COMMENTARY | The news that American forces are headed for Poland is surely welcome, evidence that someone in the administration is starting to take Russia’s rape of the Ukraine with something resembling seriousness.
Of course some questions remain. How many ground troops will there be and how long will they actually stay? The answer to both questions should be (a) a lot and (b) indefinitely.
It goes without saying that the administration needs to go further and, among other things, restart the East European missile defense system that it cancelled as an attempt to appease Putin. And this time it should specifically state that it is a means to defend against Russian aggression as well as against a strike from Iran.
In the meantime, thanks to the administration’s fecklessness, the Ukraine seems to be all but lost. The White House seems uninterested in doing things like shipping arms and providing training for the Ukrainian military, thus giving it a fighting chance to resist Russian aggression. Like Czechoslovakia in 1938 and South East Asia in 1975, the Ukraine has been sacrificed to the necessity by a weak, democratically elected leader to appease a tyrant.
Just to make the 1930s comparison complete, by the way, the Jewish community of the Ukrainian town of Donetsk are understandably up in arms about leaflets that were passed about demanding that all Jews register with the pro Russian authorities or else face deportation and confiscation of their property. There is no word as of yet whether they will be required to wear yellow stars on their clothing.
The main takeaway from all of this is that elections have consequences, many of them unforeseen. In 2012, when Mitt Romney warned us about Russia, Obama and many of his supporters laughed. No one is laughing now. One has the distinct impression that had Romney been elected, Putin would be behaving with just a little more circumspection. But it is too late now.