The List

In a political balancing act, the White House is working to provide advanced anti-ship missiles to Ukrainian fighters to help them break Russia’s naval blockade. This is amid concerns that providing such powerful weapons capable of sinking Russian warships would serve to intensify the war.

A Harpoon anti-ship missile makes its way towards its target. Photo credit:

It’s no secret that Ukraine wants all the advanced weaponry it can get from the United States to add to its arsenal of Javelins, Stingers, and mobile field artillery. Zelensky’s wish list includes the types of missiles that could keep Russian war ships away from its Black Sea ports, thus allowing shipments of grain and other agricultural products to begin flowing to the rest of the world again. And it was a literal list that the Ukrainian President handed over. Harpoon missiles (made by Boeing) and Kongsberg and Raytheon’s Naval Strike Missiles are on it.

There is a widespread and growing international fear that the blockade by Russia’s Black Sea Fleet may lead to global famine. Anton Gerashchenko, a Ukrainian ministry of internal affairs advisor, addressed that issue recently on Twitter. He said that the “US is preparing a plan to destroy the Black Sea Fleet.” Gerashchenko continued, “Deliveries of powerful anti-ship weapons are being discussed.”  

The Big Stick Theory

Bryan Clark, a naval expert at the Hudson Institute, explains how he sees it:

“Twelve to Twenty Four anti-ship missiles like the Harpoon with ranges over 100 km would be enough to threaten Russian ships and could convince Moscow to lift the blockade. If Putin persists, Ukraine could take out the largest Russian ships, since they have nowhere to hide in the Black Sea.”

US Congressional sources report that several countries are ready to send missiles, such as the Harpoon, to Ukraine, but they are holding back and waiting. No one wants to be the first to piss Russia off if one of their missiles is used to sink a Russian ship.

I like to look at this situation in the form of an analogy. For the sake of argument, let’s say you have a crazy next-door neighbor (maybe his name is Ivan) who is hell-bent on coming over and doing you and your family harm. He’s so nuts that the delivery people won’t even stop at your place anymore, and that sucks because you get most of your food from Uber Eats. Up til now, you have had no good way to defend yourself, but your buddy from work has a good idea. He advises you to go out and find a big solid stick. One of those shillelagh-looking deals that’s like a club on the end. Hell, he’ll even give you a couple of them that he has just lying around.

You take him up on his generous offer, and order a pizza. When the pizza guy gets there and your neighbor pokes his head out of his door ready to threaten everyone within an inch of their lives, get a Mel Gibson in Braveheart crazy look in your eyes, show him the stick and make damn sure he knows you are prepared to bash him over the head with it if he threatens to come over to your place again or try to prevent deliveries. Not wanting to suffer a traumatic brain injury, your bully of a neighbor decides it’s probably best to mind his own business, so he just sits on his porch, like a dog put in its place.