1) Clemens Wergin und Thorsten Jungholt, “Biden macht nun den Scholz in Sachen Ukraine,” Die Welt, den 19.September 2023 (07:56 Uhr);
2) Clemens Wergin und Thorsten Jungholt, “Biden is now taking over from Scholz when it comes to Ukraine,” Die Welt, September 19, 2023 (07:56 a.m.);
Clemens Wergin und Thorsten Jungholt report on the delays and hesitations in Washington and Berlin regarding the delivery by the U.S. of its ATACMS artillery rockets with a 300 km (180 mile) range and by Germany of its Taurus cruise missiles with a range of up to 500 km.
Their report highlights the major defects in U.S. and NATO strategy regarding the supply of weapons to Ukraine.
Scholz is now waiting for Biden to send the ATACMS artillery rockets to Ukraine before he authorizes supplying the Taurus cruise missiles to Kiev.
In effect, as they have been doing since the beginning of the war, Biden and Scholz are modulating their supply of weapons to Ukraine with Ukrainian lives.
Probably thousands of Ukrainian soldiers’ lives would have been saved if Biden and Scholz, and particularly Biden, had not been so dilatory and indecisive in supplying modern weapons systems to Ukraine.
The result of their delays has been to give the Russian forces months to build formidable defenses in the South which have greatly slowed the Ukrainian counter-offensive.
The same American arrogance and hubris which marked Biden’s decision to withdraw from Afghanistan marks his decisions regarding the supply of weapons to Ukraine.
The Americans think they know better than the Ukrainians what weapons they need and when they need them. The Ukrainians pay for these delays with the blood of their soldiers and that of their civilians who would not have been killed if the Ukrainians had been equipped to move at a faster pace. This they might have done, had the equipment arrived in time, following their huge advances in the Kharkiv and the Kherson theaters in the fall of 2022.
American arrogance, coupled with timidity and fear of Putin, have also led to Joe Biden insisting that Ukraine not be given weapons that can strike targets in Russia. This has been accompanied with such blatant distrust of the Ukrainians that weapons systems such as the HIMARS have been modified so that they cannot be used to attack targets in Russia. These restrictions also prevent them from being used to attack targets more deeply in the Crimea.
These decisions reflect one of Biden’s greatest strategic errors, which has been to insist that Western-supplied weapons not be used to attack targets in Russia.
Under international law and the U.N. Charter, Ukraine has every right to strike targets in Russia that are part of the Russian war of aggression against the country.
This right is the fundamental right of individual self-defense recognized and guaranteed by Article 51 of the U.N. Charter.
Such restrictions may have initially been adopted out of Biden’s fear of Vladimir Putin’s nuclear threats. But as each weapons system has been introduced, after great hesitation and delays, Putin’s nuclear threats have turned out to be bluffs.
Biden, in effect, has insisted that Ukraine fight a nuclear superpower with one hand tied behind its back, by being unable to attack targets from which missiles and drones are launched against its territory, or to attack supply lines which enable Russia to continue its war of aggression against Ukraine.
Biden needs to overcome his fears of Putin and Putin’s nuclear threats, and act to enable Ukraine to effectively defend and reclaim its territory, which Russia has seized through the illegal use of force.
Biden needs to get it clear in his mind that modulating U,S. and Western military aid to Ukraine with Ukrainian lives is not a viable strategy for winning the war.
There is not an inexhaustible supply of Ukrainian soldiers’ lives.
The Trenchant Observer
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