Now That the West Has Promised Tanks, Ukraine Dusts Off F-16 Request


One of my favorite children’s books is Laura Numeroff’s ‘If you give a Mouse a Cookie.’ In it, you learn that if you give in to the requests of a mouse, they will continue to ask for more and more, and once you give the cookie, they will want a glass of milk. 

Apparently, no one at the Pentagon has read this work of literary wonder, or perhaps they don’t care about its underlying message. Rather predictably, now that President Biden has promised to deliver tanks to Ukraine, they are asking for a game-changing glass of milk – fighter jets. 

Will the west deliver on fighter jets, and will it escalate this war from a proxy cold war into a real-time hot conflict? The answer, I fear, is a complicated and equally predictable yes. 

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Whispers

As usual, the leaks from the Pentagon are steady, albeit unnamed. It’s always “people with knowledge of” conversations that like to whisper in the ears of mainstream media to lay the eggs of hypotheticals to either take the pulse of the American people or kick-start an initiative that has stalled. 

According to Politico, “three people with knowledge of the discussions” claim that a “contingent of military officials” is trying to push the Pentagon to send F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine. Officially the Pentagon and White House have claimed that there is no decision or plans to send F-16s, but the signs are there if you look close enough.

Defense contractor juggernaut Lockheed Martin is poised for the decision. COO Frank St. John confirmed that there are “a lot of conversation about third party transfer of F-16s.”

What does that mean? Other countries that have American F-16s could provide them to Ukraine. At the same time, we resupply the third-party country — for instance, a country like Norway could transfer the F-16s we gave them to Ukraine.

Mr. St. John explained that Lockheed Martin is “going to be ramping productions on F-16s in Greenville (South Carolina) to get to the place where we will be able to backfill pretty capably any countries that choose to do third-party transfers to help with the current conflict.”

That’s a pretty clear indicator that F-16s will head to Ukraine in one shape or another; so much for not escalating the conflict.

It’s Fine, This is Fine

It never ceases to amaze me the arrogance our officials exhibit and the continued underestimation of our adversaries. For example, an unnamed DOD official boldly stated when asked if sending F-16s would lead to escalation of the conflict, which at this point is more between the United States and Russia with Ukraine acting as our proxy.

“Let’s face it, a nuclear war isn’t going to happen over F-16s,” says the mysterious source.

Besides the fact that escalation doesn’t just have to entail nuclear war, the hubris of this individual is astounding. Let’s hope this isn’t the same guy who advised General Mark Milley that Ukraine would fall within 72 hours last year.

There is broad approval in Congress to send Ukraine F-16s to include the new war hawks of D.C., Democrats.

“You can’t half-ass a war,” explainsed Democratic Congressman Mike Quigley.

Interesting, because that’s essentially what we did for 20 years in Afghanistan, but I digress. He went on to state regarding providing aid to Ukraine that we would need to give them “Whatever works, whatever they need, send to them.”

More than likely, that will happen since it’s been the case this last year. In fact, the Netherlands has signaled that they are open to transferring their F-16s to Ukraine if asked. 

RELATED: Trump Slams Biden’s Escalation, Sending Tanks to Ukraine: Warns Next ‘Come the Nukes’

A Well-Oiled War Machine

When the news broke that President Biden had agreed to send tanks to Ukraine to grease the wheels on Germany sending their tanks, the narrative seemed that this would be a game changer for Ukraine and was pulling the United States deeper into this war. However, the truth is a bit more complicated.

“We just don’t have these tanks available in excess in our US stocks,” Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh explained. “Which is why it is going to take months to transfer these M1A2 Abrams to Ukraine.” 

How many months? Some estimations put it at a year. Talk about a protracted war.

Isn’t that kind of the point though? We promise tanks that we can’t actually provide for another year, allowing the war to maintain its slow simmer while spending more and more money on defense capabilities feeding that military-industrial complex. 

Lockheed Martin has raked in $950 million in missile orders. Raytheon Technologies has been awarded $2 billion in missile system contracts thanks to this conflict. War continues to be good business.

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Sound familiar?

You have to give some credit to the Ukrainian government though. They’ve proven their acuity on the international stage. Ukrainian adviser Mykhailo Podolyak illustrated that some of their western partners maintain a “conservative” attitude toward sending advanced weaponry.

This attitude is due to, as he put it, a “fear of changes in the international architecture.”

He stated that Ukraine needs to “work with this” when negotiating for more aid. After the approval of the tanks, President Volodymyr Zelensky said that “Russia wants the war to drag on and exhaust our forces. So we have to make time our weapon. We have to speed up events, speed up supplies and open up new weapons options for Ukraine.”

If you give a mouse a cookie, it will want a fighter jet. And as Ukrainian adviser Yuriy Sak said, “We will get F-16s.”

I have no doubt you will. Welcome to the new forever war world. 

This mission creep seems awfully familiar to another proxy war we fought against the then Soviet Union. Too bad our ‘experts’ and legislators seem to have a short memory span. 

Let’s hope it ends better for the Ukrainian people than it did for the Afghans. 

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