Why shouldn’t the U.S. arm its friends in Ukraine? It all comes down to the strategy and the fact that diplomacy may be the best tool in the policy arsenal:
Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges conceded to reporters Tuesday that arming Ukraine could help its fragile pro-Western government on the battlefield, at least in the short term. But he said that wouldn’t be enough to fundamentally ensure that Ukraine doesn’t lose more territory to Russia in the wake of Moscow’s annexation of Crimea last year.
Instead, the general said Washington and its allies should use diplomatic means to protect Ukraine’s sovereignty, and ensure that the NATO alliance doesn’t splinter, while at the same time leaving Russia a path to eventually rejoining the international community.
“Providing weapons is not a strategy,” Hodges said. “There are great arguments for giving weapons to them to help raise the cost for the Russians. I think that is a valid argument. But saying that’s a valid argument is different from saying that this ought to be the policy.”