Former President Barack Obama address the participants at a summit on climate change involving mayors from around the globe Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017, in Chicago. The conference comes after President Trump said the U.S. will pull out of the Paris agreement. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Democrats have been attacking President Donald Trump over freezing aid for a period of time to Ukraine, claiming that he was doing it to force Ukraine to begin investigations into Joe Biden’s son.
They’ve even falsely claimed that people died from the aid being frozen despite the fact that there was not ultimately a lag in aid being delivered.
In fact, it was the Trump administration that provided lethal aid necessary for the Ukrainians to defend themselves against the Russians, after the refusal of the Obama administration to provide the aid after Russia invaded Crimea in 2014. A “lag” for years, only remedied after Trump came in, when Trump provided the Javelin missiles that the Ukrainians had requested.
Many know that story now, that the Obama administration failed to truly help Ukraine when the Russians came in.
But the story that many don’t know or may have forgotten is how Barack Obama was involved in leaving Ukraine helpless, to begin with.
As the Daily Mail noted shortly after Russia invaded Crimea, it was Obama who was involved in using U.S. tax dollars to help Ukraine get rid of the very arms they could have used and desperately needed for defense.
As a U.S. senator, Barack Obama won $48 million in federal funding to help Ukraine destroy thousands of tons of guns and ammunition – weapons which are now unavailable to the Ukrainian army as it faces down Russian President Vladimir Putin during his invasion of Crimea.
In August 2005, just seven months after his swearing-in, Obama traveled to Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine with then-Indiana Republican Senator Dick Lugar, touring a conventional weapons site.
The two met in Kiev with President Victor Yushchenko, making the case that an existing Cooperative Threat Reduction Program covering the destruction of nuclear weapons should be expanded to include artillery, small arms, anti-aircraft weapons, and conventional ammunition of all kinds.
After a stopover in London, the senators returned to Washington and declared that the U.S. should devote funds to speed up the destruction of more than 400,000 small arms, 1,000 anti-aircraft missiles, and more than 15,000 tons of ammunition.
While some of those weapons were sent to the U.S., some were sent to Libya (and one has to wonder what happened with those!) Most were destroyed.
Obama claimed in a press release at the time that this would guarantee “the safety of the Ukrainian people and people around the world, by keeping them out of conflicts around the world.” How’d that work out for them?
National Review’s Andrew McCarthy wrote in 2014 that he believed that was why Obama was never able to cut the lethal aid weapons including the Javelins that Ukraine wanted, because it would have been an admission that what he had done in 2005 was a failure.
Meanwhile, the Daily Beast’s Eli Lake reports that among the defensive assets our government has denied Ukraine is “radar jamming and detection equipment necessary to evade and counter [Russian] anti-aircraft systems.” Last month, when it became clear that Moscow was providing the anti-aircraft systems to the Russia-backed rebels, Kiev asked this equipment. Last week, one of those systems was used to shoot down Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, killing 298 people.
It’s incredibly ironic and unfortunate that we now have to provide aid that Ukraine needs after we paid money to have them destroy weapons they could have used because of the efforts pushed by Barack Obama. And it was, once again, a failure by Barack Obama to correctly assess the danger from the Russians or to stand by the agreement to help Ukraine who we left defenseless. It’s hard to calculate how much damage and how many people died in the “lag” years before lethal aid was actually provided.
So Democrats, don’t you dare talk about Trump and a “lag” that didn’t even happen.