Seth Moulton’s Symbolism

Congressman Seth Moulton (D, MA) had some thoughts on “saving Ukraine” in his Sunday WSJ op-ed. He began by announcing that our options are limited.

At this point, US options are limited. President Biden has already said he won’t send more troops.

Then he listed some things we could do, anyway, to show our support for Ukraine.

  • First, dramatically increase the speed of weapons procurement for Ukraine, and do so publicly. Washington must clearly articulate to the world how the weapons we provide will force Mr. Putin to incur substantial losses of Russian troops right away, not merely over time.
  • Second, organize effective sanctions. They must be targeted, powerful and widely agreed on in advance by NATO. … Mr Putin needs to know that he’ll have trouble buying a soda five minutes after he invades….
  • Third, clearly communicate the grave consequences of invading—not only to Mr. Putin, but to the Russian people.

All of those steps are necessary, but even in their aggregate, they’re insufficient. They’re especially so individually. We could—if the Progressive-Democratic Party, in control of Congress and the State and Defense Departments, were willing to stop slow-walking the supplies. But even if they were, it still would take weeks, at best, to get the weapons delivered in sufficient quantities, deployed, and the soldiers trained on them. Putin is ready to jump in days.

Effective sanctions? Certainly there is plenty of room to toughen them up, but consider: even if Putin were finding it hard to by a soda five minutes after invading—he’d still have Ukraine. There’s a real big so what factor in play here.

Clearly communicate the costs of invading…. On what basis does Moulton think either Putin or the Russian people would take anything Biden-Harris, or Blinken, or Austin—or Milley—have to say seriously? They’ve been weak and their words less than weak tea for the last eleven months.


Also necessary is making concrete those suggestions. Biden-Harris must correct his assurance to Putin that he won’t resist Putin’s coming invasion of Ukraine (or of the Baltics, if Putin’s moves opposite Ukraine prove to be misdirection).

Biden-Harris must redeploy American troops (beginning from out of Germany, which disdains NATO, anyway, and so won’t miss them beyond the GIs’ spending on the German economy) into southern and northern Poland—opposite Ukraine and Kaliningrad—and into Lithuania.

Biden-Harris must move naval forces into US air strike range of Kaliningrad.

Biden-Harris must begin joint air training and CAP exercises with Ukrainian and Lithuanian air forces in those nations’ airspaces.

Absent these, the Progressive-Democrat’s suggestions are nothing but symbolism.

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