Question: America and the whole world are shocked and outraged by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Can or should America or NATO do more than impose sanctions and send shoulder-fired anti-tank weapons and a few anti-aircraft missiles?
A deal for NATO countries to send fighter jets, which Politico says could be a “game changer” for Ukraine, apparently has fallen apart. And all NATO allies have declined to enforce a no-fly zone over Ukraine. Are those correct decisions?
Putin’s invasion has prompted a unified response on the part of the United States, Europe and our allies. President Biden has shrewdly organized a coalition that has pushed back on Russian aggression in unprecedented ways: Russia’s central bank’s assets have been shut down; their stock market is closed; Russian assets in Swiss banks, and real estate, yachts and luxury goods have been frozen. Putin and his wealthy cronies are isolated; they’re currently pariahs.
Will this repudiation against Russia’s actions slow the advance in Ukraine? In spite of the brave, inspiring images of ordinary citizens arming themselves to fight for their country, and in the face of protests inside Russia against the war, Russian bombs, missiles and artillery are destroying Ukrainian cities, including civilian targets such as schools and hospitals.
Putin already is calling the economic sanctions against Russia an act of war—he’ll certainly view more military support for Ukraine as grounds for ramping up his threats against the West. He’s said that he’ll consider a nuclear response. Short of that, he has a far more sophisticated cyber-warfare arsenal than we do. Our electric grid and water supply are terribly vulnerable to a cyber-attack.
Frankly, I think we should give Ukraine whatever help they need short of sending in American personnel—if we can assist in supplying food and essential supplies, we ought to help. If we can send additional weapons to help Ukraine to defend themselves, we should do so. We risk Putin retaliating against the us, but if ever there was a time stand up to a bully, it’s my opinion that this is that time.
I agree that Ukraine is Europe’s worst tragedy since Hitler marched across the plains of Ukraine in 1940. Nothing has shown the perfidy, brutality and madness of Vladimir Putin in such stark relief as this unprovoked, bloody assault against a gentle, innocuous, peace-loving nation that represents no threat to his country.
I do, however, respectfully disagree with your vigorous defense of Joe Biden’s handling of this affair. You called Putin a bully, and I agree. Biden knew that from day one. There’s only one way to deal with a bully, and that’s to stand up to him early and with strength. Instead, Biden timidly chose not to stand up to this bully before it was too late.
From a military standpoint, I believe Biden is the worst strategic thinker to ever occupy the White House. Instead of imposing sanctions the day the first tank rolled up to the Ukrainian border, and conveying the message that they would only be removed when Russia withdrew, Biden wrung his hands and allowed the buildup to continue without punishment until Putin was convinced that he had nothing to fear from Joe Biden and the Americans.
Early on, we should have promised Ukraine air cover if Russia invaded. Had Putin understood from the start that Russia’s economy would be ruined and that they stood to lose tens of thousands of invading soldiers, I doubt the first Russian soldier would have stepped an inch across the Ukrainian border.
Putin is no fool, nor is he insane. Had he understood the high price his country would pay from the beginning, this war would never have happened.
That’s the way I see it, Alison, what say you?
Steve, I say that it is easy to assert you would have done something different and sooner and that it would have stopped Putin’s invasion, when we have no way knowing what would have happened.
Biden was not “standing by, wringing his hands.” Do you think that this collaborative response by the United States, Europe and our Asian allies came together in a minute, by a person with no diplomatic skills or contacts? I certainly don’t!
We haven’t ever seen such a unified, effective economic response—ever. Biden’s actions have exposed Putin’s complete disregard for the loss of innocent civilian lives or those of his own military.
Putin talks tough to his opponents and creates “false flag” operations (which he has done as part of his strategy on this occasion and others) as justification for his attacks.
Right now, he is creating a lattice of lies that the United States has been developing chemical weapons. He’s feeding this lie to the media in Russia, and if we or our allies step too far, he may use chemical weapons in Ukraine, blame it on the United States, then attack us in retaliation, and hope his own citizens and others believe him.
Biden must step carefully and skillfully, striking the balance of helping Ukraine and protecting America and our allies. He’s doing that, and not by dithering. He is making sure to rebuild our bonds with our allies; hurting Putin and cutting off his ability to fuel his war chest; and he’s ensuring that we don’t stand alone against the Russian military, the international Financial Stability Board (FSB) and Putin’s allies in India, China and the Middle East.
If we did send in war planes, and Putin used this as a prompt to hit the nuclear button, or use cyber warfare directly against us, would you then say that Biden had acted wisely?
The problem is that as long as we continue to dance to Putin’s tune, he’ll keep playing it. Putin, like other bullies, only understands and respects two things: strength and power. And he sees neither coming from the Joe Biden administration.
The proof is how Biden has handled Poland’s offer to provide Ukraine with the all the MIG 29s in the Polish air force. Biden fears offending Putin more than he believes in doing what’s right.
The one sure way to condemn the Ukrainians to slavery is for us to play by Putin’s rules. I agree that NATO has never been more united, but it’s not because the U.S. is showing strength, it’s because they live in the same neighborhood as the Russian bear, and don’t want to be its next meal.
Vladimir Putin is a cold, calculating man who believes he has nothing to fear from the Americans as long as he can continue to keep Joe Biden in fear. So far, Biden’s hesitant actions reinforce that belief —and Putin continues to send bombs and missiles.
Who’s next? Poland? Maybe not yet. They’re a NATO member. But Latvia, Moldova, Sweden, Finland, Lithuania, Estonia? Take your pick. Putin won’t stop until we stand up and push back.
Make no mistake. Putin doesn’t want a nuclear exchange any more than we do, but he knows that that prospect has Joe Biden quaking in his boots. And that’s just where Putin wants him.
If we, the United States and NATO, don’t stop Putin now, we might as well hand him the keys to Europe—and the Europeans know that.