Lord, Have Mercy on Ukraine and Defeat the Russian Army
We should give the Ukrainians what they need to win, for their sake and ours.
Hello and happy Thursday.
On the day after Russia invaded Ukraine, I drafted but did not publish a somber op-ed. I was concerned it might be too rash, not knowing how events would unfold and wanting to avoid unnecessary pessimism. Four months later, it is cold comfort to have these words confirmed and I’ve included the essay below. Let me explain my motivations.
Ukraine is making a heroic stand. Its people, military, and government have blunted Moscow’s initial efforts to take over the country and they are constraining the most intense fighting to the nation's eastern Donbas region. Russia is subjected daily to personnel and material losses that were unimaginable in the run-up to the conflict, and the world is seeing just how hollow and ill-equipped Putin’s military really is.
Nevertheless, we are in a critical period when an entrenched Russian army is inflicting heavy losses on Ukraine, when support from several European governments is delayed and may never fully materialize, and when the economic and political costs of American support threaten to siphon public attention and political will. I am concerned these trends could lead to a catastrophic loss and so I’m hoping to steel our resolve and commitment by reminding us of just how high the deck is stacked against Ukraine, how valiantly it is fighting, and how critical American support is.
The United States has a clear and persistent interest in not allowing Vladimir Putin to succeed in invading his neighbors, destabilizing the European continent, and wantonly threatening nuclear war as a means of extracting concessions from the free world. If this is allowed, there is good reason to believe many European governments will become more accommodating to Russia—not less—and that the United States and a remnant of other democracies will once again need to contain Russian influence and adventurism to stave off a broader conflagration.