Monday, March 7, 2022

The Biden-Blinken Doctrine

Over the weekend, the U.S. declared a no-fly zone off the table. Secretary Blinken on NBC News with Chuck Todd: 

QUESTION:  ... Why rule out the no-fly zone?  Why not make Putin think it’s possible?

SECRETARY BLINKEN: ...The President’s been very clear... we’re not going to put the United States in direct conflict with Russia, not have American planes flying against Russian planes or our soldiers on the ground in Ukraine, because for everything we’re doing for Ukraine, the President also has a responsibility to not get us into a direct conflict, a direct war, with Russia, a nuclear power, and risk a war that expands even beyond Ukraine to Europe.  That’s clearly not our interest.  What we’re trying to do is end this war in Ukraine, not start a larger one.... 

And by the way, keep in mind what – again, keep in mind what a no-fly zone – just so people understand, too, what a no-fly zone means.  It means that if you declare a space no-fly and a Russian plane flies through it, it means we have to shoot it down.

If country A nakedly invades country B, and country A has the ability to expand to a wider war, especially nuclear, then the US will not fight. Not only we do not fight directly, we do not declare a no-fly zone. If country B has an explicit defense treaty with the US, such as NATO, we might, but otherwise, you're on your own. 

This announcement follows NATO secretary Stoltenberg making the same peremptory announcement. I focus on the US because the wider implications for the US making this pronouncement. 

I do not wish to argue with this judgment in the instance of Ukraine and Vladimir Putin. The administration, and NATO, are making a judgement that sending weapons and crushing the Russian economy with sanctions are not too "provocative," but that declaring a no-fly zone is. They are making a judgement that Ukraine can survive without it, and that the extra death and destruction in Ukraine is not worth the risk. I hope people are questioning this judgement, but pundits should  defer a little bit to people in charge with lots of information on such judgement calls. 

But given this decision, why rule it out? Why say it out loud? Why make it a matter of principle, now a doctrine? 

They could simply not do it, and keep Putin guessing. That achieves the end that a U.S. finger does not pull the trigger on a U.S. weapon that sends a U.S. bullet or missile in the direction of a Russian pilot. 

They could call Putin and say "We're not putting in a no-fly zone. Don't worry, your attack is safe from the air." This time. 

But they did not. Once again, the U.S. declares, publicly, ahead of time -- ahead of the possible collapse of the Ukrainian government -- what we will not do, and elevates it to a matter of principle. 

Who else is listening? Well, Xi Jinping. And the Iranians. And the South Koreans, Japanese, Saudi Arabians, and more.

Suppose, just suppose, China invades Taiwan. How does the same principle not apply? Goodbye strategic ambiguity. A no-fly zone would be a joke in that case -- if the U.S. wishes to save Taiwan it will mean attacks, not just loitering over Taiwan waiting for something to happen. How about responding with an embargo, a no-trade zone? Well, that would risk U.S. warships shooting at a Chinese ship, which would threaten a wider war. Off the table. 

We have just wrapped Taiwan up and delivered it to China. 

Message to Iran: test one nuclear weapon. Invade Syria, Iraq, or whatever. The US will not respond. Message to others. Get nukes. Now. 

This war isn't just about Ukraine. It is about the kind of world we live in for the next generation. 

Why make these public pronouncements about what we will not do? I can think of only one reason, one audience: American voters. Reassure people in the US who do not want to see greater help for Ukraine. Push up those poll numbers. For once, please, ignore the polls. Govern wisely and quietly. Only one poll counts, at the next election. 

MAD was always questionable game theory. If Russia blows up a city in Europe, why would NATO murder tens of millions of Russian civilians in response? A hardy conventional response was always important. 

But at least the rules of the game were clear: The nuclear threat is respected for invasions of a country that has them, or invasions of allies such as NATO. Nuclear threats do not apply to invasions of third countries. Yes, we do what we can to keep the conflict contained, often at great cost, as in Vietnam. But we do not as a matter of principle rule out any action. 



Of course the swiftness and severity of economic sanctions are big news of the last few weeks. How will Xi Jinping read that? I note that much of what's going on now are private, voluntary sanctions; a general refusal to do business with Russia because so many people and corporations are rightly outraged about this invasion.  Now, what will happen if China invades Taiwan? Will people around the world see the same outrage? Even the US officially regards China and Taiwan as one country. Will they be willing to do without the much larger and more crucial amount of Chinese manufactured goods? For how long? 



  1. These comments are not aimed at Russia. They are aimed at the local population, who are no longer treated as citizens, but a constituency to be pacified and shielded from any disturbing truths.

    1. I would hardly call it "pacifying" to communicate clearly to our soldiers (many of whom, including some of my neighbors, have already had their Eastern European deployments extended indefinitely) that the U.S. does not plan on becoming involved in direct military conflict with Russia, e.g. a no-fly-zone. I'm not claiming that's the wisest strategy, and as it happens, I agree with John that this is a circumstance where ambiguity is likely superior.

      "But given this decision, why rule it out? Why say it out loud? Why make it a matter of principle, now a doctrine?"

      Let's not be cavalier about these decisions: there are thousands of military families out there who would be much more anxious right now if Biden were less ambiguous. John, that's one reason why. Is it enough? Probably not, in my opinion. But it isn't nothing. And it's just my nearly-worthless strategic decision.

    2. I appreciate your concern, but the military is expected to operate under ambiguity, which should obviate your argument against leaving the NFZ on the table. While military families might complain about their concerns, they're neither a large nor concentrated constituency to matter in that regard, and the all-volunteer force is free to end their service at the end of every contract. Anxiety is par for the course for military families, and the successful ones learn to live with the uncertainty.

  2. How will the market react to news that escalates the war or even keeps it ambiguous? poorly. Haven't they done enough to us the last few years? To be clear, I mean the university intellectual class and politicians and their ridiculous lockdowns. How about we sit this one out so we can afford to save for your generation's very expensive retirement, and maybe even start families of our own. Old grumpy boomers can still indoctrinate the next generation from cozy armchairs in the 2030s, for now, they need to admit they messed up (even if tacitly like Biden is doing) and need to begin accepting their retirement from the world stage.

  3. This administration is short its Henry Kissinger in these negotiations. I fear that all these digital world people do not understand that the analog world is not the same as their digital models. In the analog world, your adversary gets a say, too.

  4. In terms of Taiwan: it does seem as though the same principle would apply. Therefore the issue would seem to be for the US and other countries to decide *beforehand* whether they are going to support Taiwan and if so have an official presence there so it would be *China* that risks stepping over the line to incite war with a nuclear power (or powers) and that may prevent it from doing so. It seems your frustration is that you'd like to be able to see them continue their waffling and be able to be drawn into it at a later date if needed without being blamed for stepping in and perhaps triggering a nuclear war.

    You acknowledge that despite thinking "MAD was always questionable game theory. " you imply its good that "But at least the rules of the game were clear".

    So its odd that you are puzzled about the idea of at least partial clarity this time regarding the rules (even if not complete clarity): "Why say it out loud?... They could simply not do it, and keep Putin guessing. "

    Unfortunately the rules Putin will follow aren't clear. Its not clear whether he will view sanctions that are too harsh or the provision of weapons as a justification for attacking NATO and broadening the war. However its seems clear that any direct conflict like a no-fly zone has always been considered actual involvement in a war so it makes sense to avoid that.

    I suspect if Nato had troops in Ukraine or Ukraine was part of Nato that this war wouldn't have happened: but frustrated regret in hindsight of what you'd have liked to see doesn't justify increasing the risk of nuclear conflict now.

  5. I think you miss the entire point of this administration. Your assumption that they actually care about the same things you care about is based on the false premise. Just as one example, an administration that would seek to buy oil from Iran and Venezuela, suppress domestic production, voice opposition to the East Med pipeline that would supply Greece and Cyprus with Israeli Natural gas is not an administration that cares about promoting the economic and strategic health of America and its democratic allies either now or in the future. If one looks at the refusal to change course on these suicidal energy and environmental policies I can not see how one could come to any other conclusion. No one can be that naïve or incompetent. Damage was caused by some of the reckless statements of the previous administration but this damage may be irreparable.

  6. I disagree with the deterrence logic from China's perspective. If the U.S. had said 'maybe we will fight for Ukraine, maybe we won't', then didn't fight, that would encourage China. Saying outright 'we won't fight in Ukraine' still preserves the strategic ambiguity in Taiwan.

  7. 100%, surprise that we do not have more people seeing that fact, this is not about Ukraine, it is about normal world Vs world in which dictators do what they want... by not getting involved out of fear we virtually guarantee future nuclear war.. Fear is gasoline for dictators, it is drug like drug, sex and everything else.. fear fuels them...

  8. Your point on China is a good one and says something deeper about sanctions. A sanction is not a one-way street. The "sanctioner" suffers as does the "sanctionee". If the sanctioner is large with many other alternative trading partners and the sanctionee is small then sanctions can work - to a degree. When the sanctionee is your largest trading partner and a large holder of your country's debt the notion that sanctions are viable is silly on its face. If the US even mentioned sanctions in the case of China, Xi Jingping should just laugh out loud and invite them. Oh - OK, in that case we would like to redeem rather than roll over all the debt we are holding - ok? How would that be for a "sanction"?

  9. There is a major global doctrine that should be questioned: the idea that its a war crime to assassinate heads of state like Putin. Admittedly its unlikely to be claimed: but you still have to wonder how many $billions the Ukraine government could raise from global contributors as a bounty for Putin's head in hopes it might turn insiders against him. There are innocent people suffering in the Ukraine, and now collateral economic damage to innocent by standards in Russia and around the world since sanctions hurt both sides.

    1. @Anonymous:

      Where is that written? Yamamoto?

    2. One source talking about the general issue and mentioning US prohibitions on it:
      ... In 1977, following revelations of U.S. lethal targeting operations and ensuing Church (Senate) and the Pike (House) Committee hearings, President Gerald Ford issued Executive Order 11,905. The order prohibited Executive Branch personnel from engaging in, or conspiring to engage in, political assassination. Subsequent administrations continued the ban. Four years later, President Regan issued Executive Order 12,333, which, as amended, remains in effect today. It contains the same prohibition, although it limits application to individuals “acting on behalf of” the U.S. government."

  10. The only purpose in declaring a "no-fly zone" over the Ukraine is to destroy the aggressor's assets on the ground. At present, the Russian Federation does not control Ukrainian air-space -- it, the air-space, is still contested by the Russians and the Ukrainians. Given that the Ukraine is nearer Russia than it is nearer the U.S., maintaining a "no-fly" zone against Russian air force planes over the Ukraine is logistically challenging--the U.S. air force assets in range are based in the EU and the UK at present. To avoid entangling the EU in the proposed "no-fly" zone, USAF assets would have to re-base in the Ukraine, and this is not practicable.

    The purpose of the announcement by the U.S. is to assure the European members of NATO that the war will not be brought home to them by USAF assets returning from bombing runs in the Ukraine. Private assurances are not enough.

    And, it matters not one whit whether the announcement is made privately (in the ears of the European heads of government) or publicly---the position will be known, virtually instantly, in the Kremlin.

    Game this out for yourself. You're president of the U.S., and your opponent is V. V. Putin, president of the Russian Federation. Your assets are dispersed, not concentrated; his are dispersed and concentrated. You have B-22 bombers; he has SAMs and hypersonic cruise missiles. He has much to gain by subjugating the Ukraine; you have very little to gain by preventing that subjugation. He has little to lose if he fails to overrun the Ukraine; you have much to lose if the war widens and deepens to involve all of Europe, the UK, and eventually North America. The trade analysis needs to be made in a state of sang-froid, not the hot-blooded heat of the moment.

    I mentioned earlier that the population of the Ukraine is 42 millions, and the adult population between the ages of 18 yrs. and 60 yrs. is roughly 10 millions, and if 10% of those 10 millions will serve in the army to repulse the aggressor, the Ukraine could field 1 million fighters. What is lacking is armaments--small arms and anti-tank weaponry. Given the armaments etc. the man-power ratio would then be 5-to-1 in favour of the Ukrainians. The road from Poland is still open. Make use of it, before you stagger/blunder into a fight that will lead to a wider and longer confrontation with Russia, and possibly China/N. Korea. As president of the United States of America, your first responsibility is to the United States of America, and to fill that role you must harden your heart and engage your brain. The Ukraine must do this for itself. This is their "trial by fire", just as the Revolutionary War and the Civil War were the U.S.'s own "trial by fire" struggles.

    1. It's worth mentioning that the Soviet Union (when it still existed) spent over 9 years (1979-1989) trying to subjugate the Afghans. And that it is when the Soviets were at the height of their economic and political power.

      For context, the US Revolutionary War was 7 years long and the US Civil War was 4 years long.

      I don't see this war going on more than two years with continued worldwide economic sanctions against Russia. The Ruble will become worthless, Russia will be cut off from most (all?) economic markets, and I doubt Putin will live that long.

    2. It is idle to speculate on the duration of a conflict such as the Russian Federation's invasion of the Ukraine. The aggressor has specific objectives that he seeks to attain. The defender, likewise, has specific objectives he must realize to remain independent. While the conflict rages and broadens across the Ukraine, the window for compromise becomes narrower and narrower, but the prospects of resolution by the parties increase. When will the conflict end? This year, not later than June or July, if that long.

      The RUR is freely floating and transactions in the RUR comprise but 1.1% of international transactions. The value of the RUR will be largely tempered by the dependency of the world on commodity exports from both the Russia Federation and the Ukraine.

      Sanctions will curtail Russian exports somewhat, but as you can plainly see in the case of petroleum and natural gas commodity exports, curtailment is problematical for the EU and europe as a whole. Even for the U.S., banning imports of oil from Russia poses some problems (drives petroleum fuel prices higher). For non-energy commodities, it is notable that both Russia and the Ukraine are exporters of small grains which find demand in the Middle East, and in Africa which is especially dependent on those export sources for much of their imports of foodstuffs. For metals, Russia is a significant source of nickel and aluminum and copper--metals that are used in the fabrication of EV components, for example. Disruption of the flow of any or all of those commodities (energy, food, and metals) is problematic for international trade and global economic growth. Sanctioning food exports from Russia is fraught with collateral problems (destablizing Africa for example). When one considers the source of processed rare-earth elements and the basic commodities, the western countries are not today uniquely endowed or in a position to maintain such sanctions over the long run.

      Ergo, sanctions are more of a political P.R. issue than a 'lever' to be used to bring the conflict to an end. That is especially the case in the U.K. and in Canada today.

      Count on V. V. Putin being around and in power for quite a bit longer than any of the current roster of democratically elected officials leading the western powers will be. The Fates are fickle that way.

  11. "MAD was always questionable game theory. If Russia blows up a city in Europe, why would NATO murder tens of millions of Russian civilians in response?"

    Why not? There was no certainty. That's enough. Nobody wanted to accept the risk.

    Yes, nuclear powers don't fight directly with each other. Yes, everybody get nukes.

    Ukraine might have been settled by 2014. We will not know. Looks like the chance is gone, and it's not worth a war to fix it.

    Only current hope is the unexpected incompetence of Russian forces.

    1. The word murder does a lot of work in that quote. The answer is not retaliating is surrendering. Tit for Tat is a superior strategy for inducing cooperation. Surrender just invites abuse. Weakness is provocative.

    2. "Tit for Tat is a superior strategy for inducing cooperation"

      That's probably true if you are playing a repeating game with multiple rounds. If you are playing the game only once I don't see the superiority of the strategy.

      Surrender is a superior one in any count (a much more desirable end game ... literally!!)

    3. @El emperador desnudo:

      “You were given the choice between war and dishonor. You chose dishonor and you will have war.”


    4. @Fat man

      A conventional war is a complete different animal. We were talking about MAD, and stragegy that works until it does not.

  12. I suppose that's right in the context of a game and threats. But I find US moves very disturbing. Mutual deterrence, another game, works by equivalent threats of execution. Nuclear arms in Ukraine shortens the time to strike Russia. In the same way, that Russian missiles in Cuba threatened US first strike capability. Second, we're now talking about arming Ukrainian civilians, after making clear we're not going to do anything. Not a good thing to set up untrained civilians to fight/die for a superpower's geopolitical interests, especially when it's not fighting for them, or doesn't have that strong an interest. US led Ukraine down the garden path, then dumped them. And 3rd, there are ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine that didn't agree to the government installed after the 2014 coup.

  13. Everybody in Washington thinks in binaries. You are all in or all out. There are lots of other possibilities. How about "leasing" some UAVs to Ukraine and painting them Blue and yellow. Some of them can carry missiles. Those missiles may not be able to take out a tank, but taking out a food truck or a fuel truck might be just as good at this stage. If one of them is shot down, there is no pilot for the Russians to torture.

    Work on the assumption that this is not an idea that has crossed the mind of anyone in the Administration whose job requires Senate Confirmation.

  14. Where is the push from the US or the EU or the "International Community" to resolve this conflict? Instead, all the parties who would normally be trying to calm things down are pumping up the violence.

    It is clear that Russia does not want to occupy the Ukraine. All they want is to make sure that NATO (i.e. US) does not plant offensive weapons on their border. Given how JFK responded to the Cuban situation, Russia's stated aims seem quite reasonable.

    Why are we not seeing any diplomatic effort to (1) assure Russia that the Ukraine will never be part of NATO, and (2) assure the Ukraine that it can achieve the happy prosperous situation of Finland? Does the lack of a constructive US & Western response have anything to do with the well-established corruption in the Ukraine that reached even to Biden's family?

    This is not to defend Russia's invasion of the Ukraine. But we need to ask ourselves -- what other options did "Our Guys" give Russia when they repeatedly ignored clearly stated Russian concerns?

  15. You're putting too much stock in the premise that other countries believe the US consistently uses force according to set norms or 'rules'. It's hard to imagine any country taking these no-fly statements as 'doctrine' given the chaotic record of US armed forces' interventions. Obtaining nukes has been a goal for Iran and others for decades for their obvious leverage, I have no idea why this changes anything.

  16. John, you will never make it as a diplomat or military strategist. You have taken the President at his word. Didn’t he also say he would not invoke SWIFT sanctions?...or a ban on Russian oil/gas? And now he says “nothing is off the table” with regard to a ban on oil/gas. It is all part of his strategic ambiguity; clarity is not to be forthcoming and does not serve our interest. Putin plays chess; Biden plays poker. – What is your next move? What is your next bidding? Let’s go tit-for-tat up that escalation ladder.

    I think the object is to draw out the war for weeks and months. The longer it goes, the more Putin’s hand is weakened. In a possible confrontation between two nuclear powers, there is no need for America to rachet up the escalation in only the third week of the conflict. We will go step-by-step; we and our NATO partners have a lot more cards to play.

    Ukrainians have a long struggle ahead of them. Their liberty will be seared in blood, and it will be their sacrifice that proves victorious, and not NATO or America winning the fight for them. Did the French win our Revolution? [Next to our Civil War, the American Revolution was our bloodiest.]

  17. You are getting out of your lane again; your economic comments are interesting; your poly sci not so much.

  18. How are Blinken's comments about Ukraine the equivalent of a doctrine. They are statements about the level of intervention in Ukraine now.

    They say nothing about Taiwan other than that which is already known: we would rather not be involved but might in certain circumstances. Even in Ukraine if Russia used tactical nukes, they can have no confidence in what NATO would do even though Ukraine is not a member. The fact US Senators are even advocating for a NFZ in Ukraine now for the first time is evidence that US determination to stay out could chsnge.

  19. "They are making a judgement that Ukraine can survive without it, and that the extra death and destruction in Ukraine is not worth the risk"

    There is no way of sustaining this judgement from a utilitarian or moral perspective without sustaining that the destruction of Poland or even the US is not worth the risk

    You certainly could think that the lives of Ukrainian civilians that are going to be lost in Ukraine are worth less that the lives that could be lost in a nuclear conflict times the risks of the conflict escalating to a nuclear war. And you can arrive at the same position using moral judgement.

    Now, in the original statement, you change "Ukrainian civilians" for "Polish civilians" or, even, for "American civilians" and nothing should change in your utilitarian calculations (or in your "moral" judgement). So, your conclusion should still be, that saving those Polish or American lives by stablishing a no-fly zone is not worth risking a full nuclear war.

    The only way of justifying engaging Russia to avoid Polish or American casualties but not engaging Russia to avoid Ukrainian casualties on moral or utilitarian grounds is by placing a higher value in an American or Polish civilian life than in a Ukrainian one.

    I find this proposition very difficult to defend from both a moral and a utilitarian perspective.

  20. Well, if NATO introduces a no-fly zone and starts shooting down Russian jets, then Russia will be shooting down NATO planes and hitting NATO airports (presumably in Poland and Romania). What's next? I guess next we will read a John's blog post asking "Why rule out nuking Moscow?". John, you need to treat all lives -- Americans, Ukrainians (including those who live in Donbass), Russians, Iraqis, Libyans, Afghans, etc -- equally. Basic concepts: 10 lives lost are 10 time more pain and horror than 1 live lost (no matter what the nationalities are), lives of children and women are far more valuable than lives of men, and so on. Hope you do not believe that there are people who are more equal than other people.

    1. How sane. Thank you. I would like to see same equal treatment or judiciousness with sanctions. Syrian friends suffering from US sanctions, freezing with 1 hour on/5 hours off electricity. A Russian friend from grad school whose STEM papers are now rejected bc of Ukraine. The sanctions fallout - madness of firing/deleting artists: Anna Netrebko, Gergieve, Dostoevsky, Tschaikovsky... Minor disagreement: Syria invited both Iran and Russia, did not invite US who established base at al Tanf, confiscated oil fields,elsewhere in NE Syria

  21. If Putin believes the US will impose a no-fly zone and that this will lead to escalation, then Putin might not want to wait until the NFZ is imposed but may instead choose to escalate right now in response to what the US is already doing: sharing intelligence and weapons with Ukraine. If there's such a thing as pre-escalation, declaring the no-fly zone off the table could prevent it.

  22. It seems there is a supply/demand partial solution to Russia's aggression. I suspect declining oil prices, now highly inelastic, would make Russia less bellicose. The Soviet economy cratered when oil declined from $75 bbl in 1980 to $22 bbl in 1986. By 1989 when the Soviets left Afghanistan, crude oil averaged about $19 bbl. They were bankrupt. According to the WSJ, 7% of our oil imports come from Russia. Why not increase domestic production so as to lower oil equilibrium prices.

  23. NATO and the US cannot and should not enforce a no-fly zone. Blinken as well as NATO stating that is simply common sense, both for NATO servicemen and women as well as to avoid wrong expectations. From a country that invaded other countries without any justification ('weapons-of-mass destruction' anybody?). Decisions about war are rarely about morals obviously (Saddam used to be an esteemed ally of the US as long as his ire was directed at Iran). Back of the envelope strategists can bring their vast experience in nuclear warfare to bear extending beyond Mutually-Assured-Destruction, which I just learned has not worked (because ???).

  24. "Message to Iran: test one nuclear weapon. Invade Syria, Iraq, or whatever. The US will not respond."

    This literally happened and the Obama administration did nothing and most everyone was on board. Except it wasn't just Iran that invaded Syria and threw money and weapons and soldiers there, it was also Saudi Arabia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, Bahrain. All the while these states had plausible deniability but anyone that says they were not involved in the conflict does not deserve to have their opinion taken seriously.

    I'm kind of looking at everything everyone is doing to Russia right now and wondering "we do this to the entire Middle East in 2015, is the Syrian War over in a week?"

  25. Hello Professor John Cochrane. Completely wrong analysis. You seem to think that instead of announcing it publicly that U.S. will not enter into direct conflict with Russia, Biden administration should have privately communicated it to Putin. Have you considered the situation that the Biden administration would not be able to deliver on its private assurances, because of rapid geopolitical developments as well as capriciousness of public opinion in reaction to them. This is what a democracy looks like. The days of Dr. Strangelove or John Von Neumann suggesting nuclear strategies based on game theory are long over. So called geniuses doing dumb things. Best approach is to use democratic means to convince both sides -- Ukraine and Russia -- that there is plenty of upside in giving up the war.

  26. A principal of negotiation is to not make concessions for free.

    That said, from what I've heard from subject area experts, an enforceable no fly zone is not practical.

    "I don't think people are seriously considering this, but a no fly zone is a de facto declaration of war... an enforceable no fly zone is a commitment to a kinetic military engagement with Russian forces." -- Stanford's Michael Kofman

    In that talk, Ward Carroll of the US Naval Institute also makes the point that combat air patrols above Ukraine would be in range of the S400 SAM sites that ring the western border of Russia. Those could be soft killed (whatever that means?), but "the one thing that would be an act of war, if your SAMs are getting soft killed and your only response is now air to air warfare, now you're going to get one of your airplanes shot down and then your next move is to declare war on whatever country it was or NATO..." He continues, "... it [a no fly zone] is just not practical, and I don't think we're going to have a UN resolution, because you need that, and you need local air superiority to do it, and we don't have either of those things at this point."

  27. I’m surprised at the shallowness of your concept of the geopolitical situation with respect to China. The Chinese and Xi aren’t like Putin and his quack cronies. Their understanding of the geopolitical situation isn’t restricted to threat / no threat. They understand the subtleties of economics and appearances much more deeply than the Putin regime and no doubt have a more accurate concept of the relative strengths and weaknesses of their military position.
    They surely recognize that, in the eyes of the US, Ukraine and Taiwan aren’t remotely comparable. The US has *very* strong historical ties across the Pacific - Japan, Taiwan, Philippines, Korea, Viet Nam, Australia, numerous small island nations - and none in Ukraine. The US would be stupid to tie down assets and resources in Ukraine that could otherwise protect Taiwan. China understands that. China would *rather* the US get wrapped up in Ukraine and leave Taiwan exposed.
    Europe and the US should already be thinking globally. Europe has by far the most substantial strategic interest in protecting Ukraine and the geopolitical position to do so, so it should be Europe that carries the load on Ukraine. In this sense China and/or Russia might recognize that NATO is in some respects a ball and chain for Europe. While the US can act independently in the Pacific, NATO action in Europe must be restricted because it would draw the US into the conflict. But at this point Europe has no prepared means to act as a unit independent of NATO, so there is little chance of a direct military response.

  28. I've determined you know nothing of how the FED works, (from an earlier article) now I know that you know nothing of how the world works. Seems to me you're an over educated leftist (you probably voted for that senile old grifter who currently pretends to occupy the oval office)and in these times when leftist want to destroy the U.S. that sure makes you a traitor. What do we do with traitors during a time of war???

  29. MAD is questionable. Of course. But remember, if you make a mistake, if your rational calculus is mistaken, then it is the end. So, please consider nuclear strategy seriously and take a pessimistic outlook. Any NATO intervention and we could be in this nightmare.


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