Will Obama and EU countries send lethal arms to help Kiev in Russian-Ukrainian war?



(1) Carsten Luther (Kommentar), “UKRAINE: Manchmal helfen nur Waffen; Militärisch ist der Krieg in der Ukraine nicht zu lösen. Und doch könnten gerade amerikanische Waffenlieferungen an Kiew die Diplomatie wieder stärken,” Die Zeit, 2. Februar 2015 (19:10 Uhr).

(2) David J. Kramer,”Six Ways to Help Ukraine Resist Russia’s Latest Invasion,” Wall Street Journal, February 1, 2015 (6:15 p.m. ET).

Barack Obama has been reported as “considering” whether to send “defensive” lethal arms to help Kiev in the Russian-Ukrainian war, in which the Ukraine is badly outgunned by the regular Russian troops inside the Ukraine.

At the same time, the irregulars and “separatists” they helped organize and alongside whom they are now fighting have just received new shipments of weapons and weapons systems from Russia, across the wide-open border between Russia and the Donbas.

Angela Merkel, under the sway of her pacifist SPD foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, has repeatedly stated she is against sending weapons to Kiev.

Until she fires Steinmeier, which she needs to do if she is ever going to be directly in charge of German foreign policy, this position is most unlikely to change.

As they did in Syria, Germany and other countries in the West proclaim that the conflict in the Ukraine cannot be solved by military means. Only a political settlement can lead to peace, they assert.

They ignore the fact that the conflict was caused by Russia invading the Ukraine, by military means, and that the obvious solution is for it to withdraw its military forces and comply with the terms of the Minsk Protocol which it signed on September 5, 2014. For starters.

Meanwhile, the most powerful army in Europe, that of the Russian Federation, continues its military aggression against the Ukraine, which has now cost over 5,400 lives in the Donbas alone since April.

As the West declares there can be no military solution to the conflict in the Ukraine, Vladimir Putin and Russia are shaping facts on the ground every day as they produce their own military solution to the conflict.

Look at the map of Europe and how it has changed since Putin launched his war of aggression against the Ukraine in February, 2014, beginning with the conquest and subsequent purported “annexation” of the Crimea.

In the U.S., Obama is always “considering” something, and the media take and repeat the narratives and explanations the White House feeds them. When Ben Rhodes, the president’s “strategic communications” chief is quoted in a news article, he is channeling Obama, and preparing the public for one more decision by Obama to do nothing.

Anyone who followed the endless press accounts of how Obama was “considering” sending arms to the rebels in Syria, or had “decided” to send arms to the rebels in Syria, all of which came to nothing, is familiar with Obama’s modus operandi of “considering” military options, and then doing nothing.

The one recent exception has been the use of air power against ISIS in Syria and Iraq.  This was the least amount of force required to avoid catastrophe.  To date, however, it has failed to reverse the ideological momentum of ISIS,  or to reduce the territory under their control.  At the moment, they are mounting a concerted attack on Kirkuk, in Iraq.

Doing nothing, or doing the least he possibly can to avoid immediate disaster, has been Obama’s pattern ever since he acceded, in 2009, to the demands of his military in ordering the “surge” in Afghanistan.

It is almost as if he has resolved never to follow their advice again.

He is, after all, the American prsident who, contrary to the advice of his military leaders, “ended” the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The bottom line: Don’t expect Obama to send any significant quantity of arms to Kiev, though he may speak as if he might in order to deflect pressures on him, now coming from a wide array of former national security officials and many others, to send “lethal” arms to Kiev in a quantity and in a manner which might actually  change the course of events.

The U.S. shipment of “lethal” arms to Kiev is not likely to happen, though it could.  In Europe and America, the pacifists and appeasers of Putin and Russia still appear to be firmly in control.

The Trenchant Observer

About the Author

James Rowles
"The Trenchant Observer" is edited and published by James Rowles (aka "The Observer"), an author and international lawyer who has taught International Law, Human Rights, and Comparative Law at major U.S. universities, including Harvard, Brandeis, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Kansas. Dr. Rowles is a former staff attorney at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the Organization of American States OAS), in Wasington, D.C., , where he was in charge of Brazil, Haiti, Mexico and the United States, and also worked on complaints from and reports on other countries including Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. As an international development expert, he has worked on Rule of Law, Human Rights, and Judicial Reform in a number of countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and the Russian Federation. In the private sector, Dr. Rowles has worked as an international attorney for a leading national law firm and major global companies, on joint ventures and other matters in a number of countries in Europe (including Russia and the Ukraine), throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, and in Australia, Indonesia, Vietnam, China and Japan. The Trenchant Observer blog provides an unfiltered international perspective for news and opinion on current events, in their historical context, drawing on a daily review of leading German, French, Spanish and English newspapers as well as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and other American newspapers, and on sources in other countries relevant to issues being analyzed. Dr. Rowles speaks fluent English, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish, and also knows other languages. He holds an S.J.D. or Doctor of Juridical Science in International Law from Harvard University, and a Doctor of Law (J.D.) and a Master of the Science of Law (J.S.M.=LL.M.), from Stanford University. As an undergraduate, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree, also from Stanford, where he graduated “With Great Distinction” (summa cum laude) and received the James Birdsall Weter Prize for the best Senior Honors Thesis in History. In addition to having taught as a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School, Dr. Rowles has been a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University's Center for International Affairs (CFIA). His fellowships include a Stanford Postdoctoral Fellowship in Law and Development, the Rómulo Gallegos Fellowship in International Human Rights awarded by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and a Harvard MacArthur Fellowship in International Peace and Security. Beyond his articles in The Trenchant Observer, he is the author of two books and numerous scholarly articles on subjects of international and comparative law. Currently he is working on a manuscript drawing on some the best articles that have appeared in the blog.