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How Biden Reluctantly Agreed to Send Tanks to Ukraine


It was a victory of political calculation over logistical concerns. It makes no sense for the Pentagon to go through the logistical headaches of sending the country’s most advanced tanks to Ukraine when there are very capable German Leopard tanks nearby that could arrive. Ukraine is faster and more efficient.

In addition, several European countries, including Spain, Poland and Finland, are willing to send German Leopard tanks if Germany agrees – a legal requirement that accompanies their purchases of German-made equipment. original production.

During high-level meetings of the Biden administration, Mr. Austin and General Mark A. Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, presented the Pentagon’s position. In subsequent interviews, White House national security officials soberly reiterated the military positions of why Abrams was unreasonable, while European tanks were.

But Mr. Austin and General Milley were tasked with giving Mr. Biden the best military advice; in this case, it conflicts with the need to maintain unity among the allies. What the Pentagon has not fully taken into account, one official said, is the extreme fear of European governments about doing anything to provoke Russia without the US cover to do so. similar before.

“Like it or not, that means the United States remains the glue that holds NATO and Europe together,” said Peter Juul, a national security analyst. in the newsletter Free Patriots.

At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, last week, Mr. Scholz made it clear, according to some who heard him, that he would not agree to send Leopard tanks until the United States agreed to send Abrams. . American officials at first thought he might be persuaded otherwise and hoped that a British commitment send Challenger 2 . tank — has different operational requirements — will make him do the same thing.

Not so, as German officials made clear to Mr. Austin and General Milley during Friday’s meeting of more than 50 allies at Ramstein Air Base in Germany.

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