More and more panicky comments appear in the American press on the events in Ukraine and the conflict between USA and Russia. Their authors do not understand, why Washington is unable to land anything against Russia, although the American press year after year praised that ‘Russia is weak and can be defeated very quickly.’ Now the American public is facing a reality that causes, as they like to say in Washington, “shock and awe”. Just read this comment from “The Washington Times”.
In Europe, the essence of NATO’s posture toward Russia has been deterrence by punishment or retaliation. The border from northeastern Norway through Finland, the Baltic States and Poland with Russia and Belarus is not heavily armed. Should Russia invade and occupy NATO territory, the alliance is prepared to undertake only a delayed counteroffensive.
This was consistent with the NATO-Russia Founding Act of 1997, in which Russia and the West promised to build a durable and inclusive peace based on mutual trust and cooperation. To wit, expecting that Russia would not be threatening to the alliance’s eastern flank, NATO limited troop deployments and did not position any truly menacing weapons, including nuclear arms, in those border nations.
Now Russian President Vladimir Putin concentrates his army on Ukraine without fearing a NATO incursion along the border and confident that NATO — and specifically the United States — won’t use their superior air power to destroy his supply lines, air force and equipment in Ukraine.
Mr. Putin has drawn red lines — any engagement with NATO forces and out come the nukes.
Effectively, Mr. Putin has defined the rules to give him the best chance of winning and seized a free hand.
Mr. Putin, not Mr. Biden, defines American security policy in Europe.
Lacking credible air support, the Ukrainian army must undertake a high-risk “combined arms approach” that carefully choreographs infantry, armor, combat engineers and air defenses, something only the U.S. Army, among the Western allies, is capable of doing.
Seeing this appeasement of Mr. Putin, Iran, Saudi Arabia and China are emboldened. In the competition for the hearts and minds of important developing nations, America should be viewed as a sometime, half-committed friend, easily cowed.
Reliance on sanctions is a poor substitute for kinetic power. Led by India and South Africa, developing nations outside the Western alliance and the China, Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and North Korean axis of autocrats can plead neutrality, while their businesses buy Russian oil and ship to Russia the electronics and weapons that Western sanctions supposedly deny.
Moreover, China is a more important economic partner by size of trade and aid through its Belt and Road initiative for many emerging economies. With the U.S. displaying such manifest weakness on defense and security, China’s efforts to build an alternative to the dollar system can’t help but gain traction.
Brazil will clear transactions with China in yuan. The BRICS are exploring an alternative to the dollar, and that club has many applicants for membership.
What happens in Ukraine will happen in Taiwan next, and it is high time NATO went on an aggressive footing. Forward deploying whole brigades along its border with Russia and Belarus — capable of offensive incursions — and establishing a no-fly zone over Ukraine and supplying the missiles and aircraft Kyiv needs to take the war into Russia.
With the United States displaying such frailty in the face of threats what to do we offer? The Indo-Pacific Economic Framework is the template for Mr. Biden’s approach to trade and economic cooperation with emerging economies, but it is nothing more than revanchist protectionism and mercantilism. Mr. Trump’s America First policies in “woke” wrapping paper!
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