A popular headline today is "Boots on the ground in Ukraine". Of course, this is a scary thing to hear about, but what is actually happening? Keep reading to get the highlights of what's going on.
American Weapons in Ukraine
The United States has provided over 22,000 weapons to Ukraine that require special oversight. It appears that the Biden administration failed to put in place infrastructure for this oversight.
According to the Washington Post, only about 10% of the weapons requiring special oversight in Ukraine have been inspected by U.S. monitors. This leaves almost 20,000 high-powered weapons like the Stinger surface-to-air missiles and Javelin antitank missiles unaccounted for.
The problem here is that these weapons are considered high-risk for diversion, which means they could be stolen and misused by agents hostile to the United States.
As you can imagine, next generation anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles in the hands of those hostile to American national security is not a good thing.
The biggest concern at the moment is that American weaponry will be captured by Russian forces and smuggled out of the country. This has already happened with small arms, though it is unknown if any special weaponry has yet been stolen or moved across borders.
Unfortunately, with the poor handling of oversight of these special weapons, it is unlikely that U.S. will gain 100% accountability. This is especially true considering the "super hot" nature of the conflict in Ukraine.
Much of the weaponry has been used or lost in military engagements and thus will never be fully accounted for. Hopefully the Biden administration can get a handle on things going forward and these "boots on the ground" are just monitors for the weaponry.
Misdirection or Truth
While it's entirely possible that the alleged U.S. forces on the ground in Ukraine are just monitors for the special weapons, it's also possible that this is only partially true.
"The best lies always contain a grain of truth."Joakim Palmkvist
While we may never know the full truth of this, it's important to consider the facts we do know.
To start with, the CIA got it all wrong back in February. They were confident that Putin's military would wipe the floor with Ukraine. This explains a lot of the early caution about getting involved in the conflict. However, in hindsight, the CIA's intel was clearly wrong.
The biggest thing they missed was how weak the Russian military really is. Weakened by corruption and stagnation, the Russian forces failed to gain the upper hand. Instead, they got bogged down and revealed to the world their true state.
Secondly, as far as we know, the Biden administration pulled all clandestine forces from Ukraine at the outset of the invasion. This decision was based on the CIA's prediction that Russia would quickly dominate their prey.
Of course, as we now know, this never happened and since Ukraine has effectively resisted the invasion and exposed how weak the Russian's really are, it is believed that U.S. clandestine forces have been sent back in.
The greatest indicator of this is the CIA claiming to be a factor in recent Ukraine victories. This may be nothing more than a weak attempt to downplay their previous failures, but most likely both things are true: the CIA has boots on the ground and they have played a part in Ukraine's victories against Russia.
What Happens Next
There is little doubt that the United States is now committed to assisting with the Ukraine war effort. Whether this is a good or a bad thing, only time will tell.
"There is a much larger presence of both CIA and U.S. special operations personnel and resources in Ukraine than there were at the time of the Russian invasion in February"Current and former intelligence officials
While it's good news that the Russian military is significantly weaker than once thought, this does raise the concern that Putin may resort to escalation on a global scale.
Considering his Eurasianist worldview, Putin believes the west is an existential threat to mankind. This is no minor threat, especially because he allegedly controls nuclear weapons.
We can only hope that U.S. intelligence is also wrong about his nuclear capability, though that is unlikely.
What do you think, should the U.S. continue with boots on the ground in Ukraine? Is this truly just an accountability mission, or something bigger? Is Putin a threat to the west, or just his own country? Let us know in the comments below.