As we approach the first anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, and after the United States has provided massive military assistance to Ukraine, which seems to be draining American military reserves and leaving the United States more vulnerable militarily than at any time since World War II, it’s time to step back and ask some fundamental questions about what we’re doing in Ukraine.
Before involving the United States military in foreign conflicts, there are four criteria that must be examined.
The first is whether the national security of the United States is directly threatened.
In the case of the Cuban Missile Crisis, for example, the argument could be made that the national security of the United States would have been affected if the United States Navy had not begun a blockade of Cuba or taken further action as may have been necessary. However, in the case of Ukraine, no plausible argument can be made that United States national security is directly affected by the outcome of that war.
The second question is whether there is a strategic military treaty in place, such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, that requires military intervention by the United States.
For example, if Russia were to invade Poland or Britain, this treaty would be triggered and might justify a military response from the United States. Ukraine does not fall into this category.
The third question is whether military action is necessary to protect American lives. In 1983, President Reagan ordered the 82nd Airborne into Grenada to protect American medical students who were being threatened by an encroaching communist regime. United States Navy SEALs and Delta Force units have, in more recent years, become involved in clandestine operations designed to rescue Americans and protect American lives. But this is not the case in Ukraine. No American lives are in danger, except for Americans voluntarily traveling there and placing themselves in the line of fire.
The fourth question is whether military action is necessary to punish, retaliate against, or send a message to a foreign actor that harms Americans and directly harms American interests.
In 1986, President Reagan, for example, struck Libya, retaliating for Libyan agent involvement in the bombing of a Berlin nightclub. Ukraine does not fall into this category, as the Ukrainian government has taken no action against Americans.
Ukraine does not fall into any of the four litmus test categories that would justify United States military intervention. If any of these four factors are triggered, then American military action may be legitimately on the table. But even then, action must be authorized by Congress, except in certain life-or-death emergency situations where the President may need to take immediate action as Commander-in-Chief to save American lives. There is no automatic trigger for American military action.
Biden has, at least superficially, pledged no boots on the ground in Ukraine. On the other hand, the administration has offered over 196 billion dollars in military aid as we approach the first anniversary of the war and has provided so much weaponry to Ukraine that military analysts are worried that the United States is quickly depleting its military reserves. It has been estimated that if China were to strike Taiwan, the United States would be depleted of military equipment should it offer full assistance to Taiwan within a couple of weeks.
The four-prong litmus test set forth above does not justify this incredible level of military assistance to a foreign power.
In an interview on Fox and Friends on Monday morning, February 20th, host Brian Kilmead asked military analyst Rebekah Koffler what message it would send to China if the United States did not intervene by supplying weapons to Ukraine. The answer should be blunt: the United States is going to be depleted of weapons by spending so much on Ukraine that it won’t have anything left to deter a Chinese invasion of Taiwan. That is the clear message the situation sends.
In the last year alone, the United States has spent the entire gross domestic product of Ukraine on Ukraine, neglecting the protection of the American-Mexican border and ignoring the tons of deadly fentanyl crossing into the United States. The fact that a massive drug war has occurred in neighboring Mexico, where more than 40,000 Mexicans have been killed, almost 20 times the number of Americans killed in Afghanistan over a twenty-year period, has also been criminally neglected.
Late last year, FBI director Christopher Wray reported to a congressional subcommittee that not only are guns and gangs pouring across the Mexican border into America, but his agency recently intercepted a vehicle in Phoenix that had enough fentanyl within it to kill the entire state of Pennsylvania.
There’s only so much money to go around. And when it comes down to spending money on protecting Americans from death crossing our border or propping up Zelensky, this should be a no-brainer. Perhaps some limited military assistance for Ukraine is justified, but not in massive tsunami waves of weaponry that undermine the United States military’s readiness to fight and ability to defend our borders.
But instead of bankrolling billions on Ukraine, America must address the boiling cauldron right across our border that directly affects American national security. The Mexican border situation threatens American lives and has taken hundreds of thousands of lives already because of unrestrained drug trafficking. By contrast, not one American life is threatened by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
No, not one.
Everyone knows that Vladimir Putin is a bad man, but it’s not as if Mr. Zelensky is a democratic saint in the Jeffersonian mold, or that Ukraine hasn’t been one of the dirtiest regimes and the most corrupt governments on the face of the earth. Just before Christmas, Zelensky supported a bill to ban the Orthodox church in Ukraine, a notion repulsive to our Constitutional guarantee of freedom of religion. Propping up one dictatorial bully against another bully is no longer in the best interest of the United States.
It’s time to cut the cord with Ukraine and focus on problems that directly affect Americans.
Defend the U.S.-Mexican border.
American lives depend on it.