Krauthammer: "Illogical" To Say Arming Ukraine Is A Provocation, It's To Deter Future Seizures


CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: Look, Crimea is lost. It's going to remain Russian now for another 200 years. That's the past. The question right now is what's Putin going to do with Eastern and Southern Ukraine where he has these troops on a hair trigger.

And Putin said something very interesting in his speech he made on Tuesday. He said the Bolsheviks -- an interesting locution for an ex-secret agent of the Bolsheviks -- may god judge them, transferred large parts of southern Russia into the Ukraine. And that wasn't about Crimea. The next sentence was about Crimea. What he is talking about is Odessa and Kharkov and Donetsk, the eastern and southern part, where the troops are poised. That's part of the recovery.

Now, he has to make a decision. It's not going to be as easy to take that because the population is more mixed than it is in Crimea. He's not going to get a hero's welcome. He will get some social unrest. So he has to calculate is it worth the unrest? It's not exactly Chechnya. It's not going to be like guerrilla war but it's not going to be a rollover like Crimea.

The point of American foreign policy is not to speculate about the motives, it's to add something on the scale that would deter him in calculating the costs and the benefits. And he's obviously not sure which way to go. You can do it by sending the Secretary of Defense tomorrow to Kiev to give them large numbers of weapons, and secondly to go to the Europeans and impose a banking embargo. They can't do any business with western banks if they crossed the frontier into Ukraine.

BRET BAIER, HOST: But, George, it seems that this president, this administration is adamant about not doing anything that could trigger any kind of military action.

GEORGE WILL: That's how you trigger military action is by relying on economic incentives. Nothing in modern history, it seems to me, demonstrates that dictators -- Mussolini, Hitler, the rest -- are economic creatures, calculating costs and benefits in terms of how their stock market is or how their portfolios are. These are atavistic, difficult people who are not simply calculating machines.

KRAUTHAMMER: But that's precisely why you supply the Ukrainians with weapons so that when Putin thinks of taking these parts of Ukraine, which are only partially Russian, the price will be very much higher than it was in Crimea.

BAIER: With the possibility the whole thing goes up and it becomes a big fight.

KRAUTHAMMER: You want to deter an invasion. If this happens, all bets are off and we really are in a difficult situation which could end up with a war in the Baltics, or a war with the Poles. You want to deter that and you don't want to say that it's a provocation if you give arms to the victim of aggression. That is illogical and ridiculous.

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