More On: Putin
Biden was so preoccupied with the Ukraine conflict that he missed Putin's progress in other important places
A single gunshot fired into the chest of Archduke Ferdinand by a Serbian terrorist in 1914 immediately and unexpectedly triggered World War I.
To punish Serbia, the Austro-Hungarians deployed their soldiers. Russia sent forces to protect their Serb "little Slavic brother." Germany mobilized first, followed by France and Britain, and by 1918, there had been 40 million injuries, with 15-22 million fatalities.
Now, President Biden's ill-advised attempts to preserve Ukraine from Russian invasion risk escalating into a far broader confrontation, maybe leading to nuclear World War III.
After years of denial, Washington seems to have realized that, as a consequence of the continuing Ukrainian crisis, Russia and China are really friends, ready to coordinate aggression against Europe, Asia, and America.
Russia's strategic interests in Ukraine in 2022 are significantly higher than they were in Serbia in 1914:
• Russia sees Ukrainian membership in NATO, whether formal or de facto, as an existential danger, since NATO missiles, air forces, and soldiers moved to eastern Ukraine would be just 300 miles from Moscow, within easy striking distance for a surprise attack.
• Ukrainian territory is traversed by Russian petroleum pipelines that are a major source of Moscow’s revenue;
• According to Russian tyrant President Vladimir Putin, Ukraine is Russia's "Slavic brother" and, as a former Soviet republic, belongs in a New Russian Empire.
• If Russia annexes Ukraine, Moscow will be able to move its missiles, air forces, and armies into western Ukraine and Belarus, as well as along the entire eastern border of NATO member Poland, posing a steel spearhead capable of slicing through NATO to the English Channel, as the USSR threatened during the Cold War.
Russia's strategic interests in Ukraine, which include both legitimate defense concerns and illegitimate aggressive intentions, significantly exceed NATO's political will and military power to protect Ukraine.
According to the US Defense Department and RAND Wargames, Russia can conquer Ukraine and the NATO frontline nations in Eastern Europe in 72 hours.
According to RAND research, a Russian invasion of NATO's Baltic republics cannot be stopped, even if the US uses tactical nuclear weapons.
Russia has a vast edge in tactical nuclear weapons, with an estimated 2,000-8,000 warheads against 180 tactical US warheads, all of which are stationed in Europe.
Furthermore, Russian nuclear weapons are more technologically advanced: they are built for ultra-low yields for use by land, sea, and air forces; they have specialized effects such as neutrons, X-rays, and electromagnetic pulses; and they are "clean," producing no radioactive fallout. Russian nuclear weapons are not only a deterrent, but also tactically useful on the battlefield.
Mr. Biden's policy of significantly arming Ukraine to avert Russian invasion is playing with nuclear fire.
Moscow may use Washington's arming of Kyiv as a pretext to attack Ukraine and neighboring NATO members that are also sending armaments in order to isolate Ukraine and extend Russia's "defensive" borders.
Mr. Biden has sent a few thousand soldiers to bolster the 8,500 US troops stationed in penny packs along NATO's eastern frontier. These are meant to dissuade an invasion of NATO by the 120,000 Russian soldiers massed on Ukraine's border, backed up by a one-million-strong Russian army.
NATO cannot be effectively defended by the United States military presence. In a conventional battle, the United States and its NATO allies would be completely outmatched.
The presence of US military in Eastern Europe and on Ukraine's border serves as a "tripwire" to dissuade Russia from invading NATO by threatening nuclear escalation. Nonetheless, nuclear escalation is Russia's strategic strength.
With a single Super-EMP nuclear bomb, Russia might win World War III in Europe.
The EMP field, if detonated 70 kilometers above NATO Headquarters in Brussels, would blackout power systems and cripple NATO armed troops from Poland to Britain, laying the groundwork for a Russian invasion. POWs would include US military and 30,000 people fleeing Ukraine. Russian tanks might cross the English Channel in a matter of days.
Following an EMP attack, the United States would realize that it had no tactical nuclear weapons. Even if certain delivery systems survive the EMP, any host European government would be unlikely to accept a tactical nuclear attack on Russia from its territory, fearing nuclear reprisal.
Russia may be able to dismantle NATO without triggering World War III, and the Ukrainian situation is already dividing NATO. Germany, Europe's NATO "strongman," is being chastised for declining to supply armaments to Ukraine, ostensibly due to Germany's reliance on Russian natural gas.
However, Berlin may be concerned about igniting a conflict in Ukraine since, in the previous century, Berlin was on the losing side of two global wars. Perhaps Germany recalls her ruined cities, which were raped and conquered by Russia, and their 5-7 million dead.
NATO has never been more militarily and psychologically vulnerable. The closer NATO gets to a lost battle with Russia, the more the alliance will split and disintegrate.
Mr. Biden must:
• End the Ukrainian situation by pledging that NATO will not expand eastward or incorporate Ukraine.
• Consider making Russia a strategic partner or a neutral in the New Cold War with China.
• Catching-up to Russia's nuclear weapons capability
The Bear, friend or foe, respects only strength.