Analysis & Opinions - The National Interest

What Americans Owe Ukraine

| Feb. 16, 2024

Imagine that two years ago—before Putin invaded Ukraine—someone had come to the US with a credible proposition to hobble Russia’s military threat to Europe for the decade ahead without the loss of a single American soldier. How much would Americans have been willing to invest in that initiative?

A quarter of our $800 billion dollar defense budget? A tithe a year for several years?

Imagine further that the proposal would also:
-Awaken our European NATO partners to the reality of bloody, largescale combat in the 21st century— motivating them to invest hundreds of billions of dollars in building their own defense capabilities?
-Persuade two of the most militarily capable European nations—Finland and Sweden—to join NATO and thus significantly enhance its deterrent strength.
-Deliver to Putin a huge strategic failure—by decisively defeating his attempt to capture Kyiv and essentially erase Ukraine from the map.
-Persuade the nation with the most important economy in Europe— Germany—to eliminate its dependence on Russia for cheap energy and begin building up its own military forces.
-Revitalize the transatlantic alliance in a sustained coordinated campaign to defeat Russian aggression by arming and funding Ukraine and weakening Russia by imposing the most comprehensive economic sanctions in history.

And if that were not enough, even arousing the individual who has the most sway with Putin, China’s Xi Jinping, to warn him both privately and publicly against any “threat or use of nuclear weapons”—thus strengthening the “nuclear taboo” that has emerged over the past 78 years since nuclear weapons were last used in war.

About This Analysis & Opinions

What Americans Owe Ukraine
For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Allison, Graham.“What Americans Owe Ukraine.” The National Interest, February 16, 2024.