Representing the Biden administration, Secretary of State Antony Blinken has warned Russia that there would be a “strong response” from the United States if Russian President Vladimir Putin acts on his dream of seizing Ukraine as the next step in his hope of rebuilding the old Soviet Union.
Strong response? What does that mean?
We do not know what Blinken has told Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov other than the vague language the Secretary of State has shared with the world – only a “strong response.”
That warning alone means nothing. The folks in Kiev must be very very nervous if they are not privy to some convincing details of what that “strong response” may be – and the devil is always in the details.
The lack of specificity is disturbing because the United States could already have been taking a “strong response” in the past. The threats of a “strong response” have not deterred Putin from seizing and extending hegemony over the Crimea. A “strong response” has not deterred Putin from amassing troops on the Ukraine border. A “strong response” has not prevented Putin from continuing Russia’s cyber attacks on the United States. A “strong response” did not dissuade Putin and China President Xi Jinping from issuing a joint communique threatening the United States.
What could – and should – the Biden administration be doing as part of a “strong response?”
First and foremost, we should be allowing Ukraine to purchase defensive military equipment – including anti-aircraft, anti-tank weapons and drones. This was rejected by the Obama administration – that sent blanks as military aid – and was only partially fulfilled by President Trump.
Former General John “Jack” Keane proposed sending 100,000 troops into Poland to undermine America’s resolve to protect Ukraine.
Finally, the United States has the capability of imposing sanctions that would essentially cripple the Russian economy. We can for the closing of the oil pipeline to Germany and other measures to crush Russia’s oil-dependent economy.
A CONVINCING AND CREDIBLE threat of military intervention on the part of the United States or our NATO allies – even though Ukraine is not a NATO nation – would deter Putin’s. Unfortunately, Biden has squandered America’s credibility in terms of military intervention.
If America stands down as Russia takes Ukraine by force, what stops them from gobbling up the next former Soviet Union captive nation? And how much more damage to America’s ability to exert global leadership.
The clear and present danger to American national security comes from Russian and China – and it will take more than hallow “strong responses” to have Russia stand down.
So, there ‘tis.