We Are Repeating History in Ukraine

The Wall Street Journal reports that the U.S. has declined to provide military aid to Ukraine. Judging from his testimony today before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Secretary of State John Kerry believes that any military response at all means “nuclear war.” So we’re going to leave Ukraine defenseless and alone.

I often quote George Orwell’s observation about Stalin–“that Stalin’s foreign policy, instead of being so diabolically clever as it is claimed to be, has been merely opportunistic and stupid.” Yet it is worth considering the passages that follow right after that one in the same essay, “Looking Back on the Spanish War” (1942):

But at any rate, the Spanish civil war demonstrated that the Nazis knew what they were doing and their opponents did not. The war was fought at a low technical level and its major strategy was very simple. That side which had arms would win. The Nazis and the Italians gave arms to the Spanish Fascist friends, and the western democracies and the Russians didn’t give arms to those who should have been their friends. So the Spanish Republic perished, having’ gained what no republic missed’. 

We are allowing Vladimir Putin to embark on a potentially catastrophic (for us, and for the world) path that might be deterred with even a small military commitment to defend the sovereignty of Ukraine with more than words. How many lives may be lost in the future for want of a few bullets today, time will only tell.