In February of 2014, Russia, under the direction of President Vladimir Putin, invaded and captured the Crimea – then a part of the Ukraine. He did it in spite of dire warnings by then President Barack Obama of imminent and consequential economic reprisals all of which were either never imposed or dissipated in short order. The result was Mr. Putin had a thirty day skirmish with local partisan who Mr. Obama refused to aid resulting in the Crimea being under Mr. Putin’s control. (One might remember that Mr. Obama in 2012 urged then Russian puppet president Dmitri Medvedev to tell Mr. Putin to wait until after the 2012 presidential election when he would have “more flexibility.”) It is obvious that Mr. Obama’s whispered request was an acknowledgment that the United States would do nothing to impede Mr. Putin or Russia as it began to reassemble the pieces of the old Soviet Union.
Fast forward to today.
For over four weeks, President Joe Biden has been warning that a Russian invasion of the Ukraine was imminent – in his first iterations the “imminent” was vague but as time progressed without an “imminent” invasion, Mr. Biden’s warnings became more dire, more immediate and still without actuality. Meanwhile, President Vladimir Putin was denying any intention of invading the Ukraine despite an escalating conflict between Russian backed separatist on the Ukraine’s eastern border and the Ukrainian government. Both Mr. Biden and Mr. Putin are notorious liars. Mr. Biden’s allegations were backed by a constant stream of “intelligence” reports from the State Department and the intelligence communities – both highly partisan liars themselves. While Mr. Putin’s claims were backed by his own intelligence service – the remnants of the old Soviet KGB for whom Mr. Putin was once a senior operative – who likewise are notorious liars.
Mr Biden’s coup de grace was to send the unprepared and hapless Vice-president Kalamata Harris to Germany to – well, we will never know what she was supposed to do because she did nothing other than demonstrate her ineptness by simultaneous asserting that the planned sanctions by the United States, the members of the North American Treaty Organization (NATO) and other allies were an effective deterrent to Mr. Putin and Russia while stating that Mr. Putin had already made up his mind to invade the Ukraine. Ms. Harris, as usual, was a “deer in the headlights” when challenged on the dichotomy of her talking points. (Given that she never took the time to understand the “talking points” I doubt that she yet understands how foolish she looked while her mouth was running and her eyes were desperately seeking an escape. It’s almost like forces in the White House look for opportunities to make her look the fool she actually insists on remaining.)
So, on Tuesday, February 22, 2022, Mr. Putin ordered Russian troops into two regions of eastern Ukraine. (For those still seeking Q and the conspiracy theories surrounding him/her, please note that the Russian invasion was on Tuesday, 2/22/22 – whoa that is mind blowing – if your mind is powered by a AAA battery and nothing else.)
Like former President Bill Clinton, Mr. Putin enjoys parsing his words. In his words, he has not invaded the Ukraine, rather he has moved troops into the eastern regions to protect the newly minted separatist states from the Ukraine military. He has done precisely what Mr. Biden conceded back in January – a minor incursion would result in a “muted response.” Mr. Putin has absolutely zero respect for Mr. Biden. (A view shared by many of our allies, most of the rest of the world and a growing majority in the United States – including me.) He knows with certainty that Mr. Biden is a weak and feckless leader and that he can be bullied and made a fool of at virtually any moment. He also knows that the “reprisals” by Mr. Putin will be limited – using Western banking services to secure new Russian debt, some additional limitations on Russia’s criminal oligarchs, and suspending approvals necessary for completion of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline but leaving the use of the other three oil and gas pipelines from Russia to Europe unaffected. (As a side note there is nothing currently in the Nord Stream 2 pipeline so suspension of its construction has absolutely no financial impact and continuation of the other three pipelines means Western revenues will continue to flow into Russia to finance this incursion and other hostile actions. It is not even a “half-measure” it like the COVID masks are mostly “theatre.”
So what should be done?
That is a question that should have been asked of then President George W. Bush when Mr. Putin ordered the invasion of Georgia. That is a question that should have been asked of Mr. Obama when he gave up the Crimea. That is a question that should have been asked of Mr. Biden when Putin began amassing troops in Belarus and on the eastern border of the Ukraine earlier this year. But none of them did because they didn’t want to admit the malignant intentions of Mr. Putin and thus be put to the task of building a defense to thwart those intentions. None of them did – at least not until it was too late – and then weak economic sanctions were all that were left.
Still, what would you have Mr. Biden do? But for Ms. Harris as his probable successor, I would suggest that Mr. Biden acknowledge the mess he has made of the country in both foreign and domestic policies and resign. But Ms. Harris would be medicine that is worse than the disease.
Given that, Mr. Biden should remain in place and do two things – one public and one private. In the first instance he should cancel all of the restrictions he has placed on oil and gas production, including locations, drilling, and transportation of oil and gas (pipelines.) The best deterrent is to return America to a position of economic strength so that it can confront what is yet to come. The second thing is render Russia’s oligarch’s financially impotent by seizing their assets, eliminating their access to financial markets and commencing legal actions in such fashion as to ensure that they do not leave Russia for fear of arrest and indictment. And then send a private signal to those oligarchs that the beatings will continue until Mr. Putin is removed. While Mr. Putin does not fear Mr. Biden for good reason, he does fear the Russian oligarchs for even better reasons.
Meanwhile Mr. Biden, please do nothing. You have failed at everything you touched as President (as well as before) and any attempts by you will most assuredly make a horrible situation even worse. Better yet, go back to Delaware and your home at Rehoboth and your basement in Providence.