Memo to Biden: Don't Abandon Ukraine
The post World War II international order has kept the peace in Europe for 77 years. No European great power - England, France, Germany, Italy, Russia - has gone to war since 1945.
Now Vladimir Putin, the strongman of Russia, is threatening that peace. He is making preposterous military threats against NATO - the western military alliance - demanding that NATO "expel" its member countries Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, and "disarm" NATO members Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania. But his chief demand is that Russia be allowed to attack and conquer the Ukraine - a huge country of 45 million people - and install a Quisling puppet government there.
The stench of appeasement is in the air. President Biden is crying for people to flee Ukraine, ruling out any NATO military action, and making panicked predictions of imminent Russian invasion. All things that will only make war more likely.
Adding to the American disarray are the cries of "accommodation" wafting out of dozens of craven liberal Washington DC "think tanks," arguing - like Neville Chamberlain at Munich - that the Ukraine should accept Russian subjugation - "Finlandization" - as preferable to any loss of life. Slavery is safer - and thus more comfortable - than freedom. A coward's peace.
NATO was borne out of the common will to prevent Soviet domination of Europe. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the collapse of the Soviet Empire, NATO provided the benevolent security for 14 newly-free post-Soviet countries (including Russia itself) to become "normal" countries with elections, freedoms and prosperity.
A Russian invasion and occupation of Ukraine - a founding member of the UN - would destroy the peace of Europe, and render NATO into a farce. A surrender to Putin's Russia - a state with only 4% of the GDP, and only 10% of the military capacity of NATO - would only make future wars more likely. Deterrence is about credibility. An alliance without the will to preserve its security is no alliance at all. Would China be emboldened to then attack Taiwan; or Iran to attack the small Gulf oil states ?
America - and NATO - need to make crystal clear to Putin that he will not invade Ukraine. That means openly threatening military intervention to help Ukraine defend itself. That means threatening to hold and protect enclaves in western Ukraine - formerly Polish Lviv; formerly Hungarian Trans-carpathia; the port city of Odessa - to keep alive a "Free Ukraine" - and present Russia with the promise of a 25-year guerilla war. That means threatening to depth charge - militarily destroy - Russia's underwater Baltic Sea Nordstream gas pipeline - cutting off Russia's gas exports. That means threatening to ban Russia from SWIFT and the world banking and financial system. That means a global embargo on all Russian exports.
If Putin believes that Russia faces a nightmare of economic collapse, military failure, domestic uprisings, and a bloody endless guerilla war - if he attacks the Ukraine, then he won't do it. Only strength - not weakness - deters tyranny and aggression.