September 14, 2023

Why There Are No Game-Changing Weapons for Ukraine

Germany has become the second-biggest contributor of military aid to Ukraine after the United States, but you wouldn’t know it by following the debate in Berlin. In a replay of Berlin’s long squeamishness over sending German Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine—first refusing before finally relenting in January—the government of Chancellor Olaf Scholz has been dragging out a decision to supply German-made Taurus cruise missiles. Scholz has not explained the reasons for his waffling; similar missiles have already been sent by Britain and France. This week, these Western-supplied cruise missiles may have been used to strike Russian naval facilities in occupied Sevastopol in Ukraine’s increasingly successful efforts to restrict Russian Navy operations in the Black Sea.

It is time to bury the game-changing weapons narrative and embrace a more realistic understanding of what individual weapon systems can and cannot accomplish—while making sure that Ukraine gets what it needs to continue the fight.

The Sevastopol attack shows that Ukraine certainly has good use for more missiles, and Germany should deliver the Taurus if it is serious about helping Ukraine liberate its territories. But the continued framing of these and other weapons as potential game-changers in the war confuses the debate and is harmful to Ukraine. The idea that there is a shortcut to victory raises expectations for a quick end to the carnage that Ukraine is unlikely to fulfill. After more than 18 months of grinding, attritional war, it should be obvious that there are no miracle weapons and that there are no alternatives to slowly and methodically reducing Russian forces in Ukraine.

Read the full article and more from Foreign Policy.

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