Ukraine War, October 28, 2022: Biden needs to speak to Putin in language he understands; Biden makes sure Ukraine fights with one hand tied behind its back

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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.

Dispatches

1) Christian Segura “Estados Unidos pone freno a los ataques ucranios en territorio ruso; Misiles y drones de Kiev han sido disparados contra objetivos en el país invasor, pero Washington presiona para evitar una escalada bélica,” El Paîs, el 27 de octubre 2022 (23:40 EDT);

2) Christian Segura, “The United States puts a stop to Ukrainian attacks on Russian territory; Kiev missiles and drones have been fired at targets in the invading country, but Washington is pushing to prevent a war escalation,” El País, October 27, 2022 (23;40 EDT, Updated:28 OCT 2022 – 03:10 EDT);

3) Anne Applebaum. “Germany Is Arguing With Itself Over Ukraine; The fight over which weapons to give Ukraine is really a disagreement about Germany, The Atlantic, October 20, 2022;

4) Gloria Rodríguez-Pina, “Bildt, ex primer ministro sueco: “Con la desesperación de Putin, no se puede descartar un ataque nuclear inminente”; El también exministro de Exteriores vaticina que la guerra terminará cuando se derrumbe el régimen del presidente ruso,” El País, el 28 de octubre 2022 (23:40 EDT);

5) Gloria Rodríguez-Pina, “Bildt, former Swedish Prime Minister: “With Putin’s desperation, an imminent nuclear attack cannot be ruled out”; The also former Foreign Minister predicts that the war will end when the regime of the Russian president collapses, El País, October 27, 2022 (23:40 EDT);

6) David E. Sanger, “Biden Says Russian Use of a Nuclear Weapon Would Be a ‘Serious Mistake’; President Biden’s remarks reflect the urgent concern in Washington and among Western allies that Russia may be searching for a pretext to unleash a battlefield nuclear weapon, New York Times, October 25, 2022;;

7) Nick Allen, Nataliya Vasilyeva, and George Styllis, “US to send hi-tech nuclear weapons to Nato bases amid rising tensions with Russia; Deployment of B61-12 tactical bombs to Europe comes after Moscow held military exercises showcasing its own ballistic capabilities,” The Telegraph, October 27, 2022 (8:13 p.m.);

Analysis

President Joe Biden doesn’t understand how to talk to Vladimir Putin, a St. Petersburg street tough and a ruthless thug and war criminal who came up through the ranks of the Soviet KGB.

Biden says Putin would be making a “serious mistake” if he used a nuclear weapon.

This is the language of Washington intellectuals and government officials. It is language that Putin cannot hear and cannot understand.

It is the same kind of language Biden used–unsuccessfully–in warning Putin that if he invaded Ukraine there would be “serious consequences”.

Pardon the crude language, but Biden needs to find a way to tell Putin, in effect, “If you use a nuclear weapon in Ukraine, we’re going to cut your balls off. You will not remain in power. Russia will be brought to economic collapse. We’re not fooling around.”

This is the kind of crude language a street thug and war criminal like Putin might understand, if it were backed by the requisite resolve and actions.

This the kind of language which Putin might understand, if he can still understand anything outside his wild delusions. It is the kind of language which in any event top military officials in Russia will understand.

That is the problem with Biden. Not only are his words weak, but some of his actions are weak as well, revealing his fear of Putin’s nuclear threats.

Despite earlier reports to the contrary, Biden and the White House still firmly resist Ukraine attacking targets in the Crimea, which is Russian-occupied territory of Ukraine.

Why? Because of Biden’s fear of Putin, and his failure to update his files to recognize that after Kherson the Ukrainians may actually be able to drive the Russians from the peninsula.

For goodness sake, Ukrainians ought to be able to attack targets of an invading army within its own territory.

The fact that Biden is respecting the “red line” of an invading war criminal communicates one thing to Putin: Weakness. And like any bully, he will not be stopped by weakness and fear on the part of his opponent.

Biden is communicating fear and weakness by respecting other “red lines” laid down by the war criminal Putin, who let us remember has been and is currently committing the international “crime of aggression”.

At the Nuremberg trials in 1945-1946 a number of leading Nazi war crimnals were tried and convicted of “crimes against peace”, which is what the crime of aggression was called at that time.

Another “red line” that Biden is respecting is the line prohibiting Ukrainian attacks on Russian territory. Biden has stuck to his early decision not to cross the “red line” of Putin, despite the changed circumstances.

It’s time to update your files, Mr. President.

International law and Article 51 of the U.N. Charter absolutely authorize Ukraine to strike targets in Russia, such as military bases from which missiles are being fired at Ukrainian cities, or supply lines for the invading Russian troops.

Biden has avoided crossing the so-called “red line” (which has no status under international law) for one reason: his abject fear of Putin and Putin’s nuclear threats.

There have even been credible reports that the U.S. is afraid that Ukraine might defeat Putin’s army, humiliating him and pushing him to use nuclear weapons.

Biden and NATO need to rethink their strategy on this point, understanding Carl Bildt’s argument that the war in Ukraine and Russian aggression more generally will not end so long as Putin remains in power.

The implication is clear: If Biden and NATO will not support the goal of victory by Ukraine–and vindication of the U.N. Charter and international law–the war may never end.

Thank God no one worried about humiliating Adolf Hitler!

Biden not only needs to communicate NATO resolve in language paraphrasing that suggested above, but also to communicate to Putin in a language he does clearly understand–the language of actions.

In response to Putin’s nuclear threats, Biden and NATO should absolutely respond with actions. These would be the most appropriate at this moment:

1) Deliver the ATACMS long-range artillery rockers for the HIMARS artillery units to Ukraine, retaining control of their use against targets in Russia.

If Putin persists in destroying Ukrainian electrical and other infrastructure, relax the restrictions on the rockets’ use, requiring only that they be used in accordance with the international law of self-defense.

2) Authorize the transfer of fighter jets to Ukraine, subject, at least initially, to the same restrictions as in action 1) above.

3) Authorize and urge German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to deliver the modern tanks and armored personnel carriers that are ready for delivery, but which he has been withholding.

Some may argue that the risk of nuclear conflict is too great to allow the U.S. and NATO to stand up to Putin, even in this limited way.

We and others believe that these actions should be taken now precisely in order to minimize the risk of nuclear conflict.

For to allow Putin to escalate Russian miLitary actions without any oppositionmin the present nuclear confrontation between Russia and NATO is, paradoxically, likely to increase the risk of nuclear weapons being used.

The Trenchant Observer

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