CNN  — 

Even in disarray, the message ends up being one of unity.

After weeks of Poland and other NATO members openly pressuring Germany to permit the dispatch of Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, finally it appears the United States and some of its European Union allies will send armor – a move that was unthinkable months ago – to the frontline against Russia.

It is a momentous decision, partly because these – unlike the air defense systems, or the anti-tank missiles – are not defensive weapons. Like the artillery and rocket systems that preceded them, they are intended to hit Russia’s troops hard in a ground offensive. But unlike those systems, they are unequivocally about Ukraine retaking territory. This is new, and fierce, and it portrays a NATO unafraid.

The combined US and European decision to send tanks to Ukraine is not the display of fractious democracies it might appear to be.