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Russia, Ukraine, NATO – Where is US Leadership?

Posted on Tuesday, February 1, 2022
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by AMAC, Robert B. Charles
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Russia

The Russia-Ukraine-NATO-US standoff is becoming intense. Like conflicts in the Middle East, it is more and less complicated than commonly understood. A summary foreshadows the likely outcomes.

To start with, Russian history is worth a nod. Founded in 882, Russia became Christian in 988, prior to the East-West Church split in 1054. Russia evolved – like much of Europe – into a monarchy or Tsardom in 1547, was an “empire” under Peter the Great after 1721 (closely tied to Europe), freed slaves or surfs in 1861 (before America), almost became a republic in the early 1900s, then was overtaken by the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, triggering 70 years of oppression under the Soviets, collapse of that Communist state in 1991, the same year Ukraine – finally – got independence.

The strategic significance of Ukraine, gradually more important over the centuries, was essentially three-fold. First, it holds the warm water port of Sevastopol, a rare deep port on the Black Sea, critical for both Russian and Ukrainian access to the Mediterranean and Atlantic.

Second, Greater Russia – in historical context and by reference to the original Christian and Russian-speaking territories – has always been both sprawling and slightly paranoid about borders. In stark contrast to current indifference to the US border, Russia has always been preoccupied about invasion.

The relative merits of Russian border paranoia are bounded by two harsh facts: The Soviet Union was Communist, ruthless, oppressive, and expansive, taking and dominating Eastern Europe, the Balkans, Baltics, and points on the Soviet periphery. Those actions were immoral, illegal, and indefensible.

On the other hand, Russia has been invaded repeatedly over history, beginning with the Mogul invasion of 1223, which incidentally began in Kiev, which today is in Ukraine. It was a central part of Christian Russia, and later the Soviet sphere, until freed in 1991. Just listen to “Bells of Kiev” by Mussorgsky.

The invasions of Russia over time were not inconsequential, even if the Soviets used that as an ugly excuse for Communist expansion. The included Crimean War of 1571, invasions by Poland, Sweden, France under Napoleon, Japan to the East, Germany in WWI, and again in WWII.

These events – if you read Russian history, books like the “Icon and the Axe,” by James Billington, or any credible Russian history – were costly and left deep scars on the Russian people. Unlike the US, which lost half a million dead to WWII, the Russian territory was invaded – and they lost 27 million. That kind of thing leaves deep cultural, psychological, and security syndromes.

Of course, none of that justifies – in our modern age – military suppression of another country’s sovereignty, people, rights, or invasion of their territory. Nothing justified the Russian invasion of Georgia (on its border) or Ukraine in 2104 – an independent country – or Russia’s seizure of Sevastopol.

The right course would have been – as with places like formerly free Hong Kong and formerly leased Panama, both vital to the West – a negotiated agreement and long-term lease for Russian access, profiting Ukraine and satisfying fears. The Obama-Biden White House had that chance, punted it.

So, where are we now? Like a festering sore, too long ignored, the Russia-Ukraine conflict, compounded by unaddressed aspirations by Ukraine and concerns by Russia over NATO membership (ironically once imagined by former Bush 41 Secretary of State James Baker to possibly include Russia itself!), has grown infected, inflamed, and now borders on geopolitical gangrene. 

Where we are now – is a product of poor communication going back 30 years, permissive behavior by the Obama and Biden White Houses – Allowing Russia to think America and NATO are a paper tiger, their word not real. 

This crisis is also a product of recent events. An autocratic Russian leader tested Biden and learned he can act with impunity – after no price was sought for START Treaty extension, Biden’s nod for a transcontinental pipeline making Europe dependent on Russia, Obama-Biden balk in Syria, Biden’s horrific, shameless, chaotic retreat from Afghanistan.

So, where does all this leave us? Reports put up to 175,000 Russian troops on Ukraine’s border, with possible shadow populations “refugees”) on borders (controlled by Russia in Belarus) of NATO countries, Poland, Latvia, and Lithuania.

Putin is pushing his luck. Biden – who was effectively asleep until recent days, as he was in the runup to the Afghanistan departure in fear of the Taliban – has come alive, at least in words. Demands put to him by Russia back in December have suddenly gotten a response, private – likely to shield appeasement.

Publicly, a scared-looking President and Secretary of State have used contradictory words and phrases, like “massive consequences” and then “common ground” and “pragmatic.”  The truth is, words are cheap, and they get cheaper when contradictory, late, and carrying little historic or instant credibility.

Russia wants Ukraine to stay within its own orbit, if not officially, then unofficially. They want assurances Ukraine never becomes part of NATO. They are pushing for a power grab, too. Their demands are transparently illegal, and fed by a rich combination of opportunism, paranoia, avarice, and history.

Where will it end? That depends on whether a credible threat by the US and NATO of meaningful, swift, and certain consequences, military, trade, diplomatic, and – above all – lasting and painful, is delivered. 

To date, the progression – looks a lot like back-and-fill appeasement, too little too late at best, not much, and not likely to stop the Russian power and territory grab at worst. People around the world – including our adversaries – do not believe Biden and his feckless team. 

What the Russians, Chinese, Iranians, North Koreans, and others see if profound, objective, recurring acts of weakness, bordering on incomprehension, disengagement, indifference, incompetence, and leadership cowardice. We can only hope seasoned diplomats intercede, because trends look dark. What we are seeing, at the nub, is an absence of US leadership.

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Terrie
Terrie
2 years ago

Why is it any of Russian business if Ukraine joins NATO?

Max
Max
2 years ago

That is the game in a nutshell. By the time US leadership and NATO wake up from its nap, it will be too late.

PaulE
PaulE
2 years ago

I love your thought that you hope “seasoned diplomats intercede”. Who in the current Biden State Department would that be? The same people that allowed the Iranians to steamroll the United States into the abysmal so-called Iranian Nuclear Deal are the same incompetents helping to mess up American foreign policy now around the world. Putin has already assessed both Biden and Blinken and he doesn’t seem to care what either has to say at this point.

If Biden wanted to actually be proactive (what a concept huh?), he could cut-off Russia’s access to SWIFT and cripple a good chunk of their international finances. The economic sanctions that Congress is currently playing around, once Putin invades Ukraine, is a nice start, but again they are reactive and also not impactful enough to get Putin to stop BEFORE he invades Ukraine. Biden is NOT proactive and the people around him are, how shall we say this nicely, not the A team one would like to present a strong diplomatic stance. As such Putin is controlling the game at this point.

As for NATO and the U.K., well NATO has already said what their position is regarding Ukraine. Germany of course is accommodative to Russia as they are now dependent on Russia for their energy needs. So that chess piece is effectively off the board. The U.K. can only do so much and honestly Putin doesn’t care what they think. Both Putin and Xi care very little what western nations think of them and only understand and respect force (either economic or military). The military option is off the table from all sides except Russia’s. That leaves economic means to deter Putin. So far, the EU has indicated no stomach for going that route as a block. U.K. is too small a player to impact Putin in that way. The U.S., as I have already pointed out, is NOT being proactive and is playing small ball so far.

As to the Ukrainian people, they don’t expect others to fight for them nor should we at this point. All they have ever asked for, going back months now, is for the United States to sell them the arms they need for a credible defense to try and make Putin think twice about the cost in both men and arms lost on his side. The Biden administration slow-walked or refused up until a few weeks ago. Even now, the real heavy weapons like anti-tank, anti-aircraft and anti-ship weapons are being endlessly delayed. Thus showing Putin the United States is doing a repeat of 2014. I’m sure Biden will rush plenty of MREs and blankets to Ukraine as part of a humanitarian effort AFTER Russia has taken whatever parts of Ukraine Putin wants this time around.

Scott Davis
Scott Davis
2 years ago

Currently we have no leadership in America. Just a wannabe who is a jacka** in handling America and flushing her down the toilet!

James Farmer
James Farmer
2 years ago

Leads me to ask the question where is Joe Biden? Is he hiding in the closet, is he hiding in his basement again? You talk about transparency, with Joe Biden there is none. At least Donald Trump kept us informed. He wasn’t afraid to give news conferences even though he had to face stupid questions from the main stream media. dictator Joe is a disaster.

Henry
Henry
2 years ago

Under Biden we have become gut less. For a example John Kerry don’t care what happens to the Chinese people. He cares more about climate change! Also the withdrawal of our troops in Afghanistan. We can not afford to loose our Motto”Home of the Brave” God help us if we do!!!!

Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell
2 years ago

Coming WW3

James Thompson
James Thompson
2 years ago

We sent a black woman……….no experience necessary.

johnh
johnh
2 years ago

We are buying oil from Russia. Biden needs to okay Keystone XL pipeline, open up oil leasing & fracking, and stop war on energy fuels. Why give dollars to Russia for oil when we can produce it in United States . Biden will not even talk about this as it was a campaign promise to someone…..but this is an unknown sanction against Russia that is easy to do , if Biden will only look in the mirror.

johnh
johnh
2 years ago

I do not really understand how US can stop the Nord Stream pipeline from Russia to Germany. It is my understanding that pipeline was finished last year & that hold-up was negotiations with these two countries on cost of energy. The pipeline goes thru Ukraine , so assume they get some type of royalty, but do not know for sure. And it appears Europe needs this energy to for their economy and to keep home energy costs down.

Richard Kosack
Richard Kosack
2 years ago

We are headed for a two front war. Hopefully cold , but easily hot when Biden makes international policy mistake after mistake. Our military concerns itself more with accepting girly boys as leaders than maintaining or increasing strength and influence. Putin and Ping are playing chess while Biden plays checkers.

johnh
johnh
2 years ago

Trump bashed NATO the first year or two of his term, until he finally realized the importance. His main concern was other countries not paying enough into NATO & USA was paying a lot. I think that Trump supported NATO by the end of his term, but not sure. That was one case where it shows that NATO cannot be run like a business.

D Frohm
D Frohm
2 years ago

The United States is leaderless, Biden, Pelosi, Schumer are a world class joke. China, Russia and every other country with a leader who has a brain knows this too!! The socialist party AKA democrat needs to be voted out of office!!

Katja Kirsch
Katja Kirsch
2 years ago

First, you never trust the Russian Government. My family learned that at the end of WW2. Are we going the way of the Russian people, afraid of our government, letting bullies & thugs run our lives. Kill us if we whisper freedom. I do not think so. Putin is KGB, Always has been and if he can he will filter socialists into our nation. Already has. Communists have wanted the country for ages. This is the closest they have come. Even Democrats, that are not radical left, can see that. The best way to take back our country, save it from destruction, is to vote against the socialists. Biden, Harris, Pelosi are not fit to lead this country. Power & greed are their top priority, not the American people.

Rik
Rik
2 years ago

Comrade President Jackass Josef “Lyin” Biden hasn’t told the truth about anything since he assumed the office of President! . . . . to expect anything less just won’t happen!

Russ
Russ
2 years ago

It is at Mar a Lago

Bill on the Hill
Bill on the Hill
2 years ago

Of worthy note & not mentioned in this article concerning Russia, yes a socialist state run by a so-called dictator, Vladimir Putin… The Russian Orthodox Church has expanded exponentially since 1991…Putin allows this & it should be noted the vast majority of the Russian people back their leader because in their eyes he does indeed lead from a position of strength & I believe this is one of any number of factors why Trump & Putin got along as well as they did…
All the propaganda put out there by the democrats & MSM where Russia is concerned is just that, propaganda…
Both Ukraine & Russia have always been a paradox of corruption & our esteemed faux potus of today as well as vp under Obama took full advantage of this & will continue this behavior because of the money that continues to fill the Biden regime’s coffers…There will be no help coming from this administration over a border issue between ( 2 ) nations. Ukraine will not become a member of NATO, Russia has nothing to gain by invading Ukraine…
What is occurring is just another sad example of how toothless & delusional America has become after allowing a rigged 2020 election to stand along with all the help from the foreign nations involved in it, i.e. China, Iran, Pakistan, Liechtenstein, Germany, Spain, Italy, Canada & others…
We have a OPEN border in our own country by DESIGN & a hapless potus that makes it so…
Biden to send 8500 transgender military personnel over to Europe in a non-fighting capacity to give aid to NATO? What are they to do? Perhaps give WOKE ideology advice to them? One good b****h slap to them will have them running in the opposite direction!
America has been invaded & it continues at our southern border, unannounced flights of illegal immigrants in the dead of night, many military aged men, unvetted, Covid-19 infected are landing at airports & released all over this nation as I write this…
A border squabble between ( 2 ) non-NATO nations is a nothing burger, our WIDE OPEN southern border is another matter entirely & we are stuck with a cognizant impaired, i.e. dementia potus that refuses to even broach the subject… :~(
Trump won in a landslide victory & it is extremely important to NEVER forget it…
God Bless America,
Bill… :~)

Nick
Nick
2 years ago



SteveL
SteveL
2 years ago

“Where is US Leadership”? It disappeared with Obama, briefly returned with Trump and is nowhere to be found under Biden!

Jeanette
Jeanette
2 years ago

I still say that China is the biggest threat to the USA….not Russia…not that we should ignore the latter..but rather focus on the bigger threat..China..Just research world history..Why is China buying up property in the USA? Why are they involved in our colleges? There are some Republicans that are turning their backs on China.. Why?

Roger Davis
Roger Davis
2 years ago

It does seem that Biden is doing the bidding of someone behind the scenes, perhaps Obama? It is my opinion that the military equipment was purposely left behind in Afghanistan. As I recall, though it was on the web but not now, Gen. Milley in June of 2021 said that we didn’t need Bagram air force base. After the fiasco in Afghanistan of course that is not mentioned. I think the departure from Bagram was planned and I think the military equipment was purposely left behind for the Taliban. I recently saw a website report on questions posed to Biden where he said that he had converted to Islam. You can’t find it now but I did read it. Since it seems that Fauci was involved with the production of Covid 19 by his sending our tax money to that lab in Wuhan, this administration has really taken advantage of the situation with at least illegal voting manipulations. And now many other countries are using Ivermectin and hydrxychloroquine against Covid. In fact Japan announced just recently that Ivermectin use is okay after a study was done. It seems quite evident that the Biden administration does not care about the rest of us, only desiring to continue their power play. On another point since Biden and the Democrats want to continue with Roe vs. Wade how long will this country be allowed to exist by God? Here is what one writer put it; “We are no different from nations that God destroyed for worshipping and serving the false god Molech, which required the death of babies on its altars.”

Terrie
Terrie
2 years ago

Why is it any of Russian business if Ukraine joins NATO?

Max
Max
2 years ago

That is the game in a nutshell. By the time US leadership and NATO wake up from its nap, it will be too late.

PaulE
PaulE
2 years ago

I love your thought that you hope “seasoned diplomats intercede”. Who in the current Biden State Department would that be? The same people that allowed the Iranians to steamroll the United States into the abysmal so-called Iranian Nuclear Deal are the same incompetents helping to mess up American foreign policy now around the world. Putin has already assessed both Biden and Blinken and he doesn’t seem to care what either has to say at this point.

If Biden wanted to actually be proactive (what a concept huh?), he could cut-off Russia’s access to SWIFT and cripple a good chunk of their international finances. The economic sanctions that Congress is currently playing around, once Putin invades Ukraine, is a nice start, but again they are reactive and also not impactful enough to get Putin to stop BEFORE he invades Ukraine. Biden is NOT proactive and the people around him are, how shall we say this nicely, not the A team one would like to present a strong diplomatic stance. As such Putin is controlling the game at this point.

As for NATO and the U.K., well NATO has already said what their position is regarding Ukraine. Germany of course is accommodative to Russia as they are now dependent on Russia for their energy needs. So that chess piece is effectively off the board. The U.K. can only do so much and honestly Putin doesn’t care what they think. Both Putin and Xi care very little what western nations think of them and only understand and respect force (either economic or military). The military option is off the table from all sides except Russia’s. That leaves economic means to deter Putin. So far, the EU has indicated no stomach for going that route as a block. U.K. is too small a player to impact Putin in that way. The U.S., as I have already pointed out, is NOT being proactive and is playing small ball so far.

As to the Ukrainian people, they don’t expect others to fight for them nor should we at this point. All they have ever asked for, going back months now, is for the United States to sell them the arms they need for a credible defense to try and make Putin think twice about the cost in both men and arms lost on his side. The Biden administration slow-walked or refused up until a few weeks ago. Even now, the real heavy weapons like anti-tank, anti-aircraft and anti-ship weapons are being endlessly delayed. Thus showing Putin the United States is doing a repeat of 2014. I’m sure Biden will rush plenty of MREs and blankets to Ukraine as part of a humanitarian effort AFTER Russia has taken whatever parts of Ukraine Putin wants this time around.

Scott Davis
Scott Davis
2 years ago

Currently we have no leadership in America. Just a wannabe who is a jacka** in handling America and flushing her down the toilet!

James Farmer
James Farmer
2 years ago

Leads me to ask the question where is Joe Biden? Is he hiding in the closet, is he hiding in his basement again? You talk about transparency, with Joe Biden there is none. At least Donald Trump kept us informed. He wasn’t afraid to give news conferences even though he had to face stupid questions from the main stream media. dictator Joe is a disaster.

Henry
Henry
2 years ago

Under Biden we have become gut less. For a example John Kerry don’t care what happens to the Chinese people. He cares more about climate change! Also the withdrawal of our troops in Afghanistan. We can not afford to loose our Motto”Home of the Brave” God help us if we do!!!!

Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell
2 years ago

Coming WW3

James Thompson
James Thompson
2 years ago

We sent a black woman……….no experience necessary.

johnh
johnh
2 years ago

We are buying oil from Russia. Biden needs to okay Keystone XL pipeline, open up oil leasing & fracking, and stop war on energy fuels. Why give dollars to Russia for oil when we can produce it in United States . Biden will not even talk about this as it was a campaign promise to someone…..but this is an unknown sanction against Russia that is easy to do , if Biden will only look in the mirror.

johnh
johnh
2 years ago

I do not really understand how US can stop the Nord Stream pipeline from Russia to Germany. It is my understanding that pipeline was finished last year & that hold-up was negotiations with these two countries on cost of energy. The pipeline goes thru Ukraine , so assume they get some type of royalty, but do not know for sure. And it appears Europe needs this energy to for their economy and to keep home energy costs down.

Richard Kosack
Richard Kosack
2 years ago

We are headed for a two front war. Hopefully cold , but easily hot when Biden makes international policy mistake after mistake. Our military concerns itself more with accepting girly boys as leaders than maintaining or increasing strength and influence. Putin and Ping are playing chess while Biden plays checkers.

johnh
johnh
2 years ago

Trump bashed NATO the first year or two of his term, until he finally realized the importance. His main concern was other countries not paying enough into NATO & USA was paying a lot. I think that Trump supported NATO by the end of his term, but not sure. That was one case where it shows that NATO cannot be run like a business.

D Frohm
D Frohm
2 years ago

The United States is leaderless, Biden, Pelosi, Schumer are a world class joke. China, Russia and every other country with a leader who has a brain knows this too!! The socialist party AKA democrat needs to be voted out of office!!

Katja Kirsch
Katja Kirsch
2 years ago

First, you never trust the Russian Government. My family learned that at the end of WW2. Are we going the way of the Russian people, afraid of our government, letting bullies & thugs run our lives. Kill us if we whisper freedom. I do not think so. Putin is KGB, Always has been and if he can he will filter socialists into our nation. Already has. Communists have wanted the country for ages. This is the closest they have come. Even Democrats, that are not radical left, can see that. The best way to take back our country, save it from destruction, is to vote against the socialists. Biden, Harris, Pelosi are not fit to lead this country. Power & greed are their top priority, not the American people.

Rik
Rik
2 years ago

Comrade President Jackass Josef “Lyin” Biden hasn’t told the truth about anything since he assumed the office of President! . . . . to expect anything less just won’t happen!

Russ
Russ
2 years ago

It is at Mar a Lago

Bill on the Hill
Bill on the Hill
2 years ago

Of worthy note & not mentioned in this article concerning Russia, yes a socialist state run by a so-called dictator, Vladimir Putin… The Russian Orthodox Church has expanded exponentially since 1991…Putin allows this & it should be noted the vast majority of the Russian people back their leader because in their eyes he does indeed lead from a position of strength & I believe this is one of any number of factors why Trump & Putin got along as well as they did…
All the propaganda put out there by the democrats & MSM where Russia is concerned is just that, propaganda…
Both Ukraine & Russia have always been a paradox of corruption & our esteemed faux potus of today as well as vp under Obama took full advantage of this & will continue this behavior because of the money that continues to fill the Biden regime’s coffers…There will be no help coming from this administration over a border issue between ( 2 ) nations. Ukraine will not become a member of NATO, Russia has nothing to gain by invading Ukraine…
What is occurring is just another sad example of how toothless & delusional America has become after allowing a rigged 2020 election to stand along with all the help from the foreign nations involved in it, i.e. China, Iran, Pakistan, Liechtenstein, Germany, Spain, Italy, Canada & others…
We have a OPEN border in our own country by DESIGN & a hapless potus that makes it so…
Biden to send 8500 transgender military personnel over to Europe in a non-fighting capacity to give aid to NATO? What are they to do? Perhaps give WOKE ideology advice to them? One good b****h slap to them will have them running in the opposite direction!
America has been invaded & it continues at our southern border, unannounced flights of illegal immigrants in the dead of night, many military aged men, unvetted, Covid-19 infected are landing at airports & released all over this nation as I write this…
A border squabble between ( 2 ) non-NATO nations is a nothing burger, our WIDE OPEN southern border is another matter entirely & we are stuck with a cognizant impaired, i.e. dementia potus that refuses to even broach the subject… :~(
Trump won in a landslide victory & it is extremely important to NEVER forget it…
God Bless America,
Bill… :~)

Nick
Nick
2 years ago



SteveL
SteveL
2 years ago

“Where is US Leadership”? It disappeared with Obama, briefly returned with Trump and is nowhere to be found under Biden!

Jeanette
Jeanette
2 years ago

I still say that China is the biggest threat to the USA….not Russia…not that we should ignore the latter..but rather focus on the bigger threat..China..Just research world history..Why is China buying up property in the USA? Why are they involved in our colleges? There are some Republicans that are turning their backs on China.. Why?

Roger Davis
Roger Davis
2 years ago

It does seem that Biden is doing the bidding of someone behind the scenes, perhaps Obama? It is my opinion that the military equipment was purposely left behind in Afghanistan. As I recall, though it was on the web but not now, Gen. Milley in June of 2021 said that we didn’t need Bagram air force base. After the fiasco in Afghanistan of course that is not mentioned. I think the departure from Bagram was planned and I think the military equipment was purposely left behind for the Taliban. I recently saw a website report on questions posed to Biden where he said that he had converted to Islam. You can’t find it now but I did read it. Since it seems that Fauci was involved with the production of Covid 19 by his sending our tax money to that lab in Wuhan, this administration has really taken advantage of the situation with at least illegal voting manipulations. And now many other countries are using Ivermectin and hydrxychloroquine against Covid. In fact Japan announced just recently that Ivermectin use is okay after a study was done. It seems quite evident that the Biden administration does not care about the rest of us, only desiring to continue their power play. On another point since Biden and the Democrats want to continue with Roe vs. Wade how long will this country be allowed to exist by God? Here is what one writer put it; “We are no different from nations that God destroyed for worshipping and serving the false god Molech, which required the death of babies on its altars.”

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