The Ukraine and Kuwait

As the media twists and turns over the the Ukraine crisis, President Biden poured oil on the fire by  reviving an  Ambassador April Glaspie moment.    Both insinuated We have no dog in these fights. Saddam took it as a green light to invade Kuwait . By announcing to the world that “Russia will move into the Ukraine,” with a sort resigned tone, Biden  sent a pitiful message of weakness. He made it clear Putin  can basically do as he pleases. Putin must be reveling in the demonstrated weakness of the West and specifically the United States.  So many times the United States has verbally given the farm away by ill-considered announcements, starting with Dean Acheson’s telling the world that Korea was not in our strategic defense orbit,  another green light for the North Koreans to invade. And then the  April Glaspie debacle to embolden  Saddam. In both cases the basic problem is that we are always trying to placate our enemies and striving  for better relations with our antagonists. The US wanted better relations with Saddam and now we want better relations with Russia. The obstacle is that neither Saddam  was nor Putin is interested. Having a diabolical enemy (the West) to keep the  deprived masses diverted and entertained is always helpful.


In reality  there is no  need for Putin to invade. He has made his point.  Ukraine knows that is what counts——military power. Hopefully President understands Ukraine is alone. No wonder there is panic in the Ukraine. The babble about sanctions imposed on Russia are of little consequence to an imperial power like Russia. It is fairly certain that old Europe will not  buy into meaningful  sanctions on Russia. Russia, by cutting off crucial gas  and oil supples to Europe, would bring them to their knees. The EU is Russia’s largest trade partner. The comfy living standards of the nanny states would require much  more political will that the European leaders possess. Churchill is no longer with us.

Should the EU agree to  whole hearted sanctions it would indeed hurt Russia but the possibility of the European statist welfare states doing that and undergoing the severe privations that would require  are nil. Most of the leadership in old Europe are fairly well representative of the people they govern and  the inspiring words of Churchill …”You must put your head in the lion’s mouth if the performance is to be a success.”

We hear much about about supporting Ukraine.  The Biden team repeats it often. What does that mean? To the Ukrainians and most people facing a war machine it means military support. But alas, in this case it does not mean that. That is stupid talk. The Ukrainians should  remember that when the Russians invaded and re-absorbed the Crimea into their empire the best the  US could do  was offer aid in the form of blankets and non offensive comfort items. Again we are offering defensive equipment. How do you separate defensive from offensive weapons? I can think of pill boxes and Hedgehog fixtures…if we could transport them. A rifle as any other weapon  can be used in offense as well as defense The Ukrainians know this. It is a meaningless gesture.

When pundits talk about using  NATO ( American) force in the Ukraine  it is ridiculous. As a teaching point as Obama use to say, consider that the Iraqis invaded Kuwait on  2 August and we did not launch ground operations  until 29 February. The passive Iraqis sat on their rear ends doing nothing for almost 7 months. It took us that long to get the necessary troops in position- after a 30 day uncontested air war  against a third rate opponent.

What about logistics, overflight rights, ports to be used, clearance to move supplies through squeamish “neutral” countries?  Remember the problem  the Turks presented when they blocked an American division moving through their country in 2003.

Bottom line.  Ukraine is on its own as   the Eastern European revolts in 1956, begun with a hope of Western intervention,  but ending with more Russian control that ever. The Ukrainians should not harbor hopes.

About Tex

Retired artillery colonel, many years in a number of positions in the Arab world. Graduate of the US Military Academy and the American University of Beirut. MA in Arab studies from the American University in Beirut along with 18 years as Middle East Seminar Director at the JFK Special Warfare Center and School, Served in Vietnam with 1st Inf Division, Assignments in Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt, plus service with Trucial Oman Scouts in the Persian Gulf. Traveled to every Arab country on the map including Iraq, Syria, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco.
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