We have only begun to reckon with the tumbling dominos falling our way. Everyone is very angry, and understandably so. But please, America, carefully consider the situation the Ukrainians are in. Americans’ overwhelming desire to help the Ukrainians is matched by their real inability to help them. That’s a very unwelcome reality, but it is the reality. Economic sanctions against Russia do not relieve Ukrainians of their plight, and they are going to prove incredibly costly to the United States. Military aid to Ukraine won’t affect the outcome of the first great phase of the war. A no-fly zone means World War III.
The United States has devoted all its thinking thus far to hurting the Russians. It needs to start thinking about solutions that will lessen the number of people killed in Ukraine. It also needs to start thinking about the terrifying economic fallout from its sanctions.
David C. Hendrickson is President of the John Quincy Adams Society and the author of Republic in Peril: American Empire and the Liberal Tradition (Oxford, 2018). His website is davidhendrickson.org.