The failure to appreciate Ukrainians’ determination to defend their land and freedom ferociously had major policy implications. Some analysts argued against providing Ukraine with military assistance because it “wouldn’t make any difference” in helping Ukraine fend off a Russian invasion. Too many people in the Biden administration initially bought into this capitulationist line of argument that the war would be over quickly and that American military aid wouldn’t make a difference.
Their unwillingness to provide massive military assistance to Ukraine in the lead-up to Putin’s invasion out of fear such a move would be seen as provocative in Moscow cost untold numbers of Ukrainian lives. They believed accurately that Putin was going to invade anyway and yet they somehow concluded that helping Ukraine prepare for such an invasion would provoke Putin into acting. That simply makes no sense.
Ukraine is the only country in the world to stage two popular, revolutionary movements within the span of a decade – 2004 with the Orange Revolution and 2013-14 with the Revolution of Dignity – in support of democracy, a Euro-Atlantic orientation, an end to corruption, and an escape from being under the Russian thumb.