What If Russia Employs Nuclear Weapons?

Is the US on the righteous side of history assisting the Ukraine in its opposition to an unlawful Russian invasion? Considering the reactions and rhetoric of other nations to this point, it seems so. But President Biden must be cognizant of the ramifications of providing diplomatic and military support to the Ukraine government.

It’s outrageous that Russia, without provocation, unleashed a vicious and immoral attack on a sovereign nation. In other situations throughout history, deadly force was used in response to illegal actions against targeted nations. Consider the invasion of Afghanistan after 9/11. Consider the US response to Iraq and Saddam Hussein’s incursion in Kuwait. In both cases, the preponderance of world opinion was favorable about US actions. But, in both cases neither of the aggressor nations had weapons of mass destruction. And so, they were not an existential threat to mankind.

The responsibilities of the US in its response to Russia are far greater in the current situation. The megalomaniac who leads the Russian Federation has about the same number of intercontinental nuclear missiles at his disposal as the US does. It’s unknown whether one man, Vladimir Putin, can literally push the button and effectively end the world. Are there any fail-safe precautions at play in Russia? Does Putin need concurrence of his cabinet or his generals before deploying WMDs?

America and other nations are providing weapons to the Ukrainians that are enabling the invaded to fight back against the invader. There has been no direct contact between NATO forces and Russian forces. Rather, the West has imposed severe sanctions on Russia and many of its foremost citizens. This is a not so blatant attempt to bankrupt Russia. The sanctions will ultimately prevent Russia from selling enough oil and gas to meet its obligations to its people and its creditors, and they will create great economic hardships for the Russian economy and its citizens.

Are these aggressive moves by the West excuses for Russia to directly challenge NATO, and in particular the US? If we were sure that Putin was in control of his mental facilities, the answer to the question is no. But we are not sure of Putin’s mental stability.

This fact creates a whole new dimension to the conundrum. How far should Biden go in his efforts to thwart Russia? For instance, should the US provide fighter jets and bombers? Should the US provide more powerful surface to air and surface to surface missiles, like the ones that sank a Russian warship? How far can Biden go before Putin decides to take action against the West? And more important, how will Biden respond to the possibility of limited nuclear or chemical arms being used in a confrontation?

This is truly an existential debate. The last thing our world needs is an intercontinental nuclear showdown. Yet, the US and the West cannot stand by and allow any country to invade another country without provocation.

Is the US on solid ground? Even if it is true, does it justify tempting Russia to use its nuclear arsenal?

Democrats’ Dream Of Impeachment Fades

The presidential impeachment circus continues. For hours, liberal lawmakers slogged through a myriad of meetings, phone calls and gossip trying to dredge up a crime by Trump that would justify removing him from office.

Viewers of the proceedings are reported to be fewer and fewer each day. Everyone is waiting for a breakthrough revelation, but none have materialized. Odds are that 80% of Americans still don’t know the capital of Ukraine (Kiev), 90% don’t know where the country is located (eastern Europe on the Black Sea) and 99.99% don’t know the president’s name (Zelensky).

Basically, every witness called has been a State Department bureaucrat affiliated to Ukraine. All of those called to testify are government hacks (with fancy titles- mostly “ambassador”), whose purpose is to legitimize Ukraine, assist it in becoming a loyal and non-corrupt member of NATO and the European Union and arming it so it can serve as a buffer between Europe and Russia. The latter, led by Vladimir Putin, yearns to of reassemble the Soviet Union by reclaiming all of the original Soviet States. Recapturing Ukraine would be a first step in the process.

When this witch-hunt began, many expected the individuals appearing before the House Intelligence Committee to be avid Trump-haters, plain and simple, and their objective would coincide with Democrat’s- to impeach Trump. The fact is that each bureaucrat, to date, is a rabid Ukrainian supporter determined to convince the president and Congress that Ukraine can evolve into a productive member of the community of nations. Surprisingly most of the witnesses are apolitical, and only interested in the well being of Ukraine. Most of them have worked under both Republican and Democrat presidents.

Not one of the witnesses on Tuesday incriminated Trump for pressuring Zelensky to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden, or said Trump bribed, extorted or intimidated the Ukraine president. The harshest criticism was directed at Rudy Giuliani. He’s not a government official. But he’s acting on behalf of President Trump regarding Ukraine. Time and again the State Department officials indicated that they resented Giuliani’s intrusion onto their turf, and his actions have been detrimental to US policy regarding Ukraine.

Tuesday could be the worse day so far for Schiff and his misinformed minions. Nobody cares about the impeachment because it’s a charade, and the Senate will acquit.

Is it possible that not one single person will actually testify that he or she, first hand, witnessed Trump committing an impeachable crime? It appears so.

Military vs. Economic Persuasion

The US and its leaders are in a unique position to influence world events. They have the ability to use either economic or military persuasion. The question is which one should be used in specific circumstances. It’s often a life and death decision.

Donald Trump favors economic sanctions over military force for the most part. In fact he’s actively trying to decrease the presence of our military around the world and take our soldiers out of harm’s way. It was a campaign promise he made in 2016.

Currently he’s wielding sanctions against the largest and most powerful opponents of America, Russia and China. Since outright military aggression is not an option against the aforementioned countries, because it could possibly lead to a nuclear showdown, the president is wise to eschew the use of any violent strategy.

Ronald Reagan brilliantly out maneuvered the Soviet Union in the late 20th century. He artfully combined economic pressure and military threats that ultimately resulted in the bankruptcy of the Soviets. The communist regime could not compete with the US’s ability to build both nuclear and conventional arsenals at a break neck speed. By attempting to match our weapons development, the Soviet Union crumbled financially.

Today the US must contend with a megalomaniac-governed empire that dreams of the days when it had much more influence throughout the world.

Because military confrontation is out of the question, Trump has exerted economic sanctions against Russia and attacked the powerful class of oligarchs, the country’s business leaders, many of its largest companies and most importantly its banking system. Slowly, the US is once again bankrupting Russia. The result is shortages of food and other basic needs and curtailed government services as Russian leaders spend more and more on armaments and foolish military expeditions into remote parts of the world, such as Syria.

China is a similar story except its economy is much stronger. Trump reacted to Chinese misbehavior with extraordinary economic sanctions that have stopped China in its tracks and markedly reduced its industrial growth.

China sells over $350 billion of goods to the US annually, while the US sells about $100 billion to China. Tit for tat tariffs have hurt China far worse than tariffs on US goods. The leadership of China will be in jeopardy if the sanctions are not rescinded soon. This is why Trump is making progress in his negotiations with China to end unfair trade practices and the theft of US technologies.

Unemployment lines in China will begin to grow if the US sanctions do not end. Xi is under pressure to make the turmoil end in the short term. The expectation that China will “eat the US’s lunch” economically is misleading and untrue, especially because our economy is so much larger than China’s.

Sanctions have also been effective against North Korea and its nuclear aspirations. Kim cannot continue to spend so much of his country’s cash flow on nuclear and conventional weapons. He will ultimately accede to US demands or face regime change.

Similarly the aggression of Iran will end as sanctions are tightened. Iran will have to accept much tougher restrictions on its nuclear arsenal or face regime issues that will follow food shortages and civil unrest.

The shrewd use of economic sanctions rather than military engagement is wise. However some dysfunctional regimes throughout the world only understand military might. The US should be prepared to use its power exclusively when all other avenues have been exhausted.

America must act decisively in situations that threaten US security and our allies. Additionally, crimes against humanity, genocide and actions by nations that result in famine and displacement of groups of people, need to be dealt with apace.

Trump’s perspective on the strategy to use military and economic force has been effective to this point.

The US/Russia Conflict

Why is the US perpetually in conflict with other countries and their leaders? Is it a struggle for world domination, military superiority, economic advantage, imperialism, colonialism, or do these opponents have legitimate grounds to resist America at every opportunity?

Russia is the oldest perennial competitors of the US. Since World War II the US and Russia (formerly the Soviet Union) have been at loggerheads. And now both countries are attempting to delve into each other’s domestic affairs via cyber warfare.

After the Second World War the Soviet Union led by Stalin worked to gain territorial advantages as the East and West divided up war torn Europe. The allies encouraged the countries they controlled to become democracies by having free elections, and the Soviets made their acquisitions satellites of the Mother Country.

Stalin, among other things, wanted to create a buffer zone, an Iron Curtain if you will, that would separate the Soviet Union from central Europe in the event of hostilities. Puppets installed by the communist taskmasters governed the Soviet satellites unless they or their citizens refused to cooperate (Poland and Hungary uprisings in 1956).

Stalin knew the US and its allies would be his principal adversaries moving forward during the reconstruction of Europe and beyond. The US acted in kind and the seeds of a cold war were sown.

The Cold War featured a massive military buildup that included thousands of nuclear weapons that could end mankind. The threat of mutual assured destruction was the major reason why a nuclear war was averted during this stressful period of history. The ultimate cost of armaments and fear mongering was massive for the US and the Soviet Union.

In 1991 the Soviet Union fell and was restructured into 15 separate democracies. Mikhail Gorbachev resigned and was replaced by Boris Yeltsin in Russia. A drop in oil and gas revenues, loss of control of Eastern Europe and the failure of Gorbachev’s reforms to bear fruit are some of the most important reasons why the communists fell.

Others might say that the cost of waging a Cold War with the US, and the affiliated cost of weaponry, were also a primary factors affecting the Soviet Union.

Today Vladimir Putin rules with an iron fist in the guise of a truly elected president. As an old Soviet bureaucrat, Putin longs for the good old days and the comforting buffer zone between Russia and the West. His objectives are undeniable although never spoken: bring Eastern Europe and the Balkans back under Russian control. Certain countries have made this objective difficult by joining NATO, a military alliance controlled by the US that will respond as a group if any member is threatened. Note: the response of NATO in Ukraine has been less than impressive.

But, how should the world view Russia’s aggressive activities that are far afield from its national security? The country is powered by its energy industries. It makes deals with other countries that are a combination of economics and politics.

Russia’s dependence on fossil fuel sales is not a healthy situation and Putin knows it. Many of his clandestine activities around the globe are impacted by the country’s cash flow. So one must ask why he uses precious resources in his efforts to antagonize and stifle America. Wouldn’t Russia be better served if cash were used for productive purposes rather than creating havoc.

For example, Russia has joined forces with Iran to protect Syria and Bashar al Assad, one of the most dangerous and despised despots in the world. Of course no one knows how much Putin spends on his folly to keep this murderer in power, but why do it in conjunction with yet another hated country, Iran? Probably, Putin hopes to create disruption in the region that will somehow generate diplomatic opportunities for his country.

Efforts by Russia to influence US elections and elections throughout the world are putting world leaders on edge. How is this beneficial to Russia? These intrusions are so invasive that many in the global community of nations will eventually respond negatively. Putin’s actions are nothing less than imperialistic, an attitude not even branded on the US.

In America the Russian effort to influence our elections have been exposed. At least some of the classified information on this matter collected by Robert Mueller will be disseminated. These will include acts to buy and expose the dirty laundry of certain candidates or making unsubstantiated robo-posts to social media that are harmful to election contenders. The resultant mudslinging opportunities are unlimited and could have great impact.

Why doesn’t Putin want to live peacefully along side the US? Maybe he’s a warrior who needs to be in a battle or trying to overtake another country. He’s definitely not endearing himself to US allies and democratic countries around the world. Ultimately Russia will pay a price for its bellicose attitude.