Ukraine War, December 29, 2022: President Biden, NATO, do something! It is obscene to stand by and do nothing to stop Putin as he pummels Ukraine

Developing. We are publishing this article as it is being written. Please check back for updates

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

To understand the broad context within which current developments in Ukraine should be considered,see

“Ukraine War, October 26, 2022: The context for analysis of current developments; The “dirty bomb” as a Russian propaganda distraction from current war crimes,” The Trenchant Observer, October 26, 2022.

Dispatches

1) María R. Sahuquillo (Kiev), “Rusia lanza uno de los mayores ataqueserra contra las infraestructuras energéticas de Ucrania; Una lluvia de misiles en vísperas del Año Nuevo deja sin luz al 90% de los hogares de la ciudad de Lviv y al 40% de los de Kiev,” El País, el 29 devdiciembre 2022 (actualizado a las 12:37 EST);

2) María R. Sahuquillo (Kilev), “Russia launches one of the biggest war attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure; A rain of missiles on New Year’s Eve leaves 90% of the homes in the city of Lviv and 40% of those in Kiev without light,” el País, December 29, 2022 (updated at 12:37 EST);

3) Christina Hebel (Moscow), “Gudkow: ‘The Russians have little sympathy with the Ukrainians’; Lev Gudkov and his independent opinion research institute are investigating how the Russians tick. Here he talks about a lack of morality in his homeland, the victim mentality and the fear of nuclear war (Interview),” Der Spiegel, December 29, 2022 (1:90 p.m.)–from DER SPIEGEL 1/2023;

Analysis

We have analyzed ad nauseam the gross errors in President Joe Biden’s and NATO’s strategy toward stopping Putin in Ukraine.

Joe Biden’s fear of Putin and his stubbornness in refusing to form a new foreign policy team, to examine closely his own judgments based on his fear of Putin, and to take seriously the arguments of his critics have needlessly cost thousands of Ukrainian lives while dragging out the war indefinitely.

If Ukraine and the West lose this war, it will largely be Joe Biden’s fault.

It is too late to correct Biden’s catastrophic decision to withdraw from Afghanistan.

It is not yet too late to make course corrections in U.S. and NATO strategy to defeat Russia’s aggression and war crimes in Ukraine.

To do so, Biden needs to do several things:

1) First, he needs to replace Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan.

The Democratic Congress has failed utterly to conduct meaningful oversight of tbe Biden Administration’s conduct of foreign policy. Now, with Republicans controlling the House, there is a chance that beyond partisan histronics, meaningful oversight can begin.

We have yet so see a critical analysis by the administration or Congress of the policies and decisions behind the withdrawal from Afghanistan.

We have yet to see a critical analysis of Biden’s policy to telegraph to Vladimir Putin that NATO would not intervene with force if Putin invaded Russia.

We have yet to see a critical analysis of the American and NATO failure to deter Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including the failure to impose any sanctions on Russia prior to the actual invasion.

Above all, we need to have a thorough investigation into the details relating to Biden’s fear of Putin’s nuclear threats.

How rational is Biden’s fear that if he crosses Putin’s “red lines” it will cause the break-up of NATO and lead to nuclear annihilation (what Biden calls World War III)?

What has been the substance of Jake Sullivan’s and other officials’ back-channel communications with Putin’s aides?

What understandings with Putin exist, if any, regarding Putin’s “red line” of not allowing any Ukrainian attacks on Russian territory?

What are the long-term goals of the U.S. and NATO in the war in Ukraine?

What are the stakes in the conflict?

If they are as great as most experts think, why has Biden failed to explain the pertinent facts to the American people? If they are as great as experts think, why hasn’t Biden and the West pressed hard to make the countries of the “global South” join our cause?

Biden still has time to act. But it will be extremely difficult for him to replace Blinken and Sullivan. They are his protegés. They owe their current positions to him. He has trusted their foreign policy advice for 10-20 years.

Yet if he fails to replace Blinken and Sullivan, he will be extremely vulnerable to a Republican candidate for the presidency in 2024. And the flaws in current policy will not be corrected.

If Biden refuses to replace Blinken and Sullivan and he does not address criticism of his Afghanistan decision, whoever the Democratic candidate may be in 2024, Democrats will remain extremely vulnerable on foreign policy issues.

This will be particularly true if the Republicans choose a post-MAGA presidential candidate who is strong on defense.

Biden’s best chance to cauterize the Afghanistan wound would be to admit his mistakes while replacing Blinken and Sullivan.  He could say he’s bringing in a new team to make sure such mistakes are not repeated in the future.

Will he?  Could he? That is the question.

American voters have not given much importance to foreign policy issues in recent elections. With the Ukraine war in its third year in the fall of 2024, this could change–with disastrous consequences for tbe Democrats.

Putin’s war aims are clear. He will not yield.

What will the world and American security look like if Putin and Russia prevail in the war, i.e., if they are not obliged to withdraw all Russian troops from Ukrainian soil?

2)The second thing that Biden needs to do is to relax current restrictions on the transfer of weapons to Ukraine and their use, and provide Ukraine with the weapons it needs to defend itself in accordance with international law and the U.N. Charter, even if that means that Ukraine attacks targets within Russia from which missile and other attacks on Ukraine are emanating.

3)  The third thing Biden should do is to lead NATO and other allies in a crusade to uphold the United Nations Charter and international law. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky understands this point. This crusade should not be explicitly for democracy. That is another and separate battle, one in which certainly Biden should speak out loudly and clearly to the demonstrators in Iran, and to democratic movements in other countries.

But this particular
crusade should simply be to uphold the U.N. Charter and international law.  These encompass anti- colonialism, international human rights, and international humanitarian law (the law of war).

It is time for the cool President Biden in his aviator shades to remove his sunglasses, take a hard look at reality, roll up his sleeves, and go to work building a new foreign policy team.

He should also work to forge a new foreign policy aimed at victory in the battle to repel Russian aggression, halt and punish Russian war crimes, and uphold the U.N. Charter.

Only if this victory is secured will democracy have a chance to flourish, and humanity be able to move forward in meeting existential challenges such as global warming and climate change.

The Trenchant Observer

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