Not merely weak. That’s the response of the US and Europe to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
The coordinated US and European actions fall short of the package of sanctions threatened by the administration if Moscow launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine
Never mind that there is no such thing as a less-than full-scale invasion of a sovereign nation. Either a hostile nation invades, or it does not. And Russia has invaded Ukraine.
Nor is it a surprise that the Biden-Harris administration’s threats of serious sanctions far exceeded Biden-Harris’ actions. The highly (self-)touted 40-year foreign policy expert is too timorous to act seriously in the face of a serious enemy. Former SecDef Robert Gates’ characterization of Biden’s foreign policy chops are proven still accurate eight years later. Only today, Biden-Harris’ failure is exceedingly dangerous for our nation, for our friends, for our allies.
That package of wrist-slaps and virtue-signals consists of
- blacklisting two major banks and
- halting the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline
That second is a misrepresentation of what’s been done. All Germany is doing is “delaying” certification of Nordstream 2.
Other parts of the package include
- Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Japan, like the US, would ban the trade of new Russian sovereign debt
- sanction individuals connected to the breakaway regions.
- Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australia would impose travel bans
- [impose] targeted financial sanctions on eight members of Russia’s Security Council
- Canada said its sanctions would target state-backed Russian lenders
- ban Canadians from buying sovereign Russian debt.
“You can’t come here.” Yeah, that’ll show Putin and his cronies. Pretending that sanctioning a few individuals—who’ve also already moved their money—is a serious action is insulting to the rest of us. The sovereign debt bit could be serious, except that Putin has his BFF and…mentor…People’s Republic of China President Xi Jinping backing him economically. The sovereign debt bit is necessary, but it’s far from sufficient.
And this risible move, planned for some time in the future:
The Biden administration plans to impose sanctions on the company constructing the Nord Stream 2 pipeline….
To what end, I have to wonder? The pipeline’s construction is completed, and the pipeline has moved into Germany’s certification stage.
No one is contemplating cutting Russia off altogether from western funds, which would push him into complete dependency on Xi’s good offices. No one contemplating even sanctioning Putin.
No one is contemplating shipping offensive weapons to Ukraine so that nation would have a chance, not of merely holding on, but actually defeating Putin’s invasion and driving the Russians back out of Ukraine altogether. No one is contemplating even sending Ukraine sufficient defensive arms that they even can hold on. Germany is, though, still actively interfering with any arms shipments at all for Ukraine.
A key calculation among officials on both sides of the Atlantic is how hard to hit if Russia occupies parts of eastern Ukraine beyond the separatist-held areas and to what extent to maintain some deterrence in case Moscow moves to take the rest of the country[.]
It’s a simple calculation, really, or should be. Hit Russia without limit economically and politically, and ready our respective military establishments. We should have learned from Vietnam that gradual, or graduated, response is the path to ultimate and bloody defeat. Hit Russia now, faster than Putin can respond. Putin, as noted above, has already invaded Ukraine; now he must be driven out altogether.
And: Russia has already invaded Ukraine, there is nothing left to deter.
And, and: Putin said quite clearly what his goals were in his Monday night address to his nation. Those goals include that Ukraine isn’t a nation, it’s a part of Russia, and he means to “recover” it. His larger goal is to reconstitute the 20th century Russian empire of SSRs orbiting the Russian SSR along with the client states beyond the SSRs. Why is it, also, that western managers (we don’t have any actual leaders today) continue to turn deaf ears to what our enemies say when they tell us what they’re going to do? Germany, especially, should be attending to that larger statement of Putin’s: one of the client states Putin means to recover is the German Democratic Republic—East Germany.
Instead, the goal of today’s western nation managers seems to be to ensnare Putin in a Ukrainian quagmire, to bleed Ukrainian men and women—and children as inevitable “collateral damage”—in the effort while the rest of these nations sit in the Coliseum seats, cheering.