To the editor: Professor Rajan Menon's skepticism of arming the Ukrainians is certainly at odds with the view of Secretary of Defense-designate Ashton Carter, who is "very much inclined" to provide arms to Ukraine. ("Want to arm Kiev? Better have a Plan B," Op-Ed, Feb. 4)
I am on Menon's side. Providing more arms in the helpless lethal standoff is like throwing more fuel on the fire.
It is a fanciful idea that Russian President Vladimir Putin would raise his hands and give up. On the contrary, the U.S. providing arms to Kiev would be a nice pretext for him for more open involvement, including providing the separatists with more arms.
More weapons, more war — who needs it?
The Ukrainian army is under the command of generals who act as if they are high-ranking police officers rather than military commanders. Otherwise, their troops would not suffer one defeat after another.
Under such circumstances, it is quite possible that the sophisticated arms provided to them will eventually fall into the hands of the separatists. Do we need to arm the separatists?
Vladimir Bogorad, Chatsworth
To the editor: Menon is exactly right. His conclusions are the result of thoughtful analysis, not wishful thinking.
Like it or not, Ukraine is in the Russian sphere of influence. It is not a North Atlantic Treaty Organization partner and not a country that we are treaty-bound to protect; it is not as vital an interest to us as it is to Russia.
Jumping into Ukraine would start a proxy war with Russia that we could never win without a full-fledged war. And who, even among our most dedicated hawks, would suggest that that is a good idea? Russia's heavy-handedness in the situation, if it were to take eastern Ukraine or even all of Ukraine militarily, would cost it economically and politically, but it would not change the world.
This is a war that we should not engage in.
Paul Moser III, Studio City