Russian troops are amassing on the Ukrainian border. Ukraine’s foreign minister warns that the chances for a war with Russia are “growing.” But still, the Obama administration has not provided weapons, ammunition, or any other kind of military aid to Ukraine despite that government’s request for such assistance, and won’t commit to providing it.
Why? In my view, the answer is that President Obama wants Ukraine to be as militarily weak as possible. That way, if Russia invades the eastern portion of that country, Ukraine will be less likely to offer meaningful resistance.
Obama does not want Ukraine to offer meaningful resistance because he doesn’t want bloodshed. Further Russian dismemberment of Ukraine would make Obama look bad, but it would not significantly increase the hit he has already taken as a result of Russia’s takeover of Crimea. That hit consists of embarrassment, nothing more.
But images of Russian troops mowing down Ukrainians would be much more than an embarrassment. If Obama’s haplessness is made manifest in such a graphic, compelling, and appalling way, his standing as a leader will not likely recover.
Occupation is one thing; dead bodies are another. That fruit of Obama’s Russian reset and his more general global retreat would probably be too bitter for the public easily to digest.
Thus, Obama’s interest lies with a supine Ukraine. And anyway, resisting foreign aggression is such a 19th century notion.