Ukraine War, March 13, 2022: World War III is already underway; Biden doesn’t understand situation, is not up to managing it, and is not preparing the nation for what lies ahead; proposal for stationing NATO troops in Western Ukraine

Dispatches

1) Pilar Bonet, “Putin construyó su pirámide; Los rusos llaman “vertical de poder” a esta estructura centralizada en cuyo vértice se halla el jefe del Estado,” El País, el 12 de marzo 2022 (05:40 CET).

2) Edward Helmore, “Biden adviser rejects Republican call to ‘close skies’ over Ukraine; Rob Portman of Ohio urges US and Nato as US intelligence community says creating no-fly zone risks escalation of conflict,” The Guardian, March 13, 2022 (21.14 GMT);

3) Simon Tisdall, “Toxic Putin is going for bust. The west must stop him before this contagion spreads; Analysis: if we do not refuse to be blackmailed and step in to stop Russia, Ukraine will only be the start,” The Guardian, March 13, 2022 (08:00 GMT);

4) Ludovic Hood, “Send NATO Troops to Western Ukraine; A show of force inside the country would save lives and deprive Putin of the ability to dictate events,” Wall Street Journal, March 13, 2022 (5:37 pm ET);

Commentary

Helmore points out that the Biden Administration is clueless, lost in their own bureaucratic maze, and blind to the real situation in which America and the world find themselves.

Sullivan repeated Joe Biden’s opposition to the transfer of “offensive” weapons while underlining commitment to supplying “defensive” arms, telling CBS’s Face the Nation the US and allies “believe in our capacity to continue to flow substantial amounts of military assistance, weapons and supplies to the front in Ukraine.

With an all-out ground war fully underway in the heart of Europe, Biden is hung up on the specious distinction between “offensive” and “defensive” weapons being supplied, or not, to Ukraine.

At every turn, again and again, the Biden administration demonstrates that it is not up to the task of managing the current conflict with Russia.

World War III is already underway, a fact to which any Ukrainian can readily attest.

The West is engaged in a full-scale economic war against Russia (entirely justified as collective self-defense).

To grasp the stakes, one need only ask what the consequences would be if Russia were not defeated in Ukraine.

The only questions are:

1) Will the current war become kinetic, i.e., physical, beyond the borders of Ukraine? and

2) Will the military conflict between NATO and Russia become nuclear?

An increasing number of experts (e.g., retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey on TV this morning) believe the answer to the first question is YES, and that NATO will inevitably be drawn into the military conflict with Russia.

Continued manifestations of weakness, such as the false distinctions between “offensive” and ” defensive” weapons, will only embolden Putin and increase the risks of nuclear escalation.

The distinction, which has its origin in the need to garner Congressional approval for military assistance to some countries, is wholly irrelevant to the issue at hand, furnishing Ukraine with military assistance needed to repel Russian aggression.

Any use of weapons by Ukraine against Russian targets, in or outside of Ukraine, would be fully justified as actions taken in self-defense under Article 51 of the U.N. Charter.

A creative, thoughtful, and low-risk proposal to station NATO troops in Western Ukraine

Ludovic Hood, a former national security adviser to Vice-President Pence, has proposed a brilliant option to slow or stop Putin and to help Ukraine survive the Russian onslaught. In an op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal today, he proposes the following:

The West’s response to Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine has been resolute, unified and consequential. But it is inadequate to the task of deterring and containing Vladimir Putin’s designs on Ukraine and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s frontline states. Sanctions alone are insufficient to deter Mr. Putin, who, like countless European tyrants before him, recognizes only strength. If Western leaders want Mr. Putin to sue for peace, they need to increase troop levels on NATO’s eastern flank and introduce a robust defensive military presence in western Ukraine and the Black Sea.

At present the West is allowing Mr. Putin’s illegal invasion and saber-rattling to define the battlespace. This is wrong: Western militaries can and should operate inside western Ukraine, far from Russia’s ground operations in the east of the country. A decisive show of force inside Ukraine would signal to Mr. Putin that the West won’t tolerate Russian attempts to redraw borders by force. It will also stanch the worst bloodletting in Europe since 1945 and forestall future Russian aggression in Europe.

This option overcomes the objections made to the establishment of even a “limited no-fly zone”, and would put Putin on notice that he does not have free rein to destroy Ukraine and its people without running any risks of military confrontation with NATO.

Importantly, if adopted, the option would reverse Putin’s “escalation dominance” in the conflict with the West.

Further, it would demonstrate that NATO and other civilized countries are extremely serious about defending their civilization, including the U.N. Charter, international law, humanitarian law, and the law prohibiting crimes against humanity by targeting civilian populations.

Moreover, adopting such a plan would give Ukraine and the Ukrainians an incredible shot in the arm, bolstering their already strong belief in ultimate victory.

Finally, it would send a strong and clear message to the world that it is the Russian aggressor, and not the West, that is going down.

The Trenchant Observer

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