I pray by the time the next issue of this magazine is ready for publication that the subject matter of this article is only of historical interest. But I doubt it.
Russia’s Putin has the world, and especially the United States, in an unsolvable bind. If we assist Ukraine in defeating Russia’s invasion of its sovereign state by helping to implement a so-called no-fly zone, it will undoubtedly trigger a war between the US and Russia because it will be regarded by Russia as an Act of War.
On the other hand, if we do not engage in this necessary step to bring the invasion to its knees, the likelihood is that Russia will overtake Ukraine and be at the doorstep of Poland, which has welcomed millions of refugees from the battles in Ukraine. Russia has a mind-set that dictates that it must punish those that “attack” it, in this case Poland which has “sinned” by taking in refugees and acting as the springboard for sending needed munitions and supplies to the soldiers in Ukraine fighting to save their country and families. Its further excuse for being aggressive towards Poland would be that a Russian “territory,” namely Ukraine, at that point would have a NATO-member country on its doorstep, which Putin has said he cannot tolerate. If Poland is the subject of Russian hostilities, the NATO-member countries, including the US, would have to ban together to prevent that from happening.
So, the conundrum for the US is whether to risk war with Russia by helping to defeat its invasion of Ukraine or wait until that is a fait accompli and Russia picks up more territory as well as the largest nuclear generator in Europe. In that event, Russia might control not only the major energy source in Europe that many countries rely on but it will also control a majority of the oil production and, by the way, all the military supplies and munitions that the US and others will have abandoned in Ukraine when the invasion is successful and the foreigners leave Ukraine under Russian control. Much like the US left the Taliban in Afghanistan. To the victor goes the spoils, as the saying goes.
The only benefit to taking a back seat in Ukraine is the US would gain time to prepare for what might be an unavoidable conflict with Russia sometime in the future. There is much doubt whether our military feels it could engage Russia in a large-scale war today and would be delighted to have substantial preparation time. But in doing that, our enemy might have an opportunity to become significantly stronger and certainly emboldened.
Take your pick.