Should Biden deploy troops to Ukraine?
- On January 24, 2022, President Biden and European powers discussed Russia’s troops on Ukraine’s border in an 80-minute video call with “total unanimity with all the European leaders.” In response, the Pentagon put 8,500 US troops on “heightened alert” to deploy if needed.
- Although Russia denies invasion, it has approximately 100,00 troops near the Ukrainian border along with troops from Siberia and the Far East participating in drills on the border.
- Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014 on the basis of Russians and Ukrainians being “one people” and defending the historic parts of Ukraine as Russia. After a peace deal was reached in 2015, large battles were put to a stop, but “frequent skirmishes” continued.
- The US Army totals over 1.4 million active personnel as of 2021. In 2020, the US spent $2,166 per capita on military expenses; it is expected to reach $915 billion by 2031.
With Russia amassing more than 100,000 troops and heavy infantry at its border with Ukraine, the West, including the US, is considering what to do next. There are mounting fears that an invasion by Russians may come at any time. But should the US send troops to aid Ukraine: the answer is NO for the following reasons:
First of all, no one is sure if President Putin will start a major war with Ukraine, and even if there is a war, it may be limited. Without knowing the scale of the war, the US would have no idea how many troops to send. The US also does not possess a signed treaty with Ukraine that requires it to send troops in the threat of war. Sending troops to Ukraine is a big risk, as Russia may expand its aggressive efforts to other European nations, destabilizing the region and escalating the risk of a nuclear exchange. Likewise, sending troops to Ukraine can tie up the US military and resources for decades, not to mention the heavy loss of life. The US is also trying to focus on the Chinese threat simultaneously, and we should not forget the economic toll of the pandemic.
Instead of sending troops, the US could initiate severe sanctions against Russia if it invades Ukraine. And at the same time, provide Ukraine with a broad range of military assistance without ground troops. If there is a time for negotiations, this is it. Sending US troops is a temporary solution after the disastrous involvement in Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Libya, and Syria. So far, Russia has denied any military takeover, but in any case, sending troops may further escalate the situation and increase the odds of war.
With the relationship between the US and Russia being at its worst since 1985, it's not unbelievable that Russia could become an issue for the United States if tension and disagreements between Russia and Ukraine continue to rise. If the US deploys troops to Ukraine right now, it will send the message to Russia that we are keeping our eye on them and are willing to be defensive. Having US troops ready and on 'heightened alert' also means that more lives can be preserved, and further conflict can be avoided by not waiting for troops to mobilize.
The US isn't alone in preparing for a potential war. President Biden commented that there is 'total unanimity' among the European leaders in regards to having US troops at the ready, and the US wouldn't be doing something ill-advised by sending troops if that's what the situation comes to. Russia's attempt to destabilize and invade Ukraine, to retake the country that they still try to lay claim to, is wrong, and it's the reason Russia was removed from NATO in 2014—and yet Russia continues to try to reclaim Ukraine. Deploying US troops to fight for Ukraine sends the message that we agree with them, as other NATO allies do.
Nobody likes war. It costs money, time, and lives. Deploying troops may make Russia consider a diplomatic resolution rather than starting a war in which many other countries are not on their side—and a diplomatic and peaceful solution that spares lives is always the preferred solution.