It is an American trait to root for the underdog in all competitions that pose David against Goliath. Therefore, it is understandable that most Americans (apart from extreme MAGA types) are overjoyed that Ukrainian forces have driven the brutal, but unhappy, Russian military from Ukraine’s two largest cities and gamblers are taking the fight to a force several times as large. and strong (on paper).
But the big problem for the US government now seems to be to weaken Russia without extending the current war, to potentially even the use of nuclear weapons, or to increase the chances of an even greater future war with that great power.
U.S. government officials have occasionally been criticized for succumbing to dangerous triumphs boasting about U.S. intelligence that led to Ukraine’s killing of generals or the sinking of Russia’s flagship Moscow, saying Vladimir Putin should not continue to rule his country, or express The US goal of arming Ukraine would weaken Russia.
Yet everyone in the West, including both Democratic and Republican leaders in the United States, stumbles over themselves to the high five over the big point of attracting former non-aligned Finland and Sweden into NATO. And why not? The military in these two nations has been informally cooperating and training with the Alliance for several years but had never wanted to join.
It is true that Putin’s aggressive and terrible invasion of Ukraine has been very counterproductive, leading to the likely expansion of the very alliance that motivated him to persuade Ukraine to stop it from expanding there. (Putin’s mistakes also led NATO to strengthen its troops in Eastern Europe and spearhead Ukrainian nationalism so that most of that nation will never be resumed in Russia.)
However, the bipartisan investment in the United States to quickly inaugurate Sweden and Finland should be slowed down, so that a more motivated analysis of this long-term commitment can be made. Selling, or even giving, weapons to Ukrainians to help them defend their country is one thing, but agreeing that the United States will add two more rich countries – one near or very close to the Russian border – to the 29 nations in Europe that the United States States that have already promised to defend themselves from Russia is another.
In the short to medium term, Russia’s abysmal performance in the Ukraine war indicates that its threat to Europe is far less than what US officials had led the American public to believe. Instead of expanding NATO, the United States should take this threat interregnum to wean rich European nations from the US defense cap. After all, the nations of the EU, most of which are members of NATO, have a GDP that is 31 times greater than that of Russia. Due to Russia’s mistakes in Ukraine, many European countries are already increasing their military budgets – Germany by as much as 100 percent – and are clearly capable of defending themselves collectively in the future without the United States.
The United States should move towards making Europe more (not less) self-sufficient in defense, as French President Emmanuel Macron would like, so that America can turn its attention to China, a likely greater threat than Russia. (“Probably” because China could very well prove to be an equally hollow threat – with sophisticated weapons but the unsophisticated, but extremely important, military “glue” of logistics, military experience and know-how, and morale to implement a amphibious invasion of Taiwan, which is even more difficult than a land invasion).
But this more rational policy is likely to be lost in the joy of passing another on to the Russians. America rarely has the introspection to realize its own role in creating bad events. For example, after the 9/11 attacks, Americans thirsted for revenge from the allegedly heinous terrorist attacks and believed in George W. Bush when he said that Osama bin Laden attacked the United States because of its freedoms, instead of listening to bin Laden that he had been attacked in retaliation for wasteful US military intervention in Islamic countries.
This lack of self-examination then led to US officials doubling the same failed policies, and involving the United States in the long dig of the Second Iraq War.
Similarly, the compelling story that several post-Cold War NATO expansions (all the way to Russia’s northwestern border in the Baltics) enabled nationalist Putin to seize power in a repressed Russia and help generate his counterproductive invasion of Ukraine after George . The W. Bush and Biden administrations threatened to acknowledge that Ukraine (an important country for Russia on its southwestern border) has been swept under the rug. It has been replaced by the self-serving counter-argument that NATO expansion had nothing to do with Russia’s invasion and that Putin is only afraid of a democracy at its borders, even though the Baltics have been democracies for some time without a Russian invasion. where.
In fact, despite the immorality of Putin’s brutal war, Russia has legitimate security concerns in its flat and very vulnerable Western strategies. It has been invaded several times over the centuries by Sweden, Poland, Napoleonic France and Germany (twice). The Nazis’ last burned German invasion resulted in 30 million dead Soviets and devastated lands in the West.
Russia, a great nation, may be down now, but it has been in the dumps before and its power has resurfaced. Despite the blunder of its despot, the United States must avoid humiliating what the Allies did to Germany after World War I, giving the world the Nazis and an even more catastrophic World War II. Russia will rise again sometime, as Hitler’s Germany did out of humiliation piled up for humiliation, perhaps next time because of a hostile alliance at its northwestern borders.
Realistically, there will probably be nothing to stop the US foreign policy elite from trying to swallow as much of Europe as it can by offering to defend even more small countries in NATO. Let us hope that its repeated humiliation of Russia will not end in a terribly devastating war, as it did with Germany.