Why Isn’t the US Army Moving to Occupy Western Ukraine?

West Ukraine and People's Democratic Ukraine?

The no-fly zone idea is totally insane. It means that Americans start shooting first and that war is therefore unavoidable. When you’re facing an opponent with as many fighters as Russia has you don’t wait for them to get in the air to engage, you try to destroy them on the ground which means sending missiles onto Russian airbases which means WW3.

Americans have this idea that you can use aircraft and have something that is less than a war, and it is only when you send ground troops in that things really become serious. But in this case, it’s actually the opposite. The air part is the more provocative part.

Next to the “no-fly zone”, the Polish idea of sending in NATO ground troops is actually slightly saner.

For example, the Russians are nowhere near the Carpathian mountains. NATO could theoretically move into Ukraine’s Carpathian region, dig into the mountain passes, and block off Ukraine to the west of the mountains without immediately triggering a Russian-American war.

If all went well, the US and vassals could then proceed to move into Galicia, and then again into Volhynia (and perhaps Budjak). They could conceivably tiptoe into occupying the entire Western quarter of Ukraine.

Kiev would be happy to invite them, it would serve to free up some Ukrainian troops for service elsewhere, and it would act as a guarantee that the Russians can not overrun at least this westernmost quarter of Ukraine. (And the imagery of Lviv welcoming the Americans with flowers would be just what they are suckers for.)

The US has already done a similar thing in Syria in blocking off Syrian-Russian forces from left-bank Euphrates and the area around al-Tanf. So this is not entirely unprecedented. The difference is that Ukraine is much more important to the Russians than Syria is. And that in Syria the Americans were there first so they regarded it as “theirs” and the Russians as the newbie interlopers.

Nonetheless, I think that at least for the next several months such a move is thankfully off the table for the following reasons:

1. Joe Biden was born in 1942 and was 15 when the USSR launched humanity’s first satellite into orbit. As someone who lived through the entire Cold War one thing he understands is that the one thing you don’t play around with a global thermonuclear war. Not even a little bit.

2. The American voter wouldn’t like it and the midterms are coming up. It’s one thing to virtue signal with calls for a “no-fly zone” when you don’t even know what that means (apparently it’s a button you press that makes Russians unable to fly), but mention “US boots on the ground” and “war in Ukraine” in the same sentence and the reaction might be very different.

3. It would play into Moscow’s (not necessarily incorrect) narrative that this is a Russian struggle as much against the US as against Kiev. It could move the Russian public to support the war to a greater degree where it was willing to bear greater sacrifices for it, and tolerate greater use of firepower in Ukraine.

4. The Americans don’t necessarily want to prevent the Russians from moving into the most nationalistic parts of Ukraine. The US has been salivating over the prospect of an “insurgency” in Russian-occupied Ukraine that ultimately causes a Russian collapse the same way that in their minds Afghanistan caused the collapse of the Soviet Union. It is doubtful they would want to prevent the Russians from moving into regions where this hypothetical insurgency could be expected to be strongest.

5. It’s a distraction from containing China. A lot of people in Washington don’t want the US to get too involved in the sideshow of thwarting Russia in Europe if only because it would take focus away from what they see as the primary contest that is going to decide the winner of the 21st century.

6. In the long run it would take an enormous number of troops. In the immediate, you can block off the Russians from parts of Ukraine with a light tripwire force. What would keep the Russians from overrunning them isn’t their strength but that they’re American. However in the long term if you want any kind of stability you would have to match the Russian numbers. So then you’re back to a divided and heavily militarized Germany situation, except now it’s in Ukraine. And every infantry division you have in Ukraine is one less missile brigade in the Pacific.

7. There is probably no way DC could get the entire NATO behind a foray into Ukraine. So it wouldn’t be a true NATO operation, but a coalition of the willing from within NATO. That means that if 10 or 20 years later some Russian-American scuffle arises in divided Ukraine the Europeans wouldn’t necessarily be on the hook for it. That’s the last thing the Imperial Capital wants.

Aside from this big picture stuff, there are also more immediate reasons why the US would nonetheless probably be crazy to do it:

1. Even if they can’t march into it, the Russians will keep shooting cruise missiles into western Ukraine, so how does the US react? Israel and to a lesser extent the US keep shooting missiles into Syria where the Russians are present and it’s messy.

2. What happens when the Ukrainians inevitably start using the US-occupied sector as a safe zone to launch raids from and conduct artillery attacks from?

3. The Americans wouldn’t want to move in without air cover of their own. They would bring anti-aircraft systems and fighters. So you’re in a situation where US and Russians are constantly illuminating each other with radars, but now it’s in the context of a hot war and with no deconfliction. Incidents, where a jumpy US pilot destroys a radar station or is shot down himself, are inevitable and there’s a high likelihood of the situation devolving into an air war exactly as if a “no-fly zone” had been declared over entire Ukraine.

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  2. GMC says

    No Nato in Ukraine – Nato is a terrorist organization just like Isis, al Qaeda, Azov/Rt. Sector, and all the other secret western terrorist proxy armies. You bombed the land until you had camp Bondsteel – what more do you want – more blood? Yes you do . Your Fired!

  3. Kointel Killah says

    They already occupied western Ukraine.

    It just depends on what map you use.

    Eastern Ukraine has been growing.

    New Capital of Natostan is Lvov.

    Lviv, in the Galician dialect.

    Let’s Go Galicia!

  4. ken says

    This assumes Ukraine is worth something to the West other than a Russian prod. Is it worth all the lives of those you send and the innocent citizens on the ground? Is it worth all the destruction? It is amazing how careless some folks are with OPL.

    Why so much concern about Ukraine now? The time to save it was before the West decided to overthrow its government. Afterwards the West didn’t have to arm the nazis and Ukrainians. The West could have stopped the killing of Russians in the Donbass. The West didn’t have to build those bio-labs. It could have agreed to the neutrality of Ukraine Russia politely asked for.

    Now after sufficient provocation and Russia decides to correct issues militarily, the West suddenly wants to save a piece of the Ukraine. The West could still easily save it by both the West and Ukraine agreeing to the terms set by Russia. But that would be losing face and maybe having to take responsibility for those bio-labs the West wanted to use to off Russians.

    No,,, for some reason the West wants to pit the useless Nato against Russia. Russia would take any incursion by Nato into any part of Ukraine as an act of war against Russia itself and would vehemently respond. And I doubt Russia would use the kid gloves approach it is using now.

    The Western lunatics have likely started WWIII by their stupidity. The nonsense could be stopped by prudently backing off but that will not happen due to all the crazies in the Western governments not to mention the anti-Russian hatred stoked by those same governments.

    If nukes fly it will be solely due to the insane West. And very possibly no one will be left to write the worlds obituary…

    All to save face.

    1. Tom says


    2. Eddy says

      Absoluetly SPOT ON, best post I have seen yet on this issue. Well done Ken.

  5. William White says

    Insanity! The Russians would set em all on fire the second they entered Ukraine. They were warned, Putin does not lie.

  6. nnn says

    Some idiots just do not want to go to hell alone,
    they want to take a cople of billion people with them

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