Send troops to Ukraine

Send troops to Ukraine

While it’s understandable that Americans are reluctant to commit our military to yet another foreign entanglement, we must nevertheless consider other options. Skeptics of intervention look to disastrous experiences in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan and take these as warnings to keep our distance, but it might be our historic involvement in Korea that presents the best case study for what could go right — and also for what could go horribly wrong if the United States fails to get involved in Ukraine.

We took it upon ourselves to engage in action in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan — no treaty or agreement forced our hand. But in the Ukraine–Russia conflict, we may very well have a legal obligation to take action. In order to induce Ukraine to give up its nuclear weapons following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, we pledged in the Budapest Memorandum to assist them should they face the kind of threat they are facing right now. There is genuine debate about the exact meaning of the memorandum as it relates to the current scenario, but at the very least, America’s inaction calls into question our credibility and our commitment to preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons. …

Korea offers a useful lesson: Following the cessation of active hostilities there, U.S. forces remained on the ground in Korea. Today, they still remain, as a bulwark against North Korean aggression. If all American forces had left, it is entirely possible that North Korea would have by now launched offensives against the South. Countering the North Korean threat has cost the United States relatively little. Yes, our bases in South Korea cost money, and yes, American military personnel have been wounded or killed while on duty on the Korean peninsula. But we must weigh these losses against the cost of American inaction prior to the start of the Korean War — and this is where our history in Korea is particularly relevant to the crisis in Ukraine. We hesitated in our response to Communist aggression in Korea. We hesitated, and the South was overrun. The lesson is this: It is much easier to neutralize a threat by strongly opposing it than it is to expel an entrenched enemy. Si vis pacem, para bellum.

Continue reading →


For your convenience, you may leave commments below using Disqus. If Disqus is not appearing for you, please disable AdBlock to leave a comment.