, in order to stop the conflict, we should not arm the victim, but disarm the aggressor. With all due respect and understanding to the victim’s position, who is begging for resources to defend itself (lethal weaponry against the aggressor), we have to understand the position of the global community.

They are acting, strictly speaking, according to the textbook: providing the victim with military resources will most probably cause further escalation of the conflict. The only way to stop the conflict is to quickly and effectively rid the aggressor of their resources.

Strictly speaking, if we want to stop the attack of a well-armed and well-trained soldier on a regular passer-by, we have to disarm the attacker and immobilize, weaken them as quickly as possible.

If we give an adequate amount of weaponry to the victim, we will guarantee the continuation of the conflict, and the only thing left to do is stock up on beer, in order to enjoy the bloody spectacle of a constant fight, which will most probably lead to the deaths of both parties.

The fact that we are not being given weapons today is evidence that the global community does not plan to continue the eternal conflict with the possibility of our death in it.

“Full neutralization of the attacker” demands time

There is also a scenario of “fully neutralizing” the aggressor. In this case, it is possible to give weapons to the victim, however, only in the ‘cold phase’ of the conflict, and only within the framework of changing the configuration of the international security system. This demands time.

Everything has to happen exclusively in a complex of difficult and long political and economic measures of global influence on the aggressor. The sanctions developed based on complex models and which are systematically imposed will ruin their resources irreversibly.

Today, despite the insignificant level of change in resource availability, the vulnerability of the aggressor’s resources has become fatal, and their availability is decreasing swiftly and irrevocably. Therefore, even with this scenario, any escalation of the crisis may become a fatal mistake, for a complex of long and difficult political and economic measures of global influence on the aggressor to be developed.

Nobody will give modern weaponry to a nation which is falling into militaristic hysteria

There is another reason our partners are not ready to give us the assistance we need. If we speak in broad terms, we have not proven to the democratic community that in case of success we will not turn from a victim into an aggressor.

The now popular half-joking calls to ‘end the war in Moscow,’ ‘ruin the Kremlin’ are not only an instance of lack of understanding of our goals. And even not just a symmetric reaction to similar statements made by Russian soldiers. They are a dangerous indicator of a dramatic growth in radical moods, which is characteristic of the conflict situation.

Positive self-organization based on common values, which helped us in the revolution, is being partially replaced by detrimental hysteria of ‘we lost’ and simultaneous calls to total war by all means possible.

We have to understand that any radicalization, militarization of civil moods is an additional argument for those who do not want to give us military assistance. Nobody will give modern weapons to a nation which is in militaristic hysteria, even if was caused by foreign aggression.

We have to keep calm, demonstrate our strive for peace and democratic values. We have to show tolerance, regard for others’ opinions, human rights and freedoms, international law. And the impending parliamentary elections in this context are a timely and responsible test for us on our way to stable peace and security.

Therefore, we should regard our western partners with understanding, and follow our own choice responsibly. Pain, fear and hatred are bad advisors.

It is quite obvious now that Ukraine has allies. The resource advantage our allies have in all regards, first and foremost, intellect, leaves no doubt that we have a chance to withstand and win this war.

Source: Radio Liberty

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  • Michel Cloarec

    The collapse of Sovjet was based on ” arm themselves to economical chaos” it works ! History has tendance to repeat itself ! Wait and see !

    • pieta

      In his book Friedman (founder of stratfor if I remember corectly) calculated that in mid 2010s, Russia would try to destabilze situation in Baltic States, using russian minorities. He was right with general idea, but he was wrong with place. He also wrote, that it would be ended with new arms race, which Russia will loose quicker than USSR (RF don’t have as much resources as soviets). By mid 2020s Russia will be deafeted economiclly and in eastern Europe, a regional alliance will be born, that will dominate contonental theatre along with Turkey.

    • wooly bully

      And a little help from our friends the Beatles. The CCCP collapsed for many reasons. But this is a different time, a different confrontation, a different situation.

  • Brent

    Nice theory BUT…….the ‘allies’ that Ukraine has in the West are not imposing strong enough sanctions to fulfill the first step of the theory. They are still looking for a way to ‘resolve’ what they perceive to be a ‘conflict’ and will either result in a frozen conflict situation or part of Ukrainian territory ceded to Russia permanently. To fulfill this ‘theory’, stronger sanctions directed against the main protagonists need to be implemented with stronger resolve and a more determined effort of saving human lives than not harming their own economies.

    We are supposed to be in a ceasefire situation, yet every day more and more Ukrainian soldiers and citizens are being murdered, kidnapped, persecuted and the pillaging of the Donbass continues. Supposed independent monitors are not reporting effectively and are trying to placate the aggressor. The international community needs to have peacekeepers in the region for Step 1 of the ‘theory’ to work, and they have failed to do so and have allowed the aggressor to maintain control over the stolen region and lie about its presence.

    • LorCanada

      All I can say is, beware of Russian ‘Peace’ keepers, see this from BBC:

      After all, the Russian incursion into Georgia in 2008 was referred to by Moscow as an “operation to enforce peace on Georgia”.

      Last week I was discussing the Ukraine conflict on the phone with a general in the Russian army.

      His explanation for the sudden emphasis on peacekeepers was telling.

      Russia needs peacekeeping troops, he explained, “because that’s the only way you can move troops across another country’s borders with a band playing and with everybody pleased to see them.”

      For the time being, that is certainly one of the many options Russia is keeping open.

  • albertphd

    I see that the author of this article chooses to remain anonymous (written by Radio Liberty and funded by the U.S. Government is the only source of this information).

    If I understood correctly the premise of this argument (to argue that NO LETHAL WEAPONS should be given to Ukraine even in their hour of dire need!), it appears that whoever wrote this article believes that if Ukraine strictly honors this code of International Law, then Russia in time would follow suit. That is, it is argued that we in the Western World should try to weaken Putin to the point that he cries: “Uncle!”, and then–and only then– Ukraine would become free and clear of any further Russian interference?!

    If that is the gist of this article, then I think a little refresher course is necessary: Recall that in the early 1990s this similar scenario occurred in the former Yugoslavia (between Milosovic of Serbia and the Muslims of Croatia)! Croatia begged for weapons to defend themselves but NO ONE bothered to do so! Instead, we all watched (drinking beer?! as this article suggests?!) while the Serbs massacred the Croats in one of the ugliest bloodiest bloodbaths in modern history! [Oh, by the way, the term ‘ethnic cleansing’ became the new buzzword of the day?! People even then could not call ‘a spade a spade’, it seems?!] Finally, after tens of thousands of defenseless victims were literally slaughtered like fish in a barrel, US airstrikes came to the rescue to halt the entire annihilation of that tiny nation!

    Is this the only recourse for Ukraine? to wait for US airstrikes to knock the Russians back to their own turf? How primitive?! How barbaric?! And the civilized world dares to call this approach ‘civilized’, dares to demand Ukraine to stand firm (weaponless and defenseless) against the Soviet hordes?!.

    No doubt this approach works well for armchair Generals far from the front lines who wish to experiment upon this or that theory of armed conflict?! But even in WW II, Britain and the USA supplied Soviet Russia with millions of tons of lethal weapons (to fight back the Nazi hordes) and no one cried: “Sanctions!” against Germany?! No one even bothered to listen to such bunk! (We were all too busy arming ourselves and giving arms even gratis to all nations to defend themselves from these Fascist dictators, now weren’t we?!–if the TRUTH be known?!).

    So, let’s look at the facts of the real world today in current events:
    #1–In 1994, USA, UK and Russia all agreed to protect Ukraine from armed aggression if Ukraine would voluntarily surrender their 4,000 nuclear war heads (the so-called oft-quoted Budapest Memorandum Agreement);
    #2– Ukraine agreed to do so and destroyed all their nuclear weapons.
    #3– Now Russia invades Ukraine in 2014 in this ‘dirty war’ (undeclared but very real nonetheless!).
    #4–NO ONE dares to come to the aid of Ukraine!
    #5– NO ONE dares to honor this International Law Agreement made with Ukraine in 1994!
    #6–NO ONE even wishes to give Ukraine the lethal weapons it so desperately needs right now to rid itself of this Russian invader!
    #7–NO ONE wishes to offend this Russian bear to completely isolate it with the FULL third level of economic sanctions! There are currently ONLY words threatening to do so?!

    So, what is the alternative for Ukraine? What are the REAL options Ukraine has left to turn to, to survive, to protect itself?!

    In my view, any obligation that Ukraine has to NOT build nuclear weapons to defend itself (as it did in the past) are hereby null and void. Russia, UK and the USA have all violated this Budapest Memorandum Agreement (I.e., to agree to defend Ukraine from all invaders–including Russian invaders!-in lieu of its cessation to produce nuclear weapons). Therefore, Ukraine has a duty of self-preservation, to defend itself via the only REAL means it has left, the only REAL option–that of nuclear deterrence.

    Allow me to explain the reason why I believe that nuclear weapon production is the best alternative for Ukraine at this time: Consider little Israel. With only 8 million people, Israel is a definite deterrence to Russia (or any other nation that would attempt to annihilate it). Why? Simply because Israel has an estimated 400 nuclear war heads today (only 1/10 of what Ukraine had in 1994!). With its modernized air force–supplied by the USA– (and now equipped with nuclear weapons) and its 5 Dolphin submarines (built by Germany!) also equipped with nuclear weapons, no nation (include Putin’s radical regime!) would dare bother Israel!

    The same could well become true for Ukraine! With only 1/10 of the nuclear arsenal it once had, Ukraine would have the leverage it needs to defend itself. The argument that for Ukraine to so arm itself, it would become an Aggressor nation (like Russia) is bogus. Again, I say–look to Israel: Israel has less than 1/5 the population base of Ukraine, yet it has 400 nuclear war heads to protect itself from any take-over by any other nation even an ex-superpower as that of Russia.

    Now if this approach I recommend for Ukraine to follow is deemed too strong for these liberal-minded armchair philosophers, allow me to recommend that Ukraine do what Russia and China are currently doing–and that is: to order arms (military LETHAL weapons) from Israel. Russia is Israel’s number one customer (followed, as I say, by China!) and both nations regularly (even now!) receive massive shipments of lethal weapons directly from Israel!

    So, why in the name of REASON and SANITY cannot Ukraine do likewise? Why this blatant discrimination? Why the reluctance to allow Ukraine to defend itself at least with conventional weapons?!

    Have we not learned our lesson from Milosovic! Why allow history to repeat itself?!

    • http://euromaidanpress.com Mat

      author is Yury Kostiuchenko

      • albertphd

        Thank you. I stand corrected. Somehow in the earlier release of this article it simply stated “written by Radio Liberty” (which I thought odd?!) but now I see that the author’s name has been added to the title!

        I too tend to prefer the ‘Dove’ approach to war (instead of the ‘Hawk’ approach) and in fact I had written on 3 separate occasions that we should (ALL?!) give PEACE a chance (as John Lennon would say?!).

        I had proposed that instead of permanently losing Crimea and/or parts or Districts of the Donbas area, why not consider what China did over more than a Century ago–to lease Hong Kong to the British Empire. Today, Hong Kong is of course returned to China as it’s ‘Special Administrative’ Oblast or Province. I had listed 10 points (to be acquiesced by Putin) one of which was to officially acknowledge these ‘leased’ regions as ‘Regions’ of Ukraine (leased to Russia under the conditions I so recommended) — to be returned to Ukraine after the lease should expire.

        I was impressed by the advice given in the Bible (Luke 14:31-32) in which it is understood that Total War is absurd or irrational and that a much smaller or weaker power would do well to consider ‘conditions of PEACE’ when confronted with a greatly superior nation.

        Anyway, it was a proposal that I thought had some merit, until I realized that Putin is not interested to ‘save face’ or to have the economic sanctions removed. He is already in ‘another world’ (as someone once wisely said?!) and I am convinced that should his people starve (like those of North Korea under sanctions) that he would simply say: “Let them eat cake!”.

        So, I withdraw my ‘conditions of PEACE’ which I had proposed earlier and for which I thought there was a genuine possibility to bring this senseless killing to an end.

        I appreciate the comments by Yury Kostiuchenko (they are well-thought out and would make sense between China and Britain, for example, but not between a ‘Genghis Khan’ and Ukraine. Although I still agree with Dr. Kostiuchenko that Total War is totally absurd, I think Ukraine needs to adopt a plan B in the event that Putin’s putsch into Ukraine does not retreat.

        Because this ‘dirty war’ (as I prefer to call it) is an ‘undeclared war’, I do not think that Ukraine need disclose this Plan B. Why not develop nuclear weapons,for example, as a secret project and then when ‘all hell breaks loose’, Ukraine has something that would garner Putin’s respect, if not fear?!

        In the art of negotiations, such a power-play is useful leveraging, to say the least!

  • Kruton

    Progressive war,get a lot of people killed then lose.

  • Murf

    A lot of interesting academic theories but the bottom line is the “victim” card the Ukraine played was eventually trumped by the economic power of Russia. In the hard calculus of international politics the bottom line boils down to showing you can fight and win. nobody wants to back the losing side. Ukraine filed to convince the Europeans that they could beat the Russians and Europeans are great believers in realpolitik.
    To make matters worse the US has a president who wants to lead from behind. In the past the US would drag Europe kicking and screaming into the fight but not this time. It didn’t help the the MREs went missing in action. you can still buy them on Ebay from china for cheap.
    If Ukraine wants to win the next round they need get their house in order,ie the corruption,and get the economy moving.( I know, easier said then done.) then be ready for the next round.
    The Victim only gets so much sympathy in international diplomacy.

    • d green

      THAT is called cowardice.

      • Murf

        Yep pretty much, but that is what you are up against. It’s not Putin who is doing his little Putler best to be, well Putin, A self absorbed little shit with his vision of grandeur.
        You are up against proving that you can hang with in the big league. That when people put their money and reputations on you they will get a return.
        Worry less about what you need from the West but what you can accomplish your self. Ukraine has a lot to offer. Make it happen!
        Most importantly SELL YOUR SELF!
        Then the West will come beating at your door.

        • LorCanada

          I have my doubts. Ukraine was doing well for a time with gaining back their territory but then the Russkies came in at a crucial time and overwhelmed them. So it isn’t that Ukrainians aren’t able to fight but simply they are outnumbered and outgunned. Just how much of “sell yourself” can be done under those circumstances? It’s obvious to one and all that Ukraine needs assistance. I regret that it hasn’t happened yet.

  • Michel Cloarec

    I think that P Poroshenko did managed quite well. The rebels have now a mini Donbas, which they helped to destroy, flood the mines etc….. The warlords start to fight against each other. It will be plenty mini republics with plenty små tzars who are going to kill each other. And then only for Ua to shuffle back the rest. Of course people will suffer, the one left in the involved cities. The peace agreement is for 3 years. So long time will it not take ! P Porenshenko could not declare war against Russia because that is what Putin wanted.

    • Murf

      “Lets not forget that Obama has said Ukraine is of no strategic interest to the US.”
      Yea Obama can only see risk. He never sees opportunity. If he had been in charge at various times he would have:
      Left britain hanging.
      Half of China would be part of the Japanese South East Asian Co-prosperity Sphere.
      Let West Berlin starve.
      Korea would be under the commies.
      Greece would have been taken over by the commies.
      Israel would have been over run in 73.
      The Iron curtain would still be up.
      The Soviets would still be in afghanistan.
      Kuwait would be Iraq’s 19th province.
      Bosnian muslims would be regulated to the history books.
      The Iraqi kurdish Region would be nearly depopulated.
      In almost every one of these cases the US had little or no “Strategic interest.”

      Now some of them are our closest allies and trading partners.

      But we would have missed out on Vietnam. So I guess in his mind every thing less is worth the loss.

      • Michel Cloarec

        2 people´s republics without people.

  • Rods

    That is a lot of words to justify what can be summed up in one word “Appeasement” and to justify shameful deeds. Now imagine if the US in 1940-41 had refused Britain’s request for military aid, so Hitler had invaded the UK in the summer of 1941. You are correct that there would probably have been less casualties than with Britain fighting on but Hitler would have won, so the dark cloak of Nazism would have covered most of western Europe.

    We totally understand why Russia is being appeased and indulged now to the detriment of freedom and justice for Ukraine. For the US it is a supply routes for the troops in Afghanistan, where Pakistan has stopped supplies through them due to US drone attacks and their join space programs including next generation rockets and the International Space Station. Lets not forget that Obama has said Ukraine is of no strategic interest to the US and this is because unlike Russia they are not a major exporter of oil and gas. For Europe especially German it is energy, oil, coal but most of all gas and also trade with Russia. To the politicians a Ukrainian life and personal freedom is not worth the loss of a cubic-metre of gas or a Euro’s loss of trade. This will mean as soon as Putin has fully achieved his goals in Ukraine so no further aggression is necessary, that western sanctions will disappear faster than autumn mist under a full blazing sun, so it is back to business as usual.

    The current career liberal-socialist left-wing politicians that are in power in most of the major western countries have no moral compass, vision or interests beyond what is an end in its own right, to be in power. The talk the talk when it comes to their socialist-style universal equality, human rights and what they call ‘fairness’, but this is just to attract votes, if they walked the walk and it was a belief then they would be concerned that all of these that have been extinguished in the areas the terrorists control in east Ukraine and how they are being diminished and in many instances lost in Russia and aall other areas in the world.

    The problem with appeasement is that it encourages the aggressor to become more aggressive and with each victory, more and more confident that they will win. Putin has no choice but to take this nationalist empire building route as he can only stay in power by expansion and using any opportunity and advantage that presents itself to do so. Where Putin talks about nuclear weapons, he has no choice but to use these to threaten and intimidate the west, to counter their superiority in conventional weapons, but much like playing fast and loose with Buks which led to the MH17 tragedy so a miscalculation will lead to WWIII and a nuclear exchange. I hope you are a survivor, so you can tell those around you how the shameful abandonment of the Budapest Agreement and Ukraine in their hour of need ‘to save casualties’, squares with the billions that will die as a result of nuclear war.

    • Murf

      “Lets not forget that Obama has said Ukraine is of no strategic interest to the US.”
      Yea Obama can only see risk. He never sees opportunity. If he had been in charge at various times he would have:
      Left britain hanging.
      Half of China would be part of the Japanese South East Asian Co-prosperity Sphere.
      Let West Berlin starve.
      Korea would be under the commies.
      Greece would have been taken over by the commies.
      Israel would have been over run in 73.
      The Iron curtain would still be up.
      The Soviets would still be in afghanistan.
      Kuwait would be Iraq’s 19th province.
      Bosnian muslims would be regulated to the history books.
      The Iraqi kurdish Region would be nearly depopulated.
      In almost every one of these cases the US had little or no “Strategic interest.”

      Now some of them are our closest allies and trading partners.

      But we would have missed out on Vietnam. So I guess in his mind every thing else is worth the loss.

      • Rods

        Good points, well said.

  • Kruton

    Build a modern military. Concentrate on air defense,targeted weapons,advanced infantry weapons I.e. anti-tank. Added bonus immediate GDP growth.How do you think U.S. GDP increased by 9 percent in the 80,s building planes and warships.

  • Vitalii Usenko

    US, Nato, EU refused to help Ukraine with hard armaments, precision
    weapon and military equipment. This could be factor which boosts
    development of the Ukrainian defense industry. Government orders shall
    be placed first of all to the Ukrainian defense enterprises. The
    successful further development of own defense industry will allow
    Ukraine be less dependent on whims and unreliable unpredictable military
    aid from US, Nato, EU.

    What arms and military equipment could Ukrainian army have fought? ICTV, Facts of the week, September 28, 2014 (Video in Ukrainian)

    Samples of arms and equipment were demonstrated at XI International Trade Fair “Arms and Security — 2014” and International Exhibition for Aviation and Space Industry “AviaWorld” held in Kyiv, Ukraine on September 24-27, 2014 http://www.iec-expo.com.ua/en/international-exhibition-for-aviation-industry-aviaworld.html

    Detailed information on what arms, precision weapon and military equipment produced in Ukraine can be found in the section “Products and Services” of Ukroboronprom – http://www.ukroboronprom.com/en/decision

    Link to video clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHNevVUQEOA&list=UUG26bSkEjJc7SqGsxoHNnbA