Ukraine War, April 21, 2022 (I): Biden cancels tactical nuclear weapons program; Yellen worries about impact on global economy of European energy embargo; Biden finally closes American ports to Russian shipping

Developing

Due to rapidly-breaking developments and in order to facilitate readers’ access to the latest dispatches, we are publishing this article as it is being written. please check back for updates and additions.*

To see a list of previous articles, enter “Ukraine” in the Search Box on the upper right, on The Trenchant Observer web site, and you will see a list in chronological order.

Only force can stop Putin

See “Ukraine War, April 5, 2022 (II): Force must be used to stop Putin,” The Trenchant Observer, April 5, 2022.

Dispatches

1) Valerie Insinna, “Biden administration kills Trump-era nuclear cruise missile program; After conducting the upcoming Nuclear Posture Review, the Biden administration has chosen to end the sea-launched cruise missile program, a senior Pentagon official said, Breaking Defense, March 28, 2022;

2) “Putin Is Smiling: Why Did Biden Cancel the Navy’s New Nuclear Cruise Missile? The Heritage Foundation, April 1,2022.

3) “Ukraine War, March 25, 2022 (I): Biden compares Ukrainians to Tiananmen Square Protesters, undercutting entreaties to China; Biden abandons “sole purpose” nuclear strategy proposal,” The Trenchant Observer, March 25, 2022.

4) Andrew Jose, “Biden Breaks Campaign Promise, Reverses Course on Nuclear Weapons,” The Western Journal, March 25, 2022 (1:18pm);

5) Michael R. Gordon, “Biden Sticks With Longstanding U.S. Policy on Use of Nuclear Weapons Amid Pressure From Allies; The president stepped back from a campaign promise that the sole purpose of nuclear weapons should be to deter nuclear attacks,” Wall Street Journal, Updated March 25, 2022 (12:38 am ET);

6) Steven Simon and Jonathan Stevenson, “Why Putin Went Straight for the Nuclear Threat,” New York Times, April 1, 2022.

7) Amara Omeokwe and Andrew Duehren, “Economic Impacts, Global Politics Limit Potential Actions Against Russia, Yellen Says; Treasury Secretary talks about potential roadblocks to further reprimanding Moscow while promising more nonmilitary aid to Ukraine,” Wall Street Journal, April 21, 2022 (Updated 5:18 pm ET).

Commentary

Today, the leaders of NATO and the citizens of NATO countries continued to stand on the sidelines, unwilling to take any military action to stop Putin, as the following occurred:

1. Janet Yellen said the imposition of an Russian energy embargo by the EU would have a negative effect on the world economy.

She said,

“We need to be careful when we think about a complete European ban on, say, oil imports,” Ms. Yellen said, speaking at a news conference. “That would clearly raise global oil prices, it would have a damaging impact on Europe and other parts of the world, and counterintuitively it could actually have very little negative impact on Russia because although Russia might export less, its price for its exports would go up.”

Yellen reflects the highly intellectualized thinking and lack of decisiveness characteristic of top officials in the Biden administration. They can consider every angle, but have difficulty seeing what is most significant and taking decisive action.

Yellen has taken “compartmentalization” to an absurd extreme. Even allowing for the professional blinders that sometimes limit experts’ ability to understand the broader context of the phenomena they describe, her comments revealed a narrow field of vision.

She obviously does not grasp what is at stake in the war against Russia in the Ukraine.

Well, yes, an energy embargo by the Europeans could negatively affect the world economy. And the negative effects might well be as she suggests.

But how do those negative effects compare to the negative effects of a continuation of Russia’s war against Ukraine, and the potential upending of the international legal order?

Beyond this obvious point, Yellen’s comment reveals a callous disregard for the tens of thousands of Ukrainians being killed, and the destruction which has caused over 10 million Ukrainians to flee their homes.

Their lives, and this destruction, have been reduced to quantitative factors affecting the global economy.

Treasury Secretary Yellen is an extraordinarily gifted public official, but her remarks reveal how easy it is for an official with great expertise to lose sight of what is fundamentally at stake in meeting the challenge posed by Putin and Russian barbarism.

The Biden administration should have mounted an all-out effort to expel Russia from the G-20 yesterday–and should still do so in the future, beginning now.

Such a campaign might not only apply great pressure on G-20 members who have yet to condemn Russia’s aggression and atrocities, but also serve to educate Janet Yellen on the harm that Russian fascism is doing to Ukraine and the world, and what its continuation might do, if it is not stopped, not only to the world economy, but to the entire world and the structure of international relations.

2. Biden cancels tactical nuclear weapons program. Connecting the dots: Is this a bureaucratic continuation of the “sole purpose” doctrine for the use of nuclear weapons, now abandoned.

This decision needs to be reversed as soon as possible. It sends a very bad signal to the Russians, in addition to being strategically wrong.

3. Biden administration closes U.S. ports to Russian-affiliated shipping. Good. But Biden is always two months behind the curve.

4. Biden approves further military aid for Ukraine. Good. Always “too little, too late”.

What are they still holding back, today?

The Trenchant Observer

*Because so much is being written about the Ukraine Crisis, we are providing links to the most important news dispatches and analyses, in particular those by journalists with strong records of outstanding reporting.

These may be provided on an ongoing basis while the draft of the current article is developing, for the benefit of those who are following developments very closely.

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