More On: Vladimir Putin
Joe Biden is warned by Vladimir Putin that imposing further sanctions on Russia over Ukraine would be a mistake
Whatever you read, watch, or listen to, there will be continuous disputes over what Vladimir Putin wants.
He is massing soldiers on Ukraine's border, making demands on Europe and America, and threatening all-out war. But what exactly does he want?
It is the most crucial question, but in order to answer it, we must first answer another question. It entails his estimates of what he can achieve and at what cost, and it proceeds as follows: What does Putin see?
That's what he sees: weakness. Wherever he goes in the West, he sees incompetent politicians who can't even administer their own nations, let alone assemble an unified front against Mother Russia.
That's what he observed when he sliced apart areas of Georgia in 2008. That's what he saw in 2014, when he invaded Ukraine and seized Crimea.
In both circumstances, the cost he paid was negligible. So he's returned for more.
The roster of crippled "international community" leaders he will address is more suited to a medical ward than a meeting of major nations. Starting with Boris Johnson in London and spreading across Europe, most are not politically confident enough to lead their countries into, or even threaten, a lengthy fight.
And, with America in the hands of the shaky Jimmy Carter II, the coalition against Putin smells from the top.
Biden has made another error
Robert Gates was correct in noting that Joe Biden has been incorrect on national security and foreign policy problems for four decades, but he overlooked another flaw: Biden is never wrong.
Both deficiencies are evident in his bungled handling of Putin and Ukraine. The invitation to a "minor" invasion was both a gift to him and a nightmare for our ostensible ally.
And picture Putin's reaction to Biden's botched exit from Afghanistan.
Biden is a born-again globalist who proclaimed on his first trip to Europe after assuming office that "America is back." He saw the large grins, glad-handing, and backslapping from ally leaders as confirmation that they were thrilled to have him at the helm of the West.
He was correct, but not for the proper reasons. European politicians despised Donald Trump because he personally embarrassed them, but most of all because he put America first.
Determined to get a better bargain for common defense, he asked that they pay more for NATO, something they had promised but never delivered on. When they balked, particularly Germany, he threatened to withdraw 12,000 American troops from the nation, implying that the country would have to defend itself if Russia invaded.
Trump also sanctioned Nord Stream 2, a Russian pipeline project that would give Putin control of around 35% of Germany's natural gas, undermining NATO's very purpose. Trump wants Germany to buy American liquefied natural gas instead, noting that a flick of the switch in Moscow would throw Berlin into a cold frost.
Trump was correct
Those proposals were rejected by Biden, who has a passion for undoing everything Trump has done. He canceled Trump's military pullout, even if Germany does not contribute its fair share.
Even as Biden terminated pipeline projects and decent employment in the United States, he removed restrictions on the Nord Stream pipeline, apparently as a farewell gift to retiring German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The president's lack of genuine leadership is demonstrated by his promise to reimpose the same sanctions if Putin invades Ukraine. Olaf Scholz, Merkel's successor, sat calmly by Biden's side as he made that warning.
Because any disruption in Russian natural gas would be disastrous for Europe, Biden and his staff prepared a backup plan, revealing how he has trapped himself into a position with his energy incoherence.
The White House is currently scouring the globe for enough gas and crude oil guarantees from the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia to assist Europe, particularly Germany, manage if Russia, for whatever reason, shuts down the pipeline this winter. Surprisingly, American vendors do not appear to be on his list.
As a consequence, while globalists fooled themselves into believing that the message they were giving post-Trump was that America is once again leading the world's most significant political and military coalition, they forgot that NATO is an illusion in the absence of strong American leadership.
And, by any definition, Biden is not a strong leader, and he is certainly not the guy you want in a battle with Putin.
Putin's murderous intentions
Germany is beginning to see the writing on the wall. The administration has become completely dovish, refusing to allow other nations to transfer defensive weaponry to Ukraine over its airspace. Germany stated that as part of its commitment, it will provide 5,000 military helmets to Ukrainians. Helmets!
Putin will not be deterred by virtue signaling, it is safe to assume. He is a brutal despot who murders domestic critics and sees military power as only a means to an end.
This goal, in addition to remaining in power, was disclosed when he stated in 2005 that the disintegration of the Soviet Union was "the biggest geopolitical calamity of the century."
He has spent most of his time since reassembling some of the Soviet components while settling for control and influence over others. As a result, Georgia has splintered and Crimea has been annexed.
So, what does he want in Ukraine now? He wants to keep NATO out first and foremost, but beyond that, he'll take everything he can get for a reasonable price in blood and wealth.
And if he doesn't get it all right away, he'll keep returning for more until he's stopped. Of course, this assumes that there is an alliance capable and willing to stop him.
Nutso Cuomeback discussion
He has a few regrets. Actually, there is just one. Andrew Cuomo's main regret is that he was caught groping for help.
The disgraced former governor thinks he has been "vindicated" since he was not indicted, revealing his rotten moral principles.
He's also dropping hints about a political return, with those close to him — a terrible place to be — telling reporters that he's eager to take on incumbent Attorney General Letitia James in the Democratic primary.
Naturally, his strategy is to suggest that James is a political hack, which conveniently ignores the 11 women whose harassment accusations her office substantiated. There's also the little stumbling block that the whole state and Democratic Party, including President Biden, have asked Cuomo to quit because what he did was wrong, even if it wasn't a criminal.
Nonetheless, he should flee. New York is in desperate need of a good chuckle.
'I won't come till it's safe'
Reader Mara Jacobowitz is another past visitor to the city. "Since I can't vote in New York, yet non-citizens residing here are suddenly entitled to vote in municipal elections," she adds, "I'll vote with my pocketbook." I will not return to the city until it is safe. I pray for the next mayor, the new police commissioner, and, most importantly, for New York's finest."