Arming Ukraine: What Are The Stakes?

New York Times, International, Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Obama Said to Resist Growing Pressure From All Sides to Arm Ukraine, by Peter Baker

WASHINGTON-As America intelligence agencies have detected new Russian tanks and artillery crossing the border into Ukraine in recent days, President Obama is coming under increasing pressure from both parties and more officials inside his own government to send arms to the country.  But he remains unconvinced that they would help…

The Obama administration has committed to sending Ukraine $118 million in nonlethal aid, like night-vision goggles and counter-mortar radar…The administration also expects to send $120 more million worth of aid in the next year, but not lethal aid Ukraine has sought like antitank weapons.

…Mr. Obama is adhering closely to European allies like Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, who has strongly opposed sending arms to Ukraine.  A senior administration official confirmed on Tuesday an Associated Press report that Mr. Obama told Mrs. Merkel when she visited Washington last month that he would hold off sending weaponry during negotiations for a cease-fire.  After that meeting, European, Russian, and Ukrainian leaders meeting in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, crafted a cease-fire…

Mr. McKeon said the administration was wrestling with the consequences of sending weapons to Ukraine.

‘Does this raise the ante? he asked. ‘And then what would Ukraine feel that the United States owes them in terms of additional assistance?  So it’s trying to see down the field to the second third and fourth move on this chessboard.  That’s part of the conversation.”

Up the ante is used in card games to raise the stakes of the game.  In terms of international games stakes, such as arms to Ukraine, it makes the game or the war more difficult.

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