The article is written by Michael G. Vickers, introduced thusly:
Michael G. Vickers, a former Special Forces officer and CIA operations officer, served as assistant secretary of defense for special operations, low-intensity conflict and interdependent capabilities (2007-2011) and undersecretary of defense for intelligence (2011-2015).
You know what they say: once CIA, always CIA.
Deterrence and escalation dominance — two core ideas in strategic theory — explain why Vladimir Putin will likely soon launch a large-scale invasion of Ukraine aimed at toppling the democratic government in Kyiv.
So, it’s not just going to be a landgrab in the Donbass region, then? It’s a full-scale attempt to conquer Ukraine?
Deterrence — convincing an adversary that he cannot achieve his objectives through military action— works through two processes: denial and punishment. The likelihood that an adversary will be denied his objectives can prevent an attack. The likelihood that aggression’s costs will become prohibitive also strengthens deterrence.
We have failed to deter Russia across four administrations, beginning with its invasion of Georgia in 2008, its seizure of Crimea and the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine in 2014, its intervention in the Syrian civil war in 2015 and its covert interference in the U.S. presidential elections in 2016 and 2020. Our defeat in Afghanistan in August 2021 no doubt convinced Putin that our resolve to counter his aggression had weakened even more.
“Election interference” claims?
Big time red flag. Although I guess it was largely the intelligence community that was behind the “Election interference” psyop, so what do you really expect?
In early December, President Biden took deterrence by denial off the table by declaring that the United States would not use direct military force to counter a Russian invasion of Ukraine. That was a big green light for the Russian president, just as suggesting that Korea was outside our defense perimeter had been a green light for Kim Il Sung to invade South Korea in 1950. During a news conference on Wednesday, the president said that a “minor incursion” by Russian forces into Ukraine might not prompt a severe response from Washington and its allies. (On Thursday, the White House attempted to backtrack on his remarks, stating that any Russian invasion of Ukraine would be met with a “severe and coordinated economic response.”)
Biden did say this during his press conference, no matter how much his staff tries to backtrack on his behalf.
Take a step back quickly and think about that, though: this has happened before. Biden says something, and his staff then quickly tries to “clean it up” and basically say that no, the President didn’t mean what he said.
Who’s in charge here? Biden says one thing, his staff says something completely different. Biden is routinely being overruled by his staff it would appear. How else can you interpret this?
Why wouldn’t Putin view this as his golden opportunity to execute a massive landgrab? Nobody’s in charge in America. We’re asleep at the wheel. Look, I don’t give a shit if Russia invades Ukraine, or even if Russia completely conquers Ukraine and annexes the whole country. It doesn’t affect us at all.
The old Tsarist Russian Empire used to include Ukraine. The Soviet Union used to include Ukraine. Russia sees Ukraine as a part of Russia, not as its own independent country. It’s a simple fact. Imagine if somehow America lost, say, Alaska to Canada. Would it be all that shocking if the American government began going to great lengths to retake Alaska, even to the point of launching an invasion of Alaska? Of course not.
This is what’s happening between Russia and Ukraine. It’s nobody else’s business but theirs. It’s not our business, just as it would not be Russia’s business if America was trying to retake Alaska from the Canadians–although the Russians would have a strong claim that such a situation was at least in part “their business” given how close Alaska is to Russia. Ukraine is halfway around the world. It’s not our business. I don’t care if Russia invades Ukraine.
What I do care about, though, is the fact that the rest of the world can plainly see that America’s President is simply not in charge at all. He is overruled by his staff constantly. Nothing he says matters because it’ll quickly be backtracked by the White House staff–the people who are actually in charge.
While we, to be sure, don’t want a war with Russia, it is equally true that Putin doesn’t want a war with us. He does only what he has been led to believe he can get away with.
Oh boy. Here we go.
Moving U.S. combat aircraft and ships forward to Europe would add considerably to Putin’s uncertainty about his forces’ ability to conquer Ukraine and quite possibly change his strategic calculus. U.S. air power is superior to Russia’s, and it would substantially bolster the fighting spirit and capabilities of Ukraine’s armed forces. Such an action could well deter the conflict in the first place and undermine Putin’s confidence that he had escalation dominance. It is not too late.
So, in one paragraph, he admits that we don’t want a war with Russia, but in the next paragraph, he basically says that we should massively escalate our involvement in Ukraine in the name of “deterrence.”
But what if that doesn’t work? What if Putin calls our bluff and goes ahead and invades Ukraine anyway while we’re in the region? We’re going to have a bunch of angry generals on the phone with Washington demanding we start firing off missiles and dropping bombs.
U.S. intelligence must also work with their Ukrainian counterparts to counter Russian active measures — the Russian term for covert action — aimed at toppling the Zelensky government. That might be Putin’s preferred course of action.
That sounds like direct involvement in Ukraine.
Read these next three paragraphs and tell me this guy is serious:
Unequivocal statements from Germany that Russia will be cut off from the international financial system, and that the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline will be terminated if Russia invades Ukraine, would also weaken Putin’s confidence that he has escalation dominance.
If deterrence by denial doesn’t work and Russia invades and topples the government in Kyiv, U.S. strategy should shift to deterrence by punishment. Punishing Russia will bolster future deterrence.
Western sanctions, which thus far have not deterred Russia, should be aimed at cutting Russia off from the international financial system and economy. German resolve to terminate the Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia will be critical.
He’s saying that the US should be prepared to enact massive sanctions on Russia, but then in the next sentence, he admits our sanctions thus far have been basically useless.
And the Nord Stream 2 pipeline: are you kidding me?
This is the Nord Stream 2 pipeline:
It goes directly from Russia to Germany. There is no way Germany is going to “terminate” the pipeline. Germany already relies on Russia for 40% of its annual gas consumption. The Nord Stream 2 pipeline will double that and make Germany more reliant than ever on Russia for natural gas.
Germany cannot afford to “terminate” this pipeline.
Even the toughest sanctions, however, won’t be enough. The United States should also support Ukrainian resistance to Russian occupation and a Russia-installed government with lethal means, to include advanced anti-armor and anti-air weapons. We drove the Russians out of Afghanistan during the 1980s using similar means, and we can drive them out of Ukraine should they invade and occupy the country. We should also support the resistance to Alexander Lukashenko in Belarus, which will significantly expand Putin’s territorial control problem and increase the cost of his invasion. As part of this strategy, Poland should also open its borders to Belarusian refugees. Finally, we should employ cyber and other covert means to undermine Putin’s rule in Russia. It’s past time to give Putin a taste of his own medicine.
Okay, so to recap this paragraph: engage in a proxy war with Russia in Ukraine, foment a color revolution in Belarus which will create a massive refugee crisis that Poland will be responsible for dealing with, and then launch a direct cyber war on Putin in Russia.
Are these people insane?
If Putin succeeds in conquering Ukraine and the United States does not respond forcefully, the Biden presidency will surely be limited to one term.
False. Biden is going to be a one-termer no matter what.
Putin will score an even greater victory if Donald Trump is returned to the Oval Office in 2025.
Huh? Why the fuck would Putin want Trump back in office? How much territory did Putin gain when Trump was in office? Zilch. He got Crimea when Obama in was in office, and South Ossetia when Bush was in office. Now he’s about to get Ukraine with Biden in office. Putin has never had it better than he does with Biden in office. This is the most insanely idiotic thing I’ve ever read.
The United States will lose even more if Xi Jinping takes a cue from Putin and invades Taiwan.
Yeah, this is true. Taiwan makes something like 2/3rds of the world’s semiconductors. We’d be screwed if China conquers Taiwan.
But what other choice do we have? We have Biden in office now. Liberal white women didn’t want a President who used Twitter, so we had to get rid of Trump.
This is what you get for that. You reap what you sow.
Whatever negative repercussions the US regime suffers over the next few years, they have brought all of it upon themselves. All of it. They wanted Trump out because he wasn’t one of their own, well now he’s gone. They have made their bed, now they must lie in it.
I think this saber-rattling op-ed in the Washington Post is a good gauge of the mood inside of Official Washington right now. They feel their empire crumbling and they are desperate to hold it together.
Caitlin Johnstone just yesterday wrote a prescient article entitled, “The US Empire is More Dangerous Than Ever Before,” and she’s right:
The US is more dangerous now as it loses global primacy than it has been at any other point in its history. There really are just two options currently on the table: either the US empire relinquishes unipolar domination voluntarily and leads a peaceful transition into a multipolar world, or it takes increasingly drastic and dangerous action to maintain planetary control. The latter choice is both horrifying and likely.
The American regime is like a wounded animal right now. In fact, it has been ever since 2016. In its increasing desperation to cling to power, it will begin behaving even more erratically and dangerously.
The way I see it, right now, nothing is off the table for them. Nothing. They might resort to outright totalitarianism domestically. They might go to war with a nuclear-armed superpower. We just don’t know.
A wounded animal is the most dangerous because it is in survival mode. In survival mode, nothing is off the table. Nothing. Desperation can lead people to do some horrible, horrible things.
I don’t think we’ll see the US escalate with Russia. Biden spilled the beans on that yesterday. But I wouldn’t rule anything out right now.