The U.S. Should Arm Ukraine—But Not Because This War Is Winnable

In my latest with The New Republic, I lay out the case for increasing arms deliveries to Ukraine – and point to Putin’s Achilles Heel in this invasion:

As the Kremlin disavows the dead, it's impossible to know how many Russian troops have died during this invasion. The state has stonewalled and shunned families of the deceased. Unidentified goons bludgeoned and hospitalized inquisitive lawmakers. Authorities jailed a 73-year-old diabetic, leading Russia’s innocuous Committee of Soldiers' Mothers, simply for publicizing the deaths of those fighting on Russia’s behalf. Media immunity is no pass. When BBC journalists traveled to southern Russia to interview a family of one of the forgotten, three toughs smashed their camera, deleted their footage, and beat their cameraman. ...

The point of increasing arms to Ukraine is not, as Bloomberg’s editorial board claimed, to simply “escalat[e] a fight that it's almost certain to lose.” Nor is the aim to deter any form of immediate Russian retreat. The point, rather, is to inflict more casualties than the Russian government is willing to stomach. As noted in the Brookings report, “Only if the Kremlin knows that the risks and costs of further military action are high will it seek to find an acceptable political solution.” The Kremlin has already gone to inordinate lengths to keep this fight away from domestic scrutiny. Thus far, the Kremlin has proven capable of muddying its participation with the warlords of eastern Ukraine. But as bodies pile up, the Kremlin’s ruse will collapse.