Monday, July 24, 2023

Changing Places: Europeans Grow More Assertive on Ukraine as Washington Shows Caution; Why Do We Always Give the Russians a Warning?: Biden Should Try Sending New Weapons to Ukraine Without a Press Release

Photo: Beata Zawrzel/Zuma Press
Changing Places: Europeans Grow More Assertive on Ukraine as Washington Shows Caution:
NATO summit highlighted divisions over Ukraine’s future in the alliance and how far the West should go in supplying weapons
Last week’s NATO summit revealed a major realignment within the U.S.-led trans-Atlantic alliance.
European nations, once seen as less steadfast in their support for Kyiv and more vulnerable to Russian pressure, are determined to help Ukraine win an unambiguous victory. At the same time, the Biden administration, which orchestrated a unified Western response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion last year, is increasingly cautious—constrained by domestic politics and a fear of direct confrontation with Moscow.
In Europe, the once-gaping divisions between different capitals have narrowed sharply, as countries previously seen as soft on Russia, including France, Italy, Spain and to a lesser extent Germany, have all moved much closer to Ukraine’s fiercest supporters: Poland, the Baltic and the Nordic states.
“It took a while, but then it seeped through. Today a lot of leaders around Europe, including Germany, understand that they must help Ukraine defeat Putin if they want to defend their own security,” said Reinhard Bütikofer, a German member of the European Parliament. “They have well understood that Putin’s threat to Ukraine has significance far beyond Ukraine itself.”
The divergence between Washington and its European allies is increasingly evident on an array of issues, from Ukraine’s prospects of eventually joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, to the military capabilities that Kyiv needs for its current offensive aiming to reclaim occupied territory, to the desirability of any peace settlement with the Kremlin in the near term.
“Biden’s mantra is that the unity of the alliance is the high priority,” said Slawomir Dębski, director of the Polish Institute of International Affairs, a Warsaw think tank that advises Poland’s government. “The problem now is that it’s the Biden administration that is lagging behind Europe, and it’s the Biden administration that is creating trouble for the unity.”
Washington remains the biggest backer of Ukraine, and President Biden reiterated in Vilnius that America’s commitment won’t waver—warning that Putin is making a “bad bet” as he doubts the West’s staying power and unity.
Yet political winds are blowing in opposite directions on the two sides of the Atlantic. A sizable, and growing, minority of the U.S. Republican Party wants to end any support for Ukraine, and America’s role in the war is likely to become an issue in next year’s presidential election. A proposal to prohibit all security assistance to Ukraine garnered 70 Republican votes, or nearly one-third of all Republican House members, on Thursday.--->READ MORE HERE
Photo: Alexei Konovalov/Zuma Press
Why Do We Always Give the Russians a Warning?
Biden should try sending new weapons to Ukraine without a press release.
As a retired special-ops aviator, I can’t fathom why the U.S. announced in a press release that we are sending Ukraine cluster munitions (“Cluster Bombs for Ukraine,” Review & Outlook, July 10). Besides letting the Russians know, it gave the press a field day to write how “bad” these weapons are because they might injure civilians later on. (As opposed to the “OK” weapons the Russians use to deliberately target civilian infrastructure and displace millions.) I hope the Biden administration learns from this, and when we send the Army Tactical Missile System to Ukraine, the press and the Russians find out about it only when Russian command posts, supply depots and airfields thought to be safely out-of-range suddenly come under effective attack. --->READ MORE HERE
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