The problem with Biden is simple: he just can’t keep his mouth shut. When the Europeans threaten Russia, the threats ring hollow because they depend on Russian oil and gas whereas Russia can sell their fossil fuels to energy-starved China.
So the sanctions against Russia were okay as a threat but as reality thanks to Biden, they have the potential for hitting Western economies just as the expansion cycle could be losing steam.
Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic joined NATO in 1999. Slovakia followed in 2004 filling the gap in the frontline and Romania did likewise. To which the West now wants to attach the Ukrainian spear. Putin’s response: enough is enough. Of course, Eastern Ukraine is mostly Russian and, if one ignores Western propaganda and uses common sense, would show greater affinity for Russia.
It leads to the question, when is an invasion not an invasion? The answer is, when those being invaded welcome the invasion with smiles and flowers. In eastern Ukraine, two new republics have emerged and both have been recognized by Russia. A few hours of accurate missile strikes at the Ukrainian military command and control plus its military equipment sites and it was rendered impotent. The constant shelling of the east by Ukrainians has now ceased — Ukraine had claimed it was fighting insurgents — and Russian troops ordered in by Putin are there, as he puts it, in peacekeeping roles.
Russia has something like 100,000 to 190,000 troops surrounding Ukraine. During the Second World War Churchill brought up the moral authority of the Pope, which received Stalins’ pithy response. How many divisions does the Pope have? Putin already knows how many divisions Biden can muster which is why he has Ukraine at his mercy.
Taking no chances, he has however placed his nuclear forces on special alert … just in case anyone in the West was thinking of lobbing one on him even in some remote corner of Siberia in this mindless game of dare started by the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, plus the EU and the US. Fresh from a European security conference in Munich and the kudos he received there, he overplayed his hand.
This egotist, by the way, believes the whole exercise is about Putin going after him. Hardly necessary when his country is being stripped bare right under his nose leaving him president of nothing. Perhaps as a codicil to the last will and testament of Ukraine, he might be ejected. A spent cartridge, he could be a liability for all parties seeking a stable solution.
The rump that remains of Ukraine is now hardly worth a permanently hostile Russia. The latter has already rebuilt its militaries while Germany is particularly loath to divert funds to national defense when it is addicted to the US defending it. The other border countries, as the saying goes, are not worth a hill of beans. Financial aid from the EU, and military aid from the US is their modus operandi.
Any lessons from this tragic farce that has cost 200 lives and disrupted thousands? First, Biden should talk less — it used to get just him in trouble but now he holds a particularly important position. Second, Germany’s ambitions for enlarging the EU to serve as an expanding market for its products needs trimming.
To think, all Biden needed to say was Ukraine is a matter for the Ukrainians to decide. Zelenskyy would have realized he was alone; the Europeans would have quietened down, Zelenskyy would have shut up, and the Ukrainians would now be limping along as usual.