If Congress rejects further U.S. military and financial support, the valiant Ukrainians and their democratic allies face a disastrous defeat.

To find other options, this writer brainstormed with Chat GPT.  Our discussion led to a plan to form a U.S.- and EU-backed Coalition of the Willing, including Canada, the UK, Scandinavia, Germany, Poland, Baltic countries, and perhaps France as well as Japan, Korea, and Australia.  While positioning troops, weapons, and materiel in Western Ukraine is not a realistic option at present, it might become a serious possibility if Russia advances and appears poised to conquer all of Ukraine.  The U.S. would be a non-paying member that would supply intelligence, diplomacy, and coordination until such time as Congress might vote for funding.

User  Kenneth J. Dillon
If the U.S. Congress refuses to fund military and financial assistance for Ukraine, can the president still find ways to assist it? For instance, could the U.S. sell advanced weapons at a discounted price to a NATO ally, which would in turn sell its older weapons to Ukraine, with payment delayed by a year or two?

If the U.S. Congress were to refuse funding for direct military and financial assistance to Ukraine, the President and the executive branch would have limited but still significant options to indirectly assist Ukraine. The scenario you described — selling advanced weapons at a discounted price to a NATO ally, which would then sell its older weapons to Ukraine with delayed payment — is theoretically possible but would depend on several factors:

  1. Executive Authority and Existing Legislation: The President may utilize existing executive powers and legislation that don’t require new appropriations from Congress. For example, using the Presidential Drawdown Authority, the President can authorize the transfer of excess defense articles from the U.S. stockpile, but this is usually limited in scope and value.
  2. Foreign Military Sales (FMS): The U.S. could engage in Foreign Military Sales to NATO allies. These sales are government-to-government deals for U.S. defense equipment, services, and training. The U.S. government could offer these at discounted rates or with favorable terms, although this would still require careful navigation of legal and budgetary constraints.
  3. Third-Party Transfers: The U.S. could potentially facilitate or condone third-party transfers, where a NATO ally who purchases U.S. arms then sells or transfers their older stock to Ukraine. However, such transfers typically require U.S. approval under existing arms sale agreements, and there would be diplomatic and legal complexities involved, especially regarding end-user agreements and ensuring compliance with international law and arms control agreements.
  4. Lease or Lend Arrangements: Similar to the Lend-Lease Act of World War II, the U.S. could potentially lend or lease military equipment to allies or directly to Ukraine. This would, however, typically require congressional authorization and might face legal and political hurdles.
  5. International Cooperation: The U.S. could work with other nations or international organizations to support Ukraine. This could include coordinating with allies who might be more willing or able to provide direct assistance or encouraging multinational efforts through organizations like NATO or the United Nations.
  6. Indirect Support: The U.S. can continue to provide non-military forms of support such as intelligence sharing, humanitarian aid, and diplomatic backing, which might not require congressional appropriations or could be funded through other means.
  7. Private Sector and Non-Governmental Channels: The U.S. government could encourage or facilitate support for Ukraine through private or non-governmental channels, including fundraising, donations of supplies, or volunteer efforts.

Any such indirect methods of assistance would need to be carefully managed to remain within the bounds of U.S. law and international norms. They would also require close coordination with allies and partners, and there would be inherent risks and complexities, particularly in terms of maintaining clear lines of accountability and ensuring that such actions do not inadvertently escalate the conflict or create unintended consequences.

Thanks for this. If the U.S. is able to give only very limited assistance to Ukraine, and the EU cannot obtain consent of all member states for assistance, can EU member states form a coalition of the willing to support Ukraine? How effective might this be?

Yes, EU member states can form a “coalition of the willing” to support Ukraine, even if the EU as a whole cannot obtain the consent of all member states for assistance. This approach allows individual countries or groups of countries within the EU to collaborate on specific initiatives or support measures. The effectiveness of such a coalition would depend on several factors:

  1. Resources and Commitment of Member States: The effectiveness largely depends on the resources and level of commitment of the participating countries. Larger and more economically powerful EU states, like Germany and France, could contribute significantly in terms of military, financial, and humanitarian aid. Smaller states can also contribute, but their impact would be proportionate to their capabilities.
  2. Coordination and Collaboration: The success of a coalition rests on how well the member states coordinate their efforts. This includes aligning their military aid, financial support, humanitarian assistance, and diplomatic strategies to ensure a cohesive and effective approach.
  3. Legal and Regulatory Frameworks: EU member states would need to navigate their national legal and regulatory frameworks regarding arms exports and foreign military support. These laws vary from country to country and could affect the speed and scale of assistance.
  4. NATO Involvement: Many EU members are also NATO members. NATO, as a military alliance, has its own mechanisms for supporting allies and partners, and these could be leveraged or coordinated with the efforts of the coalition.
  5. Public and Political Support: The level of public and political support within each member state will influence their ability to contribute. Strong public support can lead to more substantial and sustained assistance.
  6. Non-Military Assistance: Apart from military aid, the coalition can be effective in providing economic aid, humanitarian relief, and diplomatic support. These areas might be less contentious and could see more unified action.
  7. International Law and Relations: The coalition must consider the implications of their support on international law and their relations with other countries, including Russia. They would need to balance their support for Ukraine with the broader considerations of international stability and security.
  8. Russian Response: The scale and nature of support from the coalition could influence Russia’s strategic calculations and responses, potentially affecting the overall security situation in Europe.

In summary, while a coalition of willing EU member states could provide significant support to Ukraine, the effectiveness of such a coalition would vary based on the commitment of its members, the coordination of their efforts, and the broader international context. The coalition would have to navigate a complex landscape of legal, diplomatic, and security considerations.

Thanks for this. It would be possible simply to provide Ukraine substantial financial resources–100-150 billion Euros a year. Then Ukraine could buy weapons and ammunition on the world market, in addition to sustaining its economy and government. What are the pros and cons of this approach?

Providing Ukraine with substantial financial resources, such as 100-150 billion Euros a year, so that it can purchase weapons, ammunition, and sustain its economy and government, is an approach that comes with various pros and cons.


  1. Autonomy for Ukraine: This approach would give Ukraine greater autonomy and flexibility in addressing its specific military and economic needs. They can prioritize and make timely purchases based on evolving battlefield conditions.
  2. Economic Sustainability: Such financial aid would help sustain Ukraine’s economy, support government functioning, and aid in the reconstruction of infrastructure damaged during the conflict.
  3. Global Market Access: With sufficient funds, Ukraine could access a wider range of suppliers and technologies in the global arms market, potentially bypassing political or logistical constraints faced by direct military aid from individual countries.
  4. Reducing Dependency: By enabling Ukraine to purchase its own equipment, the country reduces its dependency on the political and logistical considerations of donor countries.
  5. Stimulating the Arms Market: This influx of funds could stimulate the global arms market, potentially benefiting arms-producing nations and industries.


  1. Risk of Escalation: Such significant financial support for arms purchases might be perceived as escalatory, potentially provoking a stronger response from Russia and heightening tensions in the region.
  2. Market Limitations: The global arms market may have limitations in terms of availability and production capacity, especially for advanced or specialized weaponry. There may also be legal and export control issues in purchasing certain types of arms.
  3. Financial Oversight and Corruption: Large sums of money pose risks of mismanagement and corruption. Ensuring that funds are used effectively and for the intended purposes would be challenging.
  4. Political and Diplomatic Implications: Direct financial aid for arms purchases could have complex political and diplomatic implications for donor countries, potentially straining relations with Russia and other stakeholders.
  5. Economic Impact on Donor Countries: Allocating such large sums could be economically challenging for donor countries, especially amidst other global economic pressures.
  6. Inflation and Resource Diversion: In Ukraine, an influx of foreign currency on this scale could potentially lead to inflation. Additionally, focusing resources on military spending might divert them from other critical areas like healthcare, education, or civil infrastructure.
  7. Long-term Dependency: While such aid would support Ukraine in the short term, it might lead to a long-term dependency on external financial support, especially if the conflict becomes protracted.
  8. Potential for Weapon Proliferation: Increased purchasing power for arms could lead to concerns about arms proliferation in the region and beyond, especially post-conflict.

In conclusion, while providing Ukraine with substantial financial resources to purchase arms and support its economy has several advantages, such as autonomy and flexibility, it also brings significant challenges, including risks of escalation, political and diplomatic complexities, and potential issues with financial oversight and market limitations. The approach would require careful consideration of these factors by the donor countries and the international community.

Thanks. Which 5-10 countries, including non-European ones, might be prepared to join a coalition of the willing to support Ukraine in the absence of the U.S. and a unified EU? Which countries would be essential for success?

In a hypothetical scenario where the U.S. and a unified EU are not directly involved in supporting Ukraine, a coalition of willing countries could still form. The selection of countries that might join such a coalition depends on their political stance, existing foreign policy, military capabilities, and historical relations with Ukraine and Russia. Here are some countries that could potentially be part of this coalition, along with considerations of which might be essential for success:

Potential Coalition Members

  1. United Kingdom: The UK has been a strong supporter of Ukraine. As a major military power with a global reach, the UK’s participation would be significant for the success of the coalition.
  2. Canada: With a significant Ukrainian diaspora and a history of supporting Ukraine, Canada could be a key player, especially in terms of military and humanitarian aid.
  3. Poland: Poland has been actively supporting Ukraine and is geographically close, making it a crucial entry point for aid. Its role would be essential, especially in logistics and regional support.
  4. Australia: Australia has shown a willingness to engage in international security matters and could contribute military and humanitarian assistance.
  5. Turkey: As a regional power with significant military capabilities and a strategic location, Turkey’s involvement could be important, especially in controlling the Black Sea region.
  6. Sweden and Finland: Although traditionally neutral, both have shown strong support for Ukraine. Their potential NATO membership could also influence their role in such a coalition.
  7. Japan: Japan has taken a firm stance against Russia’s actions and could contribute financially and diplomatically.
  8. South Korea: With its advanced military technology and capabilities, South Korea could be a significant contributor to military aid.
  9. Israel: While its position is complex due to its relationship with Russia, Israel’s advanced military technology and intelligence capabilities could make it a valuable member of the coalition.
  10. Norway: Norway, with its strong economy and strategic location, could provide substantial financial and logistical support.

Essential Countries for Success

  • United Kingdom: Given its military strength, global influence, and already demonstrated support for Ukraine, the UK would be a central player.
  • Poland: Its geographical proximity to Ukraine and existing support make Poland essential for logistical reasons and as a conduit for aid.
  • Canada: Canada’s strong Ukrainian ties and consistent support in international conflicts make it a key player, especially for rallying support among other nations.
  • Turkey: Turkey’s control of the Bosporus Strait and its role as a regional power make its participation strategically important.
  • Germany: Though part of the EU, if Germany were to act independently, its economic power and influence would be crucial, especially in terms of financial and humanitarian aid.

The effectiveness of such a coalition would depend on the level of coordination among these countries, their collective military and economic capabilities, and their diplomatic efforts in the international arena. The coalition would also need to navigate complex international relations and ensure compliance with international law.

Thanks for this. Note that Finland is already a member of NATO. I doubt that Turkey would be eager to participate for fear of provoking Russia. Israel has its own troubles and would not want to alienate Russia. If Germany would join the coalition, France might also wish to do so. The Scandinavian and Baltic countries would have reasons to join. So it would be a coalition of the north.

Your observations about the geopolitical dynamics and the potential formation of a “coalition of the willing” to support Ukraine are insightful. Let’s consider the countries that might be part of this coalition, taking into account the factors you mentioned:

  1. United Kingdom: As a leading military power with a history of supporting Ukraine, the UK would likely be a key player in such a coalition.
  2. Canada: With its significant Ukrainian diaspora and a history of international support, Canada could be a major contributor, especially in military and humanitarian aspects.
  3. Poland: Poland’s geographic proximity to Ukraine and its strong support for Ukrainian sovereignty make it an essential member, particularly for logistical support and as a gateway for aid to Ukraine.
  4. Germany and France: If Germany were to join, it might encourage France to participate as well. Both countries have considerable economic and military capabilities and their participation would significantly bolster the coalition’s effectiveness.
  5. Scandinavian Countries (Sweden, Norway, Denmark): These nations have strong economies and are historically committed to supporting democratic values and international law. Their involvement would add substantial support, particularly in terms of humanitarian and financial aid.
  6. Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania): Given their proximity to Russia and historical experiences, the Baltic States would likely be motivated to support Ukraine, offering logistical support and potentially military aid.
  7. Finland: As a new NATO member, Finland might be inclined to join this coalition, contributing to its military and logistical capabilities, especially given its long border with Russia.
  8. Australia: Australia has shown willingness to engage in international security matters far from its shores and could contribute military and humanitarian assistance.
  9. South Korea and Japan: While geographically distant, both countries have taken firm stances against Russian aggression and could contribute economically and technologically.
  10. Netherlands and Belgium: These countries, with their strong economies and commitment to international law, could also be potential contributors, particularly in the realm of humanitarian and financial aid.

Characteristics of a “Coalition of the Willing”

  • Regional Cohesion: Such a coalition would have a strong regional cohesion, with members sharing similar democratic values and concerns about security in Europe.
  • Economic Strength: Many of these countries have robust economies, which would be crucial for sustained financial and humanitarian support.
  • Military Capabilities: While varying in military strength, collectively, these countries could provide significant military aid, including advanced weaponry and logistical support.
  • Diplomatic Influence: Collectively, these countries also wield considerable diplomatic influence, which could be critical in maintaining international support for Ukraine and managing relations with Russia.

This coalition, with its focus on northern European and like-minded countries, could potentially provide substantial support to Ukraine. Its effectiveness would depend on the level of coordination among its members and the collective ability to navigate complex international dynamics, especially with regard to Russia.

Thanks for this. We can see that Japan, Korea, and Australia would perceive that working closely with a Coalition of the Willing would help ensure Ukraine’s viability even if the U.S. had to support and perhaps orchestrate the Coalition instead of directly funding and supplying Ukraine. So they would see advantage in contributing to it as a means of demonstrating to China the strength of the democratic alliance system even as the U.S. sorted out its internal disagreements. Meanwhile, would some of the Coalition members agree to position forces in western Ukraine as a proof of commitment?

The scenario you’re describing involves a complex web of international relations and strategic calculations. The involvement of countries like Japan, South Korea, and Australia in a “Coalition of the Willing” to support Ukraine, potentially orchestrated by the United States, would indeed send a strong signal to global powers like China about the resilience and coordination of democratic alliances. Regarding the positioning of forces in western Ukraine by coalition members, there are several considerations to take into account:

Strategic and Political Considerations

  1. Deterrence and Commitment: Positioning forces in western Ukraine would be a significant demonstration of commitment to Ukraine’s defense and sovereignty. It would serve as a strong deterrent against further aggression.
  2. Risk of Escalation: Such a move could be perceived as an escalation and might provoke a strong response from Russia. It’s essential to balance the show of support with the risk of exacerbating the conflict.
  3. International Law and NATO Policies: For NATO member countries, any deployment would need to be carefully considered within the context of NATO’s policies and international law. Non-NATO members would also need to consider the legal and diplomatic implications of such actions.
  4. Internal Dynamics within Coalition Countries: Each country would have to consider its domestic political situation and public opinion regarding the deployment of troops, which could be controversial and require parliamentary or congressional approval.
  5. Logistical and Operational Challenges: Deploying and sustaining military forces in a conflict zone involves significant logistical and operational planning, including considerations for force protection and rules of engagement.

Potential Outcomes

  1. Enhanced Security for Ukraine: The presence of international forces could enhance the security of Ukraine, particularly in the west, which has been less affected by direct conflict.
  2. Strengthening the Coalition: Such a commitment could strengthen the coalition by demonstrating a unified and tangible commitment to Ukraine’s defense.
  3. International Diplomatic Efforts: This move could either bolster or complicate international diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflict, depending on how it’s perceived by the involved parties and the global community.
  4. Impact on Russia’s Strategy: The presence of foreign troops could impact Russia’s strategic calculations and potentially deter further aggression, but it also carries the risk of miscalculation or unintended escalation.

In conclusion, while the positioning of forces in western Ukraine by coalition members would be a significant statement of support and commitment, it also involves considerable risks and complexities. It would require careful coordination within the coalition, clear communication of intent to avoid misunderstandings, and a well-thought-out strategy to manage potential consequences, both regionally and globally.

Thanks for this. Of course, Polish troops would be positioned as far from former Polish territory around Lviv as possible–perhaps around Odessa and other southern locations. Also, Ukraine would be able to shift a large portion of its troops and weapons west of Kyiv toward the battlefront. Coalition forces could bring their own weapons and missile defenses. Commitment of Coalition financial resources to infrastructure would boost the entire economy and plug it more tightly into the European economy.

Your analysis presents a nuanced view of how a coalition’s support could strategically benefit Ukraine, particularly in terms of troop deployment and economic investment. Let’s delve into the implications of these strategies:

Troop Deployment and Military Strategy

  1. Location of Deployment: Positioning Polish troops away from historically sensitive areas like Lviv and instead near strategic locations such as Odessa makes sense. It addresses historical sensitivities while also bolstering defenses in critical regions, particularly in the south where access to the Black Sea is vital.
  2. Shifting Ukrainian Forces: With coalition forces providing additional security, particularly in western regions, Ukraine could reallocate more of its military resources to the frontlines. This strategy could potentially strengthen Ukraine’s offensive and defensive capabilities in critical conflict zones.
  3. Coalition Military Capabilities: Coalition forces bringing their own advanced weaponry and missile defense systems would not only enhance the defensive posture but also reduce Ukraine’s reliance on its own resources for these capabilities. It could lead to a more robust and integrated defense system against aerial and missile threats.

Economic and Infrastructure Investment

  1. Boosting the Ukrainian Economy: Financial investment in Ukrainian infrastructure by the coalition would have a multiplicative effect on the economy. Rebuilding and modernizing infrastructure, particularly in war-damaged areas, would create jobs and stimulate economic activity.
  2. Integration into the European Economy: Infrastructure investments, particularly those that align with European standards and systems, would facilitate Ukraine’s closer integration with the European economy. This includes investments in transportation networks, energy infrastructure, and digital connectivity.
  3. Long-Term Economic Stability: Such investments would also lay the foundation for long-term economic stability and growth in Ukraine, aiding in its post-conflict recovery and development.
  4. Demonstrating Commitment: Financial investments in infrastructure are a tangible demonstration of the coalition’s commitment to Ukraine’s future. It goes beyond military support and addresses the broader aspects of nation-building and economic resilience.

Considerations for Success

  1. Coordination and Planning: Effective coordination and planning among coalition members are essential to ensure that military and economic efforts are complementary and well-integrated.
  2. Communication with Ukrainian Authorities: Close collaboration with Ukrainian authorities is crucial to align the support with Ukraine’s strategic priorities and ensure that it addresses the most pressing needs.
  3. Managing International Relations: The coalition must navigate the complex international relations involved, particularly in terms of Russia’s response and the broader geopolitical implications.
  4. Public Support and Transparency: Maintaining public support within coalition countries and ensuring transparency about the objectives and progress of the support efforts are important for the sustainability of the initiative.

In summary, the strategic deployment of coalition forces and the commitment of financial resources to Ukrainian infrastructure present a multifaceted approach to supporting Ukraine. This strategy not only enhances military capabilities but also contributes to economic resilience and integration with the European economy, setting a foundation for long-term stability and growth.

Thanks for this. Given historical sensitivities, it would be better to limit Germany’s role to providing weapons and funding, not troops. Also, the relationship of the Coalition to NATO would have to be worked out. The Coalition would include non-NATO countries and exclude many NATO ones, at least at first. In fact, not every potentially willing country would be acceptable: for instance, Hungary.

Your considerations regarding the roles of different countries in the coalition, especially in the context of historical sensitivities and the relationship with NATO, are important. Let’s explore these aspects:

Role of Germany

  • Limiting to Weapons and Funding: Given the historical sensitivities, particularly in Eastern Europe, it’s prudent to limit Germany’s role to non-combat contributions. Germany can provide substantial support in the form of weapons, financial aid, and humanitarian assistance. This approach mitigates potential historical concerns while still leveraging Germany’s considerable resources and influence.

Relationship with NATO

  • Complex Dynamics: The coalition, including both NATO and non-NATO members, presents unique dynamics. It’s crucial to delineate the coalition’s activities and objectives from those of NATO to avoid confusion or overlap.
  • Coordination Challenges: Balancing the interests and contributions of NATO members within the coalition with those of non-NATO countries will be a key challenge. Clear communication and defined roles are essential to ensure effective collaboration and to prevent any diplomatic misunderstandings.
  • Strategic Alignment: The coalition’s actions should ideally be in strategic alignment with NATO’s broader goals in the region, especially regarding security and stability. This alignment is important to maintain cohesion among NATO members and to uphold the principles of the alliance.

Inclusion and Exclusion of Countries

  • Selective Participation: Not every willing country might be suitable for participation in the coalition, due to various reasons ranging from political alignments to historical issues. For example, Hungary, with its closer ties to Russia and differing views on the Ukraine conflict, might not be an ideal candidate for this coalition.
  • Evaluating Contributions: Each country’s potential contribution should be evaluated not just in terms of material resources, but also considering the diplomatic, historical, and geopolitical implications of their involvement.
  • Dynamic Composition: The composition of the coalition might evolve over time, depending on changing circumstances, shifting political stances, and the evolving nature of the conflict in Ukraine.

Strategic Implications

  • Maintaining Unity: Ensuring unity and a clear common purpose among diverse coalition members will be crucial for its effectiveness.
  • Diplomatic Sensitivity: The coalition must navigate its activities with diplomatic sensitivity, especially considering Russia’s potential reaction and the broader geopolitical implications.
  • Transparency and Legitimacy: Maintaining transparency about the coalition’s goals and actions is vital for its legitimacy and for sustaining support both within the member countries and in the international community.

In conclusion, forming a coalition to support Ukraine in this context would require careful consideration of historical sensitivities, the relationship with NATO, and the strategic selection of member countries. Balancing these factors while maintaining a clear and unified purpose will be key to the coalition’s effectiveness and sustainability.

User Clearly, positioning Western troops in Ukraine is a sensitive issue and probably unrealistic at present.  But it should be kept in mind in case the Ukrainian and international situations change.


Kenneth J. Dillon is an historian and retired foreign service officer.  See the biosketch at https://www.scientiapress.com/about-us.





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