The defeatism in the air is palpable, with American officials apparently resigned to a Russian invasion of Ukraine, and now talking about increasing the “costs” to Russia if Putin invades.
Worth recalling is the fact that Barack Obama used similar language about “costs” to Russia if it invaded Ukraine, back in 2014. Such threats of unnamed “costs” did not deter Putin then, and they are not likely to deter him now. This is particularly true in view of the fact that the two greatest “costs” that might be imposed on Russia are illusory, and are not really on the table.
It is now time for the U.S. to play hardball with the German government, which is the weak link in the West’s deterrence strategy against Putin.
If Germany won’t make sacrifices for NATO, Biden should withdraw American troops from Germany and re-station them in a country which takes standing up to Putin and Russia more seriously.
Germans and business keaders in Europe, the U.S., and elsewhere need to understand that if Russia invades Ukraine, it will not be some minor thing like the Russian military intervention in Georgia in 2008, or even tbe invasion of the Crimea and the Eastern Ukraine in 2014.
Such an intervention would in the intermediate term destroy business relations between the West and Russia, and entail significant risks of escalation to a much wider war, one involving NATO members and the potential invocation of Article 5 of the NATO treaty.
The U.S. could be drawn into defending one or more NATO countries under the mutual defense obligation in Article 5.
If these events were to unfold, the risk of a nuclear confrontation would become great, with the attendant risk of something accidentally setting off a nuclear conflict.
In short, if Russia invades Ukraine, the world as we know it is likely to change, in drastic and unforeseeable ways.