We all have a responsibility to act, and the United States must lead. I am sending my secretary of state, John Kerry, to Brussels to meet with his European counterparts. We will do everything we can to forge a common front on a package of economic, political and, yes, military assistance for Ukraine. Through neglect and deliberate policy, past Ukrainian governments have weakened the capacity of its armed forces to counter internal and external threats. Ukraine deserves the chance to defend itself, and the West has the responsibility to give it that chance. The United States stands ready to offer purely defensive weapons, and the secretary of state will urge our friends and allies to join us.
Events in Ukraine are part of a larger pattern: Around the world, threats to order and peace are intensifying. These unwelcome developments challenge us here at home. We are now on a path that will reduce defense expenditures to their smallest share of our national output in more than half a century, requiring deep cuts in our land, sea and air power. This path will not permit us to honor our commitments and protect our vital national interests. Nor will cutting our investments in basic research, technological development and education serve us well. We cannot be strong abroad if we are weak at home. Therefore, I am inviting the Republican and Democratic leaders of the Congress to the White House to seek ways of putting our budget on a better path.