There is good and bad news about the NATO summit and President Joe Biden’s performance as a global leader.
Faced with the dangerous ambitions of Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping, NATO seemed more unified than at any time since the Cold War. In fact, Russia’s provocative invasion of Ukraine has effectively revived the Cold War.
Most NATO members have promised to raise their defense budgets and upgrade their troops. The new military doctrine will strengthen NATO’s readiness to fight in Europe, if necessary. We are also aware for the first time that China presents a security challenge for its member states.
Most surprisingly, Finland and Sweden were once military-neutral poster nations and were invited and invited to join NATO. As Russian neighbors, they realized that they needed protection from Putin’s dream of expanding territory. As Biden said, Putin “wanted NATO to be Finnish, but he got NATO to Finland.”
Therefore, Biden can take a winning lap to put the (potential) muscles behind the warning to Putin in Madrid: “We defend every corner of NATO’s territory.” Can also praise him for warning that if Putin invaded Ukraine, “NATO will not only be stronger, but will be more united.”
Still, Biden’s efforts to unify NATO and stop Putin will fail if the alliance does not prevent Russia from dismantling and destroying Ukraine. The summit did not provide optimistic reasons. Despite NATO’s solidarity, the president did not promise to support Ukraine’s victory.
Indeed, the words Biden used at the press conference revealed the ongoing ambivalence of the United States and its allies about the end of the war imposed by Putin. Biden said NATO and the United States would support Ukraine “in fact, as long as it takes to make sure they are not defeated.”
“I don’t know how it will end,” he continued, but vowed that “it will not end with Ukraine’s defeat of Russia in Ukraine.”
However, when analyzing the sentence, it is unclear what Biden’s words mean for the future of Ukraine.
“We have to understand what it means to’Putin can’t win,'” said former US Air Force General Philip Breedlove, NATO’s former commander-in-chief, on Wednesday. “Putin may not rob all of Ukraine, but if he leaves with more than 20% of Ukraine’s sovereign territory, it is difficult to consider it a loss. We tell the Ukrainians Are you going to give them enough weapon systems to reclaim their land? “
At this point, Putin’s strategy seems to assume that the answer to that question is negative.
He is clearly planning a war of attrition, and the Ukrainians do not have enough heavy artillery and ammunition to repel them, so the Russians can continue to grab more of the eastern Donbas region. Putin’s power is so indifferent to Russian casualties that he is prepared to destroy Ukrainian towns and cities and slaughter civilians. And Russia’s weapons supply, even if it deteriorates, still far exceeds that of Ukraine.
The Biden team, and major allies like Britain, have supplied large quantities of weapons to support Ukrainian fighters. However, neither Washington nor its allies provide planes or long-range weapons that could repel missiles and rockets that would allow Russia to move forward.
According to Breedlove, a typical example is the US commitment to bring the so-called HIMARS (a truck-based system that offers multiple precision rockets) to the forefront of Ukraine. Ukraine needs at least 40 to make an impact, but the administration took weeks to offer four and now promises four more. Initially, Washington sent little ammunition to HIMARS, according to Breedlove, so “it wasn’t half the ammunition the US military fired in a day.”
If Ukraine now needs long-range weapons, their ambitious fighters can push back the Russians and launch a counterattack to regain eastern and southern territories. “The potential to turn things around can be lost due to slow and half-delivered weapons,” says NATO and former US ambassador to Russia Alexander Burshbow.
“Now is the time to give the Ukrainians the necessary firepower, when it can make a difference and drive the Russians out of some important positions,” he later fully defended the Russians. Vershbow says, not when you have to push back from position.
If NATO did not act urgently to provide long-range weapons, the war of attrition would exacerbate divisions within the organization for the foreseeable future. Turkey is already worried about accepting Sweden and Finland. Inflation and high gas prices may convince leaders of some NATO countries to put pressure on Ukraine for meaningless peace talks. Russia’s aggression will succeed in destroying much of Ukraine and bankrupting the country, even if the surviving nation survives.
Meanwhile, Biden’s leadership will be undermined by domestic pressure and midterm elections. NATO’s allies, already shocked by the US Supreme Court’s rollback on women’s rights and environmental protection, will be more worried about their endless support for Ukraine.
This Madrid moment of NATO unification is wasted as Putin reorganizes and evaluates his next move. “If Putin is rewarded for doing bad things by invading a sovereign state, he will continue to do so,” says Breedlove.
The moment of deciding whether to build on NATO’s unity or lose it is happening now.
Trudy Rubin writes a column of worldviews that seeks to understand that world turmoil and conflict are affecting Americans at home.
Trudy Rubin: NATO is united in Ukraine but has not yet done what it takes to stop Putin
Source link Trudy Rubin: NATO is united in Ukraine but has not yet done what it takes to stop Putin