Despite President Trump’s efforts to establish friendlier relations with Russia, leaders in Washington have different ideas, and it may result in a change in the amount of leeway Trump gives to military leaders in the future.
Trump said early on that he was going to place the experts in the Pentagon in charge of how they perform the military actions that he authorizes. This has come largely from Trump’s respect for people who have proven competence in the jobs they perform, and an unwillingness to assume that authority is superior to expertise.
Now, Pentagon brass is pushing Trump’s ability to adhere to these principles by exacerbating tensions with Russia.
After recent House legislation set up new sanctions against Russia, Russian President Vladimir Putin reacted harshly. Now, it appears that our government — largely circumventing the wishes of Donald Trump and Americans — is involved in a kind of tit-for-tat with Russia that has a similar flavor to how Obama continuously antagonized the Kremlin during his final days in office.
The Wall Street Journal reported that what appears to be a dangerous new gambit by military leaders is an attempt to pressure Trump to prove that he did not collude with Russia by instantiating a conflict that he cannot avoid. Officials in the State Department and the Pentagon have initiated a plan to antagonize Vladimir Putin by offering weapons to the Ukraine, including anti-tank missiles. They are currently seeking approval from the White House.
Currently, relations between Moscow and Washington are as poor as they were during Obama’s most brazen assaults on Russia’s dignity. This places Trump in the position of either looking weak by not showing some muscle, or risk going to war.
The military officials pushing for the shipment of arms to Ukraine say the weapons are purely of a defensive character designed to deter Russia from forwarding any of its military aims in the region.
But the question these officials fail to answer is, ‘why now?”
Since the conflict in Crimea began, the United States has been operating in support of Russian-speaking insurgents in Kiev, but has limited its support to training and non-lethal aid.
Fortunately, the WSJ published the article that they did on the subject, and Trump has a veteran general to advise him who can be expected to be in the know on these events.
During this time, Pentagon spokeswoman, Lt. Col. Michelle L. Baldanza said, “The U.S. has not ruled out the option of providing lethal defensive weapons to Ukraine.” Defense Secretary James “Maddog” Mattis has expressed his approval for the plan.
In 2014, Barack Obama was considering supplying arms to Ukraine, but eventually chose not to do so. At the time, allied leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel provided night-vision goggles, short range radars, and other non-offensive military hardware to Kiev.
What this means today is, with Trump reportedly about to ratify Congressional sanctions against Russia, any additional tensions in Ukraine would only harm relations between the U.S. and Europe. British national Security Advisor, Mark Sedwell said, “It’s important we don’t inflame the situation. There has already been a lot of agitation from across the border in the east.”
But it may be too late to avoid an escalation as a powerful group of hawks in Washington has pushed U.S.-Russia tensions to the brink. There have already been a high number of cease-fire violations in the region during a time when peace negotiations have been flaccid. The top U.S. and NATO commander, General Curtis Scaparrotti said, “The Russians provide equipment, some of their most modern equipment, and they provide proxy forces with advisers.”
At the same time, NATO has continued to deploy troops to the Baltic region, eastern and central Europe. This, Russia has warned, is considered an act of aggression.
We should remember at this point that NATO was created in 1949 to be a community of nations committed to mounting a joint force to fight back against the growing communist powers in Russia at the time. Today, friendship between the U.S. and Russia would mean the end of a global arms market of historical proportions.
~ Conservative Zone