If you want someone to give you “X”, ask them for 10 “X”. When they say “No”, say “Oh, Ok. Well, could you maybe do “X” at least? Your chances of getting them to acquiesce to your request (which sounds quite reasonable in comparison to the original missive) goes up quite a bit.
Translation: If you want to borrow $20, ask for $100 first.
And the lesson wasn’t wasted; After failing to persuade the United States to take tougher action against Russia, Ukraine’s president used a different approach in a motivational address on Wednesday.
On Wednesday morning, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky delivered an impassioned virtual speech to the United States Congress.
It was, however, a shrewd speech.
It seems to be intended not to make Americans feel guilty for not doing more to help his country fend against Russia’s invasion, but rather to change the dynamics of the situation.
Zelensky has been pleading with past Western audiences to enforce a no-fly zone over his country in recent days. Any Russian plane that flies over Ukrainian territory would be shot down by US or NATO jets. President Joe Biden and European leaders have issued a joint statement.
However, in his speech to Congress, Zelensky tried a new tack. If a no-fly zone “is too much to ask,” he said, “we offer an alternative”—send Ukraine advanced anti-aircraft systems. “You know what kind of defense systems we need, S-300 and other similar systems,” he added.
These systems would improve the Ukrainians’ ability to shoot down Russian airplanes, which have been bombing civilian and military targets. His request is plausible: As long as Ukrainians are manning the systems, it wouldn’t cross any of Vladimir Putin’s red lines. Finally, the U.S. and other NATO nations are already about to do what he’s asking.
Hundreds of shoulder-fired Stinger anti-aircraft missiles have been deployed to Ukraine in the last week or two by the US and other nations. Stingers, on the other hand, are mostly used to shoot down helicoptersS-300s They’re radar-guided, have a stronger explosive device, and can fly at the same altitudes as Russia’s most advanced fighter jets.
I know there is a why-are-you-holding-back? group of hawks here in Washington, DC who will settle for nothing short of deploying the 2nd Cavalry Regiment to Lviv, but holy cow this is a serious, overt (!) military aid package that is going to end up killing a lot of Russians. https://t.co/YU0q9fFoCc
— Andrew Exum (@ExumAM) March 16, 2022
The missiles were developed by the Soviet Union in the 1980s and sold to roughly 20 countries, including three NATO members, over the years.—Bulgaria, Slovakia, and Greece—which could presumably turn some over to Ukraine.
Ukraine also purchased S-300s, indicating that at least some of its air defense crews are familiar with their operation.
A few hours after Zelensky’s address, Biden delivered his own, declaring that he would use his executive powers to offer Ukraine with an additional $800 million in military aid, bringing the total amount to $1 billion this week and almost $2 billion in recent months.
Biden said that the new arms deliveries would include 800 anti-aircraft weapons.
A White House fact sheet, All 800 missiles would be Stinger missiles, according to a press release issued shortly after the speech. However, in addition to the Stingers, which “the Ukrainians have been deploying to great effect,” the US “is assisting the Ukrainians in acquiring additional, longer-range systems on which Ukraine’s forces are already trained.”
NATO members are preparing to deliver to Ukraine several additional types of Soviet-made mobile surface-to-air missiles, which aren’t quite as advanced as S-300s but, unlike Stingers, are completely capable of shooting down high-flying planes.
9,000 anti-tank weapons, 100 drones, approximately 7,000 small arms (grenade launchers, rifles, machine guns, and pistols), and more than 20 million rounds of ammunition are among the $800 million worth of new US armaments.
This is in addition to the weaponry that the US has previously sent (a list that is made public for the first time in the White House fact sheet): 600 Stingers, 2,000 anti-tank weapons, five Mi-17 helicopters, three patrol boats, four counter-artillery and counter-drone radars, 600 small arms, and over one million rounds of ammunition.
Despite the fact that Zelensky did not mention it in his Congress speech, he has been asking Western countries to deliver Ukraine Soviet-made goods. MiG-29 fighter jets,which has the ability to fire down Russian planes from the air and drop precision-guided bombs on ground targets including Russian tank convoys and other vehicles.
Last week, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that Poland would provide Ukraine 29 MiG-29 fighter jets, but the Polish government quickly backtracked, promising to fly the planes to a NATO facility in Germany, where NATO officials would then transfer the fighters to Ukraine. The Pentagon rejected the suggestion, fearing that Putin would interpret it as meddling in the war and retaliate by attacking targets inside NATO countries, deepening the conflict.
The Pentagon turned down the proposal, believing that Putin would see it as interference in the war and react by bombing targets inside NATO countries, further complicating the struggle.
On Capitol Hill, pressure has been increasing on Biden to do more, and Zelensky’s speech, which Biden described as “convincing and significant,” will almost certainly add to that pressure. It was perfectly tailored to his target audience. In a Facebook speech earlier this month, The Ukrainian president slammed NATO countries for failing to impose a no-fly zone over his country, calling them “weak” and demanding them to consider “all those people who will
The Ukrainian president previously criticized NATO countries for failing to establish a no-fly zone over his country, calling them “weak” and pleading with them to think about “all those people who will die as a result of you.” On Wednesday, Zelensky was more reserved, probably because he had been briefed that shame and chastisement would not appeal to an American audience.
He expressed his gratitude to the US for “overwhelming support,” including “guns and ammunition, training, funds, and leadership in the free world.” On his own terms, he urged Americans to remember the horrors of Pearl Harbor and 9/11, and to reflect that Ukraine has been subjected to comparable disasters every day and night for the past three weeks.
So-called peace talks continue as well. In recent days, Zelensky has offered to drop his hopes for joining NATO, an aspiration that Putin had once cited as a reason for his invasion. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Wednesday that there was “hope for reaching a compromise.”
However, around the same time, in another long, rambling televised speech, Putin appeared unprepared for peace, reiterating his baseless allegations that “the pro-Nazi administration in Kyiv” is committing “genocide” in the Donbass and is planning an attack on Russia.
As Biden said in his speech, “This could be a long and difficult battle,” adding, “The American people will be steadfast in our support of the Ukrainian people. … We’re going to give Ukraine the arms to fight and defend themselves through all the difficult days ahead.”
The implicit message here—which he has sometimes said out loud, though he didn’t do so this time—is that the U.S. and NATO are not going to send troops or pilots into battle against Russia.
But they will supply the firepower to carry on this fight.