Roland Paris appeared on the Sunday morning broadcast The West Block with Tom Clark to discuss the question on whether Western countries should send lethal weapons to help the Ukrainian government.
Paris noted that there were no good policy options for the West in Ukraine. The main problem with supplying lethal weapons, he said, is that it could prompt Russia to escalate even further, because Russia can “out-escalate” the Ukrainian military, even with Western weapons. The result, he added, “might be simply to have a larger conflict with more advanced weapons with more people being killed. And it’s not clear that that is actually going to produce a change in Vladimir Putin’s stance towards Ukraine.”
Paris also pointed out that sending lethal weapons to Ukraine could cause “a significant rift in the western alliance” between the United States, which is considering providing weapons, and European allies, most of which are opposed. “Putin’s bigger game,” Paris explained, is “to drive a wedge within the western alliance.”
He went on to say that Western countries should support the Ukrainian government financially and increase sanctions on Russia if Putin fails to abide by the current ceasefire. These sanctions are having an impact on the Russian economy and they could be made more “punishing.” In addition, Paris said that NATO should continue communicating to Russia that any similar “meddling” against a NATO member country would “provoke the strongest response from NATO,” which should use “all necessary means” to defend its members.
Watch the interview