The case against providing lethal weapons to Ukraine has rested on a simple argument: If the United States provides arms to Kyiv, Moscow will escalate the war in eastern Ukraine. The Kremlin would up the ante with even more arms or intensify its military pressure on Ukraine, according to the Atlantic Council.
According to this logic, since escalation benefits no one except Russia, providing arms to Ukraine must be a bad idea, Alexander J. Motyl, a professor of political science at Rutgers University-Newark, specializing on Ukraine, Russia, and the former USSR, wrote in an article titled ”Arm Ukraine Now” published February 15, 2017.
According to the author, the logic of this argument was always suspect; it rested on the assumption that Moscow was responding to Ukrainian or Western initiatives in Crimea and Donbas. Accordingly, Ukraine threatened Russian interests by opting for democracy and the West — and poor Russia had no choice but to respond with violence. The West expanded NATO — and poor Russia had no choice but to invade Ukraine. That Ukraine`s Euromaidan Revolution was not directed against Russia and that Russia`s aggression turned Ukraine against it is conveniently ignored in this account. So, too, is the fact that NATO was moribund (until Putin`s war revived it) and never expressed a serious interest in Ukraine`s membership.
”The Kremlin escalates, not because it is reacting to Western or Ukrainian moves, but because it has its own imperialist agenda vis-a-vis Ukraine and the countries of its ”near abroad.” Ukrainian independence, like Belarusian or Baltic independence, is all the provocation Putin`s Russia needs,” the article says.
According to Motyl, ”arming Ukraine enhances its ability to defend itself, even if Russia escalates — precisely because we know that Russia will escalate regardless of whether Ukraine has Western weapons or not.”
Peace will come to eastern Ukraine only after Russia and its tyrannical president decide they want peace. But the chances of violence can be decreased if Ukraine has the wherewithal to defend itself against Russian violence, the author added.