Here--let us hold your jacket
Margaret O'Brien Steinfels April 24, 2014 - 10:52am
One of the curiosities and conundrums of the Ukraine situation is the heated rhetoric from the West along with the lack of interest in really doing anything, except by the U.S., which contributes the largest proportion of NATO's budget (80 percent) while European countries have reduced their military budgets.
Here is the Economist, foremost British opinion magazine, inviting us to take charge: "That is why the West needs to show Mr Putin that further action will be costly. So far, its rhetoric has marched far ahead of its willingness to act—only adding to the aura of weakness. Not enough is at stake in Ukraine to risk war with a nuclear-armed Russia. And European voters will not put up with gas shortages, so an embargo is not plausible. But the West has other cards to play. One is military. NATO should announce that it will hold exercises in central and eastern Europe, strengthen air and cyber defences there and immediately send some troops, missiles and aircraft to the Baltics and Poland. NATO members should pledge to increase military spending."
Going to war over Ukraine is in no one's interest. Yet, as long as the EU, including Britain, offers to hold our coat and stand back, diplomacy and sanctions, such as they are, will be ineffective.
About the Author
Margaret O'Brien Steinfels, a former editor of Commonweal, writes frequently in these pages and blogs at dotCommonweal.