There is no substitute for American power. When America’s enemies find weakness, they push. And today, America’s enemies are finding weakness in almost every corner.
Vladimir Lenin presumably stated that his preferred foreign policy strategy was to “investigate with a bayonet: if you find mush, you will push. If you find steel, you withdraw.” Vladimir Putin followed the same strategy. This week, as his forces fired on Kiev and beat Kharkiv, Putin moved east. He has attacked Ukrainian targets near the Polish border, threatening to attack NATO members. He has continued his supply of natural gas and oil to hold Europe hostage. If the West sends more weapons, including enough MiGs, to counter Russia’s aggression, its foreign policy apparatus continues to threaten the possibility of a larger war. He has reached out to China for support. And he has exploited America’s excessive desire for a nuclear deal with Iran to push for American concessions to avoid sanctions.
All of Putin’s pressure has been met with mixed reactions. Westerners continue to ship certain types of materials, including javelins and Stinger missiles. But this week, the Biden administration first hinted that it would allow shipments of MiGs to Ukraine, then backtracked, claiming that such shipments could amount to an increase. Meanwhile, Western economic sanctions are being maintained – but Russia announced this week that the United States has given a written waiver that would allow Russia to trade with Iran, even though Iran has fired missiles at the US consulate in Irbil, Iraq.
What is the main message of all this waffling? The threats from the West are, above all, sporadically credible. Russia believes that if it puts tougher pressure on Ukraine and threatens the West with nuclear war, it will be able to diplomatically remove from Ukraine what it has not been able to do militarily – and Russia can succeed. . After all, the Germans can’t afford to pay $ 8.25 per gallon for gas forever.
At the same time, China is watching the two sides play against the midfield. China has been proposing itself as a “neutral mediator” between Russia and the West, although China is an outside ally of Putin. China is buying troubled Russian assets at bargain-base prices, strengthening both its ties with Russia and their portfolios – and in the meantime, China has received a slightly credible threat from the West, which does not want to exacerbate the inflation problem. Supply chain problems. As the New York Times reports, “a consensus is being formed in Chinese policy circles that one country will emerge victorious from unrest: China.” Investors are beginning to worry about the possibility of Chinese aggression in Taiwan.
Non-aligned countries are increasingly uncomfortable with Western commitments. It is no coincidence that Tim Biden arrives in Iran via Russia, Saudi Arabia refuses to accept Biden’s phone calls and instead reaches China. Not surprisingly, India, which has bought large quantities of arms from Russia to deal with China and Pakistan, has refused to condemn Russia. When the West swings, it becomes a bad bet.
Western resistance has already failed in Ukraine. If the West fails to re-establish resistance in the next phase of global geopolitics, the consequences will be even more dire, and the current restructuring will only accelerate – to the detriment of the United States and its allies.