The Ripple Threat of Russia’s Ukraine War


By Michael Johns

On the surface, many of the lessons associated with Putin’s invasion of Ukraine are fairly self-evident.
Trump’s Russia Policy 
First, for four years, former President Trump projected a healthy balance of both strength and political sophistication on Russia, arming Ukraine with lethal defensive military aid on the one hand, but also not provoking Putin or Russian nationalists with provocative commentary about Ukraine in NATO on the other.
This sent exactly the right message to Putin: That we were not tolerant of Russian aggression against sovereign states but that, in turn, we also were not seeking to present any security threat to Russia’s sovereignty either.
Biden’s Contrasting Russia Policy 
Putin saw weakness in Obama, especially following his dismissal of any Russian threat during the 2012 presidential debates with Romney.
In many respects, this led him to conclude he could seize Crimea without opposition, which he did two years later, in 2014. Then, in August 2021, like much of the world, he watched as Biden handed Afghanistan to the Taliban, abandoning our hugely strategic air base in Bagram and leaving Americans, Afghan allies, and billions of dollars of military equipment behind as the Taliban rolled into Kabul pretty much unopposed.
I believe he saw the opportunity for aggression in Ukraine very early in the Biden presidency, and he already had about 100,000 Russian troops on the Ukraine border. But watching Biden end the longest and costliest war in U.S, history by handing the country over to the very terrorist forces we had been opposing, again inspired him that it was an opportune moment for him to move on Ukraine.

I also think Putin’s newfound emerging relationship with Xi Jinping gave him confidence. Putin met with Xi on February 4 in Beijing. If you review the joint statement they issued, it is pretty clear to me that Xi green lighted Russian aggression. They both opposed the expansion of NATO and attempted to present themselves as representing some sort of emerging global consensus in support of their respective visions for the world, which is absurd but the message Xi has been preaching for years.

The hypocrisy in that statement is overwhelming. Two of the world’s most brutal dictators expressing support for “universal human values as peace, development, equality, justice, democracy, and freedom.” Xi is engaged in genocide of millions in East Turkistan as we speak, and has been declared “president for life” by a few of his Communist Party colleagues. He has no governing mandate from the 1.4 billion of China and is governing a nation in which almost all, or all, provinces under his governance would separate from China if given the opportunity. His government is behind almost all of the world’s illegal fentanyl shipments, much of the world’s organ harvesting, and controls the country’s legal system, its media, and suppresses any and all dissent.
Putin, of course, differs in some ways from Xi, but not on the fundamental issue of domestic liberties, peace, and human rights, which he also suppresses. There’s a long list of Putin opponents, from Galina Starovoytova to Sergei Yushenkov to Nikolay Andrushchenko and a long list of others who paid with their lives for opposing Putin. And, of course, we’re now witnessing Putin’s war crimes in Ukraine, including military attacks on maternity wards and other civilian facilities.
The point is that these are probably the last two individuals in the world who have any standing to be lecturing the world about justice, democracy, and freedom. But none of this should be surprising to anyone. Mao said “communism is not love. Communism is a hammer which we use to crush the enemy.” And Lenin said “there are no morals in politics; there is only expedience.”
The Issue of the Afghanistan Exit 
The abandonment of Bagram Airfield in July with no pre-announcement, no handoff to the Afghan military, and leaving the Parwan Detention Facility unguarded, which housed over a thousand hugely dangerous terrorists and other criminals, was the first signal that Biden was not at all concerned about U.S. commitments or interests in the region. It did not receive much attention in the U.S., but Putin saw it in Moscow and Xi Jinping saw it in Beijing—and the result was this enhanced resolve we now see in Putin, in trying to take Ukraine by force and without much regard to the world’s perception of him. I believe this is also manifesting in Xi’s commitment to ultimately taking Taiwan by military or other means. And I think we are seeing it in the dilution of our alliances.
When the United States abandons its friends, its friends start looking for other friends, or for a third way, and Biden is overseeing this abandonment. It is an intensification of the so-called “managed decline” ideology that has been present in government for decades but never to this magnitude. We now have a government consciously and pro-actively seeking to weaken our standing in the world by diminishing global trust in us, by eroding the dollar as the world’s reserve currency, and by handing over our sovereignty to multilateral institutions like the United Nations, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the like. These are not neutral bodies. They are deeply infiltrated and controlled bodies whose loyalties are largely to the CCP and associated interests. The very idea that some of the world’s worst human rights abusers, like China and Russia, can sit in judgment of other nations’ human rights conditions through UNHRC is a perfect example of the inherent contradictions and limitations associated with globalism.
Regarding Crimea 
Putin saw weakness in Obama and took Crimea in 2014. He saw strength in Trump and did nothing. He saw extraordinary and almost irrational weakness in Biden and is now engaged in a kinetic war in Ukraine that is proving very costly to human lives. I believe Putin has miscalculated with his aggression in Ukraine—and it obviously must be condemned and sanctioned in the strongest terms. But look beneath the surface in an introspective way, and even Biden’s response to the invasion lacks the sort of strategic and proportionate response we should demand.
U.S. Energy Crisis 
On one hand, because Biden so constrained our domestic energy production, we are paying Russia about $75 million a day for oil that easily could be produced here if it weren’t for his regulatory constraints on domestic energy production. And that $75 million a day in Russian revenue is largely controlled directly by Putin and his cronies and is funding this very war in Ukraine that we say we condemn in “the strongest terms.” Well, the strongest terms must include denying Putin those petroleum revenues.
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Instead, however, Biden chose first to sanction Russia’s central bank and removed Russia’s financial institutions from the global SWIFT banking system, which predictably is sending the ruble into rapid collapse. Has anyone in the Biden administration even pondered where this all leads? For starters, these sorts of sanctions against a national currency, the burden of which is going to fall almost exclusively on the people, not the government, are exceedingly rare—and they are rare for a reason. For starters, they are essentially an act of war and likely to be reciprocated as such. Additionally, dictators and their associated allies have all sorts of places and means to move financial assets into foreign currencies, foreign or underground financial institutions, or many other options. The people do not largely have these options, so this becomes a war on the people more than a war on the government.
This is how it is playing out in Russia now. The ruble has lost 40 percent of its value already—and that slide is likely to continue. This devaluation creates a rush for withdrawals, and Russia has already responded by imposing withdrawal limits, which stops some bleeding but further intensifies domestic anxieties. Interest rates have more than doubled. This is all quite possibly a recipe for domestic rebellion and turmoil, and we’re not talking about domestic rebellion or turmoil in any nation. Russia remains a nuclear power. They have about 6,000 nuclear warheads, which is more than our own stockpile. What is going to happen as Russians rebel and Putin concludes his governing reign is over? What is Putin going to do as Russian military or intelligence forces see his political vulnerability and move against him? These are concerns and questions about as serious as they get in national security and foreign policy. We are not dealing with a controllable or predictable outcome. As the Reagan Doctrine began to force change in 1990 and 1991, I remember our focus shifted from the regimes we had opposed to the one that would emerge, and the fact that the Cold War ended peacefully was as great an accomplishment as the fact that it ended at all. The end of the Cold War aside, we do not have a very pleasant history with regime change. Quite often we have ended up with regimes even more oppressive and more hostile.
And domestic turmoil is not the only concern.

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Trump handled Putin.

Biden and the globalists/unelected rich people who installed him didn’t.

It’s that simple.

Now Xi will use this to achieve his 2049 plan early, calling the globalists bluff.

Actually, Putin handled Trump.

Actually, Putin handled Trump.

Really? How?

He’ll never say, beyond just saying it. No proof, no facts, no numbers.

It’s all propaganda for the Left, and now our citizens see what their lies cause.

War, famine, inflation, and tyranny.

The Facts disagree with you. Your narrative on that failed years ago.

It seems Biden is truly Putin’s c*cksleeve now.

Colbert was so enlightened, those years ago.

One Russian bullet in the back of Putin’s head could end this all before it spreads.

Putin would be replaced by someone far worse.

The sanctions are hurting innocent Russians, not Putin. Not his oligarchs.

The Left’s propaganda making this about one rogue idiot and not a decades-long failure by Democrats and their globalist masters tells you everything you need to know.

History is already recording the start and cause of WWIII: globalist fasco-marxism, Euro-banks using their own installed dictators to fight dictators to the East.

Nathan, when people don’t have all the food they want, they blame those that started the problem. When they don’t have any food for their children, they blame who ever ended the supply of food going to them, not the ones who cause the supply end in the first place.

The more we punish the Russian people, the move favorable Putin becomes in their minds with the assistance of the Russian press. The Anthony Blinken System of Foreign Policy must have been written by a 5 year old.

I absolutely agree.


we have declared economic war on the Russian people. They are not to blame. biden is no different in that regard than Putin. Putin may be killing Ukrainians but biden is killing Russians

The sanctions are hurting innocent Russians, not Putin. Not his oligarchs.

The people of Russia have occasionally removed unacceptable leaders, and their oligarchs are very much aware of it. Putin is in serious trouble the moment he because a risk to their privileged positions at the top.

Last edited 2 years ago by Greg

Nancy Pelosi Has Putin Strategery Figured Out, He Is Trying to Bait Her Into a NATO Attack
Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, made it clear today that she has Russian President Vladimir Putin’s strategery all figured out.
According to her press conference remarks, Speaker Pelosi says the Russian president is trying to bait her into attacking his forces in Ukraine so that he can start World War III against her. Although, Pelosi did say she’s not a well experienced military strategist, but she knows his trickery and stuff.  WATCH:

Speaker Pelosi has delusions of grandeur.

… or syphilis.

comment image

She takes getting cut off from her vodka very seriously.

She’s just going to suddenly keel over like RGB. The hubris you have to have to do what she does is truly evil.

“Here Be Monsterscomment image

A remedial look at American interests

Since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the phrase “national interest” has become something of a blasphemy. Certain thinkers in the “realist” school of foreign policy analysis have drawn social media ire for articulating the interests which might motivate Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine or questioning whether the United States has a significant interest in intervening there.

Increasingly in our censorious modern world, any attempt to understand the behavior of an actor (in this case Russia) is treated as a de facto endorsement of that actor’s behavior. This is not a new development. During the Global War on Terror those of us who tried to articulate the ideological framework within which jihadists operated were accused of believing the same things as the terrorists themselves.

But to recognize that Russia has long opposed the expansion of Western power into its near abroad is not the same as defending its security claims. And recognizing the Russian demand in no way denies Ukraine’s own interest in preventing itself from being dominated by its larger neighbor. To recognize the interests of one nation is not to deny the interests of another, nor does it make a moral claim as to which set of interests are “right” or “wrong.”

But the idea of “national interest” itself is in profound opposition to the Progressive vision of the global order. If countries act according to national interests, and those interests’ conflict, then disputes between nations may prove inevitable. Eliminating the idea that nations have interests does not eliminate those interests, but it does make predicting and mitigating the conflicts that result harder.

Understanding the interests of other nations may be easier if we first understand our own. How do we as Americans figure out where our own interests lie? And among our interests, how do we determine which are most important?

Begin at the beginning

To have a national interest at all one must first have a nation, defined as a people within a territory, under a single government.

The first and most paramount national interest is preserving the security and safety of the people who make up the nation. This means both protecting them from threats from without by means of invasion, as well as protecting them from within from civil conflict and upheaval. It also means preserving the way of life, beliefs, and distinctiveness of a people. For Americans, that distinctiveness is based, in part, upon shared principles, articulated in our Declaration of Independence and forged in the fire of the revolution fought to secure them. But it is also grounded in the shared co-habitation and history together in this land, liberated by that revolution.

Failing to maintain this distinctiveness can break down what it means to be a people at all. The result can be factiousness, strife, and even civil war, a threat that the country’s founders well understood.

George Washington’s Farewell Address is best-known for its admonishment against entangling foreign alliances but in it he warns against the spread of factionalism, and the excessive love or hatred towards other nations which often breeds it. Washington wrote:

Excessive partiality for one foreign nation and excessive dislike of another cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other. Real patriots, who may resist the intrigues of the favorite, are liable to become suspected and odious, while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people to surrender their interests.

We now live in a period where some Americans, who would not be caught dead flying Old Glory, are displaying the flags of countries they cannot even find on a map, while accusing fellow citizens who hesitate to take a side in a distant conflict of being agents in the service of a foreign power.

George Washington’s gentle reprove ought to ring urgently in our ears. There is no interest abroad so vital that it is worth destroying what remains of the bonds of civil friendship at home. 

What is nearest is dearest

Safety and security for the people requires a nation to be able to hold its territory sovereign. Therefore, upholding national boundaries and ensuring that borders are defensible and intact is a primary interest. Because all nations have people and territory, they hold these interests in common. But not all countries are the same. Some are large, and others are small; some have the misfortune to be located next to larger and more powerful neighbors. It is these geopolitical realities which shape a nation’s secondary interests, which are peculiar to that nation, but are still based upon their primary interests for a secure people and territory.

In the case of the United States, we are a continental nation with only two land borders which, once finalized, have been historically peaceful. This in turn means that ensuring that our neighbors remain stable and peaceable and preventing disruptions or chaos among our neighbors is within our interests.

That order has largely broken down in Mexico, where narco- and human-trafficking cartels corrupt the national Mexican government, control swathes of territory, and openly engage our own border patrol with military weapons. Our sovereignty is routinely violated, and our borders unsecured to the point that border states have declared the ongoing crisis “an invasion.”

To our North, a border safe and settled since 1846, the Canadians are embroiled in a political dispute over COVID-19 lockdowns that saw the invocation of their version of martial law and led to protests and blockages along our own border. While unlikely to go the way of our southern border, as a neighbor Canada is more restive than any time in modern memory.

Besides the borders, the United States possesses two very long coastlines and is separated from other significant historical powers by large oceans. We thus have an interest in maintaining the distance and separation those oceans provide, by preventing outside powers from developing a foothold in the Western hemisphere. As President James Monroe articulated in the doctrine that bears his name:

We owe it, therefore, to candor and to the amicable relations existing between the United States and those powers to declare that we should consider any attempt on their part to extend their system to any portion of this hemisphere as dangerous to our peace and safety. With the existing colonies or dependencies of any European power we have not interfered and shall not interfere, but with the Governments who have declared their independence and maintained it, and whose independence we have, on great consideration and on just principles, acknowledged, we could not view any interposition for the purpose of oppressing them, or controlling in any other manner their destiny, by any European power in any other light than as the manifestation of an unfriendly disposition toward the United States.

The U.S. has woefully neglected its own hemisphere—one of its oldest articulated national interests—for decades. Chinese strategic interests in Central America have risen sharply, with nearly 20 Latin American countries participating in the Chinese “Belt and Road initiative.” Russia has deployed air defense systems, and has even conducted training exercises with nuclear weapons-capable bombers, in Venezuela. Following the outbreak of the Ukraine crisis, Russia threatened to deploy troops and weapons to Latin America, bringing back the specter of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

This does not mean (as Monroe notes) that America has an interest in overthrowing every Latin American country whose regime is not favorable to our own, but it does mean deterring great powers abroad from meddling in the Western hemisphere and attempting to assert their power over our southern neighbors.

Note also that while we may bear some affection for the independence and republican form of government possessed by (most of) our Latin neighbors, our commitment to prevent interference in the hemisphere is grounded not in their rights, but in our interests.

Here be monsters

It is these primary national interests, and secondary interests shaped by geographic realities, from which we derive the rest of our national interests. Our desire to ensure freedom of navigation, a long stated American interest, is grounded in our long coastlines and distance from the other continents. We rely upon shipping to engage in commerce with the rest of the world to make our people and country prosperous (and prosperity is to be valued for maintaining the security of the people).

To preserve the safety that the oceans provide, we have an interest in preventing the rise of a naval power equal to or superior to our own, either in the Atlantic or in the Pacific. We also have an interest in preventing the rise of a power consolidating all Northwestern Europe, the Pacific Rim, or the Middle East, as such a power could hamper or deny our ability to engage in commerce, and likewise harm us. 

In large part these interests were acquired following the collapse of the British Empire, which also had an interest in securing these global conditions As a result, the early Republic was not forced to exercise as much effort to enjoy the benefits, provided it maintained a policy of not meddling in internal European struggles. 

New technologies also impact our interests, particularly the rise of nuclear weapons and ICBMs, which reduce the value of oceanic distance and gives us an interest in preventing the spread of nuclear weapons and ensuring that those nations which already possess them are stable and deterred from threatening us.

At this tertiary level, it becomes easy to extrapolate additional interests and even to have interests which may conflict. For example, when does our interest in preventing the rise of a continental European power outweigh our interest in avoiding European entanglements?

This is where prudence—the ability to weigh the benefits and costs of pursuing a given course, which in turn requires a solid understanding of both adversaries and ourselves—is required. Is our nation strong or weak at this moment? Are we as a people united or divided? Are we successfully managing other more vital interests? We may well decide that securing an interest requires fighting and winning a war. But it is never in our interest to lose one.

We would do well to remember John Quincy Adam’s axiom about America’s interests:

Wherever the standard of freedom and independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy.

The further we get away from the nation’s primary interests, the harder it becomes to distinguish between what is in our country’s interest and what is not. The further away from your own borders you go, the easier it is to find yourself at the place on the map where it says, “here be monsters.”

“Here Be Monsters” – The American Mind