Common Grounds

Our Friday Edition | Who's Wise? (Part 2: A Declaration of War)

April 29, 2022

By Abraham A. van Kempen

Our Friday Edition | Who's Wise? (Part 2: A Declaration of War)

What is the Side of the Story that is Not Yet Decisive?


Miami, 29 April 2022 | If you know of any story that is decisive, tell the world. We're still searching.


The people I meet in Miami are not happy with the current administration in the White House. Most are Republicans. But pumping gas at $4.15 per gallon is like cutting your fingers. They know it relates to what’s happening in Ukraine. America's commitment to another never-ending war smacks of its defeat in Vietnam. Again, the White House invokes the 'Domino Theory' and 'Balance of Power' in favor of the Free World, also known as the 'World Community.' The Domino Theory postulates that "If Vietnam goes Red, so will all of Asia." The United States finally caved in at the expense of millions of slaughtered Vietnamese, notwithstanding the 50,000+ American soldiers who gave their lives for this flawed foreign policy.


If President Vladimir V. Putin's conventional forces face more humiliating losses, he has other options. On the horizon, the winds of war are picking up steam. Here in Miami, it is the calm before the storm. No warnings. The hurricane is forming elsewhere. No one seems prepared. The same is true in Amsterdam. Most Dutch only store three weeks of food at a time.


Russian interest is less about expanding its lebensraum and more about protecting its home turf from NATO expansion. To NATO, Putin warns: "Don't mess with us! We won't let you deputize Ukraine to become the next NATO member state. And don't even think about making Ukraine part of the European Union."


How do you stop war criminals? 

Who is more of a warmonger, the one who invades or the one who attacks, albeit covertly? Can NATO stop Putin? Putin cannot stop Biden from adding more fuel to an already uncontrollable fire. Why rub it in? Too much salt stings. Too much light blinds. Biden has become the loose cannon that has galvanized the world against the United States and Europe. Not one wants a nuclear war. The clowns in Brussels and their stooges in Washington DC who dare call themselves world leaders are now wetting their pants. They're waking up to an unimaginable nightmare they have helped create. Putin remains cool, calm, and collected. He still is in control. What is the endgame? If it becomes a matter of us versus them or none, he's' got us where it hurts the most. Will nuclear deterrence still work?


Who is wise, Biden or Putin? Talk of a diplomatic resolution or even a cease-fire — attempted at various points by the leaders of France, Israel, and Turkey, among others — has died out.


I call people I know to prod them with questions like, "what's going on in your neck of the woods? Are we missing something? Tell me more' 'What is the Side of the Story that is Not Yet Decisive'?'


A Declaration of War


How can Biden's  $33 billion to equip Ukraine with the Means, Methods, and Mechanism for Many to Die NOT be envisaged as an explicit Declaration of War, albeit veiled in Holy Goodness as financial assistance and economic development? "Putin is not willing to back down, nor are the Ukrainians, so more blood to come," says Robin Niblett, the director of Chatham House, a British think tank. 


The clowns in Brussels and their stooges in Washington DC persist in playing Russian Roulette with our lives. US Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) suggests that the "US backing Ukraine in NATO played a role in Russia'sinvasion."


               In a contentious exchange at a congressional hearing Tuesday, Senator Rand Paul told Secretary of State Antony Blinken that US support for Ukraine to join NATO contributed to Russia’s decision to invade. 


               Paul, a libertarian-leaning lawmaker and longtime critic of US foreign policy, said that both Republican and Democratic administrations had been agitated for Ukraine to join the security bloc — an outcome that Russian President Vladimir Putin has called a red line."


               "While there is no justification for Putin's war on Ukraine, it does not follow that there is no explanation for the invasion", Paul told Blinken during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing."You could also argue that the countries it has attacked were … part of the Soviet Union”, the senator said; “Putin has long wanted a sphere of influence over former Soviet states.”


Blinken, fresh from meeting with Ukrainian leaders in Kyiv earlier this week, noted that NATO maintains an open-door policy. He said it was"abundantly clear" that Putin based his invasion on the belief that Ukraine does not deserve to be a sovereign nation. Status as a former Soviet republic does not mean it loses the right to choose its foreign policy,” Blinken added.


What if Blinken's assumptions are wrong and Paul's allegations are true?

  • US President Joe Biden Biden seeks a $33 billion war chest to support Ukraine. Zelensky wants quick approval, thereby snubbing the ‘Diplomatic Letter’ in which Russia warns the US that additional firepower supplied to Ukraine will lead to "unpredictable consequences."
  • As for the Europeans, despite their unity over imposing sanctions on Russia and their repeated condemnation of Putin's war against Ukraine, visible cracks are emerging. And over time, these divisions will deepen.
  • The fear in Washington and European capitals is that the conflict may soon escalate into a wider war — spreading to neighboring states, cyberspace, and NATO countries suddenly facing a Russian cutoff of gas. Over the long term, such an expansion could evolve into a more direct conflict between Washington and Moscow reminiscent of the Cold War, as each seeks to sap the other's power.
  • The Russians are reminding the world of the size and power of their nuclear arsenal. 
  • American and European officials say they see no evidence the Russians are mobilizing their battlefield nuclear forces. Still, behind the scenes, the officials are already gaming out how they might react to a Russian nuclear test, or demonstration explosion, over the Black Sea or on Ukrainian territory."
  • “Nobody wants to see this war escalate any more than it already has,” John Kirby, the Pentagon spokesman, said Wednesday. When asked about Russia's nuclear threats, “Certainly nobody wants to see, or nobody should want to see, it escalates into the nuclear realm.”
  • The conflict could “go on for some time,” as Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken puts it.
  • Both Ukrainian and Russian forces are digging in for the long haul, focusing on what they expect will be an artillery war in the south and east of the country, where Russia has concentrated its forces after a humiliating retreat from Kyiv and other key cities. 
  • Russians are talking about war with NATO. What's next?
  • Americans and Europeans are talking about war with Russia. What's next?
  • The rest of the world knows that East and West are at war. What's next?
  • Russia test-launched a new missile as its forces in Ukraine unleashed artillery and rocket strikes in the eastern Donbas region.
  • The Russian Defense Ministry said the new missile could deploy nuclear warheads at hypersonic speed. According to the Washington Post, President Vladimir Putin said the new intercontinental ballistic missile should cause anyone threatening Russia to"think twice."
  • The UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, requested to meet with the leaders of Russia and Ukraine to discuss "urgent steps to bring about peace." 

Why is NATO obsessed with Ukraine? Why does Russia want Ukraine? Do the Ukrainians want either or neither? Has NATO or Russia ever asked the Ukrainians to serve as cannon fodder and human shields for one or the other? Has NATO ever asked the Europeans, the Americans, and the Canadians for permission to risk a nuclear war? Who's Wise?

The clock is now 15 minutes after the 11th hour. It's coming to the point; either us or them or none.


               Putin has 4,200 atomic weapons at his disposal, each 100,000 times more powerful than the single atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima. 


               Biden has 4,000 atomic weapons at his disposal, each 100,000 times more powerful than the single atom bomb used in Hiroshima'


               The clock is ticking.


Who is wise? (To continue)


Read more: Biden seeks $33 billion war chest to support Ukraine, Zelenskiy wants quick approval (Reuters, 28 April 2022)


Read more: Rand Paul says US backing Ukraine in NATO played a role inRussia’s invasion (The Washington Post, 27 April 2022)


Read more: Fears Are Mounting That Ukraine War Will Spill Across Borders (The New York Times, 27 April 2022)


Read more: Europe’s Fading Unity Over Ukraine (Carnegie Europe, 21 April 2022)


Read more: The New Nuclear Reality (The New Yorker, 25 April 2022)



Related articles by Abraham A. van Kempen:


Friday Edition: Who’s Wise (Part 1)


Editorial | Did Somebody Say ‘Oil,’ ‘Petro-Dictator,’ ‘America’s Addiction to Oil?’


Friday Edition 8 April 2022 | Who’s on First?


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