Has been energetic and realistic. He has not looked at the 130,000 Russian troops amassed on Ukraine’s eastern flank and said to himself, ‘maybe they’ll go away.’
I understand that Biden’s characterizing such buildup as presaging an ‘imminent attack’ has unsettled Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine’s president, since the latter has his nation’s economy to manage, but to think that Russia’s military buildup is meant to merely kick off a war of nerves on Europe and America, is pure poppycock.
Putin wants to inflict harm on the West for what he sees as his diminished great power status, particularly in light of China’s rise.
Just 20 years ago China’s GDP was estimated to be $1.34 trillion while Russia’s was $306 billion. But in those two decades, China’s GDP has grown more than 13 times to become an $18 trillion economy while Russia’s has only gone up 5.5 times. (2021 figures)
So China has zoomed past Russia and left them wondering, ‘what the hell just went by?’.
To make matters worse, all this has happened while Putin has been in power. So it is a great embarrassment for him and his nation, to be seen by the rest of the world as having been outclassed by their neighbor.
It has got to hurt Putin.
In his moments alone he has to wonder what didn’t he do to better direct the course of Russia.
He wishes he had had the daring to accomplish, steal, connive, do whatever worked, to rise as the Chinese have.
But he didn’t.
Meanwhile, the longing to be in the spotlight doesn’t go away. So what better way than to invent a crisis and claim that the West is a threat to him.
President Biden has seen right through it. He has not dithered. He’s acted promptly and is making every effort to get an incredulous Europe to face the facts. That to be dependent on Russia for energy is a horrible idea, in light of Putin’s predatory history.
Europe has been steeped in denial, which leads to timidity and so favor the notion that the threat to Ukraine is mere bluffing.
Putin is a wounded and vengeful man, who cannot blame anyone but himself for not releasing the considerable powers of Russia to reach as high as they can. Had Russians been allowed to be part of a market economy that embraced political freedoms, Russia would now be a leading economy. But it didn’t happen.
The blame falls squarely on Vladimir Putin.
He cannot live with that truth so he invents threats, hounds, imprisons or poisons dissidents, stokes a resistance movement in eastern Ukraine that has cost 14 thousand lives so far.
Oh, yes, he has modernized his Army and now has supersonic missiles. And gas and oil and wheat to export, but the potential of Russia, under his power, has been wasted.
He can’t face that truth so why not demonize the West instead.
And when Biden stands firm, Putin then talks of the West ‘goading’ him into invading Ukraine. Or he gets Xi Jinping to send a Chinese official to tell the West to ‘calm down.’
No. There’s no time for that.
Putin’s threat is real.
President Biden has had the wisdom to face it and should not relent one bit in his stance to confront Putin.
And Putin should think of stepping down. He has done enough harm.
Oscar Valdes oscarvaldes.net. apple and google podcasts, anchor.fm and buzzsprout