- - Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Will Russia’s illegal war against Ukraine end on terms that will promote the security of Europe and the integrity of Ukraine, or will the peace be illusory and portend future conflict and strife? Russia has already lost this war, but Ukraine has not yet won.

European security is not enhanced if festering wounds remain after the last shell is fired within Ukraine. A better future must be secured for Ukrainians, Russians and all people touched by this merciless conflict.

As with a surgeon operating without the aid of anesthesia, quick and decisive actions are essential to staunch the bleeding. These may be painful, but they are necessary.

The war in Ukraine has entered a new phase: Tactical withdrawal by Russian forces from areas around Kyiv and other cities must not be confused with Russia’s abandonment of its prewar aims. Moscow’s use of thermobaric explosives, whose destructive potential is second only to weapons of mass destruction, and hypersonic missiles, coupled with attacks near NATO’s border, make clear that this conflagration has the potential to expand beyond Ukraine — either by design or by inadvertence.  

NATO now faces perhaps its greatest test. To end this tragic war requires vision and increased aid so that Ukraine may overmatch Russia’s aggression.

America and the world’s free countries must supply Ukraine with the weapons and equipment it needs to win the war. Anything less will prolong needless suffering and destruction. Weapons are flowing, but innovation is required.

Though the provision of fighter aircraft has been deemed too escalatory by President Biden’s administration, it should be pursued. The provision of armored land vehicles may be met with more acceptance by Washington officials and should be emphasized immediately.

Such vehicles are available from stockpiles in our armed services’ boneyards or from streams of vehicles that are just now entering repositories or are scheduled to be placed there very soon. Joint Pentagon and Ukrainian teams must consider inventories of recently emplaced vehicles and those now in the queue to enter storage. Tanks, howitzers, wheeled combat vehicles and MRAPs, which are multipurpose and mine-resistant, should all be considered for immediate transfer.  

Another potential quantity of vehicles could possibly be sourced from local or state governments. Presently, many law enforcement departments plan to divest ex-military equipment and vehicles that they acquired from the services during the period of our drawdown from the Middle East. Machines so divested have no home. The obvious purpose for such vehicles is to transfer to Ukrainian forces.  

Americans must have skin in the game to maintain our nation’s focus over the long term. Three categories of militarily useful goods may be amassed and sent to Ukraine. They are advanced drones for reconnaissance or delivering humanitarian supplies or ordnance; quad bikes or small, four-wheeled, all-terrain vehicles, which can carry portable anti-tank and anti-air weapons; and rifles with combat utility, such as the AR-15. It is suggested that our government promulgate tax write-offs to incentivize such donations by American businesses and the public. 

American energy dominance is the sine qua non to securing European stability. Germany and other NATO countries have grown dependent on Russian hydrocarbons, particularly natural gas. This has occurred when Germany is needlessly decommissioning fossil fuel and nuclear power plants.  

Prewar suppositions that place the threat of climate change and the exaggerated fear of nuclear power above security are no longer tenable. The stakes are too perilous for reality to be viewed through a rippled mirror, contorted by unrealizable convictions.

America must take immediate and resolute steps to regain energy dominance. Only this can guarantee that Russia will not use its provision of fossil fuels and nuclear power plants as a wedge to create citadels, not only in Europe but around the world. Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 should be used to mandate that American energy needs be met entirely by North American sources.

In 1979, then-President Jimmy Carter embargoed oil from Iran using Section 232. President Ronald Reagan invoked this same authority to prohibit such importation from Libya. Mr. Biden should follow these precedents and declare that all present impediments to oil, natural gas and coal production be removed so that U.S. demand is fully met by North American supplies. Excess production above our needs should be prioritized and shipped to allies.

Switzerland has been put forward as a post-war model for Ukraine, for Switzerland is a heavily armed but neutral nation. If this example is chosen, its selection must be made by the present government and citizens of Ukraine without manipulative pressure.  

Neutrality is not necessarily synonymous with a lack of affiliation. Ukraine should be able to choose to be armed and neutral but still affiliate with the West. Further, Ukraine may only be expected to remain neutral if meaningful peace is established and maintained on terms acceptable to it.

Ukraine can serve as an irreplaceable bridge to Russia in the period after Russian President Vladimir Putin. It cannot do so if it is rendered a wasteland, for while Russia’s soldiers cannot successfully occupy Ukraine, Russia can continue to destroy it from the air.  

This indiscriminate bombing is a war crime that cannot go unanswered: Steps must be taken to guarantee these cruel acts are not perpetuated. Whatever path Ukraine selects, NATO must ensure that there is never again a land war in Europe.  

We must revere Ukraine’s citizen-soldiers as the Minutemen of our time. Their success secures liberty’s progress.  

• Ambassador Paula Dobriansky and Richard Levine served together on President Ronald Reagan’s National Security Council Staff. Later, Ms. Dobriansky served as the under secretary of state for global affairs. Mr. Levine served as the first deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for technology transfer and security assistance.

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