Loading...
To the BYH still confused about why voter ID is discriminatory: here is one of many situations: you're 85, spouse and...

U.S. helps Ukraine defend itself

Ukraine Independence Day

Ukrainian soldiers marching along main Khreshchatyk Street during a military parade to celebrate Independence Day in Kiev, Ukraine. The Trump administration has approved a plan to provide lethal weapons to Ukraine, including Javelin anti-tank missiles.

Loading…

Friday, December 29, 2017

In the annals of President Donald Trump’s odd dealings with Russia’s Vladimir Putin, give Trump credit for making a straightforward decision to defy Putin by supplying arms to Ukraine.

The State Department says the U.S. will provide Ukraine with “enhanced defensive capabilities” to protect itself against Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine. What this means, according to news reports, is that the U.S. is finally prepared to help Ukraine’s military punch back in a murky conflict cooked up by Putin. American weapons going to Ukraine will include Javelin anti-tank missiles and sniper rifles.

You may be surprised to learn there still is a conflict in eastern Ukraine. Indeed there is, with reports of intensified shelling in recent days, though an ostensible cease-fire has been in place for more than two years. Violence there has killed more than 10,000 people since 2014 and driven 1.5 million people from their homes.

Putin is the scheming villain responsible for splintering Ukraine as part of his ambition to reassert Russian power. In 2014, he waltzed into Crimea (there is no better verb to describe his actions). Putin seized and annexed that vital region of Ukraine in the wake of Ukrainian political upheaval. He followed up by orchestrating the uprising in eastern Ukraine, intentionally destabilizing a country that had dreams of joining the European Union and NATO.

President Barack Obama imposed sanctions on Russia but did little else after Putin took the Crimean Peninsula in what was the first big European land grab since World War II. Obama decided that providing lethal weapons to Ukraine would accomplish little but antagonize Putin. Yet refusing to arm Ukraine had the opposite effect: It emboldened Putin. Obama’s hesitance is one reason why Russia-backed rebels control eastern Ukraine today.

Trump, who generally sees himself as an active defender of U.S. interests, has his own problems figuring out Putin. The president at times sounds strangely enamored with the Russian strongman. Certainly Trump’s not the first American leader to underestimate Putin, but he’s the first to sound admiring of a foreign aggressor whose government meddled in an American election.

U.S. officials have been signaling new support for providing Ukraine with arms. The point is not to encourage an escalation of fighting or draw Russia into direct confrontation with the United States but to make Russian interference in Ukraine more costly. “Defensive weapons are not provocative unless you are an aggressor and clearly Ukraine is not an aggressor since it is their own territory where the fighting is happening,” Defense Secretary James Mattis said in Kiev in August.

Javelin missiles are tank killers. The separatists possess Russian armored vehicles. Are Russian soldiers fighting alongside the separatists? The Russian government insists it is not directly involved, but it’s interesting to hear the concerned tone of Moscow’s reaction to America providing arms. “The American weapons can lead to more victims in the neighboring country, and we couldn’t stay indifferent to that,” Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said.

Will that Russian reaction translate into a more lethal conflict? Yes. But war in Ukraine is a reality, and a West that flinches from the prolonged Russian incursion will only please Putin.

The bottom line is that Putin’s meddling in the affairs of other states won’t stop unless he is challenged. Trump has done that. Ukraine’s ability to fight back against the separatists has been hampered by a lack of firepower. Now it will get some. Now Ukraine can punch back.

The Chicago Tribune

Loading…

Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

Editorials

June 17, 2018

About a year ago, state Republican leaders vowed to retaliate in response to a painful rebuff from the U.S. Supreme Court, which had just refused to review a lower court ruling striking down the Legislature’s 2013 discriminatory voter ID law.

“All North Carolinians can rest assured that…

June 16, 2018

Supporters of North Carolina’s Opportunity Scholarship Program say a new report by N.C. State University researchers shows that the state voucher program is helping students from low-income families.

That’s far more hype than fact.

What the study makes clear is there’s no way to…

June 15, 2018

Music is healing. Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas Senior High School put that theory on display Sunday night in New York with their stirring performance at the Tony Awards — beautifully.

The students, all from the school’s drama department, brought the house down singing the…

PARKLAND-MARCHES

June 14, 2018

The Singapore summit was, without question, a triumph for Kim Jong Un and his North Korean regime. A dictator who has ordered the murder of his own family members, and who oversees a gulag comparable to those of Hitler and Stalin, was able to parade on the global stage as a legitimate statesman,…

APTOPIX Trump Kim Summit-5

June 13, 2018

Kittens are intentionally poisoned with parasite-infested meat, studied and then burned alive — and it’s happening on your dime.

Rep. Walter B. Jones Jr. spoke out last week about a controversial U.S. Department of Agriculture research project and signed on to a bipartisan bill that…

Science Says Domesticated Cats

June 12, 2018

The party whose leader promised to drain the swamp is now in the business of protecting cesspools.

The N.C. Senate’s Agriculture Committee has approved a bill that would protect the cheap way of handling hog waste: pooling it up in storage lagoons and then spraying it on fields, where it can…

Hog Smells Lawsuits-6

June 11, 2018

Bloomberg View

In its alarming new report on America's fast-rising suicide rate, the Centers for Disease Control cites many pressures that might lead people to take their own lives: problems with relationships or work, substance abuse, money troubles, or housing insecurity. No doubt all such…

June 11, 2018

In a week when many of us observed the one-year anniversary of the arrival of “GenX” in our vocabulary, the General Assembly chose the most cynical possible response. Instead of passing legislation that will protect Cape Fear River Basin residents from the chemical threat, lawmakers…

N.C. Legislative Building

June 09, 2018

Here it is, the beginning of the 2018 hurricane season, and we still haven’t made a reckoning of the real damage that last year’s Hurricane Maria inflicted on Puerto Rico.

Thanks, however, to a Harvard University study we’re getting closer to one. Researchers determined that in…

Puerto Rico Hurricane Deaths-7

June 08, 2018

The low U.S. labor force participation rate has several causes, but a major one is the disincentive to work created by government programs. The Republican Party’s growth wing has spent years developing ideas to address these incentives against work and rising up the economic ladder, and the…

Congress Taxes-6
107 stories in Editorials. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 11
        Next Page»   Last Page»