Why Russia’s Aggression Against Ukraine Matters to Americans
Asked by a reporter in Geneva if he, like Biden, thought an invasion was likely, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov used some interesting language.
“Unless the United States sleeps with Ukraine, I don’t think so,” Lavrov said.
What does it mean for countries to “go to bed”? So all of these high-stakes geopolitical failures come down to US intimacy with Ukraine in Russian eyes.
After meeting Lavrov in Geneva, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated that an invasion would have dire consequences, but also that the two countries are still talking. The United States will provide a written response to Russia’s concerns within the next week.
“He’s going to get something out of it that he’ll be happy with, that he argued that Ukraine can never become truly independent, can’t become a member of NATO and can’t have any kind of offensive weapons,” he said. said Cohen.
These are demands, he said, that the United States cannot meet.
- Russia already annexed part of Ukraine, Crimea, in 2014.
- Russian-backed separatists took over the Donbass part of the country the same year, and clashes and sniper attacks continue there.
- Putin feels threatened by NATO and considers NATO support for Ukraine to be a “red line”.
- Ukraine fears that a planned coup to overthrow its government could be part of an invasion plan.
One way to appease Putin could be for Biden and European leaders to promise not to bring Ukraine into NATO’s fold.
Ukraine, which is not part of NATO, wants to keep its options open.
“Russia cannot prevent Ukraine from moving closer to NATO and has no right to have a say in the relevant discussions,” Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement to CNN. , in response to Russian calls for NATO to halt its eastward expansion.
‘Think of the worst.’ When CNN’s John King aired Lavrov’s comment about the US sleeping with Ukraine for another former defense secretary, Leon Panetta, he said the first thing was to be skeptical about towards Russian leaders.
“I’m assuming that you don’t trust anything Lavrov or Putin says,” Panetta said.
“I don’t think we can assume that’s the case just because Lavrov says Russia won’t invade, so I just think we have to assume the worst at this point.”
Remember, these are adversaries. Panetta went on to say that Americans should see Russian leaders as trying to undermine the United States and NATO.
“They are adversaries,” Panetta said. “Their intent is basically to weaken the United States, to weaken the alliance and to undermine our democracy, and I think it’s very important that the United States and our allies be very firm about the type of response which will take place if they invade.”
Emphasis on deterrence. There is no indication that the United States would send combat troops to Ukraine. It is, after all, not a member of NATO.
There are a small number of National Guard and Special Operations soldiers in Ukraine as trainers. And the United States has given Ukraine military aid worth about $450 million in 2021 and is considering how to help support the Ukrainian military.
With Russia currently under economic sanctions, tougher efforts to cut Russia off from the Western economy could also be used as a deterrent. These could include restricting Russia’s access to the US dollar and crushing its efforts with Germany to build a national gas pipeline around Ukraine and directly to Europe.
The United States and Europe are not on the same page when it comes to deterring Russia, which Biden made clear during his press conference this week.
The invasion will harm the United States and Europe. Ordinary Americans would feel the effects of an invasion on their bank accounts.
The status of Western democracies. There is something more than economics, however. Biden built his presidency around the idea that democratic countries should resist autocratic rule.
Collinson also explains why Americans more concerned about the economy and the coronavirus pandemic should care about this “toughest test of will since the fall of the Soviet Union.”
Nothing less than “the biggest clash of regular conventional armies in Europe since World War II” is at stake.