Is the US to blame for the devastation in Ukraine? Given our influence across the globe, our diplomatic reach and our military might, should the US and Joe Biden have done more to avoid the current catastrophe, which includes humanitarian devastation and genocide?
The US has come a long way from “speaking softly and carrying a big stick.” For sure we still have a big stick, but our politicians and leaders don’t know how to effectively wield existential power. In all fairness, there are two really important facts that we must be mindful about. One is that Russia has nuclear weapons that can end mankind as we know it today. Two, Putin may be crazy enough to use nuclear power.
I think it was a mistake for Biden and his administration to give credence to the possibility of a nuclear confrontation. History has proven that even the most despicable troublemakers in the world don’t have the guts to launch a nuclear attack. Up to now, only America has used a weapon of mass destruction. It was a frightful decision that many still resent. Thousands of innocents died on the eventful day. Even North Korea and Iran, and all the terrorists they are affiliated with, know that a nuclear attack will result in obliteration of their countries.
Of course, Russia has unique status. It has nukes that can destroy the world. Yet, it has had its share of aggressive leaders who backed away from a nuclear encounter with the United States. Consider Khrushchev Gorbachev and Yeltsin.
President Biden gave up too much in the days before the Ukraine attack. He assumed that Putin would go nuclear if the US responded aggressively. This was a big mistake. Putin continues to threaten the world with weapons of mass destruction, if NATO kills a soldier or downs a Russian aircraft. It’s not going to happen. Even a madman would not end the world for such a relatively insignificant event.
Does Putin have the power to launch a nuke without concurrence of others. Until now, I worried that if Putin woke up on the wrong side of the bed, he might initiate an atomic war. This is absurd. If he gives the order, other politicians and generals will need to be convinced that Russia will not be wiped out by the US arsenal of nuclear response (which will happen). The decision they will make is clear.
By giving credence to the nuclear possibility, the US and NATO response to the Ukraine attack has been subdued. The West is supplying all forms of weapons without any real response by the Russians, only talk and idle threats. We should do more to help the Ukrainians fight back against Russia, and not assume a Holocaust is feasible.
John F Kennedy had the chops to respond to Khrushchev during the Cuban missile crisis. We need leaders who have the same courage to fight aggression. A decision to launch missiles and end the world is the ultimate fail safe.