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Tags: crimea | nato | ussr

Biden Lacks Trump's Skillset to Counter Soviet Threat to Ukraine

russia cuts off ukraine from crimea
 (Iaroslav Horbunov/Dreamstime.com)

Yuri Vanetik By Friday, 17 December 2021 01:13 PM EST Current | Bio | Archive

Th e following article is the second part of a two part analysis

As the Kremlin amasses 175,000 Russian troops along the Ukrainian border, it's worthwhile to consider how the previous U.S. administration would have handled Russia’s military posturing.

The exercise just cited may provide guidance to the current U.S. administration and is drawn on recent history of American foreign policy.

Invoking the threat of more robust economic sanctions, the Biden White House has offered to date, what amounts to, a milquetoast response.

Economic sanctions are indeed a civil and effective countermeasure, but they should be imposed rather than threatened, and they should be combined with an engagement of a military coalition.

Therein lies the difference between the current administration and its predecessor when it comes to Russian military threat in Europe.

In a video call with Putin, President Biden warned of severe economic sanctions if Russian troops invade Ukraine. A day later, Biden explicitly ruled out unilateral U.S. military intervention if Russia were to invade — even as Russian president himself refused to rule out an invasion.

The weakness and predictability of the current U.S. stance is almost an invitation to Russia to have at it. President Trump never would have ruled out anything — keep them guessing - let them think you might be crazy enough to do the unexpected.

Trump’s approach to Ukraine was fundamentally tougher, despite harsh criticism from liberals (and those who could not get beyond idiosyncrasies of his demeanor) that he was too cozy with Vladimir Putin.

Trump shipped anti-tank missiles to Ukraine, while his predecessor, President Obama, delivered "pillows and sheets."

Trump also opposed the Russian-built pipeline Nord Stream 2, an $11 billion project spanning 764 miles beneath the Baltic Sea to supply natural gas to Germany and Europe.

In late 2019, in a rare bipartisan moment, Congress passed a new bill that Trump signed into law, citing the pipeline as a "tool of coercion" for Russian influence over Europe and imposing sanctions on contractor companies that assisted in the construction.

However, in May of this year, the Biden administration unwisely declined to impose the only sanctions that could have halted the project, with only 10 miles of pipeline left to lay.

This Biden "gift" freed the pipeline company Nord Stream 2 AG and its CEO of any penalties, without exacting any concessions at all from Russia, in return.

That’s bad business and incompetent deal-making, and Trump despite being crude and lacking foreign policy savvy, would have most likely fired any advisor who would recommend such an irrational course.

It's a recurring weakness of today’s Democrats, as I wrote here last June.

Extrapolating from Trump’s past behavior, we can assume that he would have taken Russian military maneuvers to task in ways that would resonate more effectively with Kremlin rather than resorting to current administration’s escalation in pedantic civility veiled in more economic sanctions.

Even worse is the double-speak of U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, an educated and experienced diplomat, who strangely put out a statement saying, "We will continue to oppose the completion of this project . . . Our opposition to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline is unwavering."


Right: we continue to oppose the pipeline, even as we lift sanctions that could have stopped its completion. Authoritarian leaders like Vladimir Putin see that sop for what it is: the U.S. lacks the wherewithal to stop them. This adds an air of ominous inevitability to the faceoff at the Ukraine border.

As Putin himself wrote in an article he published last July, he believes Russians and Ukrainians are "one people — a single whole."

The Biden administration stated last month it looks to NATO to deter any Russian aggression in Ukraine, as Ukrainian President Volodmyr Zelenskiy accused Russia of backing a plot to overthrow him on Dec. 1-2 (which didn’t happen, but continues to loom).

Ukraine officials, however, believe that NATO would fail to intervene against a Russian incursion, even though NATO is technologically capable of stopping Russian militarily, points out a wise friend of mine in Ukrainian government circles. NATO’s members are too divided.

Instead, Ukraine would look to the U.S., the UK, and Turkey, this source says, as well as Poland, Lithuania, and Moldova, which may be wary that a Russia-Ukraine conflict might domino into an attempted re-annexation of the old USSR.

Without any help, he notes, "A massacre would begin, which would lead to the death of tens of thousands of soldiers in the early days, the death and injury of up to 100,000 civilians, widespread panic, and the escape of tens of thousands of citizens to neighboring countries. A catastrophe would begin in the middle of Europe."

The Biden administration must do more to pre-empt and derail Kremlin’s intentions.

One approach is by building up Ukraine, economically and militarily, as Russia’s largest borderline foe, as I suggested here. More immediately, U.S. should apply pressure financially — right now — to derail intimidation tactics against Ukraine.

First strike: restore U.S. opposition to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline; refuse to sign new contracts with the companies that assisted construction, seize assets where advisable and legally permissible, and freeze bank accounts, until Russia relents and stands down.

At the same time, as I have explained in a recent interview with journalist David Kamioner, economic sanctions alone, are likely not enough.

To stop Russian aggression, America needs to build a coalition and engage in military exercises of its own.

Without strategic military support, Ukraine is at risk of losing a segment of its Eastern territory. All of Ukraine’s South along the Black Sea including Zaporozhskaya, part of Dnepropetrovskaya Region, Khersonskaya Region, Nikolayevskaya Region, and Odeskaya Region are at risk.

In this century, the driver of international relations is trade, and the first battleground in warfare lies on the economic front. Impose harsh sanctions and stick to them; build a military coalition, and Russia might back down rather than risk an escalation that truly tests our resolve.

Threats of sanctions will not alter the outcome of this political chess game.

Yuri Vanetik is a private investor, lawyer and political strategist based in California. Read Yuri Vanetik's Reports — More Here.

© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

To stop Russian aggression, America needs to build a coalition and engage in military exercises of its own. Without strategic military support, Ukraine is at risk of losing a segment of its Eastern territory.
crimea, nato, ussr
Friday, 17 December 2021 01:13 PM
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