There is an argument to be made for US not to arm Ukraine and its neo-Nazi battalions. But seeing US has facilitated arms supplies to violent Islamist jihadists (Bosnia, Libya, Syria) it's an argument Washington is not going to heed
This article originally appeared at Lew Rockwell
If the U.S. government is so foolish as to send so-called “lethal aid” to Ukraine, an act that Putin regards as an act of war that calls for countermeasures, what sort of government will the U.S. be supporting? What military escalations will occur? What sort of political situation will the U.S. be entering? What sort of extended warfare against eastern Ukraine will the U.S. be supporting? How many more killed, wounded and displaced will government bombardments of civilian populations produce? What sort of long-term entanglements with Ukraine will result? What sort of financial obligations will such support entail for this essentially bankrupt and heavily-mortgaged nation? The prognosis in answer to any one of these questions is terrible, but this engagement is what the neocons want in their insane quest for global hegemony.
Ukraine government and fighting forces both are larded with strong neo-nazi elements. I call attention to only one of the aspects of the Ukraine that the U.S. is supporting and may increase its support of. See this article by Roger Annis. He writes
“Across Ukraine today, free expression is severely curtained. The extreme right conducts vigilante attacks against public expressions of concern about the war or the disastrous state of Ukraine’s economy and national finances. The rightists are at the forefront of advocating draconian laws and pushing them through the Rada. Newspaper and television stations have already been closed or attacked. New laws would allow the government to control internet publishing and monitor electronic communication more closely. A law currently before the Rada would authorize lengthy jailing of those protesting the government’s war in the east or its economic policies. Several prominent journalists have been jailed in Ukraine, even before the adoption of any new laws.”
What he says is backed up by a report today:
“A bill submitted by an MP from President Poroshenko’s party in the Ukrainian parliament seeks to criminalize public speech that reject the government’s narrative on the civil war, which it describes as a Russian military invasion.
“The controversial bill amends the Ukrainian criminal code to make ‘public denial or justification of the Russian military aggression against Ukraine in 2014-2015′ a felony.
“The ‘crime’ would carry a penalty ranging from a heavy fine and up to a five-year jail term for repeat offences or convicts who held public office.”
If the U.S. provides lethal aid, it may attempt to control who gets it. It may attempt to prevent the arms from going to the volunteer battalions that are more right-wing. This vetting process is comparable to the CIA’s vetting of personnel and weapons in Syria, which proved to be entirely unsuccessful. Its result was to supply ISIS with both new members and new weaponry. Because the government in Ukraine contains neo-nazis and because these right-wing volunteer units are both organized for political control and combat-hardened, the U.S. cannot control where the weapons end up that it may supply to Ukraine. This kind of filtering of weapons flow places an impossible burden on Poroshenko’s government, which has to accommodate pressures from the right. He will be the man in the middle and have to give in to the right, if he is to survive. If he leaves and his government falls, the U.S. will be (and already is) looking for new leaders, as was the case in South Vietnam time after time. For the U.S. to vet the right-wingers, it would have to become far more involved directly in the Ukraine government than it already is. Ukraine will become a tar-pit, like Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.
An attempt is being made in the U.S. by its fanatical right-wingers and neocon democrats to spin the introduction of enhanced weaponry into Ukraine and the current military training already approved and ongoing as “defensive”. The false picture being painted is of a Russian aggression against Ukraine, a poor and beleaguered nation. There has been and is no Russian aggression. Such a move might eventually be provoked if the U.S. raises the stakes high enough, but it has not occurred at this time. The opposite is the case. Kiev has attacked secessionists or separatists in the eastern region of Ukraine.
If a Kiev newly-trained and armed by the U.S. during the current cease-fire respite goes again on the offensive in the east, one can expect the separatists to fight back, perhaps advancing on Mariupol. Obama and other western leaders have already signaled that such a move is close to a “red line”. By arming Kiev more fully and training its forces, the U.S. may itself cause its own red line to be violated. It may cause the cease-fire to be shattered. Since the U.S. already was on Poroshenko’s side in the first two offensives against the east and since it has already announced that it wants Ukraine to regain the east and Crimea, there is a good chance that it will support another attempt by Kiev to settle Ukraine’s future by force. If this happens, the war will widen further. Russia will add to its support of the separatists.
These kinds of scenarios are what make U.S. intervention in Ukraine so foolish, so dangerous and so harmful to both east and west Ukraine and its peoples. The U.S. should definitely not ramp up the quality or quantity of military aid to Ukraine.