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As it is well known, diplomatic crises tend to take months or even years to resolve. In this sense, the current situation between Russia and Ukraine is exacerbated by the latter’s intention to join NATO, an action that the Kremlin totally rejects and considers a threat to its national security.
Russia has moved from rejection to action. From the end of last year until today, the Russian government moved more than 120,000 troops with military equipment to the eastern border of Ukraine, in addition to the placement of anti-aircraft batteries and missile launching platforms to the south of Belarus—again close to the northern border of Ukraine.
From there, a diplomatic crisis broke out that went beyond the governments of Moscow and Kyiv, reaching the leaders of the Western world such as the European Union, the United Kingdom, and the U.S. There was even a discussion of the crisis in the United Nations Security Council, an occasion that served for another power (China) to break its silence regarding this situation. The “Russian-Ukrainian-NATO” crisis has been marked by frenetic high-level diplomatic meetings between presidents, foreign ministers and high-ranking NATO leaders with their Russian counterparts, all of which have so far been fruitless.
The most recent events have been the summit between French President Emmanuel Macron and Vladimir Putin in Moscow, in a prolonged meeting that lasted about five hours and where Macron basically accepted the Russian demand that Ukraine joins NATO. Putin, meanwhile, reiterated that he does not plan to invade his neighbor.
Later, Macron went on to Kyiv, where he met with his counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky, who does not accept Russia’s interference in the conduct of Ukrainian foreign policy, besides not giving credence to Putin’s assertions, so that the crisis remains technically unscathed in the main.
On the other side of the Atlantic, President Joe Biden held a meeting at the White House with the Social Democrat Chancellor of Germany, Olaf Scholz, where, once again, the US President showed his lack of clarity and even capacity for conducting foreign policy, since Biden emphatically assured that if Russia invades Ukraine, Europe will suspend the Nord Stream II project. However, when the German Chancellor addressed the issue, he maintained that he would discuss it with his partners in the European Union.
The German leader’s response made it clear that there was no such commitment on the part of Scholz with Biden, therefore, it was not only another mistake by the US president during a press statement but a total imprudence in diplomatic terms, since Russia simply confirmed that there is no agreement among NATO members themselves regarding the possible sanctions that they would impose on Russia in the event of an invasion of Ukraine, thus encouraging Russian invasion intentions given the low cost in political and economic terms that it would mean for Putin.
But the level of bewilderment and disconnection from reality on the part of Joe Biden does not stop there, in the midst of such an international crisis, basically the West against Russia, the US president reiterated this week that the fight against corruption and transnational organized crime as a priority of his foreign policy.
This provoked criticism from several congressmen, among them the influential Republican Senator Marco Rubio and even from his own party, such as Senator Robert Menendez, both of whom urged President Biden to curb the “destabilizing influence” of Russia and China, especially in Latin America, thus showing that there are already serious discrepancies between the Senate and the Executive on one of the vital issues of the United States as a global power, i.e., foreign policy.
The crisis is at its climax, as on Thursday President Joe Biden, in an interview to NBC News, urged Americans in Ukraine to “leave now.” He also stated that the United States will not send troops because Russia is one of the “largest armies in the world” and this could mean a world war.
The following day, the Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken assured during his tour of the Indo-Pacific region, specifically in the Australian city of Melbourne, that Russia could invade Ukraine “at any time, even during the Olympics.”
Finally, should the Russian invasion of Ukraine materialize, it will constitute another great failure to add to Biden’s long and abysmal administration in barely more than a year in the White House. This imminent defeat in the international political arena will add to the disaster in Afghanistan and will definitely deepen the Senate’s criticism of the Democrat’s management, which will probably lead to a political crisis in Washington.
Nahem Reyes is a PhD in history from the Andrés Bello Catholix University and associate member of the American Studies Center of the Central University of Venezuela. // Nahem Reyes es doctor en Historia de la Universidad Católica Andrés Bello y miembro asociado del Centro de Estudios de América de la Universidad Central de Venezuela.