The current debate on the future of U.S. aid to Ukraine centers on what the cost has been to the American taxpayer. The struggle that Ukrainians are having with a Russian invasion is one in which we all must participate.
The nation of Russia has many neighbors, perhaps more than any other nation on Earth. For Russia to walk in with tanks and soldiers on one neighbor signals that the same action could be taken on any and all other neighbors.
Russia wants Ukraine for many reasons, principally its huge grain production and its strategic location on the Black Sea, affording the Russian navy with a warm water port. Nations like Finland, Latvia, Sweden and others felt this pressure immediately. Other nations such as Kazakhstan, home of the Russian spaceport, might be in the crosshairs next.
Strategically, Russia shares the important Bering Strait with its neighbor, Alaska. Wait, that’s us! The Bering Strait is one of the few openings to the Arctic Ocean, reputedly loaded with mining opportunities.
One land grab begets another, and Vladimir Putin seems to be the kind of person who would want to make the entire world a Russian empire. If he is successful in Ukraine, where will he turn next?
It seems to me that, to date, the aid given to Ukraine for its defense has been granted with no request for repayment. Perhaps that is because nobody knew if Ukraine could withstand Russian aggression for more than a few weeks.
But here we are with a year’s worth of Ukrainian bravery and success. I think we should offer further aid to Ukraine as loans. We do so with the understanding that they will succeed. We should loan the money for the purchase of tanks and planes and ammunition with generous repayment terms.
Much like getting a new car — you pick out the car and borrow the money to pay for it from the manufacturer. It’s no longer a handout or a “blank check” to a strong and proud nation. It’s a loan between partners for freedom.
Finally, a loan has the expectation and terms for repayment. It appears on the lender’s accounting as a receivable, an asset. European nations were quite proud when they completely repaid their World War II loans to the United States. Ukraine will be, too.
Ukraine must succeed, and we must do everything we can to help, in the best way possible.
One fine body…