By Stephen Bryen
There is a madness that has seized official Washington’s foreign policy. It is strange and unprecedented.
In its latest manifestation, the President apparently has told Russian President Vladimir Putin that he is going to go after him personally if he invades Ukraine.
Meanwhile Blinken’s State Department claims that the US guarantees Ukraine’s independence and its borders. On what basis is this claim proffered?
Meanwhile it seems the State Department has warned the Russian ambassador that he may soon be kicked out of the United States.
Not to mention that Blinken, not to be outdone by his brain-limited boss, has warned Belarus that the US and its allies will attack Belarus if it supports a Russian Ukraine invasion.
Has Blinken looked at a map recently? Does he know where Belarus is? How close it is to Vilnius or to Warsaw? Does he actually think either the Lithuanians or the Poles are going to join a US crusade against Belarus, exposing their countries to rack and ruin?
Meanwhile, the US –conspiring with the EU—is promoting “severe” sanctions against Russia if it attacks Ukraine. These sanctions include cutting the Russians out of the global banking system and payments transfer system. But the Russians say, do that and we will cut off all gas flows to Europe. Germany is 50% dependent on Russian gas; Poland 60%. Other like Italy also badly need Russian gas.
The geniuses in the State Department have an answer. We will send LNG to Europe. But even if we had enough, which we do not, Germany does not have an LNG port, and LNG has to be compressed and cross the ocean, far different from the steady flow through a pipeline.
Even worse, aside from the reckless killing of the Keystone XL pipeline (one of the key reasons we now have high oil and gasoline prices), the geniuses in the State Department are now opposing an Israeli-Cyprus pipeline to Greece and Italy that would have ameliorated some of the dependence on Russian gas.
But expecting rationality from this crowd of arrogant and foolish policy makers perhaps is asking too much.
The Russians can not only shut down Europe’s gas, causing economic chaos, but they can do more without firing a shot. We can certainly expect part of the Russian response would be to turn our cyber-based critical infrastructure into trash, both in the US and Europe. No banking, no transportation, no communications, no government and not much military. We are helpless because we rely on commercial computer products that are primarily produced in China. Russian, Chinese, North Korean and Iranian hackers know what and how to do if they are fully unleashed. These guys have been practicing how to disrupt American and European interests for years.
But what is impossible to explain is where these immature and reckless threats come from? Why is the Biden administration gone so rogue?
Part of the answer lies in their complete impotence, first made clear in Afghanistan. Now they are repeating the same mistakes with Iran, with the Houthis and now with the Russians. Indeed, the only country they appear to be afraid of is China. Sorry fellows, Russia is a powerful country, and they hold most of the cards.
You never get into a fight you can’t win, and certainly not one you can’t control. The beast of war is a terrible thing, and once unleashed is practically unstoppable, certainly unpredictable. In this age of nuclear weapons American leaders, just like Russian leaders, have a responsibility to avoid any conflict that could lead to nuclear attack. It must always be kept in mind that Hiroshima and Nagasaki were just the beginning of what could be. Today it is most awful, with hydrogen weapons that are 100 times more powerful.
In the power game the US has been slipping badly. That is not news, it is reality. For the last twenty years Washington saw itself as top dog, global policeman. But no more. For twenty years we wasted trillions on stupid wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and gained nothing except the loss of our prestige and the murder of tens of thousands of non-combatants thanks to what is called collateral damage.
Most of the atrocities have been covered up. In any case, Washington’s current crop of leaders could care less. They are trying to keep in office an afflicted, mentally limited, President who can no longer convince anyone, neither the Russians, Chinese, North Koreans, Iranians, or our NATO allies. or anyone else including the American people, all of whom are running for cover or are thoroughly disgusted.
Bulgaria has now said it won’t send troops to Ukraine. Britain’s PM Boris Johnson has told the House of Commons that there is no chance the UK will send troops to Ukraine. The Germans are only willing to send helmets. They will be needed.
Biden, Sullivan and Blinken have badly miscalculated. Not only have they utterly failed, but they cannot be trusted. Such reckless policymaking could get us all killed.