February 15, 2022

Ukraine, Russia, and the West Stand at a Crossroads

Thanks largely to Biden’s weakness, Putin readies to invade Ukraine.

White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan recently warned that a Russian invasion into Ukraine was “now immediate enough” to call Americans living in the country to leave. “We continue to see signs of Russian escalation, including new forces arriving at the Ukrainian border,” Sullivan contended. “As we’ve said before, we are in the window when an invasion could begin at any time should Vladimir Putin decide to order it.”

Israel, Britain, Germany, South Korea, and Japan are likewise warning or ordering their citizens to evacuate Ukraine as soon as possible. French President Emmanuel Macron recently told Putin that “sincere dialogue was not compatible with escalation,” a pointed rebuke of Putin’s claim to be concerned only with securing Russia’s defensive interests even as he deploys more troops and has begun navy exercises in the Black Sea and military drills in Belarus.

But then Russia said this morning that some troops will be pulling back to their bases. “We won’t believe when we hear,” said Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba. “We’ll believe when we see.”

Biden’s Secretary of State Antony Blinken has now ordered the full evacuation of the U.S. embassy in Kyiv. “We are in the process of temporarily relocating our Embassy operations in Ukraine from our Embassy in Kyiv to Lviv due to the dramatic acceleration in the buildup of Russian forces,” Blinken said. “These prudent precautions in no way undermine our support for our commitment to Ukraine. Our commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity is unwavering.”

Practically speaking for Russia, its window for an aggressive assault is narrowing — waiting too long would risk the loss of ideal winter conditions for ease of heavy equipment transport over frozen ground. Spring-softened ground would quickly become muddy, severely bogging down an advance.

Many have assumed that Putin wouldn’t dare to strike during the Winter Olympics now being hosted in China due to the negative press it would bring not only on Russia but on China as well. However, such consideration is likely of little concern to Putin, especially when faced with the greater issue of the consideration of engaging the most favorable tactical military decisions for delivering a successful campaign. A surprise move by Russia to invade before the end of the Olympic Games may prove to be the difference between success and failure.

Regarding Biden’s threat of sanctions should Putin attack Ukraine, Russian Ambassador to Sweden Viktor Tatarintsev downplayed their impact. “New sanctions are nothing positive but not as bad as the West makes it sound,” he asserted. “The more the West pushes Russia, the stronger the Russian response will be.”

So, should Russia strike within the next couple of days, what will Biden’s and NATO’s response be? Even more concerning, what will China do regarding its clear desire to take over Taiwan? Will Xi Jinping act rapidly against the island nation? If that scenario unfolds, what will Biden do and how quickly will he do it?

The U.S. and the West are standing on the precipice of a potentially world-changing moment, and unfortunately America is stuck with a doddering feckless president who seems to be living in fairyland.

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