A show of military force by the United States and Europe would do more than any economic punishments to curb Russia's assault on Ukraine, retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer told Newsmax TV
Shaffer, senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research, told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner that intensified U.S. and European Union sanctions
will not alter the aggressive behavior of Russian President Vladimir Putin but will inflict economic damage on America's European allies — who have deeper commercial ties to Putin's Russia and depend heavily on it for oil and gas supplies.
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"The Russians are going to plan around these sanctions," Shaffer said.
That leaves military power, even if it's only used symbolically, as the way to defend Ukraine against having its territory annexed by Russian decree or split apart by Moscow-backed separatists waging war against the Kiev government, Shaffer argued.
He said there are military steps the U.S. and its NATO partners can take "immediately" that would not trigger a war with Russia but would show the West's determination.
"First off, what I would have done is sent the [U.S. Navy] Sixth Fleet into the Black Sea as soon as [Putin] annexed Crimea, just to make a statement," he said.
He also said it's time for the U.S. and NATO to revive a Cold War-era military drill, "Exercise Reforger,"
in which the U.S. sent troops en masse to Europe as practice for any real deployment that a confrontation with the Soviet Union might have required.
"This again would show resolve, and show that we're still there for our European allies," said Shaffer.
He also said that non-U.S. NATO members need to reconnect with the military part of their membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
"NATO has been disabused of any idea of actually having to plan for and conduct military activity," said Shaffer. "All their [non-U.S.] nations . . . really do not like military planning, which is fine. But in this case they need to show resolve. They need to come back together as NATO and show us."
Shaffer said the U.S. and Europe should re-launch the missile defense program that was intended for construction in Poland but "unilaterally" abandoned.
"I would start that back up," he said, ". . . . and make it a point to the Russians that we're not trying to face off with you. Missile defense is in the interest of everybody, especially with regard to the growing threat of the Iranian nuclear program."
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