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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.
1) Walter Russell Meade, “What if Putin Uses a Nuclear Weapon in Ukraine?; If Putin chooses the path of Khrushchev, President Biden needs to stand like JFK,” Wall Street Journal, September 13, 2022 (5:40 p.m. EDT);
2) Ben Hodges, “Prepare for Russia itself to disintegrate; The Kremlin’s disastrous losses in Ukraine could result in the collapse of the Russian Federation,” The Telegraph, September 13, 2022k (5:00 p.m.).
Lieutenant General (Retired) Ben Hodges is the former commander of US Army Europe and a senior advisor at Human Rights First
3) “Scholz drängt in Telefonat mit Putin auf Rückzug; Erstmals seit Wochen haben Olaf Scholz und Russlands Präsident Putin miteinander gesprochen. Der Kanzler drängte in dem Telefonat auf eine diplomatische Lösung im Ukrainekrieg – und einen Abzug der russischen Truppen,” Der Spiegel, den 13. September 2022 (18.49 Uhr);
4) “Scholz pushes for withdrawal on the phone call with Putin; Olaf Scholz and Russia’s President Putin spoke to each other for the first time in weeks. In the telephone call, the chancellor pressed for a diplomatic solution in the Ukraine war – and a withdrawal of Russian troops, September 13, 2022 (6:49 pm);
5) “Ukraine War, June 17, 2022: Who should call the signals on the NATO/EU team in the battle with Russia?” The Trenchant Observer, June 17, 2022.
Holding back support for Ukraine to avoid humiliation of Putin
Meade points to the dilemma of holding back support for Ukraine to avoid a humiliating defeat for Putin which might drive him to extreme measures:
So far, American policy has aimed at avoiding the binary choice between abandoning Ukraine and provoking a nuclear confrontation with Russia. For this policy to work, Washington needs a Goldilocks resistance from Ukraine: not so weak and cold that Russia wins a clear-cut victory, but also not so hot and successful that Russia, faced with a shattering defeat, resorts in desperation to its nuclear arsenal.
Scholz calls Putin, has 90-minute conversation
Just after Ukraine’s extraordinary breakthrough and military gains in Kharkiv province this last week, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz called Vladimir Putin today for a 90-minute conversation.
Scholz has dragged his feet in supplying heavy weapons to Ukraine, and is currently under strong attack, both in and outside of Germany, for dragging his feet on the delivery of tanks, in particular.
His and Germany’s record on supplying arms to Ukraine is absolutely abominable, marked by promises not kept and endless bureaucratic obfuscations and delays given, among a wide variety of other reasons, as lame excuses for this sorry record.
Within the ruling “traffic-light” (Ampel) coalition, Scholz’s SPD party has dragged its feet particularly hard. The SPD is the party of the “friends of Putin” (“Putin Versteher”) who have consistently acted as apologists for Putin, clinging to a decades’-old belief that friendly relations with Russia are absolutely essential for Germany and Europe.
Scholz is also the European leader who has never voiced support for “victory” as the goal in Ukraine.
In short, Scholz is a major weak link on the NATO/EU team.
Now, at a point of maximum vulnerability for Putin, and maximum pressure from Ukraine and the West, Scholz takes it upon himself to call Putin and to maintain, further, that they should stay in contact.
What was discussed in that conversation, which may have been in German as Putin speaks fluent German? Did Scholz hold out the possibility of further delaying or denying the delivery by Germany of modern tanks?
One of Scholz’s favorite excuses for not delivering weapons to Ukraine is the argument that Germany will only act in coordination with its NATO partners.
This begs the question of whether Germany will push for the delivery of such weapons within NATO, or will drag its feet and prevent a consensus from being formed.
“Kein Alleingang,” Scholz and his officials loudly declare as a reason for doing nothing or dragging their feet on actual arms deliveries–not promises–to Ukraine. “No going it alone.”
That mantra appears to apply when trying not to deliver weapons to Ukraine.
But it apparently does not apply to telephone calls.
As we have pointed out, this is like a football game in which one team (the NATO/EU team) has up to 11 quarterbacks, and any player feels free to go talk to the opposing quarterback during a time out. The other team (Russia) has only one quarterback.
Which team do you think is going to win?
Joe Biden is at fault here, for utterly failing to maintain discipline on tbe NATO/EU team.
See “Ukraine War, June 17, 2022: Who should call the signals on the NATO/EU team in the battle with Russia?” The Trenchant Observer, June 17, 2022.
The West is like a football team without a quarterback, 11 players calling the signals. Or maybe like a football team with 11 players who think they are all quarterbacks.
Is it any wonder that Russia, the opposing team, knows where the blocks are going to be made and where the holes will open up so you can red-dog (rush and tackle) the quarterback?
It’s an easy game for Vladimir Putin, who alone is calling the plays for the Russian team.
Is this any way to conduct a war?
Some of the quarterbacks don’t really grasp that they are players in a real war, and just want things to get back to normal. They will be happy with a tie ball game.
Others want to win.
Some don’t care, as long as the game ends soon and they can go to the after-game parties.
When there is a timeout during the game, one or another of the players on the NATO/EU team walks across the line of scrimmage and goes and talks with the quarterback of the Russian team out of everyone’s earshot.
After a huddle of the players on the NATO/EU team, an end sends hand signals to the quarterback of the Russian team and points to where he is going to run. During an official time out, he has a short conversation out of earshot with the quarterback of the Russian team.
Is this any way to run a football team?
Or the NATO/EU team as it tries to mount effective opposition to the Russian forces which at Quarterback Putin’s command have invaded Ukraine?
President Andrzej Ruda of Poland doesn’t think so, and has called out French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz for their frequent telephone calls to Putin. In his interview in the German Bild newspaper, Duda said:
Revised Google translation
Bild: Do you think Olaf Scholz is too afraid of Putin? Scholz’ and Macron’s argument is that there can only be a solution through negotiation.
Duda: “I’m amazed at all the talks that are being held with Putin at the moment. By Chancellor Scholz, by President Emmanuel Macron. These talks are useless. What do they do? They only legitimize a person responsible for the crimes committed by the Russian army in Ukraine. He is responsible for it. He made the decision to send the troops there. The commanders are subordinate to him. Vladimir Putin. Did anyone talk to Adolf Hitler like that during WWII? Did someone say Adolf Hitler had to save face? That we should proceed in such a way that it is not humiliating for Adolf Hitler? I have not heard such voices.”
After the great show of European solidarity by the leaders of France, Germany, Italy, and Romania traveling to Kyiv and meeting there with Volodymyr Zelensky, Olaf Scholz called Putin unapologetically, and vowed he would continue to do so in the future.
Who could trust any of these leaders to keep conversations among themselves confidential when they turn right around and go and call Putin on the phone?
Does Putin need any information on the thinking of NATO and EU leaders other than what they in their individual and sometimes joint telephone calls provide?
Given this reality, of 11 quarterbacks unapologetically talking on the side to the quarterback of the Russian team, is there any reason for Putin to think he cannot stoke divisions among the NATO/EU team’s members, and even play a successful hand in the selection of that team’s new quarterback in 2024?
If this scenaio is allowed to continue, where would you place your bets on which team is going to prevail in the present game of war?
(end of excerpts)
Kein Alleingang, Herr Scholz?
No going it alone, Herr Scholz?
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