Let's say Russia launches a full-scale invasion of all Ukraine.

Let’s say you’re President of the United States.

Let’s say the current ongoing situation in the Ukraine suddenly takes a drastic new turn: Russia launches a full-scale land invasion, intending to capture all of the Ukraine.

What is your course of action? Assume that

  1. NATO will go along with any of your proposals.
  2. Ukraine is incapable of fighting off Russia by itself.
  3. You do not know if Russia will go on to attack any other countries or not.
  4. You do not know what the US public’s opinion is on the matter.

That is the beginning of WWIII in a style that would make Hitler smile. I don’t want any new wars either but all of NATO has to present a unified front and go into full scale war with Russia on that particular front. Putin is already getting quite unstable and trigger-happy. He wants to create something very similar to the old Soviet bloc yet again. You have to nip that one in the bud at all costs. In terms of lives and money, this one would make the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq look like a friendly game of dodge ball. There is also the real threat of nuclear escalation but Russia has never been particularly stupid in that regard.

In that particular scenario, you have to play hard-ball and play to win quickly and decisively. Softer alternatives may seem more attractive to the weak or timid but they aren’t in anyone’s long-term best interests. Economic and other sanctions would of course play a role but that is not enough to deter someone of Putin’s ego who seems eager to play a real-life game of Risk.

I hope that the recent downing of the Malaysian Airlines flight at least has a silver lining. Putin has been publicly embarrassed on the world stage (as well he should be) and maybe that will make him rethink the whole strategy but there is also the chance it will cause him to mentally implode as a quasi-dictator and double-down as a reaction to the world’s negative response. He is very dangerous man in general with an true dictatorial, ego maniacal mindset. The only way to deal with those types as history has shown is to face them head-on through sheer force. Anything less is just enabling and delaying the inevitable.

None. America has too many problems of our own, and bailing out the Ukraine is really none of our business.

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

If I’m the President of the United States, I shouldn’t wait until Russia invades Ukraine. It’s obviously a possibility that’s on the table so I should come up with a policy before an invasion in hopes of forestalling it.

The policy will be to inform Russia “If you occupy any more parts of Ukraine, the United States and NATO will ___” and then fill in the blank with anything from “send a stern note of disapproval” to “launch nuclear weapons against you” (these represent two extremes).

The biggest realistic card I can play is to pledge NATO troops to the defense of Ukraine. And presumably making this threat credible by stationing NATO troops in Ukraine. This assumes that A) NATO members are willing to fight for Ukraine; B) Ukraine is willing to join NATO; and C) I decide Ukraine is worth the risk of war.

And my gut instinct on that third issue is to say no. Maybe it’s a sign of my age (and I’m the same age as Obama). I’m old enough that Ukraine was under Russian control for most of my life. I don’t see it being returned to Russian control as a significant threat to American interests. Ukraine is conquered by a neighbour? I feel sorry for them. But I feel sorry for Tibet as well without feeling the need to intervene.

Something between 1 and 2. I’d send lots of material assistance, satellite intel, trucks and ammo and the traditional lend-lease stuff.

But I’d also set up U.S. troops in a cordon, a tripwire force, so that the Russians would have to attack them directly in order to go any further.

Then, if they do, we destroy civilization, I guess, because it means humanity is too fucking stupid to live.

I voted “Other”: Strong sanctions, and deploying significant NATO forces (including U.S. forces) to the alliance’s frontline members: the Baltic states, Poland, and probably also the southern tier of NATO member states bordering Ukraine (Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania).

I don’t, frankly.

I say that we help Russia to re-establish the legitimately elected government, and apologize for helping to overthrow it.

That, or just quit interfering.

As far as I can tell, NATO is not unified on this. Makes it a little hard to send the troops in. Unless NATO can really decide they don’t want Russia slowly oozing over its neighbors, I don’t see what we can really do other than sanctions. As it is, we seem to be tap dancing right into back the Cold War, and wasn’t that a fun time.

Do I really need to list all the countries who commit heinous human rights violations every single day, whose governments it is convenient for the US to prop up and to whom the US sends millions in aid?

Assuming you’re talking about Yanukovych, he’s no longer the legitimate government. Yes, he was legally elected in 2010 - and then he was legally removed from office by the Ukrainian Parliament in early 2014. A new election was held and Poroshenko was elected President.

So the Russian efforts to put Yanukovych back in the Presidency is not an attempt to restore the legitimate government. It’s an attempt to overthrow the legitimate government headed by President Poroshenko.

I would use this as leverage to have other nations join NATO.
If it were worth it to have them join NATO.

I’d place a human chain of unarmed US military personnel across Ukraine, and station unarmed US military personnel at all key landing points to rush out and do the same.

Truthfully, I’d probably congratulate the Russians on taking care of the problem.

What problem?

The problem of too many AIDS researchers in the world, probably. Who knows what he means.

Somehow there’s this idea going around that anyone admits that the Russians are the bad actors in the Ukraine crisis, that means you’re supporting sending the American military to fight the Russians.

So if you’re against bombing Russia and starting World War III, that means the Ukrainians are fascists, the Ukrainians shot down the plane, Putin is a 3-dimensional chessmaster, the western media is all lies, the Americans stage-managed the Maidan uprising, Russians in Ukraine are being massacred, and so on.

I’d go back to sleep. I’m not starting WW3 over the Ukraine. Let Europe deal with it.

I have enough problems with having the highest military budget by far of any country and locking up a greater proportion of my populace.