Timothy Snyder

Timothy Snyder

06-11-2022

14:15

I have been hearing the idea from some Republicans that Ukrainian resistance comes at a cost to Americans. Nothing could be more wrong. Ukrainian resistance provides extraordinary security benefits to Americans. 1/

In fact, Ukraine’s resistance to Russia’s genocidal invasion does more for American security than any American policy does – or could do. It has changed the global balance in a way that makes peace more likely in decades to come. 2/

Republicans present China as America’s real, long-term rival. Democrats agree. The scenario for a U.S.-China war is a Chinese invasion of Taiwan. By resisting a Russian invasion, Ukrainians have shown the difficulty of such operations, making this scenario less likely. 3/

By fighting in self-defense, Ukrainians have thus reduced the risk of a major war and of a nuclear war. This extraordinary achievement is due to the courage and skill of Ukrainians. They do not get much credit for it. They should get more credit, and more support. 4/

For decades, Republican and Democratic administrations alike have failed to formulate a policy that could prevent Russia from weakening and undoing the international order. Russia serves as a cat’s paw, doing what China would not wish to be seen doing. 5/

In defeating Russia’s armed forces and exposing Russia’s weakness, the Ukrainians have both made a larger war in Europe far less likely, and gotten China’s cat’s paw under control. 6/

The Ukrainians have reduced the possibility of Chinese aggression through Russia, and made direct Chinese aggression less likely. They have done all of this just by defending themselves, without making any move against China. 7/

Without the Ukrainians, the United States would lack the policy instruments for this. By resisting, Ukrainians created an opportunity for U.S. policy that would not otherwise have existed. 8/

No American lives have been placed at risk. U.S. assistance to Ukraine amounts to a rounding error in the defense budget. 9/

The gains Ukrainian resistance brings to American security are so enormous that the US national security establishment is embarrassed to speak of them directly. 10/

It is awkward to say that another country is doing so much for us. It is awkward to say that Ukrainian resistance has done more for the safety of Americans than any U.S. policy since the end of the cold war. But it is true and must be said. 11/

Reversing the U.S. policy of aiding Ukraine will undo all of these gains. There is still time to revive Russia and reassure China, which is what ending support of Ukraine will mean. Such a policy reversal would make Americans far less safe and secure. 12/

My concerns about the Russian invasion of Ukraine are the prevention of genocide and the defense of democracy. But those who think first of U.S. interests should acknowledge what Ukrainians are doing for American security. The least we can do is be on our own side 13/13


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