Biden does not want to play into Putin’s hand, whose narrative is that Ukraine is the aggressor. Of course, Ukraine is vastly outnumbered in the battlefield, so this is plainly absurd. But, Putin’s narrative is that Ukraine with NATO is a threat to Russia. NATO is a defense organization and because Ukraine is not a member, is not obligated to come to Ukraine’s defense. When US and Russian forces are on the same battlefield, you have the real possibility of World War III. Similarly when NATO and Russian forces meet in combat in Ukraine, there is not stopping the potential escalation that will occur.
So, from the onset of hostilities, the US has tried to make this an Ukrainian war, arming Ukrainians to defend themselves with limited range arms beginning with the Obama administration, and then ramping up quickly during the Trump administration. Then on February 24, 2022, the Russian army with the cooperation of Belarus, made their initial tank assault from the Ukraine-Belarus border. (To first occupy the site of the abandon Chernobyl nuclear reactor, was a terrible error, as the ground is still radio-active in many parts).
The bellicose nature of Putin, his autocratic rule and his hostilities towards NATO did not go unnoticed. NATO expanded into Eastern Europe in 2004, with the admission of seven countries, under President George W. Bush. I believe this was the right decision, approved by all members of NATO as required.
Link: Wikipedia, Members of NATO
Sending fighter jets to Ukraine will be viewed by Russia as arming Ukraine with offensive weapons which could be used to attack Russia. I believe this is exactly what Ukraine wants to do, principally to knock out the Russian supply bases on the Russian-Ukraine border. So, there are some really scary escalation scenarios.
It maybe a surprise to many, to know that the F-16 is a single engine plane, with just one pilot, first produced in 1978. But of course, it has been modified many times, so they refer to it as the Fighting Falcon or F-16C. Military experts give it high praise against the Russian MiG-29 in dogfights. Experts also conclude that if the US provided F-16’s, it could be a real game changer in knocking out Russia’s superiority in the sky. It would not stop the constant missile attacks.
Link: MiG 29 verses F-16
Ukraine is not trained to fly F-16. And there will be all sorts of issues with maintaining the aircraft. For those who remember the Vietnam war, the escalation began with the US providing helicopters and pilots to South Vietnam. Then more US troops were needed to defend these bases which we built.
The US has supplied helicopters to Ukraine, and a very long list of military equipment and funding for their defense. Other countries, most notably the UK, Germany and France, have been constantly helping Ukraine, but it is really a worldwide effort. See link below:
Link: List of Military Aid to Ukraine
At the very end of this list, a summary of future US aid to Ukraine is provided. The number of countries is long, and honestly, I didn’t expect to see New Zealand, Taiwan or South Korea on the list of countries.
I have commented in prior blogs on the automated battlefield weaponry including the suicidal drone like the switchblades, javelins and the HIMAR missile launchers. Military equipment is not my forte, but there are plenty of websites which go into extensive details.
I believe some countries are helping Ukraine, but through other countries and doing it quietly, so not to get on the bad side of Putin. Then there is a lot of Russian arms left behind by retreating Russian (or mercenary) soldiers. So, Russians are being killed sometimes by their own weapons.
There’s a lot of politics, and misinformation around which is bound to get worse as we approach the 2024 elections. In general, there has been bipartisan support of military aid to Ukraine, with some exceptions some select members of Congress, who want either less money to be spent or approval for the F-16. A number of guests on conservative Fox News, have advocated less money to Ukraine and more to stop illegal immigration. My thinking is we should not short change foreign policy because spending more on domestic policy is more popular with voters.
Trump has bragged about the 250 million dollars of aid given to Ukraine in 2019, but leaves out the fact that he held up providing the aid, in an attempt to pressure President Zelensky to lie to his people and announce that Ukraine was investigating Hunter Biden for possible violation of the law regarding Burisma. In exchange, Trump would unfreeze aid to Ukraine. This was the basis for his first impeachment. It was clearly an abuse of presidential power and grounds for impeachment.
Trump also exaggerated how little aid Obama gave Ukraine. Trump’s claim that Obama gave the former president only “pillow and sheets” has been debunked.
CNN: Fact-checking Trump’s claim that Obama gave Ukraine ‘pillows and sheets’
Both of these links are from 2019. Going back in time and spreading disinformation does not help.
I guess there are enough real issues going forward, on whether more weapons will bring this war to an end, or broaden the conflict. The latest developments in regards to Moldova are scary. Hopefully, there are some countries in the background, helping to broker a ceasefire, as a first step to a Russian withdrawal.