Rethinking the War in Ukraine
Tucker Carlson and a handful of congressional Republicans, joined by the far left factions of the Democrat Party, seem to be continually annoyed by the success of Ukraine in combating the invasion by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Hardly a week goes by that we don’t have to suffer through another diatribe about Ukraine by Mr. Carlson which is mostly a rehash of arguments raised previously by him. It’s like listening to Sean Hannity and his litany of President Joe Biden’s (D) failures, which he manages to repeat each and every broadcast. (I realize that with Mr. Hannity it is a holdover from being a radio talk show host who has to keep repeating things because in a three hour broadcast – as once observed by Rush Limbaugh – you only get about fifteen minutes of your listeners’ time and therefore you have to keep making your point knowing that you have a brand new audience every fifteen minutes.) Regardless it’s annoying.
To my mind, the only legitimate point that Mr. Carlson makes is that we are spending billions of dollars defending Ukraine’s border and nothing defending our own southern boarder. In point of fact we probably spend more encouraging illegals to cross by providing them food, shelter, medical care, education, tuition assistance and travel assistance than we do resisting their advances. And that doesn’t include the government grants to immigrant advocacy groups who organize the travel from Central America to the Mexican-U.S. border. Someone should ask the question as to why we would fund organizations whose primary goal is to encourage and abet illegal entry into our country. But that is not the reason for this column.
This column is about Russian hegemony and America’s timid response. And it isn’t just a criticism of the current president, Mr. Biden. Every president since President Ronald Reagan has listened to the lily sniffing Elis* of the State Department and the Central Intelligence Agency who, to this day, have never encountered a threat that they didn’t magnify into an existential doomsday scenario. More precisely they haven’t encountered such a threat without the same solution – hot war or capitulation. Such an either/or response is proof positive that they should rename Yale’s Jackson School of Global Affairs as the Neville Chamberlain School of Easy Surrender.
It is this kind of advice that led to the stalemates in Afghanistan and Iraq under former President George W. Bush and which continued under President Barack Obama. It is this kind of advice that led to policy retreat after policy retreat in Iran, starting with President Bill Clinton and continuing to this very moment. It is this kind of advice that leaves the mess in the Middle East between Israel and the Palestinians. And it is this kind of advice that has created the uncertainty as to whether we are committed to NATO countries as well as Taiwan. It’s not just the oh so polite words we use in describing the situation, it is the ambivalent actions taken by various administrations. Ambivalence in the face of naked aggression is not the sign of a world leader.
My previous reference to Mr. Reagan was purposeful. Mr. Reagan understood from the start that among the many weapons possessed by America were American ingenuity, American economic superiority and American determination. A direct military confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union was unthinkable from both a conventional and nuclear war scenario. (Each side had more than sufficient nuclear weapons to destroy each other several times over.) But Mr. Reagan never believed that such a Hobson’s choice was inevitable nor that it required capitulation as the Elis of the State Department concluded. Mr. Reagan recognized that a centrally controlled economy – one of the inevitable results of communism – was grossly inefficient and made the Soviet Union vulnerable to economic pressure. In essence Mr. Reagan engaged in a contest to build the military might of America both from the standpoint of defending its position as a world leader but more importantly to force the Soviets to do the same – a path that it could not afford and which would and did lead to their economic collapse and the resulting collapse of the Soviet communist empire.
In a complex world there are seldom either/or choices – unless, of course, you are the Elis of the State Department and the intelligence community. And yet they continue to prevail. Bureaucracies once begun tend to populate themselves with like minded minions – if everybody thinks the same then you never have to defend your opinions. Frankly that is why so many lawyers are attracted to government positions because they can use the power of their position rather than the strength of their opinions to prevail. In a world of the weak-minded government service is your nirvana.
Despite the demise of the Soviet Union there are remnants of the old Soviet power structure that have risen to power in Russia under President Vladimir Putin and financed by a corrupt cadre of oligarchs whose wealth has grown along with Mr. Putin’s power and their ability to bend the Russian government to their financial benefit. Russia is basically a kleptocracy supporting a dictator with delusions of world dominance. Not unsurprisingly it mirrors Germany’s World War II alliance of German industrialists supporting a crazed Adolph Hitler. And not surprisingly while liberal/progressives and socialists rail against imaginary internal fascists threats in America they remain steadfast in their silence about a real fascist society in Russia. But Mr. Putin, his cadre of oligarchs and his penchant for centralized control engender the same economic weakness that led to the collapse of the Soviet Union.
And Mr. Putin began that march toward ruin when he invaded the much smaller Ukraine. He was encouraged to do so by Mr. Obama’s silence when Russia invaded and then absorbed Crimea in 2014. It’s safe to assume that Mr. Obama was following the advice of the Elis of the State Department that the choice was between a hot war with Russia and capitulation. (It wasn’t true then any more than it is today when Mr. Putin invaded Ukraine.) But Mr. Obama chose capitulation.
Based on the same advice, Mr. Biden chose capitulation prior to and during the initial stages of the invasion of Ukraine. He declined to provide military aid to Ukraine and famously said that the United States’ response would be based on how much of Ukraine that Russia attempted to seize. Apparently, if it was just a chunk of the eastern border or a land bridge to the ports of Crimea and Odessa, Mr. Biden would turn a blind eye.
When Mr. Putin launched a four-point invasion it was obvious that his intention was to seize all of Ukraine and install a puppet government. And even then Mr. Biden slow rolled each and every decision to provide weapons to Ukraine. Most military experts agree that had Mr. Biden provided Ukraine with weapons support prior to the invasion that the invasion would probably never had occurred. But the Elis of the State Department continue to counsel caution so as to avoid a hot war, a nuclear escalation, a battlefield confrontation. And yet the Ukraine military forces proved their mettle and the Russian forces proved their weakness engendered by centralized control. As Ukraine first fought the Russian military to a standstill the weapons supply began to increase mostly due to international pressure. And as Ukraine began to recapture land and punish the Russian forces the military aid increased. And yet despite that Mr. Biden and the Elis of the State Department are quietly working to impose a resolution that leaves Mr. Putin and his corrupt oligarchs in possession of a substantial portion of Ukraine including the land bridge to Crimea and the ports of Odessa.
What Mr. Biden misses is the same opportunity presented to Mr. Reagan to rid the world of a growing menace. Unwittingly, Mr. Biden has provided sufficient support to Ukraine to cause the war to significantly degrade Russia’s economy and ability to provide armaments to its troops. They are now reliant on Iran, North Korea and China for arms and on private armies from the Baltic states for manpower. A strategic refocus by Mr. Biden (without the counsel of the Elis of the State Department) can force Mr. Putin into economic chaos as he is confronted by the now well trained and better armed Ukraine forces. To that end, instead of playing footsie with Iran, Mr. Biden should upgrade sanctions. Instead of ignoring North Korea, Mr Biden should likewise increase economic pressure on it. And providing additional military assistance and a strong presence in Taiwan should warn China that forays similar to Mr. Putin’s will be costly.
It is the latter initiative that is most important. For six decades China has been the junior partner in the Sino-Soviet bloc. While in the beginning six decades ago Russia was the dominant military and economic partner, those roles have reversed with the emergence of China as the largest economy in the world. And yet, Russia continues to treat China as a junior partner – a large measure of it due to racism which permeates Russian society. But President Xi Jinping of China is much smarter than Mr. Putin and much more patient. As Russia requires more aid from China, Mr. Xi parcels it out enough to keep Mr. Putin dependent but not enough to change the course of the war. It is like a drug pusher grooming a junkie. In the end Russia’s military will fail, the Ukraine will regain its territories, Russia’s economy will be in tatters and China will assume either actual or economic control over Russia’s vast natural resources, including oil, gas and coal desperately needed by China to fuel its economic growth. It may also change China’s focus at least temporarily and give the next President of the United States an opportunity to rid our policies of the Elis of the State Department and refocus them on a new dual policy of military and economic strength.
For those of you wringing your hands at the cost of military support for Ukraine, think again. According to the Congressional Research Service the United States has provided approximately $19.1 Billion in military aid to Ukraine as of December 7, 2022. To put that in context, according to NBCNews approximately $80 Billion was stolen from the Paycheck Protection Plan (PPP), $90 Billion from the COVID unemployment relief funds, and probably another $80 Billion for the COVID disaster relief funds – and most of that we did not try to prevent and are not even trying to recover.
But none of this is going to happen under Mr. Biden so long as he listens to morons like Secretary of State Antony Blinker and his chorus of surrender monkeys in the State Department.
* Yale University graduates are referred to as Elis in deference to its founder Elihu Yale. What was once a proud honorific is now mentioned as both a compliment and a derisive depending on the context – in this instance a derisive reflecting a habit of group think and intolerance to different opinions.