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Commentary -- Ukraine Support

From the Advocacy Committee


March 25, 2024


The United States Must Continue to Support Ukraine, A Commentary


Russia is and has been for decades a major adversary of the United States.  With no involvement from United States troops, the Ukrainian army is destroying Russia’s capabilities, both in terms of forces and armaments.  They are weakening a major adversary, and our supporting Ukraine in this effort should be a priority.


Russia’s attacks on Ukrainian civilians and civilian structures, including apartment complexes, schools, and churches, are in complete violation of the laws of war.  In addition to this killing and destruction, Russia has engaged in an orchestrated effort to take Ukrainian children from their parents and ship them to various parts of Russia.  This is part of Russia’s attempt to destroy Ukrainian culture and the country’s cohesiveness, and the action is devastatingly cruel.   

 

If we were to end our military support for Ukraine, we will not only signal to Vladimir Putin that he can continue his aggressive efforts but also let our other adversaries know that they can do what they want to our allies without interference from the United States.  This will be the message to Xi Jin Ping, Kim Jong-un, and various tyrants.


Our allies in both Europe and Eastern Europe are continuing to fund the Ukrainian war effort.  If we withdraw our support, we will create a rift between our country and them.  Keeping this alliance together is of tremendous importance in these turbulent times.  And, the United States promised Ukraine, that, in exchange for their giving up their nuclear weapons, we would defend their sovereignty.  


While the financial cost of supporting Ukraine is great, the monies we are spending are directly supporting our defense industry and tens of thousands of defense industry workers.  And, while the future is difficult to predict, if we do not stop Putin now, what will the expense of opposing him later be as he moves into other Eastern European countries, the Balkans, and perhaps the Scandinavian countries.  Finland’s border with Russian stretches for over seven hundred miles.


We have seized significant Russian funds, and while the details are foggy, we should be able to use these seized funds to support Ukraine.


Ukraine is known as the “breadbasket of the world.”  If Russia takes over Ukraine, Russia, as they have done in the past, will use their control of Ukrainian agriculture as a weapon.


The most basic American values are the importance of democracy, the condemnation of tyranny, and the support of individual freedoms.  To turn away from Ukraine is to turn our backs on the principles that have made this country great and made us an exemplar for other countries.  We must support these principles around the world, a world which is to a great degree lacking in these principles.


After the planned assassination of Alexi Navalny, Putin’s major opponent, one way in which we can show our strongest opposition to the assignation of political opponents is to continue to support Ukraine now.


While some question our support for Ukraine, that thinking reminds me of the oil filter advertisement that had a mechanic, holding a new oil filter, saying, “You can pay me now or you can pay me later.”  We can either fund the war effort in Ukraine now, or we may find ourselves funding a far more expensive effort later.

 

John J. Capowski

Professor of Law Emeritus

Widener University Commonwealth Law School

717 645 4158  

  

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