Post # 222, Bob McKnight's Florida Commentary
Putin's military intelligence on Ukraine misjudged their will to fight for their country and the unity of NATO in support of freedom.
Some of us can still remember when the U.S. Ice Hockey team beat the vaulted Russian Team in the 1980 Olympics. Yes, it was just a sport, but the principle of the underdog surprising everyone by winning the fight against the favored Russia still applies today. Today we have the Russians pausing in their bloody military attack on Ukraine, and the underdog is showing signs of an upset. It is not the Olympics, and far more import as world peace is at hand. We are seeing the giant Russia maybe turning tail and running after trying to intimidate a smaller foe.
This war is on an important world stage, especially for Europe. Ukraine may very well force Russia to cease their attacking, and return to their homeland. Many Americans never heard of Ukraine before this war. What a feeling of hope and inspiration Americans are getting from these proud citizens of Ukraine. The unity of NATO against the Russian invasion of Ukraine is almost unprecedented.
But now, Putin has really lost. Ukraine is certain to apply for membership in NATO. The additional crown jewels of Sweden and Finland, on Russia's border, have confirmed their application for NATO membership. Even though Russia will try to block these new "defections," with manipulation by Turkey, the NATO additions are expected.
NATO recently met in Brussels, and their fervent hope has been that Ukraine can hold on to their brave defense of key cities. Then with new and replacement weapons, Ukraine can mount a massive counter attack on the bewildered Russian troops.
The U.S. and NATO need to push the transfer of critically needed weapons to the Ukraine soldiers risking their lives now. Although reluctant to use extraordinary measures to force retreat action by Putin, President Biden and NATO leaders should demonstrate the same kind of courage as Ukraine President Zelensky. They should lay some "red lines in the sand," for Putin. Short of using nuclear and chemical weapons, the Allies can squeeze Russia even harder on sanctions and international funds, freeze all assets of Oligarchs, accept additional refugees, and begin infiltrating the Russian military for deserters. Biden has smartly moved thousands of our troops into position to defend NATO countries surrounding Russia, which could be part of the red line strategy if Russians even touch NATO soil.
In addition to a gross miscalculation on Ukraine's will to protect itself if attacked, Putin also erred when he apparently lied to his quasi ally, China President Xi Jinping about whether he was going to attack. China and Russia appear to have a shaky alliance, but with Putin's slight of President Xi Jinping, his dependable heads of state are now limited to only a very few.
Perhaps the best strategy not publicly discussed is for Ukraine to use the Black Sea to fight the Russians. Arthur Herman of the Hudson Institute sees the advantage of using naval ports to:
Supply Ukraine with weapons through the Black Sea region.
Ensure NATO member Turkey enforces law preventing Russia naval access into Ukraine.
Use NATO flotilla in the ports to show united front against Russia.
Use the ports for a humanitarian sea lift for Ukraine.
Develop a NATO naval strategy for port protection for the region.
The only loser in Ukraine would be Vladimir Putin, which is as it should be.