From the cold war to the hard frost

On Tuesday, at a Cold War-style summit, the president Joe bidenJoe Biden Photos of the Week: Former Sen. Dole is in the State, Capitol Sunset and Instagrinch Overnight Health Care – Brought to you by AstraZeneca and Friends of Cancer Research – Court quits Texas abortion ban, clears Overnight Energy & Environment lawsuits – Brought to you by ExxonMobil – Biden orders to end overseas coal funding MORE and president Vladimir PoutineVladimir Vladimirovich Putin New policy gives some federal agencies 24 hours to assess major cyberattacks: The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Uber – Senate Debt Limit Drama Ends; Trump’s legal problems escalate Biden reassures Ukraine’s Zelensky of US support amid Russian aggression MORE spoke for two hours about Russian military exercises and troop deployments near the Russian-Ukrainian border. Russia claims NATO enlargement destabilizes the region and US military support for Ukraine foments “Anti-Russian hysteria”. While Putin minimize suggestions Russia will invade Ukraine, Ukraine’s membership in NATO would cross a red line.

In response, NATO has Ukrainian troops trained, conducted naval exercises in the Black Sea and intensified air patrols over the Baltic States. Turkey, a NATO member, provided Ukraine drones and other equipment. Ukraine has also conducted its own military exercises near the border with Belarus, a client state of Russia.

Why is Russia doing this now? First, Ukraine is not part of NATO, which means that it does not benefit from NATO’s fundamental principle of collective defense if Ukraine’s territorial integrity is again violated. When Russia annexed Crimea and invaded Donbass in 2014, NATO did not stand up for Ukraine. Ironically, Russian aggression pushed Ukraine towards NATO. Ukrainian public support for NATO membership increased from 28% in 2012 to 69% in 2017. Subduing Ukraine is essential to keep it out of NATO’s orbit and to restore the sphere of influence of post-Soviet Russia.

Second, current events are working to Putin’s advantage. Energy prices are higher, French President Emmanuel MacronEmmanuel Jean-Michel Macron French President Macron: Olympic diplomatic boycotts are “insignificant and symbolic” Paris mayor calls on leftists to unite behind presidential candidate Biden holds call with European leaders to talk about Russia MORE is running for re-election and German Chancellor Angela Merkel has stepped down. The Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline is also now complete, resulting in Russia controls energy supplies in Europe.

Third, Putin has allies to help him distract the West so that Russia can expand its post-soviet imperial agenda. Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko fabricated a humanitarian crisis with Poland, arming migrants to put pressure on the EU Serbian President Alexander Vucic foment nationalism to threaten Kosovo, bringing it closer to Albania. leader of the Bosnian Serbs Milorad Dodik met Putin and put forward a separatist agenda, threatening to bring Bosnia back to the ethnic wars of the 1990s. None of this would happen without Russian support or Putin’s approval.

Fourth, Russia has been embarrassed by several events. The 30e anniversary of the collapse of the Soviet Union, an event Putin described as the “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe” of 20e century is approaching. In addition, it has been eight years since the Maidan revolution toppled a pro-Russian government in Ukraine. In addition, the recent decision of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky crackdown on corrupt oligarchs, high profile meeting with Biden in the White House, and his intentions to join NATO show that Ukraine is moving away from Russia.

Fifth, Ukraine matters more to Russia than to NATO. Putin exploits the nationalist idea of Novorossiya or “New Russia” To do land claims on Ukraine. When Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, he was celebrated among those who saw the peninsula as inseparable from Russian identity. Putin supported Russians, Ukrainians and Belarusians share a common history and culture, seeing Ukraine and Belarus as bogus countries. Russia has shown that it can persist by sanctioning its economy and appealing to intense nationalism.

Still, a Russian invasion is questionable. Unlike Donbass and Crimea, Russian troops might find it difficult to subjugate hostile Ukrainian territories. In addition, the West would sanction Russia sovereign debt and disconnect it of the global financial payment system Swift. In addition, the Biden administration supply the Ukrainian army with weapons and training. In addition, the Nord Stream 2 pipeline would close and NATO could reposition forces further east.

We can expect Russia to step up its gray zone operations and coercive diplomacy. Russian intelligence and intermediaries will increase disinformation and cyber attacks against Ukrainian institutions and infrastructures. In 2018, the NotPetya cyber attacks devastated the Ukrainian economy. Russia was able to officially recognize Donetsk and Luhansk in the same way it did with Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which decreased Georgia’s borders. And with the European members of NATO dependent on Russian energy, they can think twice before helping Ukraine.

In keeping with the vision of former President George HW Bush of a “Eruope, whole and free,” Biden must affirm US support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. Biden should categorically reject Putin’s demand that NATO not expand further east by defending NATO’s open door membership policy. Biden cannot accept Russian attempts to redraw Ukraine’s borders by force.

Biden cannot repeat the mistakes made by former President Obama who exaggerated Russia declines or makes concessions because it would be similar to Former President Trump praises Putin. Russia is trying to dominate Europe and shift the balance of power in its favor, in the same way that China exercises control in the Indo-Pacific. Biden must view Russia and China as major adversaries seeking to roll back American influence in these vital regions.

Chris J. Dolan is professor of political science and director of the master’s program in intelligence and security science at Lebanon Valley College.

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