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Push Where There’s Mush

Posted on Wednesday, March 16, 2022
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by Outside Contributor
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7 Comments
Ukraine

There is no substitute for American strength. When America’s enemies find weakness, they exert pressure. And today, America’s enemies are finding weakness at nearly every turn.

Vladimir Lenin supposedly stated that his preferred foreign policy strategy was to “probe with bayonets: if you find mush, you push. If you find steel, you withdraw.” Vladimir Putin follows the same strategy. This week, as his forces shell Kyiv and batter Kharkiv, Putin has been upping the ante. He has unleashed strikes against Ukrainian targets near the Polish border, tacitly threatening to attack a NATO member. He continues to leverage his natural gas and oil supply to hold Europe hostage. His foreign policy apparatus continues to threaten the possibility of wider war should the West send in further armaments including MiGs sufficient to repel the Russian invasion. He has reached out to China for support. And he has utilized America’s overweening desire for some sort of Iranian nuclear deal to press for American concessions on evading sanctions.

All of Putin’s pressure has met with mixed response. The West has continued shipments of certain types of materiel, including Javelin and Stinger missiles. But this week, the Biden administration signaled first that it would allow shipment of MiGs to Ukraine, then backed off, claiming that such shipments might amount to escalation. Meanwhile, the West’s economic sanctions are being maintained — but Russia announced this week that the United States had made written concessions that would exempt Russia’s ability to trade with Iran, despite Iran firing missiles at a U.S. consulate in Erbil, Iraq.

What’s the chief message from all of this waffling? That the West’s threats are, at best, sporadically credible. Russia believes that if it ramps up the pressure harshly enough on Ukraine and threatens the West enough with nuclear war, it will be able to pry out of Ukraine diplomatically what it has been unable to pry out of Ukraine militarily — and Russia may well succeed. After all, Germans can’t continue to pay $8.25 per gallon for gas forever.

At the same time, China, which has been playing both sides against the middle, is watching. China has been offering itself out as a “neutral mediator” between Russia and the West, despite the fact that China is an out-and-out Putin ally. China has been buying up troubled Russian assets at bargain-basement prices, strengthening both their connections with Russia and their portfolio — and meanwhile, China has received little credible threat of blowback from the West, which does not want to exacerbate inflationary problems by intensifying supply chain issues. As The New York Times reported, “a consensus is forming in Chinese policy circles that one country stands to emerge victorious from the turmoil: China.” Investors are beginning to worry about the possibility of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan.

Nonaligned countries are increasingly skittish about Western promises. It is no coincidence that as Team Biden reaches out to Iran via Russia, Saudi Arabia has declined to take Biden’s phone calls and instead reached out to China. It is no wonder that India, which buys exorbitant amounts of weaponry from Russia to counter China and Pakistan, has refused to denounce Russia. When the West wavers, it becomes a bad bet. 

Western deterrence already failed in Ukraine. If the West fails to reestablish deterrence in the next phase of global geopolitics, the results will be even more dire, and the realignment currently playing out will only accelerate — to the detriment of the U.S. and its allies.

Ben Shapiro, 38, is a graduate of UCLA and Harvard Law School, host of “The Ben Shapiro Show,” and editor-in-chief of DailyWire.com. He is the author of the New York Times bestsellers “How To Destroy America In Three Easy Steps,” “The Right Side Of History,” and “Bullies.”

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PaulE
PaulE
2 years ago

1) The first question that should be asked of Biden and the Democrats is “Do they really want Ukraine to have a chance, as remote as it might be at this point, to actually prevail at opposing a forced takeover of their country by Putin?” The answer to that question would do much to answer and explain why Biden and the Democrats have been so squishy and slow to date regarding how they both badly mishandled the one year lead up to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent U.S. responses since then. Democrats have always been big admirers of socialism and Russia in particular, because they themselves love the notion of a command-and-control government. Where the government doesn’t have to acquiesce to the will of the people, because the Constitution limits what the government can do to its citizenry without their consent. Where the leader can merely dictate the direction of the country and its people simply by issuing decrees based on the personal whims of the day. This also explains why the Democrats have such an affinity for modern day China as well.

2) Most modern western leaders in NATO and western European countries have largely put themselves into bondage to both Russia and China, because they chose to adopt many of the tenets of socialism in their countries. This started in earnest in the early 1970s in most of Europe. In western Europe, most countries have scaled back their means to defend themselves from any substantial military threat, that are completely dependent on the United States for their defense. All in order to create huge social welfare states to buy votes to stay in order to maintain power and also sadly enrich themselves at the expense of the greater good of their nations. In essence, becoming the very mush Lenin was talking about.

Both Russia and China have been more than willing to facilitate a greater dependence of both western Europe and the United States on their socialistic regimes for decades. In place of the bayonets that Lenin spoke of, both Russia and China have instead used financial enticements, empty promises, and frankly the stupidity of many world leaders to woo much of the West to allow both socialistic regimes greater power over them. The rest of the non-aligned world sees “the mush” and is already starting to make its choices over who they will side with in the future, and it apparently isn’t us.

Dan W.
Dan W.
2 years ago

Spam alert

PaulE
PaulE
2 years ago

1) The first question that should be asked of Biden and the Democrats is “Do they really want Ukraine to have a chance, as remote as it might be at this point, to actually prevail at opposing a forced takeover of their country by Putin?” The answer to that question would do much to answer and explain why Biden and the Democrats have been so squishy and slow to date regarding how they both badly mishandled the one year lead up to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent U.S. responses since then. Democrats have always been big admirers of socialism and Russia in particular, because they themselves love the notion of a command-and-control government. Where the government doesn’t have to acquiesce to the will of the people, because the Constitution limits what the government can do to its citizenry without their consent. Where the leader can merely dictate the direction of the country and its people simply by issuing decrees based on the personal whims of the day. This also explains why the Democrats have such an affinity for modern day China as well.

2) Most modern western leaders in NATO and western European countries have largely put themselves into bondage to both Russia and China, because they chose to adopt many of the tenets of socialism in their countries. This started in earnest in the early 1970s in most of Europe. In western Europe, most countries have scaled back their means to defend themselves from any substantial military threat, that are completely dependent on the United States for their defense. All in order to create huge social welfare states to buy votes to stay in order to maintain power and also sadly enrich themselves at the expense of the greater good of their nations. In essence, becoming the very mush Lenin was talking about.

Both Russia and China have been more than willing to facilitate a greater dependence of both western Europe and the United States on their socialistic regimes for decades. In place of the bayonets that Lenin spoke of, both Russia and China have instead used financial enticements, empty promises, and frankly the stupidity of many world leaders to woo much of the West to allow both socialistic regimes greater power over them. The rest of the non-aligned world sees “the mush” and is already starting to make its choices over who they will side with in the future, and it apparently isn’t us.

Dan W.
Dan W.
2 years ago

Spam alert

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