Increased military activity on the Russia-Ukraine border is causing concern in the West. Russia is warning NATO to stay out of Eastern Europe.
The United States is again sounding the alarm on Russia’s build-up of military assets on its border with Ukraine, fearing an invasion could occur in early 2022.
- While Russian President Vladimir Putin amplified his demand that Ukraine not be allowed to join NATO, American intelligence has found an increase in anti-NATO propaganda being spread in Ukraine.
- In the wake of the warnings, Putin and President Joe Biden scheduled a call next week to discuss “cyber, strategic stability and regional issues” according to the White House.
- Some European allies of the United States are “expressing skepticism” privately about American intelligence assessments that an invasion is imminent, saying it would be more likely Putin prefers a long-term standoff.
- The United States is threatening Russia with “high impact economic measures” in response to an attack on Ukraine, with the AP noting no Western nations have pledged to back Ukraine militarily.
- Biden pledged to be prepared for the call with Putin and for any military action he may take in the near future.
- CNN’s coverage of the Ukraine situation highlighted the work of American Secretary of State Antony Blinken to express America’s commitment to Ukraine in talks with his Russian counterpart.
- Newsweek reported on Russia’s retort that America should “look for aggressors violating international law” by looking in the mirror.
- Slate noted remarks from the U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville saying Russia’s actions are unpredictable but their troop movements cause concern ahead of Biden’s video chat with Putin.
- The Washington Times reported on the scheduled video call between the two leaders, saying the build-up of troops on the Russia-Ukraine border has “frayed already tense relations between the U.S. and Russia.”
- Newsmax interviewed former U.S. Ambassador to Germany Ric Grenell who said Russia’s actions are because they are “smelling weakness” with the Biden administration, citing the 2014 invasion of Ukraine during the Obama-Biden administration.
- Fox News countered the AP’s assertion of a lack of Western resolve by quoting NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, who warned that an invasion of Ukraine would be costly for Russia, and President Biden who unequivocally rejected Putin’s efforts to push NATO out of Eastern Europe.
The number of hotspots and areas of concern around the globe appear to be increasing, even if they are simply heating up previously lukewarm spots. Restarting negotiations with Iran, China’s increased harassment of Taiwanese airspace, and Belarus bullying Poland were enough. A Russian invasion of Ukraine would confirm the belief among the world’s tyrants that they can act with relative impunity. The United States, regardless of who is president, has a serious responsibility to balance its national interests with global stability. These are not easy decisions to make and one hopes those in power have the wisdom and courage to think them through clearly, without political interference. It requires professionals who show up to do the job, not a vice president who blames her staff when she looks stupid after not reading briefing material.
© Dallas Gerber, 2021