Leer en Español
Just during the summer of last year, the catastrophic withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan was completed, as a consequence of the recapture of power in that country by the Taliban Islamic terrorist group. This process marked the first major international crisis of President Biden, but at the same time, it was a painful and historic international humiliation of the powerful American nation and, what is worse: “self-inflicted.”
We say “self-inflicted,” because it was an operation executed almost without any major planning, rushed and against the will of his Pentagon and security advisors, but President Biden stubbornly insisted on the total withdrawal of the troops before the end of 2021. After the rapid fall of the Ghani government, the total collapse of the country was days away, which eventually reduced American forces to the perimeter of Kabul International Airport. The degree of disorder and lack of control was such that two attacks took place at the airport, with losses of both civilians and military personnel.
Unfortunately, this has not been enough for President Biden, whose administration has so far been marked by multiple mistakes, blunders and defeats both internally and externally. Precisely, last year ended with another severe crisis, this time, with its epicenter in Eastern Europe, specifically with the case of Ukraine and its prolonged and tense coexistence with its powerful neighbor: the great Russian bear and whose tension was rekindled after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accelerated his project to join NATO.
For this initiative, the U.S. president himself received his Ukrainian counterpart at the White House on September 1, and later, with the situation between Ukraine and Russia already quite tense, the Russian president agreed to a virtual meeting with Biden on December 7.
The main focus of the meeting was the crisis with Ukraine. The Russian government has been emphatic: it does not accept and will not allow Ukraine to join the US-led military alliance.
From then on, the tension has escalated monumentally like a big snowball that is falling and will soon end up becoming a deadly avalanche, which will not only fall on Ukraine, but again on the Biden-Harris administration who did not find formulas to contain Russia.
This new humiliation will take place due to the Democrat’s abysmal conduct of foreign policy and specifically, in the management of the current crisis that at this moment reached Ukraine — Russia — NATO dimensions.
The evidence of our assertion can be found in Biden’s statement last Wednesday, January 19, he said at the White House: “And it depends on what [Russia does about Ukraine]. It’s one thing if it’s a minor incursion and we [NATO] end up having to fight about what to do and not to do.”
In the raw, Biden sent a message of enormous U.S. weakness and tacitly gave the green light to Putin’s government to effectively invade Ukraine again, since, judging by Biden’s own words, everything would depend on the extent of Russia’s invasion.
In addition, the head of the White House made this ominous statement when his own Secretary of State Anthony Blinken was traveling to meet with his European counterparts in Berlin to discuss the crisis and then on to Geneva for a meeting with veteran Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
Of course, Biden, with that clumsy statement, virtually nullified any ability to maneuver at the Blinken-Lavrov meeting, for, implicitly, it was an admission by the US government of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, only placing in focus the size of the territories to be occupied during the invasion. On the basis of this, the USA together with its European partners would apply sanctions on Russia.
As was to be expected, Lavrov outdid the visibly diminished Blinken in Geneva, for Russia ended up demanding in writing a response from the Washington government on its demands, for which it gave him a week’s deadline. The response was received and the US Ambassador to the Russian Federation, John Sullivan, delivered the document to the Russian Foreign Minister. The Kremlin’s response was clear and emphatic: “Russia will not stand idly by“, i.e. the USA denied the Russian government’s requests on the most divergent points.
Consequently, the die is cast for Ukraine. It is only a matter of days before Russian troops proceed to violate Ukrainian territory and occupy it. Now what is at stake is: when exactly is the occupation going to occur and how far will it extend?
As to the first question, I should point out that most probably the Russian troops are waiting for somewhat milder weather conditions to be able to carry out the military operation. Perhaps, it will take place during the first half of February. As for the second question, the thesis of a massive and total invasion of the Ukrainian territory, I personally rule it out, not because of the Russian military capability, but because of the complexity and high cost of such an operation. I am rather inclined to consider that it will be a surgical and progressive intervention, that is to say, it will start from the territories located towards the southeast, which coincides with the areas of the separatist movements (all of them openly pro-Russian) in Donetsk and Luhansk, and sufficiently forceful to topple the nationalist government of Zelensky.
The operation will allow the Kremlin to install a new pro-Russian government in Kyiv, in the style of Lukashenko of Belarus, sufficiently reliable and close enough to Putin to bury definitively in oblivion any Ukrainian project of getting involved or pretending to be part of Western organizations, which from Russia’s perspective, constitute serious threats to its security, thus materializing a great victory for Russia over the humiliated and defeated President Joe Biden.
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.