Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405

Facebook: Digby Parton

@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)

thedigbyblog at gmail
satniteflix at gmail
publius.gaius at gmail
tpostsully at gmail
Spockosbrain at gmail
Richardein at me.com


Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic

Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018 April 2018 May 2018 June 2018 July 2018 August 2018 September 2018 October 2018 November 2018 December 2018 January 2019 February 2019 March 2019 April 2019 May 2019 June 2019 July 2019 August 2019 September 2019 October 2019 November 2019 December 2019


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?


Thursday, November 21, 2019

US requires Ukraine to keep Javelin missiles 100's of miles from battlefield 

by Spocko

Remember those additional javelin missiles that Ukrainian President Zelensky wanted? It turns out that the US requires they be kept 100's of miles from the battlefield.

Far From the Front Lines, Javelin Missiles Go Unused in Ukraine
"Under the conditions of the foreign military sale, the Trump administration stipulates that the Javelins must be stored in western Ukraine—hundreds of miles from the battlefield. "

“I see these more as symbolic weapons than anything else,” said Samuel Charap, a senior political scientist at Rand Corp. Experts say the conditions of the sale render them useless in the event of a sustained low-level assault—the kind of attack Ukraine is most likely to face from Russia."
 -- Foreign Policy, October 3rd, 2019  
A U.S. Marine fires a Javelin at a simulated enemy tank at Pohakuloa Training Area in Hawaii. (Photo: U.S. Marine Corps) From Raytheon Javelin Weapon System gallery
 So who wins with the sale of these missiles that aren't available to use? Raytheon and Lockheed Martin. Each missile costs $109,000 each.

When the discussion of military aide came up Sen. John McCain taunted Obama for giving the Ukrainians "blankets and meals," instead of lethal support. Trump picked up on that attack on Obama during his meeting with Zelensky
A reporter asked about military aid and Trump replied that “we’re working with Ukraine and we want other countries to work with Ukraine.”
"Well, we're working with Ukraine and we want other countries to work with Ukraine. When I say 'work,' I'm referring to money. They should put up more money. We put up a lot of money. I gave you anti-tank busters that — frankly, President Obama was sending you pillows and sheets, and I gave you anti-tank busters. And a lot of people didn’t want to do that. But I did it," Trump said.

"And I really hope that Russia, because I believe that President Putin would like to do something. I really hope that you and President Putin get together and can solve your problem. That would be a tremendous achievement. I know you’re trying to do that," he added.

Trump wanted to position Obama as weak. Offering the missiles made Trump look like a tough guy, even if they weren't an effective deterrent. From the Foreign Policy article:
But as part of the agreement of the sale, the Javelins are not deployed on the battlefield but stored hundreds of miles away in western Ukraine—far from the front lines of the Donbass, which could radically diminish their deterrent effect, said Mike Carpenter, who served as the deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia and Eurasia under Obama.

“If the Russians know that the Javelins are not there, the deterrent effect is negated,” said Carpenter, though he noted that the missiles could be transferred to the battlefield in the event of an attack. Michael Kofman, a weapons expert with CNA, described the Javelins as an “insurance policy”—but one with little impact in the balance of power on the conflict.

The decision in 2017 to go ahead with the sale under Trump is often held up as evidence that, despite the president’s puzzling affinity for Russia, his administration has pursued a hawkish Russia policy.

Shortly after the first batch of Javelins arrived in Ukraine in 2018, they were tested by the Ukrainian military in what then-President Petro Poroshenko described as a “dream come true.” The Ukrainian military has been trained on how to use the Javelins, but with no tank battles in eastern Ukraine since 2015, they haven’t yet had the chance to use them for real.
These last two paragraphs are important
“It became this sort of embodiment of U.S. support for Ukraine,” said Charap, who previously served as a senior advisor to the State Department’s undersecretary for arms control. “It’s much more headline-grabbing than helping them with their logistics, which by the way is a real problem.

“While generals and politicians in Kyiv played up the Javelins, in my own experience, soldiers in the field talked more about getting insufficient quantities of the nonlethal aid that they really needed—secure communications, armored vehicles, counterbattery radars,” said Olga Oliker, the director for Europe and Central Asia at the International Crisis Group.
Watching the hearings reminds people that Russia started this war and thousands have been killed and wounded.
"Some 13,000 people have been killed, a quarter of them civilians, and as many as 30,000 wounded in the war in eastern Ukraine since it broke out in April 2014.

UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) "estimates the total number of conflict-related casualties in Ukraine...at 40,000-43,000" from April 14, 2014 to January 31, 2019, the statement said, including "12,800-13,000 killed." (link)
There are many ways we can support Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression.  I'm glad someone in the military and/or state department understood they needed a way to let Trump look like a tough guy, but limit the possibility of upsetting Russia with active deployment of weapons that could lead to esclation.

 I'm not an expert, but this looks like a fairly clever move that solved three problems at once, so I assume that no one currently in the White House had anything to do with it.