Not wanting to miss out on the free PR when other local governments were reaping it, the Arlington government last week announced it would be donating a treasure trove of supplies to support the people of Ukraine.
When it comes to most of these items – disposable gowns, latex gloves, respirators – we are fine with the donation, although we will note that it will be taking a circuituous route: The federal government first borrows money it does not have (much of it from the Chinese) and likely will never be able to pay back, then funnels those funds to local governments for them, then the local governments turn around and give it to Ukraine.
Going further into national debt with creditors who do not have this nation’s best interests at heart, merely to pull off a public-relations effort, seems a little back-assward. (Which goes to show that, when it comes to the county government, apparently no good deed really ever does go unpunished on the editorial page of the Sun Gazette …)
The real problem we have, however, is with the proposal to donate more than 100 ballistic vests, which while they certainly could be used by first-responders or other noncombatants, more logically would be likely to end up in the hands of Ukrainian fighters.
When, exactly, did local governments in Northern Virginia begin having their own foreign policies? Trying to select winners and losers on the world stage can be a tricky business that can come back to bite, and local governments really should swim in their own lane rather than try to play on the world stage.
Everybody should feel bad for what the Ukrainian people are going through and appalled by the actions of the Russian government. And if people want to donate funds or humanitarian supplies, amen to that. But ballistic-vest donations? That may be a one step too far over the line.