Putin Has Biden’s Attention, Now What?

Russia can crush Ukraine. How do you leverage that into security guarantees by NATO?

With the US raising alarm about a supposed Russian military buildup opposite of Ukraine, and the Russians denying anything out of the ordinary is taking place it is tempting to conclude that this is just more of the typical NATO scaremongering about Russia. Trouble is that I don’t believe that. On the contrary, I believe that something very serious is afoot.

The reason I think so isn’t that I have been listening to the Americans, but that I have been listening to the Russians. For years and years, the Russians have been complaining about the march of American & vassal missiles, training programs, weapon stockpiles, and units eastward. They have been complaining for so long that the picture of Russia as being all talk and never following up with real-world measures has become a meme among the more cynical Russia watchers.

Then, all of a sudden two things happened:

A.) Any and all talk of taking Donbass by force suddenly stopped in Ukraine. Instead, Kiev seems genuinely terrified it will be routed by the Russian military and is promising numerous Russian casualties (but tellingly not defeat) in a high-stakes attempt to deter the Russians.

B.) Biden initiated security talks with Vladimir Putin days after regime press revealed that something about the Russian military posture sent Washington into panic mode.

That tells me that the Russians finally did something that got Washington’s full attention. I don’t know what they did. Maybe it was the buildup opposite of Ukraine, maybe it was something else that we’re not being told about. Maybe it doesn’t even matter that much.

What does matter is that the Russian expectations of anything coming out of the initial Biden-Putin talk are nil. That means the Russian pressure — whatever it is — will continue.

The Russians aren’t going to be bought out by talks. They held talks with Biden in the Spring, and these were followed up by more provocations in the Summer. Now they want real, tangible appeasement. They have spelled out as much.

Trouble is, between the characteristic fecklessness and cowardice of the White House (whoever it is occupied by), and the vested Cold War interests I have no idea how they get that.

Any American president who works out a deal with the Russians and removes a missile or two will be denounced as “weak” by all the other institutions of the American Empire which stand to lose from peace, and which together are more powerful than a weak-willed presidency.

In reality, it is just the opposite, it is precisely the weakness of American presidents which makes a good deal with Russia impossible. What is better for the American and, say, the Romanian people, having some US missiles in the land of Dracula, or peace in Europe? Obviously the latter. But any president who concedes as much will face resistance and sabotage by the Pentagon, the CIA, NATO, the posturing Congress, the liberal-interventionist State Department, the think tanks, and the media.

Honestly, I have no idea how Putin, Shoigu, and Lavrov get the security guarantees that they want out of this one. If they succeed they are infinitely better strategists than I.

Let’s say it has indeed been a buildup opposite of Ukraine that forced the Americans to the table, now what?

There is no doubt that if Moscow is willing to sustain the cost in lives and in sanctions (and in Ukrainian bitterness and enmity) that the Russian military can take most of Ukraine.

The Russian military is larger than the Ukrainian one and has more firepower per pound, The two also share a long flat border — there are no convenient bottlenecks. The Russians can force the Ukrainian military to stretch out over a long frontline, pin it down in place, then apply defeat in detail to sectors with maneuver and firepower one by one.

Kiev is just 400 kilometers from the Russian border, and the Americans have already said — in so many words — that direct US military intervention almost certainly isn’t on the cards.

Trouble is this. If the DC Empire and the Ukraine were one organic being then guaranteeing the Russians a missile status quo in return for the Russians not overruning Kiev would be an absolute bargain. Problem is that, not only are the Empire and the Ukraine not a single entity, but the American Empire itself is a hydra with many heads, most of which stand only to gain from a Russian war in the Ukraine.

The White House is the only imperial institution that stands something to lose, namely prestige for having failed to deter the Russians. However, it also stands to lose by being painted as appeasing Moscow so it’s something of a moot point.

In all other respects, the Empire and its institutions stand only to gain. NATO can get a huge lease on life, Pentagon could be looking at the return of full US divisions to Europe, and the European vassals would be more regimented behind the US than ever before. As the cherry on top Russia would be left with the odd problem of policing and rebuilding Ukraine — while under a total Western economic embargo. Perhaps the biggest “win” of all would be the endless opportunity for moral condemnation of Russia over its treatment of “subjugated” Malaya Rus’.

So again, I think Russia can relatively easily occupy land in Ukraine, I just don’t know how it can trade pieces of that land in return for NATO guarantees to stop carrying out provocations that are in its self-interest.

The problem is that Russia enjoying peace and stability on its borders is in Russia’s interest but it is not in NATO’s interest. Why do you think that Russia was willing to strong-arm Donbass into abiding by the Minsk Agreement but the West never applied pressure on Kiev to do the same? Because ultimately fighting Russia to the last Ukrainian and seeing the Russian-Ukrainian enmity deepen is the stuff of dreams for NATO.

  1. Republic of Pineland says

    “Any American president who works out a deal with the Russians and removes a missile or two will be denounced as “weak” by all the other institutions of the American Empire”

    While this is true, there is no popular support for a war in the US electorate, which would actually be the very definition of a ‘hard sell’ even amongst the most addled ranks of the two parties.

    The Neoliberals – decades ago – got the boot from the Democrats, almost entirely due to the limits of the base tolerance for this serial adventurism having long since been reached,

    As G Washington noted relating to ” ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans” –

    “They serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community”

    The (now) Republican aligned warfare apparatchiks who finally lost the exasperated support of the right-wing base, as well, over Afghanistan, were also the failed legacy of these travelling Neoliberals.

    If the US had one true foreign policy hallmark, it came once again from Washington, although it was often refused in his absence –

    “Observe good faith and justice towards all nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all. Religion and morality enjoin this conduct; and can it be, that good policy does not equally enjoin it?

    It will be worthy of a free, enlightened, and at no distant period, a great nation, to give to mankind the magnanimous and too novel example of a people always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence. Who can doubt that, in the course of time and things, the fruits of such a plan would richly repay any temporary advantages which might be lost by a steady adherence to it?”

    Any foreign policy based on murder, abuse, cheating, fraud, or oppression has and will always fail, with its only lasting results being the dead left in its wake.. If someone is selling a strategy that deviates from the one Washington went to great pains to illustrate, it amounts to little more than yet another iteration of,
    as Tacitus quoted – “They make a desert and call it peace.”

    1. Pablo says

      Any American president who works out a deal with the Russians and removes a missile or two will be denounced as “weak” by all the other institutions of the American Empire” I don’t think that’s as true as it used to be. 21 years in Afghanistan ending in a US War Machine surrender has really, imho, changed a lot of People’s minds. At least I hope so. I think if the Military Industrial Complex (MIC) tries to start another War, the General Public will not stand for it this time.

  2. Ragheadthefiendlyterrorist says

    Russia does not need to rebuild Ukranazistan. Go in, annihilate the Ukranazi military and the coup regime, and withdraw to the (original) Donbass borders, leaving a blasted ruin for the Amerikastani Empire to pay for.

    1. padre says

      Or they can use USA model, by installing a government for their liking!

  3. Leisure Larry says

    So glad that nobody is mentioning the Jew Machine that *is* the “Empire”.

    This mealy mouthed gandydancing to cloak the Jews has been going on for 100 years. Use of diversionary labels provides them all the obscurity they need to succeed. As they have been.

    Newsflash: They’ve sworn upon the altar of their God to wipe your family from the Book of Life. Kissing their asses won’t save you.
    See: Solzhenitsyn “appeasement means that thereafter you’re just buying time”

    1. tim says

      ‘Ron Unz who is a jew himself does an outstanding job of addressing this fact, yes its a hard one to get your head around.

      1. Jasonovich says

        A few I know but not all Jews are Zionist or support Talmudic supremacy cult, unfortunately for us, it would take more than long wrench to extract the jewfestation from the corridors of power.

        1. Abraham Lincoln says

          Wrong about 95% of all Jews are racist Zionist supremacists and support the Talmudic supremacy cult according to the latest Israeli polling.

  4. XSFRGR says

    Russia has two choices. One is to wait, and hope for a collapse of the Empire while the other is to take action to collapse the Empire. Option one is beyond the control of Russia while the other is firmly controlled by Russia. If Russia doesn’t attack the status quo remains, but if Russia does attack the dynamic shifts firmly in Russia’s favor. If Russia doesn’t attack then Russia has blinked again; how many blinks is Russia allowed? If Russia does attack then Russia has established a solid position dominance on the European continent.

    While the build up on Ukraine’s border has everyone’s attention the fact that Russia has positioned its logistics train in depth, and in attack formation, with full air defense capabilities, hasn’t been discussed. Moving equipment up to Ukraine’s border is meaningless, but positioning the logistics train to support this equipment, in battle order, is highly significant. Could we be past a tipping point, and could Russia have already won?

    I don’t agree that NATO gets a huge lease on life because the people of the NATO nations have no interest in a war with Russia. Of course they will continue to support NATO, by expending as little a possible while talking as bravely as possible, but they are not going to allow NATO to engage in a decisive war with Russia. The politicians may be able to whip their people into a war frenzy, but the European military professionals know they face certain defeat if they engage Russia. Barring the introduction of a suicidal bio-weapon attack this leaves only Cancel Culture to defeat Russia, and I’m certain that Russia has the means to cancel Cancel Culture. In time NATO will fade away.

    Russia is not the only player in this drama. China’s hypersonic delivery system demonstration is a clear message of intent to act for what ever reason China deems appropriate. There is simply no way that the U$/NATO can prevail against a combined Russia/China offensive involving Ukraine/Taiwan. To add to this Iran is in a position to cut off oil supplies from the Middle East.

    There is no way out for the Empire so I think the Putin/Biden meeting was entirely for show. I think we are witness the death of the Empire, and a complete realignment of global power. The deals have been made, the Empire is winding down, and there is a fresh wind blowing from the East.

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