Republican Sen. Ron Johnson appeared on CNN's "State of the Union" yesterday, offering this mealy-mouthed advice:
This is hindsight, but when Prime Minister Yatsenyuk was here just asking for pretty reasonable request of some small arms and ammunition, as a sign, as a sign of strength and resolve to support for Ukrainians, now, unfortunately, we didn't provide that.
And, again, nobody can predict exactly what would have happened, but I think it's that type of weakness that has given Vladimir Putin the--the--certainly the signal that he can continue to do these things with impunity. We have got to change the calculus.
No one can say, it's all a huge guess, so I'm talking out of my ass here, conceded Johnson, but on the other hand the Obama administration's refusal of a small-arms package was the "type of weakness that has given Vladimir Putin the signal that he can continue to do these things with impunity."
Johnson, a former accountant, knows how to make two plus two come out to five. Footwork.
At any rate, I'm trying to imagine how shaken Vladimir Putin would be--with roughly a million troops backed by a $90 billion budget--upon learning that Ukrainians had been supplied by the U.S. with small arms--oh, and ammunition. Think Mongo: If you shoot him, you'll just make him mad.
Johnson is of course free to recklessly throw around terms like "weakness." He's a U.S. senator, so he has a license to practice spectacular wrongheadedness on national television. But in this situation, even Johnson should be able to see that it takes remarkable strength to refuse the Ukrainians, rather than to nonchalantly hand them weapons of their own mass destruction.