Thursday, December 23, 2021

Who Wants a War with Russia?

With politicians in Washington seemingly itching for a war with Russia (not to mention China), a recent poll shows that Americans are far from backing any military action against Russia over its recent moves along the Russia/Ukraine border.


Let's start with some background on the potential conflict.  Here is a map provided by a Ukrainian defines official showing the location of Russian forces on the Russia/Ukraine border regions:


According to the Ukraine military, Russia has moved approximately 150,000 troops against its borders with Ukraine on the Crimean peninsula and the two breakaway regions of Donestk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine.


In a recent article on the RAND website, the authors, William Courtney and Peter Wilson, note that Russia has undertaken a significant military buildup near Ukraine's border and in Crimea.  The United States has provided Ukraine with to types of assistance:


1.) nonlethal assistance including satellite imagery and analysis, combat medical equipment and counter-artillery radar.  


2.) lethal assistance including Mark VI armed patrol boats and advanced man-portable Javelin anti-tank missiles


According to the authors, the United States is weighing whether it should be supplying Ukraine with Stinger anti-aircraft missiles which could be used to down surveillance drones as well as other airborne aircraft including helicopters.  Washington could also assist Ukraine by deploying truck-mounted Harpoon anti-ship missiles.  In addition, Washington could supply Iron Dome defences which would protect Ukraine from short-range Russian missiles.


As it stands now, Ukraine is not particularly highly ranked (25th out of 140 nations) when it comes to its overall military strength as shown on this graphic from Global Firepower:


...particularly when compared to Russia: it is pretty obvious that the Ukrainian military will need outside assistance if it hopes to protect its territory if an invasion does take place.


Now, let's look at a recent poll of Americans taken between December 9,2021 and December 13, 2021 taken by YouGov in conjunction with the Charles Koch Institute regarding their views on Washington electing to go to war with Russia over Ukraine and other general questions regarding Washington's spending on defense and its willingness to enter conflicts around the world.  


Here are five of the key questions noting that 51 percent of respondents voted for Biden and 47 percent voted for Trump in 2020.  Let's start by looking at a selection of the general background questions first:


Should the United States be more or less militarily engaged in conflicts around the world, or stay about the same?


More engaged - 10% 


About the same level of engagement - 32% 


Less engaged - 40% 


Don’t know - 18%


A very slim majority of Americans believe that Washington should be more involved militarily in global conflicts.page1image1900632176


The U.S. accounts for about 70 percent of defense spending by all NATO countries. Do you think European countries should generally spend more or less on defense?


More - 60% 


Less - 8% 


Don’t know - 31%


Which sentence do you agree with most?


The U.S. should prioritize domestic issues over foreign policy issues - 73% 


The U.S. should prioritize foreign policy issues over domestic issues - 7% 


Don’t know - 19%

Now, let's look at the key question:

If Ukraine is invaded again by Russia, do you favor or oppose the US going to war with Russia to protect Ukraine’s territorial integrity?


Strongly favor - 9% 


Somewhat favor - 18% 


Somewhat oppose - 20% 


Strongly oppose - 28% 


Don’t know - 24%


In total, only 27 percent favour going to war with Russia over Ukraine while 48 percent oppose the idea.


As you can see from this posting, Americans are definitely not interested in entering a war with Russia over Ukraine, believe that Washington should concentrate on domestic issues and are quite firm in their belief that European nations should be spending more on their own defense.  Most importantly, we all must keep in mind that the troops that Russia is sending to its border with Ukraine are still in Russian territory and as long as they remain on their side of the border region, it really is none of Washington's business.

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