‘The heated debate over whether to supply lethal arms to the Ukrainian government to defend against Russian-backed separatists has caused considerable transatlantic friction, particularly during last weekend’s Munich Security Conference. The arguments, often exchanged with much gusto, are easily summed up.
European politicians generally oppose arming Ukraine, saying it would only escalate and not end the conflict. Many American policy makers favor arming Ukraine, arguing it would increase the costs for Russia and force the Kremlin to enter into earnest negotiations. Even proponents of lethal military aid do generally not believe that external arms supplies would enable Kyiv to compete militarily with Moscow, or reverse the gains made by Russian-backed separatists.
The dispute is still unresolved. That’s why both sides should take a look at a 2012 study on the consequences of arms transfers on civil wars. In “Selling to Both Sides: The Effects of Major Conventional Weapons Transfers on Civil War Severity and Duration” Matthew Moore of the University of Central Oklahoma examines the impact of major conventional arms transfers on 114 cases of civil war.’
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