The United States’ policy to supply Abrams tanks to Ukraine is the proper course of action to take. The fact we are months late in taking such a course of action is the concerning part. We can be proud of the commitment our country and other Western democracies have shown in the face of Russian aggression against a sovereign nation. At the same time, we must be mindful of the mushy ground that those like Congressman Mark Pocan planted their feet when dealing with this war, a move in 2022 that still deeply offends.
In 2022 Progressive House Democrats sent a letter to President Biden asking that he pair the military and financial support the United States has provided to Ukraine with a “proactive diplomatic push” that involves direct talks with Russia. It remains one of the most serious mistakes that the group made by playing into the efforts of Russian President Putin to lure some members from the Western alliance to make concessions. Since no one should make concessions to a nation that has committed war crimes goes without saying. But what was equally damaging was promoting a course of action that only would result in prolonging the war.
It was most troubling that Progressive Democrats signed the letter, with seemingly no awareness, that Putin has every intention to change the historical narrative of the last hundred years, not just the years following the end of the Cold War. He wants to make Ukraine, Europe, and indeed the whole world conform to his own twisted version of history. There can not be an inch of wiggle room when it comes to what Putin gains from this act of aggression. The letter was a sign of weakness and damaging to the long-term interests of the NATO alliance. But, hey, there was probably a quick and fleeting political upside that more concerned the signators.
I like peace, compromise, and diplomacy, but first, the aggressors that blasted homes, schools, and hospitals must be removed from Ukraine. No one starts negotiating the wishes of the madman when he still holds a dagger to the throat of the victim. Therefore, the news that we will supply 31 M1 Abrams tanks, the equivalent of one Ukrainian tank battalion, is a solid move and worthy of praise. But the reluctance for months to make the move is concerning and warrants attention. While it seems Germany may have been the force to push the Biden White House to make the shift in policy, it must not be seen as the last move our nation will be required to take with heavy armaments as this war progresses. The process of consideration and study within the White House requires some modification so as to meet the real-time needs of the Ukrainian soldiers who are doing the work on the battlefield.
Not only are the tanks a solid and lethal way to address Putin’s military, but it sends a clear and unmistakable statement the West will not relent or bend the way of Congressman Pocan. Talking can only occur with a real reduction in attacks by Russia and a removal of their troops from the soil of Ukraine.
Putin has been delusional in his views about a reconstructed Soviet type-era of countries for a long time. He has often talked of Russia having been “robbed” of territory going back to the 1920s when the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic was established. In his mind, one that is consumed with paranoia and visions of grandeur, Ukraine can only be sovereign in partnership with the homeland, Russia. To that fallacy, the West says, NO. The M1 Abrams tanks will go far in alerting the autocrat to the limits of his delusions.