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Putin attacks the United States – Part Two

Putin attacks the United States – Part Two

(This is a two-part series.  The first dealt with the attack on America/NATO security and the second deals with what, if anything, America/NATO is doing about it — or can.)

In his address to the nation, President Biden finally detailed the sanctions he and America’s allies have imposed on the Madman of Moscow.  They seem to fall short of the Draconian action that he promised would quickly cripple Russia – or cripple it at all.

In a typical Biden turn-about, he said that he knew all along that the sanctions would not deter Putin.  Wasn’t that the whole point?  It was folks like me that were pushing back on Biden – saying the sanctions – threatened or imposed – were not going to stop Putin.

Biden is a lot like Inspector Clouseau of the Pink Panther movies – claiming every stumble and pratfall was strategically planned in advance.  The only difference is that Biden is not so funny.

Contrary to his pre-invasion statements, Biden has now conceded that the sanctions will take months or years for the impact to be felt.  Which means that Biden knew they were never intended to stop Putin from invading as he repeatedly said.

The most significant sanctions were those dealing with the Russian banking system – limiting the activities of four major banks and completely blocking the operation of Putin’s largest bank.  He also froze the assets of a small number of Russian billionaire oligarchs and their families. This was designed to get Putin’s pals to get upset with him. While that will be a huge inconvenience to them, these folks are rich enough to go on living the good life – and have no reason to push back on the guy who made them their billions.

(Hmmm.  Will the freezing of Russian assets include the money the oligarchs gave Hunter Biden?  But I digress.)

Biden limited the sale of certain categories of technical equipment to Russia – mostly items that Putin can acquire elsewhere – like China, which is already producing most of that same stuff for America and the western allies.

Initially, Biden exempted Putin from sanctions – although it is reported that he is being sanctioned.  But there is a problem.  Putin’s billions stashed in western banks are not in his name.  They are being held for him by many of the oligarchs – most of whom are not being sanctioned.

Biden spent a good portion of his speech explaining all he was doing to defend NATO.  Of course, NATO nations are not in Putin’s crosshairs at the moment.  And like the sanctions, those actions did not deter Putin.

Again, Biden boasted about the new unity of NATO – even as the cracks were evident to everyone, including Putin.  Italy did not want Russian oil to be sanctioned – so it is not.  Germany only suspended the construction of the Nord Steam pipeline.  NATO can hardly stand up to Putin when so many member nations get their oil from Russia.  And they are sending billions of euros, etc. to help fund the invasion.

In retrospect, it may not have been a good idea to cut a deal to have Ukraine surrender its nuclear weaponry – the only nation to ever do that.  Part of the deal was that America would protect the fledgling democracy.  It may have been only a handshake promise – and not a formal defense agreement – but it was still a promise.

Biden threatened Russia that there would be a severe response if Putin were to engage in cyber attacks against the United States – but nothing about America helping the Ukraine government by hitting Russia with surgical temporary cyber-attacks.  That seems to be off the table.

In a shameful concession that must have grievously disappointed the folks in Kyiv, Biden said that Russia is likely to succeed in taking Ukraine.  Nothing we could do would stop Putin.  But then we did not do everything we could have to prevent it – just as Biden surrendered Afghanistan to the Taliban terrorists. 

Some of the opportunities that are lost now include admitting Ukraine to NATO and placing military bases in the country.  With the mutual defense provision of Article Five, even Putin would not dare invade a NATO nation with a strong contingent of western forces.  I say that with less than full confidence, however.  But if he did, Putin would face the response of the largest and most powerful military forces in the world – as opposed to the military strength of a single nation.

Even without NATO membership, we could have established American military bases in Ukraine – as the United States has all over the world – South Korea, Japan and Saudi Arabia, to name a few.  That should have been done shortly after the election of President Zelenskyy.  It is unlikely that Putin would have wanted to attack the American military.

Whether we would have engaged on the ground in Ukraine, Biden never should have been so emphatic that America or NATO nations would definitely NOT put any boots on the ground.  IF ever there was a green light to Putin, that was it.

But much of that is water over the dam.  So, what can we do that Biden did not do in his surprisingly limited sanctions – contrary to the threats?  (No wonder Putin does not take Biden threats seriously.)

Let’s look at a few.

  1. Hit at Russia’s oil-dependent economy by driving down prices.  The increase in prices is a secondary unearned gift to Putin’s war effort.  That means having Europe ween off of Putin petroleum.
  2. Call on the United Nations to authorize a military response – as it has done in other situations.  I know Russia can veto such a proposal, but then we should move to have Russia ousted from the UN with a threat to withdraw all American taxpayer support for the largely worthless so-called peace-keeping organization. It is not likely to happen, but the debate would be a major public relations hit on Putin.
  3. Send the Russian ambassador packing – from America and other nations.  If France would temporarily withdraw its ambassador from the United States over a minor spat over nuclear technology, NATO and EURO nations can break ties with Russia until troops are withdrawn from Ukraine.
  4. Declare Ukraine a no-fly zone as the Ukrainian officials have begged to limit Russian air power.  Better late than never.
  5. Offer technological support and supplies to the resistance movement.
  6. Open a war crimes case against Putin.
  7. Impose sanctions on Putin personally.  Why that was not done is a mystery.
  8. Kick Russia out of SWIFT, the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication.  That would be a major blow to all Russian international financial transactions from the oligarchs to the average person.  That would really cripple Russia’s economy.
  9. Reverse the policies that are restricting American oil production – making America a net oil exporter again.  That would reduce the prices of gas for Americans – and reduce the income for Russia.  Biden’s begging other oil producing nations to increase their production to reduce prices, while we continue to restrict the American oil is just … nuts.
  10. Increase the flow of military arms to Ukraine.
  11. Provide cyber support for Ukraine – including surreptitious attacks on Russian military and communications.  We could couch them as responses to past Russian cyber attacks on America – and meddling in the elections.
  12. Use social media to flood Russia with images of dead Russian soldiers to combat Putin’s propaganda and encourage grassroots opposition to his policies.
  13. Provide support for an internal Russian protest movement.
  14. Threaten Putin that if he topples the democratically elected government of Ukraine, NATO will host a government an exile and support an ongoing insurgency movement.

Admittedly, some of these proposals are more practical than others, but it does show that there are a lot of things Biden could have threatened and done in the lead up to the invasions – and even now.

It is disheartening and sickening to hear the fawning news media keep praising Biden for the great job he has been doing in handling the Ukraine situation.  In fact, everything he threatened to do – and did – has failed abysmally.  If Putin takes control of Ukraine, it will be the second American ally he has surrendered to the enemy.  Had Biden were any more incompetent and weak, Putin would have warships at the Bering Strait demanding the return of Alaska.

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry HoristLarry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.

24 Comments

  1. Tom

    I agree with you on this one LArry. I wonder how Moe and Curly think on this one? Can’t wait to read there responses. I think Ukraine can put plenty of boots on the ground. We just need to give them the air cover and missile capabilities. I would actually go back into the USN if they would promise to send me over there to kick crazy Ivan’s ass!

  2. Ben

    I agree. If we just drop our oil prices to blow the number two producer off the map, the war will be over. Not sure we get the extra oil, but what a plan. Oh I know, even though we are a net petroleum products exporter still, if we just increase our refined oil so that we’re net oil exporter, another whopping 10%, then Russia will be totally not affected. Another great plan. And if we open up the Canadian pipeline again, we can sell them Canadian oil and pretend it’s ours, another non-advantage advantage. And if we top it off ending swift payments, we can expedite this by stopping all russian oil immediately basically freezing Europe. Excellent

    Next, we can create a military initiative, hiding behind NATO, and going up against a nuclear nation that has announced they have increased a nuclear readiness in case someone comes after them. This should be a sure winner.

    I don’t know. We have stopped their economy, we have stopped their stock market, they are protesting in the streets, their major celebrities are protesting en mass, we are beefing up Nato borders to stop the spread, and we are back door arming the Ukrainians who seem to be waging a valiant effort. We know they cannot win if Russia chooses to go full-bore. Doong what Larry says won’t change that either, it will just got us closer to nuclear war.

    Stay the course, support Biden, let’s go Hillary!

    As Churchill said, “we will prevail.”

    • Larry kuhn

      You’re a sick bastard Hillary will never be president and Biden has been a lame duck from day one

      • Ben

        Yes, you freakin idiot; have I ever said different? No. Have I ever said the same. Yes. Although lame duck would be inaccurate.

        • Duke

          You’re so stupid you think that Peter Pan is a wash basin in a whore house

          • Ben

            Ah, another issues centric sort of guy. Bet you get your rocks off slamming others. Such weak put downs. Can’t see how you get much wood off that. Can’t you do better,? some whack smack.

  3. Frank stetson

    I agree that more things could be done and some of your ideas have merit although most of them have some pretty high risk as well.

    On the oil, we can stop at pretty quick by terminating Swift payments on it, but your comment that they’re making money hand over foot because the prices are going up is probably miss calculation. Sure, the prices are going up but the value of the rules going way down so I’m not sure they’re making more money on this at this point. Secondly if you stop the swift payments on the oil you basically start the oil flow to Europe. There is no way that the US can make up that shortfall and I’m not sure that the Middle East can make it up either. Certainly not overnight. Not sure that’s a risk you want to take on behalf of others.

    Having Ukraine and or NATO this point it’s pretty much a moot point. Whatever the reasons for not allowing them previous to this, the addition to NATO of Ukraine is pretty much caught a war to Putin putting NATO right on the doorstep. He would certainly feel backed into a corner and that the wolves were at his door. This point, might as well go in. Less risk would be to have Ukraine enter the EU, that’s probably the way to go for now

    Similarly, invoking a no-fly zone certainly has a number of military risk to it , however, this may be the most prudent military action we can take in that it’s not a direct confrontation, but it certainly is a bold red line. Kind of a coin toss if you want to do this, and that Putin has already put the nuclear option on the table. I don’t think so Paul said option, but then again we didn’t think he pulled a Ukraine option either, especially at the scope and level. But of all your actions of a militaristic nature, this is probably the least risky one.

    I think the sanctions deployed those far have a fact, which is pretty amazing when you think about it, and they have also galvanized the west including places you least expect action like Switzerland. The Russian populace is showing great signs of protest, Ukrainians are pushing back, ultimately they will lose, but it’s not an easy go for Putin. Hopefully, Biden and Company are starting to lay into China since if that door could be closed, Putin will find them self pretty much in a box, and pretty much in the corner, and hopefully that combined with the sentiment of the Russian citizenry market him to begin to pull back.

    • AC

      Larry,
      Your messaging is typically conservative isolationist bunk. It’s not clear which side you are on. Republicans consider Biden the enemy and think prudent cheering on Putin for their own short sighted rationalizations.
      What Putin has unleashed on his innocent neighbors is contrary to the expectations of the world but inline with his personal Napoleon/ Hitler character insanity bent for his strident protestations otherwise,
      Your right standing compatriots are oblivious when it comes down to the entire world suffering consequences related to one power mad autocrat’s oversized ego and hunger for more lands brought under his control..World markets at this time are an interwoven mass with inter-dependent connections, FOX and Friends as the
      Republican Party’s propaganda publishing arm and the sole source for information leaves their audience clueless on several levels. So,, the red team is not unlike their red cohorts in Russia..

  4. B4CE

    I liked how trump punished Putin for putting a bounty on American Soldier’s heads… oh wait, never mind.
    Or when trump gave Putin our military bases in Syria. Those were the good old days.

    • Van

      I wish that we had those days back

    • larry Horist

      B4CE …. Yet another screen name. Do you keep changing your screen name so that readers think you are not alone in you opinion. Did you forget that it was President Obama who pulled out of Syria after encouraging the rebellion against al Asaad — causing the greatest and most tragic migration of modern times. I do not agree with all of Trump’s international decisions, but he was still tougher on Russian than previous presidents. You dwell on Trump’s words. I look at his actions.

      • frank stetson

        I find that odd seeing as you’re a man of words that you would think words have no meaning. Sure, actions speak louder than words. But Larry, words do matter.

  5. B4CE

    Remember when Republicans insisted on supporting the President in times of conflict…
    Pepperidge Farm remembers.

    • larry Horist

      B4CE (once know as BEN and other screen names) Were you really out there getting behind George H.W. Bush in the first Iraq war and George W. Bush in the second. Seems to me those on the left were doing a LOT of caterwauling and protesting. If I recall correctly, you used the term “war criminals” against those involved in the Iraq wars. And you may not have notices, but Biden is NOT leading this nation in war. And if he did order troops into Ukraine, would you be cheering — or even silent? Your rotating screen names does not conceal your hypocrisy.

    • Ben

      These pussies are just a bunch of lock n load crybabies. Being losers is their style. Only Trump can save them cuz they can’t save themselves.

      They can’t issue a cogent fact-based argument, just schoolyard name calling taunts

      • Jacob

        You do your share of name calling. So stfu

        • Bob

          What? Do you really expect me to take the highroad? I should sit here and get called every name in the book, have my family insulted, here sexual allegations, and not strike back? Is that what you expect?

          That’s right Jacob, I match fire with fire with stupid dumb fuck redneck racist Republican fascists so shut the f up yourself you ignorant slutpuppy. At the same time, I suggest that we return to issues and quit the schoolyard name-calling. Obviously you are too stupid to catch that I have nothing better than to issue some sort of lowbrow come back.

          Why discuss issues of the day when we can just vent our spleens slamming each other. Beats kicking the dog.

          And for that, I’m your huckleberry too, you pencil necked pygmy prick geek. After all, Joe likes it, it makes him money.

          Are you entertained?

          • Pete

            You’re not a huckleberry. You’re a dingle berry

          • Bob

            And you’re acting like a nine-year old, Pete.

        • larry Horist

          Jacob. Did you notice that “Ben” is now “Bob?” That is how these left wingers operate. Spew a lot of crap and then play hide-and-go-seek. I have to laugh when Ben/Bob says his rudeness and crassness is somehow in response when he is now the sites number one vulgar whiner. I refer to his type of serial vulgarities as “Liberal Tourette’s Syndrome.” Be kind. He cannot help it.

          • ben

            Keep laughing, you old twat. I am number one. The archetype liberal. The king of the communists. A left wing Superman. Able to leap tall tirades with a single bombastic burst. I put the punch in punching bag. As Joe intended.

            Larry, I would be glad to change. But not alone.

          • Jacob

            He’s suffering from Biden mad cow

  6. Tommie

    You’re also the world’s biggest shithead. You ignorant son of a bitch. Go serve your comrades but we will never serve you assholes

    • Ben

      Serve us? Whatever does that mean? Are you that frustrated that you actually think you serve somebody? Is that what keeps you up at night? Afraid to serve? It’s such a weird concept. How about all this Comrade crap? When did conservatives decide the Democrats are communist and how did they ever imagine they could make that stick? I mean I can understand socialist, but communist? It is if you just like the name. It’s like you live in Mayberry and your name is Barney.. Seem to be trapped in the 50s, at least move forward to the 60s. He just really sound stupid. Ignorant. Uneducated.