Joe Biden vs. Russian President Vladimir Putin, a man who while having all the outward trappings of a communist is actually a “statist”...a “nationalist”...a man not so unlike President Donald Trump who put America first above all else. Remember, Putin is not trying to rebuild the old Soviet Union, he knows better than to attempt that, but is a man trying to resurrect the grandeur and importance that was once “Mother Russia”... a “statist's” goal if ever there was one. And he's doing so at the expense of a weak and feeble-minded U.S. president by using the threat that if his now called for demands cannot be resolved diplomatically that he will resort to what would be a sustained and bloody military action.Brave but challenging words for sure...words that see the world bearing witness to Russian troops currently amassing at the Ukrainian/Russian border, but to date as we write this, those troops have not crossed even one inch onto Ukrainian soil nor have they gathered in what is an all-important “battle formation.” These troops are sitting and waiting for orders that might or might never come...armed troops being but the key visual component broadcast to the world in a cleverly crafted public show of force...a show of force which now includes a Russian missile cruiser and a frigate carrying a specially equipped helicopter practicing ways of locating submarines, something not unexpected as it's typical of both Russian war games and routinely practiced military exercises.
And honestly, Putin does have some credence here for if Ukraine were to become part of NATO two opposing forces would then be sitting right on each others doorstep...we wouldn't like it if we were faced with such a scenario so logic alone dictates that Russia...that Putin...wouldn't like it either.Simply, Putin is jockeying for control of Ukraine not for its territory per se nor as means to end the country's in-fighting but primarily to use as a barrier against NATO's western expansion. And it's expansion that since the Cold War ended has seen NATO expanded eastwards with 14 new countries becoming members, including countries that were once part of the old Soviet Union... a very bitter pill that Putin and Russia have been forced to swallow.
And know that Vladimir Putin, while a U.S. adversary, is a smart man as well as being an expert tactician and realist, and he knows well that his actually taking over Ukraine would mean sending even more troops to the border. And he also knows that NATO's members have made it clear that while they are sending weapons to Ukraine and will continue to do so, that they will not be party to actual fighting in Ukraine. Also, Putin knows well that we have but four brigades in Europe and that Europe herself, including Great Britain, has but two or three at the most, which is not nearly enough to defeat the Russian army if it came to an all out ground war...a war Putin himself does not want for the blood being shed if such a war were to take place would be both catastrophic in nature to both sides and accomplish nothing in the end.And to that affect, we believe that what Vladimir Putin is now doing is simply showing the world that he will protect Russia, her interests, and her citizens if need be. But protect them from what exactly? To understand that one must understand Russian/Ukrainian history...a history that is convoluted at best as both Russia and Ukraine actually claim the same heritage...a heritage originating from what's called “the Rus”...where in the 10th century several tribes and clans of different ethnicities united together and became one under the Byzantine church. Simply, Russians and Ukrainians have essentially become one and the same people, yet they are divided by both language and politics.
In fact, albeit very briefly, Ukrainian volunteers fought rebels in the Moscow-aligned Donbass region, a region that rose up against the central government in Kyiv citing in part its “violation” of their right to speak Russian. And this fighting came to a head in 2014, when after months of what turned into deadly protests between Russian and Ukranian speakers led to the toppling of Ukraine’s pro-Russian government. And it was this event that led to the Minsk Protocol...an agreement which sought to end the war in the Dunbass region via an immediate cease fire and decentralization of power...which in turn, if it had been successful, would hopefully have led to Russia's de-annexation of Crimea. Remember, Russian control over Crimea, wanted primarily but not solely for its strategic value, was also established in 2014, with Crimea being administered as part of the Russian Federation, that is except for the northern areas of the Arabat Spit and the Syvash which are still controlled by Ukraine.The Minsk Protocol itself was crafted by the “Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine”...as in Ukraine, the Russian Federation, and the so-called “Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe” (OSCE)...and was brokered by leaders of France and Germany in what was called the “Normandy Format.” And while this agreement failed to stop the fighting, as did a second go-round known as Minsk II, the stage had been set for Ukraine to remain a permanent point of contention for Russia, whose focus has now shifted to Ukraine officially becoming once again an integral and accepted part of “Mother Russia,” as in the “Russian Federation.”
So by now it should be obvious that Ukraine, to Putin, is the prize that would help restore Russia's former glory...while to Biden, Ukraine is where yet another weakness in his administration's foreign policy objectives is easily seen.
If there is one thing that Vladimir Putin is not it’s a coward, and if there’s one thing Vladimir Putin has it’s a backbone. None of the rhetoric coming from those in Washington means anything to Putin and in fact, if you listen carefully, you can hear the Kremlin laughing.
Biden, a spineless coward, has now promised severe sanctions against Russia should Putin move militarily against Ukraine, but as is always the case with Biden it is nothing but mindless blather. Putin is willing to listen not because he fears such sanctions but because he’s keenly interested in Biden’s plan so that he can line up his own counter-measures. Remember during the 2020 campaign when Biden said in a debate that he has stood up to Putin in the past? One can only assume that he was speaking about the sanctions put on Russia when Biden was the Vice President in 2014.
Those sanctions were, at best, laughable. The Obama/Biden administration sanctioned several “low hanging fruit” entities such as smaller Russian banks, low-level military officials and a handful of non-essential diplomats. It was a joke and Putin didn’t for a moment consider getting out of Crimea either because of the threat of sanctions or the implementation of sanctions. This time around Biden is threatening major sanctions which could include Russia’s financial system and sectors deemed critical to the Kremlin. Biden is threatening “severe consequences” should Putin launch a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Note that the “severe consequences” come if Putin launches a “full scale” invasion against Ukraine, but Biden has already given a wink and a nod to a “minor incursion.”
Among the sanctions being considered against Russia are export control measures that could halt Russia's ability to import smartphones and key aircraft and automobile electronic parts. Biden is also considering banning exports to Russia of microelectronics and computer chips designed either using U.S. software or produced using U.S. equipment. And let’s be clear on these proposed sanctions, there is nothing on that list that Russia couldn’t obtain from their allies like China as Russia’s economic system can withstand the financial sector sanctions easily, and Putin knows full-well that imposing the tech sanctions will, in fact, hurt the U.S. far more than they would affect Russia.
That leaves oil, and that too is nothing but rhetoric when one examines the truth of the matter.
Russia has a proven 80 billion barrel reserve of oil on hand. Russia is a major oil and gas producer. In fact, they have the largest reserves of natural gas on earth and they’re the largest exporter of it. Russia also has the sixth largest oil reserves, and is one of the largest producers of oil. Most people don’t know it but last year Russia’s oil output was up 2.4 percent to 10.52 million barrels per day. This year, Russia expects to produce 10.84-11.05 million barrels per day. But Biden is threatening to take away Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline should a full-scale invasion be launched against Ukraine. Should that make Putin think twice?
In a word…no…and here’s why. That pipeline, the Nord Stream 2, isn’t even operational yet. Russia isn’t getting one single drop out of that pipeline. Do you really think Putin is worried about losing a pipeline that isn’t even built yet? Of course not, and especially when one considers how much oil Russia is already producing as mentioned above. Obviously, threatening the Nord Stream 2 pipeline is nothing but mindless blather from Biden and just as obviously Putin isn’t concerned by it, but what of other threatened energy sanctions against Russia?
Threats from Biden regarding restricting the financing of new gas exploration and production in the country as well as extending existing bans on the transfer of technology in the energy sector would be counter productive to the U.S. and our European allies, and Putin knows it. Russia’s big oil production company, Rosneft Oil Co., is roughly 20 percent owned by British Petroleum. Shell and Exxon Mobil Corp. are both drilling for oil and natural gas in the eastern part of Russia near Sakhalin Island, and the UK’s Glencore Corp. trades in Russian metal and oil.
Sanction what Biden is threatening to sanction and the ripple effect will harm U.S. and European ally’s efforts and energy flow causing prices in our country and theirs to necessarily rise even higher than prices are projected to rise this summer.
Should Biden impose such energy sanctions against Russia don’t be one bit surprised if Putin, in a tit-for-tat reprisal, orders Shell, Exxon Mobil, and possibly BP out of eastern Russia and takes control of those operations thus increasing Russian oil and gas production while also increasing exports. Now you can easily understand why the threatened economic sanctions are pretty much meaningless to Putin.
wants Ukraine not just for strategic, sentimental or land acquisition reasons, but
also for the natural resources available in Ukraine. While neither oil nor
natural gas are high on the list for Putin, it’s the abundance of
other natural resources such as coal, iron ore, manganese, salt,
graphite, sulfur, kaolin, titanium, nickel, magnesium, timber, and
mercury that Putin wants...resources which will surely add to Russia’s
manufacturing capabilities while adding money to Russia’s economy
in the process.
In fact, Russia's ambassador to Israel, one Anatoly Viktorov, recently stated that discussions between the two countries do not focus on Ukraine, but instead focus on “bilateral and regional agenda as well as other issues, which can contribute to the further development of Russian–Israeli friendly relations for the benefit of the peoples of our countries.”Words that, to date, have worked out well for both countries yet Israel, while remaining neutral, is not ignoring the situation in Ukraine for some very interesting reasons. First, Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky is Jewish and has stated that “Israel is often an example for Ukraine” and “both Ukrainians and Jews value freedom,” which is undeniably true and second, Israel and Ukraine have had diplomatic relations for 30 years. No need or want to burn bridges there especially with Yevgen Korniychuk, Ukraine’s ambassador to Israel and an ally of Zelensky, recently stating that Ukraine may soon “officially recognize” Jerusalem as Israel’s capital pending some “security-related conditions”...which is quite understandable given the talk of a possible Russian invasion...and that Ukraine is also considering opening a trade office in Jerusalem.
However, Israel might be the very country that helps to diffuse this situation in a way that no one has expected. How so...because if Iran does announce its having a nuclear weapon within the next few weeks, as is being projected, the focus will shift off Russia and Ukraine and return once again to the Middle East. This in turn will force both Russia and Ukraine to make compromises and concessions to their individual agendas as countering Iranian aggression will take top priority for all areas within Iran's possible launch capabilities.Remember, if Iran secures nuclear weapons the entire region will be forced to be on high alert because even the Russians, whose alliances with Iran are tenuous at best, sees its relationship and ties with Israel growing stronger by the day. And if there was a reinstating of the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal before an announcement is made, Iran will immediately receive sanctions relief that they, in turn, will use some of the funds released to help support and bolster Iranian-backed terror groups that threaten both Israel and the entire region.
Simply, even at the most seemingly critical of times diverting can mean deflecting which does tend to temper down a crisis that is into a crisis that was, and Israel vs. Iran just might be that deflection for we do not believe that when push comes to shove that Russia will allow Israel to cease to exist.
© 2022 / Diane Sori and Craig Andresen / Right Side Patriots / All rights reserved.
Tomorrow, Tuesday, February 8th from 7 to 8:30pm EST, RIGHT SIDE PATRIOTS Craig Andresen and Diane Sori will discuss the joint article 'What Will Happen...An Educated Guess'; and important news of the day.Hope you can tune in to RIGHT SIDE PATRIOTS on https://rspradio1.com. Click 'LISTEN LIVE' starting at 6:50 pm EST with the show beginning at 7pm EST.