As Western leaders grapple with the consequences of a potential Russian victory in Ukraine, the risks of abandoning this embattled nation become increasingly evident. The failure to deliver promised aid, both from the U.S. ($60 billion) and the European Union (50 billion euros), is pushing Ukraine to the brink. Let’s delve into the hypothetical scenario of the West reneging on its commitments and the domino effect it might trigger.
Cascading Consequences of Aid Failure
The absence of the pledged financial support leaves Ukraine militarily vulnerable. Without adequate weapons and munitions, the Ukrainian military could eventually capitulate to Russia. The specter of Russia’s actions in occupied territories raises concerns of mass atrocities, with reports of “executions, castrations, rapes, torture, and abductions of children” already documented in Ukraine.
The Specter of Russian Occupation
Russian forces, often composed of ex-convicts and untrained soldiers, might inflict a brutal “victor’s justice” upon Ukraine, occupying its entire territory. While total annexation is not guaranteed, installing a puppet regime aligns with Putin’s strategic goals of achieving a “demilitarized,” “denazified,” and “neutral” Ukraine. Such a scenario could set the stage for Putin’s expansionist ambitions beyond Ukraine’s borders.
Poland: Next in Line?
Putin’s eyes might then turn to NATO countries, starting with Poland. The strategic targeting of Poland, a NATO and EU member with a pro-Western government, makes it a prime candidate for Russian aggression. Proxy armies, troops without insignia, or soldiers masquerading as Ukrainians could initiate a potential invasion, preserving deniability for Putin.
Article 5 and NATO’s Dilemma
While an invasion of a NATO member triggers Article 5 of the NATO Charter, the collective defense clause, doubts are cast on whether NATO would act decisively. Some commentators already question the sacrosanct nature of Article 5, hinting at a potential betrayal. The historical context of Poland being left unsupported in critical moments adds complexity to NATO’s potential response.
Averting Catastrophe: Delivering Promised Aid
The West stands at a critical juncture where abandoning Ukraine could set off a chain reaction with dire consequences. Recognizing the potential fallout, the U.S. and the EU must fulfill their aid pledges to Ukraine promptly. Failure to do so not only risks the sovereignty of Ukraine but also puts Eastern Europe on the precipice of geopolitical upheaval.
Conclusion: A Wake-Up Call for the West
The hypothetical scenario outlined here is not far-fetched, and its avoidance hinges on the fulfillment of Western promises to Ukraine. A commitment to supporting nations facing aggression is not just a matter of geopolitical strategy but a moral imperative. As Ukraine grapples with the looming threat, the West’s response will determine the course of events in a region where the specter of history looms large.