Give Ukraine the Arms It Needs

NYU SPS Center for Global Affairs
NYUSPSCGA
Published in
2 min readJan 5, 2023

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This op-ed was originally published in the New York Times Opinion Section on January 2, 2023.

To the Editor:

Re “U.S. Has Limits When It Comes to Ukraine Arms” (front page, Dec. 23):

There is perverse, self-defeating logic at the heart of the Biden administration’s argument for restraining the supply of offensive arms to Ukraine. U.S. officials reportedly believe that such weapons would give Vladimir Putin “an excuse to expand the war,” and that the current standoff in Ukraine reflects an implicit understanding that Mr. Putin will confine his crimes to Ukraine so long as the U.S. doesn’t enable Ukraine to launch attacks inside Russia.

We are, in effect, engineering a stalemate, which may satisfy our goal of diminishing Russian power, but over the longer term will destroy Ukraine. The policy rests partly on cynicism and partly on an exaggeration of the risks of providing Ukraine with more powerful weapons.

Mr. Putin doesn’t need us to give him an “excuse to expand the war.” He has shown himself quite adept at manufacturing excuses for his war of annihilation (Ukrainian Nazis, for example).

If he chooses to restrain himself from expanding the war into NATO territory, presumably to interdict weapons shipments, it is because he fears NATO’s response, not because he lacks a good excuse.

Michael F. Oppenheimer
Chester, Conn.
The writer is a professor at the Center for Global Affairs at New York University.

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NYUSPSCGA

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