Fletcher in the News

Stopping Putin: The Military Option: Dean Stavridis Weighs In

Dean Stavridis The Fletcher School

President Barack Obama is getting anxious that Russian president Vladimir Putin is on the point of invading Ukraine.

“You've seen a range of troops massing along [the Russian/Ukraine] border under the guise of military exercises,” he told CBS News last night. “But these are not what Russia would normally be doing. And, you know, it may simply be an effort to intimidate Ukraine. Or it may be that they've got additional plans.”

So far, the West has deployed its economic and diplomatic might to punish and deter Russian President Vladimir Putin from those “additional plans” -- invading the rest of Ukraine.

Yet the West’s strongest option remains untouched: Military action…

…The U.S. military can still play a role in the Ukraine crisis, though, in the form of aid to Ukraine and threatening moves in other countries on Russia’s borders.

“I’d guess there’s a great deal of planning underway for things like sharing information, sharing intelligence, providing logistical support, providing lethal and non-lethal assistance, providing trainers and advisers,” says James Stavridis, who was the Supreme Allied Commander of Europe from 2009 to 2013 and is now the dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

Some military assistance has already started moving from U.S. forces to their Ukrainian counterparts. The focus for now, the Pentagon says, is on non-lethal aid, like rations.

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