Tags: ISIS/Islamic State | Russia | Ukraine | Christopher Hill | Ukraine | idea | arms

Ex-Amb. Hill: Arming Ukraine a 'Bad Idea Whose Time Has Come'

By    |   Friday, 13 February 2015 11:49 AM

Beefing up NATO as a military alliance and providing defensive weapons to Ukraine to ward off Russian aggression was a "bad idea whose time has come," said Christopher Hill, former ambassador to Iraq, Poland, Korea, and Macedonia.

Leaders of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany announced a peace deal on Thursday that included a cease-fire between Ukrainian and rebel fighters to begin on Sunday.

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Eastern Ukraine has been under continued threat by rebel troops following Russia's takeover of Crimea last March.

"I see it as kind of a bad idea whose time has come. I say a bad idea, because when you look at a military, it's a lot of different things besides new toys. It's training. It's organization. It's motivation. It's all kinds of things," Hill said Friday. "We have to start thinking in terms of some serious transfer of defensive weapons."

Connecticut Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy, who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, echoed the sentiment on "Morning Joe," but said "we have to wait to watch how this new peace agreement works out."

"We know with the last agreement that was signed in Minsk, Russia violated it within days," he said Friday. "I've supported putting some defensive weapons into Ukraine, not because we're going to be able to defeat the Russians. But because we need to up the costs for [Russian President Vladimir] Putin to make him really come to the table here and do something substantial in the long run."

Hill said economic issues made Europeans wary of sanctions against Russia, but maintained it was important to "get it on the issue of having a good military alliance in NATO."

"There's a lot of concern about sanctions, especially in Europe, where the Germans depend on energy. The Brits depend on finance. And the French depend on heavy industry. So, they don't want to see this kind of split with Russia," Hill said.

It was important for the U.S. to lead in the effort, because there was no one else to do it, Hill said.

"When you look around the world, there's really no one else who's kind of stepping up," Hill said. "It looks like we're kind of it. And, unless we're willing to sort of stop opinionating and stop, you know, worrying about these issues, which I don't see how we can, I think we're going to have to be engaged."

On the battle against the Islamic State (ISIS), Murphy said President Barack Obama's war authorization request to Congress was "a really difficult needle for the president to thread" in his attempt to bring together lawmakers who favor and oppose U.S. involvement in another battle in the Middle East.

"He's got, you know, [Arizona Republican Sen.] John McCain and [South Carolina Republican Sen.] Lindsey Graham on one side, who want absolutely no limitations on this authorization of military force," Murphy said. "And then he's got people like me on the other side, who think that we should send a signal to our allies in the region that there's a limit to what we're willing to do and what we think is smart to do."

Murphy stressed it was important for countries in the Gulf States to "step up" their involvement in the campaign again ISIS, and for the U.S. to "learn from those mistakes" of the Iraq War.

Hill said the U.S. had been successful in fighting ISIS in Iraq, and felt the problem that needed to be addressed was what would happen when the militant group was defeated in Syria.

"The future of Syria has to be recognized in its international borders. Is it going to have some kind of confederal structure to it?

"Instead, we just talk about, let's have a provisional government, provisional elections, provisional constitution," Hill said. "And, that's not a future. That's just a recipe for more violence."

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Beefing up NATO as a military alliance and providing defensive weapons to Ukraine to ward off Russian aggression was a bad idea whose time has come, said Christopher Hill, former ambassador to Iraq, Poland, Korea, and Macedonia.
Christopher Hill, Ukraine, idea, arms
Friday, 13 February 2015 11:49 AM
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