No White Knight for Ukraine
It is now almost three months of severe conflict since when Russia invaded Ukraine in late February. Frankly, the West is certainly not a white knight for Ukraine, notwithstanding that many western countries provided various forms of assistance. Nevertheless, absent the actual deployment of armed forces and a substantial involvement in military operations, all the aid provided to Ukraine by the United States and its western allies will only extend the duration of the fighting but is not necessarily a proper approach to end the conflict.
Whether or not the West’s true intention is to be a white knight that saves Ukraine remains to be seen. What we do see so far is western involvement in the conflict between Moscow and Kyiv is limited to selective engagement. There is no fundamental and decisive action to defuse the crisis, but only indirect schemes to weaken Russia and make Ukrainians the gun ashes of a prolonged armed conflict.
How does this conflict enlighten the many states which face relatively powerful and potential threats from a neighbor? What lessons will small nations learn from Ukraine’s experience once the cost of blood and other losses are calculated? The most important lesson perhaps should be that emerging threats must be defused before a conflict erupts. We must constantly face many black knights. There are various threats, either conventional or non-conventional, to our national security. We must constantly fund the cost to neutralize those black knights, either with regard to their capabilities or their intentions, before such black knights become determined to use force to harm us.
No white knight will save you. If someone does come to support you, a free lunch will not be served. The bill must always be paid in the future. You can only rely on yourself. The most stupid and worst error ever in strategic calculus is “too late.” Preventive measures implemented in advance are always better contingency plans than those deployed after a conflict occurs. The inability to foresee an emerging crisis that emanated from its diplomatic maneuvers while also betting its fate on illusive commitments from potential white knights was a suicidal choice that the Ukraine leadership still fails to understand until now.