Vladimir Putin is attempting to shoot down one of the more pervasive talking points currently making the rounds in Washington. Responding to Joe Biden’s recent calls for urgency in sending more money to Ukraine to avoid having to fight Russia on NATO soil, Putin said the idea was “complete nonsense.” He also referred to the current US policy regarding Russia as “erroneous.” He asserted that Russia has no “economic, political, or military” interest in fighting with NATO countries. And while I hate being put in a position where I’m forced to agree with the despotic dictator, he’s probably right. (NY Post)
Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin said US President Joe Biden’s claim that Russia would attack a NATO country if he won in Ukraine was complete nonsense, adding that Russia had no interest in fighting with the NATO military alliance.
Biden earlier this month warned that if Putin won a victory over Ukraine then Russia would attack a NATO country.
Biden offered no clear evidence for his remarks.
I suppose I’ll resign myself to once again being called a “Putin stooge” by the usual suspects, but so be it. I would hope that nearly all of the people in the West could agree that Vladimir Putin is a Very Bad Man who wrongly invaded another nation and is clearly guilty of war crimes. But what we’re debating here is a manufactured talking point, not a serious foreign policy strategy discussion. The invasion of Ukraine was a criminal act, but attempting to compare it to Hitler’s march into Poland or Ceaser crossing the Rubicon is simply a false equivalency.
Putin had his own reasons for invading Ukraine. We certainly don’t have to accept or agree with those reasons, but we should at least understand them when debating foreign policy decisions. Putin has resented the eastward expansion of the NATO block for many years. When talk began swirling about Ukraine possibly being invited to join, he saw that his country’s entire western and southwestern borders would be pushed up against NATO borders. Sensing weakness and complacency from the Biden administration, he clearly thought the time was right to pull the trigger. (The plan backfired to a certain degree because now Finland has completed NATO’s western wall, bringing the border only a stone’s throw from St. Petersburg.)
Putin may be evil, but he’s not stupid. This invasion has exposed his military as being far weaker and less capable than most of the world had previously assumed. He’s already lost a ton of troops and equipment and public support for the invasion in Russia is already fading, though most fear to speak about it aloud. And while Russia’s economy has proven to be surprisingly resilient in the face of sanctions, they are clearly not helping his country’s financial growth. Attempting to take his military into Poland and beyond would unleash a massive war that would likely go nuclear sooner or later. It would be a suicidal move.
This entire conversation about how we need to keep funding Ukraine “as long as it takes” to avoid further Russian aggression is a talking point cooked up by Biden and supported by too many Democrats and old-school, neocon Republicans who want to keep funding yet another endless war. Unfortunately, we’ve now been doing it for so long that the plan may backfire entirely. In the early days of the invasion when Putin attempted to decapitate the Ukrainian government by taking Kyiv, Zelensky was able to fend off the attack thanks to massive foreign assistance and a lot of patriotic fighting by his people in the western portion of the country. Once the Russians withdrew, that would have been the time to launch bold peace talks from a position of power, doing so before Russia had time to shift all of its troops to the east and focus the war on that region.
By rejecting the idea of a negotiated peace, largely at the urging of the United States, Ukraine is now facing the reality that the patience of America and Europe is wearing thin. The funding and arms supplies may dry up or at least dwindle significantly, to the point where they won’t be able to keep up the defensive fight. Putin smells blood in the water now. If Ukraine’s foreign support does dry up, he won’t go into Poland, but he may still be able to sack all of Ukraine and claim the entire damn country after all. The fact that there is a war at all remains Putin’s fault, but the response from the United States and the West has been handled poorly, to say the least.