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President Obama’s National Security Council has announced the allocation of $5 million for Ukraine amid the ongoing armed conflict in the southeastern part of the country, money that’s going to go to the purchase of things like night vision and body armor. This gesture is similar to the announcement after Crimea’s annexation that several hundred U.S. troops would take part in maneuvers in Poland and the Baltic States.
If Ukraine uses the entire $5 million to buy top- of-the-line night vision goggles, its hard-pressed army could get exactly 556 pairs … to fight a Russian mercenary army that numbers in the thousands.
Perhaps the president kept the number small so as not to upset Vladimir Putin? Do we still need his help in finding solutions to Syria’s civil war and Iran’s nuclear weapon? Doesn’t Obama understand that the U.S. is already blamed in Russian propaganda for being behind the whole Ukraine mess? If we’re going to be vilified either way, why not give poor Ukraine some assistance worthy of the name?
It would be better for Obama to keep quiet than to offer Ukraine such a pittance. Five millions dollars is a rounding error for the Department of Defense. Just imagine the mortification Ukraine’s new president, Petro Poroshenko, must have felt standing alongside Obama in Warsaw today.
By the way, do not underestimate the chutzpah of President Obama. His house organ, the New York Times, has described Ukraine “as quieting down” (the internet version has been changed to “still unsettled”). The message: the emergency is over and everything is fine. The reality: the inexperienced Ukrainian army is facing battalion-sized opposition as it tries to control its border and seal off occupied cities.