That’s the position of The Wall Street Journal‘s headline writer and of Andriy Yermak and Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who opined as much in their Thursday op-ed. They were actually serious, too. The position is, though, to use the technical term, a bunch of bull.
They demonstrate the foolishness of their position in their lede:
When Ukraine’s army is given the weapons it needs, it defeats Russia on the battlefield. That is the lesson the world learned as it watched Ukrainian forces quickly retake the Kharkiv region this month. Since the beginning of September, Ukrainian forces have liberated more than 2,300 square miles of territory in the south and east of the country.
They want to build on this success with an international “guarantee:” a Kyiv Security Compact between Ukraine and its partners. Then they muddle their position further by insisting (correctly so, here) that Ukraine should be given modern and effective air-defense and antimissile systems—in addition, I say, to much more heavy weapons of the type currently being supplied in dribs and drabs, and with the addition of tanks and other armor.
Ukraine has already been the victim of international guarantees. The Budapest Memoranda guaranteed Ukraine’s territorial integrity if they gave up the nuclear weapons then held by the nation following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Ukraine agreed. Not too long later, Russia occupied and partitioned away Crimea and seized and occupied a significant fraction of the Ukrainian portion of the Donbas.
The guarantors’ response? Bleatings, finger-waggings, and the empty promises of the Minsk Protocols. These were followed by the barbarian’s naked invasion of Ukraine and the atrocities inflicted on Ukrainian women, children, and men, both civilian and soldier; those atrocities continue apace today. The Minsk guarantors’ response here? Russia was one of those guarantors…. The others responded by slow-walking and actively withholding weapons from Ukraine as the barbarian’s pre-invasion build-up proceeded in Belorussia and across the border in Russia near Belgorod.
When the barbarian sent in its invasion, the West’s guarantors continued to slow-walk serious weapons transfers until only lately. These worthies still won’t transfer tanks and other armor, led by Germany, which government men insist that Ukrainians—Slavs all—are just too stupid to be able learn how to operate a German tank.
No. No empty, misleading, won’t-be-enforced guarantees.
What Ukraine needs are the weapons it needs, but the full suite of them according to Ukraine’s articulation, not the Know Betters of the timid West. The barbarian’s invasion must be utterly crushed and the barbarian forced to tear up its roads and railroads some considerable distance into Russia from the Ukrainian border, with the -road beds and the flatter terrain between sown with the aptly named Russian olive. The horde must not be left able to invade again.
Rasmussen, especially, should know better. He was NATO’s Secretary General from 2009 to 2014. So should Yermak, come to that; he’s the sitting head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, and he’s living through the outcome of the empty words of those prior “guarantees.”