James Carafano has some. I have some thoughts regarding a couple of his concerns.
The administration needs a clear strategy for how to look like a real global leader….
Key to looking like a “real global leader,” prior to having a strategy, is to act like one. Stop reacting to what the enemy does, and seize the initiative. Make the enemy react to us. Neither the President Joe Biden (D) half of the Biden-Harris presidency nor the Vice President Kamala Harris (D) half know how to do any of that. Or, as Biden has demonstrated too many times, he’s too timid to. Biden-Harris’ methodology is to completely cede control of the crisis to the one who created the crisis.
Even now, the US can’t muster the full support of NATO allies for bolstering Ukraine’s self-defense. Biden’s good buddies, such as the Germans, have been embarrassingly recalcitrant.
Global leaders—any leaders—don’t wait to take action until they have gained universal consensus. That’s just more reaction, here to the actions of potential allies, rather than initiative-taking. Leaders act as soon as the efforts at coalition building have identified the recalcitrant. Delay beyond that only feeds the enemy. In some circumstances, the pace of events requires leaders to lead, to seize the initiative and act with no delay or hesitation, whether or not any sort of coalition has yet been built.
For instance: Germany has long made plain that they’ve abandoned NATO in all but formal exit—Germany doesn’t even trouble to maintain a viable military for its own defense, much less to support its supposed NATO allies and co-members. They’ve made particularly clear vis-à-vis Ukraine that they’re in the Russian camp, forcing UK arms shipments into Ukraine to go around German airspace and blocking Estonia from transferring arms—arms that Estonia would desperately need in the event of a Biden-Harris-permitted “incursion”—to Ukraine if those arms came from Germany.
There’s this, too, regarding how deeply into the Russian purse Germany has gone:
One German admiral made headlines arguing Germany make nice with Putin and worry about Beijing. (He then immediately resigned.)
That German Admiral was Navy chief Kay-Achim Schönbach, speaking in India at the Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, and he didn’t say anything that his government hadn’t already approved. He resigned afterward? A knight sacrifice, as any chess player—like Russian President Vladimir Putin, perhaps—would recognize.
A leader would recognize that it’s past time to move without Germany. Waiting on it only strengthens Putin’s control of the schedule and his position concerning Ukraine.
He [Putin] has never, however, triggered World War III. He’s likely smart enough to figure out how to wring something he wants out of this crisis without setting the world alight.
Putin is very likely to get everything out of this crisis without setting the world alight. He’s smart enough to have already figured out that that Biden-Harris won’t fight back in any meaningful way. All the latter has on offer are inchoate threats of heavy economic sanctions, accompanied by furious Biden-Harris finger wagging, after Putin has gone into Ukraine and seized the nation. See above re reacting.
But, yes, Carafano’s leading concern is spot on. People’s Republic of China President Xi Jinping will be the larger winner if—when—Putin conquers and occupies Ukraine. Biden-Harris losing Ukraine will hand the Republic of China to Xi on a cheap pewter platter.