I’ve listened with a great deal of patience and forbearance as various people in media and government have made the case for increasing US involvement in Ukraine. I thoroughly understand the moral impetus that the suffering of the Ukrainian people invokes, and I also understand better than most of these commentators the potential costs of an expansionist Russia. In 1985, I faced the satellite states of the USSR across the border frontier of walls, fences, minefields, razor wire, machine-guns, sentries, and the ever-present watchful eyes of surveillance from the East. I was also there in 1989 when the wall came down, and in my estimation, West Germany too quickly embarked on the path to re-unification with their Eastern kin. I watched in stunned silence as Western politicians ignored the potential dangers of unilateral disarmament in pursuit of phantom “peace dividends” through the 1990s. I watched as these same leaders launched an assault on Yugoslavia under the banner of “peace-keeping” whilst pretending Slobodan Milosevic was Adolph Hitler, and enforcing a partitioning of that country, creating new states out of the remains of that nation. I watched as the post-9/11 United States carried on one war, and launched another in pursuit of Weapons of Mass Destruction. All of this I’ve watched, but never has any member of our government answered any of my questions or listened to my complaints. Instead, they ruled without reference to the opinions or desires of the American people, but now they’ve placed us to be in position to fight a war potentially worse than any of us have ever known. They are making their case using our emotions against us, but I’m having none of it. If there’s something the American government must do, I can tell you what it should do, but also what it mustn’t do. The answer to their current taste for war must be a resounding “no.” Instead, if we believe the intentions of Russia to expand Westward are genuine, we must draw a new red line, but this time, we must prepare to enforce it.
Ukraine is not a member of NATO, and it doesn’t have any particular treaty obligations from or to the United States. Like every other American, I look at the imagery coming out of Ukraine, and I feel badly for the position in which the people of Ukraine now find themselves. On the other hand, Ukraine is not formally our ally, and despite the fact that our leaders over the last two decades have used our wealth to get them to carry out policies in their country that our corrupt leaders may have liked, they are not entitled to the defense of their country by the people of the United States. It’s really as simple as that. Ukraine is not a vital strategic interest for the United States. For Ukraine, that’s the unfortunate truth. All the rest is kaffee klatsch nonsense.
For those on the other side of this debate who claim that Russia is intent on expansionist designs, and that they should be stopped in Ukraine, I must dispute their assertion. The answer for NATO, if we believe that Putin is building a new and improved Soviet State is not to defend Ukraine, which is now effectively lost, but is instead to begin building our defenses in the neighboring NATO states, to an extent and with a fervor that Vladimir Putin would never dream of crossing a new line that we should make unmistakably and indelibly red. NATO has already shown itself to be unable and unwilling to defend much of anything, and it has fallen into disrepair on a scale that would be embarrassing if their leaders had any sort of conscience at all. If you want to stand Putin down and limit his expansionism, then the way to do it is to immediately require all members of NATO to contribute four percent of their GDPs to the alliance, which would be a doubling of their current commitment that many are not now meeting. Other defense spending should not be counted in that number. When Germany, the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Poland, and all the smaller members of NATO along with the United States begin such a campaign to strengthen their defenses, training-up their forces, and conducting large joint-force training missions on a theatre-wide scale, it is very likely that Putin will stay put and go Westward no further.
Missile defense in the West must become a thorough priority. The securing of shipping lanes and air-transport routes must become the norm instead of the exception. We ought to be ramping-up a cold-war style notion of isolating the Russians, but also the Chinese Communists in Beijing, in precisely the same way we had done during the Cold War. Yes, if we believe there is a real threat of expansionism on the part of Russia, then we must take the same sorts of steps that we had done for nearly one-half century. This is not irrational, because if the threat is real, then this is the way we will ultimately be required to answer it in any case. We cannot simply insert ourselves into the battle space of Ukraine, at this late date, expecting anything but the worst possible outcomes. Russia may not be the Soviet Union, but it is still a lethal potential adversary, and its strategic nuclear arms have few parallels.
If the United States or one of its NATO allies, acting as proxies, should instigate a war with Russia through clear involvement in Ukraine, it would be an invitation to a catastrophe far worse than the one now playing-out on the ground in Ukraine. Volodymyr Zelenskiy complained bitterly that this is all simply rhetoric, and that rhetoric cannot save his country. It’s a very tardy realization from a man who’s been accepting rhetorical flurries as assurances from Western leaders, particularly from the United States. He should have realized while conducting offensive operations against ethnic Russians in the Eastern provinces of his country, that at some point, as his government continued to poke the bear, the Russians were going to enter to find out if Washington DC’s substance matched its bellicose assurances to Kiev. Those assurances were as empty as the treaty he had failed to obtain. He should have sought admission to NATO after stabilizing the situation in the Eastern provinces. Instead, at Washington DC’s invitation, he pursued a quick-and-dirty admission into NATO, like the con-artists who tries to purchase an insurance policy to protect his car after he’s wrecked it. Seeing this coming, thanks to Biden’s administration placing this knowledge into the pipeline of intelligence through Beijing, Putin didn’t wait any longer. Europe too has told him, via the European Union, that Ukraine won’t be permitted under current circumstances to enter that body. He’s been cut loose.
Zelenskiy is running out of negotiating time. Once Kiev falls under sustained attack, I believe Putin will close that window. Even now, it will be Putin’s intent to encircle that city and cut it off from reinforcements and relief. Once that’s complete, Zelenskiy’s bargaining chips will be few. The best he might now obtain is to come to terms with Putin’s basic demands that Ukraine recognize Crimea as part of Russia, recognize Dunetsk and Luhansk, and basically write neutrality into the Ukrainian constitution. In the longer term, I expect Putin to grab everything East of the Dnieper River. I now believe Zelenskiy’s best remaining option may look like the orange line in the map below, yielding most of the territory East of the Dnieper, but it doesn’t change the fact that NATO must draw a strong red line if there’s any evidence at all that Putin’s expansionist ambitions are real:
Those who shriek against this notion are relying too heavily on emotion, and too little on logic. It’s undeniably the case that Ukraine has been sacrificed by the Biden administration. The sensible thing for Zelenskiy to do now may in fact be to sue for peace and meet Putin’s terms. It’s a terrible blow, but he must also be circumspect. If he drags this out, it will be the innocents who suffer. Putin should suffer for his actions, but in truth, so should the monsters in Beijing and in Washington DC who have enabled him. Others in the region should think a great deal about this map, and particularly the red line I’ve drawn. If Russia is really bent on expansionism, every state west of that line, from Estonia in the North to Moldova in the South must take it very seriously. If Russian intent is really to expand once again, then no nation West of that line should take the matter lightly. There were reports on Friday evening that Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett had advised Zelenskiy to accept Putin’s terms. This is not a message from Israel, so much as it’s a message from Washington DC.
As for people to be taken lightly, now comes the DC war-crowd of people who are Republicans and fancy themselves “hawks.” This list includes a number of Washington Republicans who do their best to keep their swampiness on the down-low in campaign seasons. They’re in favor of providing additional air-power to Ukraine, at least insofar as they want the Polish Mig-29s transferred to Ukraine, along with air-defense missiles and other air combat related resources. These people are stepping directly up to the line, spitting across it, and daring Putin to spit in return. Here’s the letter:2022-03-10-senate-republicans-ukraine-letter-to-biden
This foolishness is the sound of morons stomping their feet in order to satisfy that segment of their respective electorates who think with uninspired and imprudent simplicity that “something must be done.” Of course, it’s mostly nonsense, but to the degree there is anything serious about it, the Biden administration will likely do nothing to pursue meeting their demands, so that in the end, they’ll be off the hook with a “Well, we tried.” The rest of the electorate, who opposes the war, either won’t see it or will forgive it when faced with electing a Democrat instead. It’s that thing which is preferred widely in Washington DC: A cynical but safe play. It’s another fan-dance.
The real answer to all of this is that there’s no reason of merit to send Americans into war in Ukraine, whether over land, by sea, or in the air, and no reason to militarily poke the bear. It could be argued at this point that providing additional aid to Ukraine merely forestalls the inevitable, or even worsens what will be the ultimate death toll. I’m not suggesting that Ukraine surrender, but their options are expiring. Ukraine must make the best decisions for their own country that they’re able, but with every passing hour, the moment in which their leadership is deposed by warfare accelerates. Zelenskiy may be a personally brave man, not fearing for his own life, but surely he’s not so motivated by bravado that he doesn’t understand his actual predicament. The West is not coming. They’ll be just as happy if the Russians take the place over entirely, disappearing Zelenskiy into a gulag or worse. They simply have too much dirt to hide, so that placing it out of reach and under Russian control is simply too inviting a prospect to ignore. Who more than Joe Biden himself hopes that Ukraine will simply go away? Hillary Clinton?
The other question about the notion of American involvement in any conflict under current leadership comes down to a serious matter that we’re confronting daily, and will continue to confront us until Joe Biden is hauled out of office, whether by election results, impeachment, indictment or by an undertaker. It’s one thing to have a figurehead reshuffling papers and executive orders, carrying out bureaucratic tragedies, but it’s something else again to have him conducting a war. Troops in the field need to have confidence that their chain of command is complete, in good order, and of sound mind (politics aside,) but it’s entirely clear that this man is not capable of wartime command. Frankly, neither is Kamala, nor is Barack Obama who is orchestrating all of this from his various bunkers and basements, whether in the Martha’s Vineyard, in DC, Hawaii or some billionaire’s yacht. There is no situation under which the United States should seek combat of any kind while this man remains in power. He’s simply not capable of it, and as a largely illegitimate president(one can claim otherwise, but that makes of them a liar or a dolt,) who has great difficulty conducting a press conference, there’s no situation in which he should be commanding the Armed Forces of the United States in time of war. To send troops into harm’s way under such a commander-in-chief is an abominable idea, and I thoroughly condemn the advocacy of any notion to the contrary. Only in such circumstance as the United States comes under direct attack should this man be in command of anything, and should it come to that, may God (or whomever you may worship) have mercy on your soul.
If we believe the threat of Russian expansionism is real, then we must begin immediately to act to stop it. Our opposition must be relentless: We must arm the West as though we intend to actually fight to stop it, and we must remember that China and Iran must be included in any containment strategy. These are every bit as dangerous to our nation and our way of life as Russia, and we mustn’t make any pretense to the contrary. Even now, China is warning that the US shouldn’t seek to create a NATO-like organization in the Western Pacific, but that is precisely what we should be doing. We should be getting together with South Korea, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Taiwan for exactly those purposes. In Europe, our red line must now become bold, but it must be drawn along Ukraine’s Western border. Moldova, which has applied reportedly for membership in the EU ought to be offered the umbrella of NATO if the other members can now agree, and their Eastern border must be muscled-up as soon as possible. Their time is already running-out, if expansion of Russia is the goal. The fact that we’re not now looking ahead as to how we can strengthen NATO makes me question the claims of worry over Russian expansionism. After all, if we really believe this is the intention of Russia, then we should be acting as though Moldova is the next step. It should also be the case that if we believe that this is what Russia intends, we must immediately withdraw from negotiations with Iran in which Russia is acting as a deal broker.
Naturally, I don’t think that there’s any way the Biden administration will withdraw from these talks, just as I don’t believe they intend to stop Russia. The real Russian Collusion is the Iran deal(JCPoA,) and it is the most important thing(to them) in which the Biden administration has been engaged since the beginning of the administration. As long as they’re on the hook for that deal, they’re not going to make any real demands to or provocations against Putin’s Russia. We’re being betrayed by the regime in Washington DC, and this fact more than any should turn Americans away from war on behalf of Ukraine. Instead, if you want to direct your ire and bellicose denunciations at the real tyrants driving-up your oil prices in ways no other enemy could match, I can tell you their famous address: 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
It’s even on google maps…