Us Leaders Struggle With Putin’s Ukraine Puzzle. Latest News!

Putin does it again. He’s enraged Washington. Everyone has an idea what Putin has planned for Ukraine. Or does anyone? Maybe he doesn’t.

While Americans worry about soaring prices and daily epidemic disruptions, Putin has once again thrust a creaking superpower into the spotlight in Washington.
In 2016, Putin established a political hall of mirrors in the US, distorting reality and truth with an electoral intervention campaign that continues to bring unrest and rend the country’s fissures deeper. Foreign policy has come full circle for Joe Biden. He arrived in Washington during the Cold War.

His Russian counterpart has never considered the superpower stalemate ended. Their spat over Ukraine may appear esoteric. But Putin is holding the former Soviet republic hostage to persuade Biden to agree to withdraw NATO troops from eastern Europe.

Their battle is over whether people may choose their leaders and political systems, whether strong nations can invade smaller ones, whether democracy and international rules can triumph, and if market economy can run freely or must be ruled by the state or oligarchs.

Congressional members are once again huddled in secret briefings with US spy agencies trying to figure out what the Kremlin is up to.

Trump supporters and conventional hawks are at odds in this modern-day clash. He drew the attention of the White House by orbiting an autonomous, western-leaning Ukraine. He’s opened diplomatic channels to split NATO partners. A public spat between the US and Ukrainian administrations last week over whether Russia intends to invade.

Putin has received fawning attention in the US conservative media, something no Soviet leader could have achieved. On Thursday, the State Department and its press corps were accused of taking refuge in Russian propaganda.

It’s difficult to tell if Putin is buckling under Western pressure, beefing up his garrison, or simply at a loss for what to do with no clear goal in sight.
Putin will hit more American buttons on Friday when he meets China’s President Xi Jinping. Insinuations of a Beijing-Moscow axis are sure to alarm observers.

Putin’s goal of entangling the West and obsessing over Russia, whether he invades or not, has succeeded. On Thursday in Washington, attention was drawn to an overnight US raid in Syria that killed ISIS’s commander. But the spotlight inevitably shifted to Putin’s goals. Nobody knows what Russia will do, when it will do it, or how the US should respond. And it may be Putin’s game. No one knows what Putin will do next.

Us Leaders Struggle

Us Leaders Struggle With Putin’s Ukraine Puzzle

The US has ceased using the phrase “imminent” since Russia hasn’t invaded Ukraine. That’s a win for Putin in the false war of attrition that might last weeks or months. Putin has fostered confusion on Capitol Hill that senators are coming from briefings with varying perceptions of what will happen next.
Putin will invade Ukraine, according to Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida. But Rep. Adam Smith disagreed. “I don’t think we know that yet,” he told CNN’s Erin Burnett on Thursday. And Virginia Democrat Mark Warner said nobody “knows whether Putin has taken the ultimate choice.”

As the US responds, the Russian leader’s long-term effort to incite disquiet that tarnishes Western democracy is beginning to bear fruit. Biden’s decision to send soldiers to Europe has been applauded by traditional national security Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Former President Barack Obama attacked Utah Sen. Mitt Romney in a 2012 presidential debate for warning about the threat from Moscow. “It shows our partners that we value NATO and Europe. It also shows Putin that we value Europe and our allies “Romney backed Biden’s troop moves.

But there are indicators that the Trump administration’s anti-NATO, “America first” mentality is gaining ground inside the Republican Party. Sen. Mike Braun of Indiana opposes deploying extra soldiers to Europe.
“I think that’s a late-game scrambling feature,” Braun added.

Clear evidence is emerging that Biden is deploying troops to fight Russia rather to safeguard US interests at home. For example, Tennessee Republican Sen. Bill Hagerty echoed a pro-Trump sentiment. “Troops to our southern border,” he said. Neither did Kansas Republican Sen. Roger Marshall. “It’s huge for me because I have an enlisted kid in the Army.

I think we need to know, economically, if the EU has any grit. … They must lead on this. We should be involved, but it feels like we’re aggravating the situation.”

These senators are part of a party that once lauded its greatest Cold Warrior, President Ronald Reagan, for orchestrating triumph over the Soviet Union. Putin would gain a lot by undermining the transatlantic alliance.
Moscow’s world is unique.

Putin’s actions often seem self-defeating and nonsensical to us. He seems to be making it up as he goes. Even if true, it makes him difficult to read. One opinion is that Putin has pushed himself into a corner with over 100,000 troops on the Ukrainian border, and it will be impossible for him to back down and save face.

If he invades, Washington doubts Putin can win a harsh occupation and insurgency for Moscow. The harsh sanctions the West threatens to impose on Russia’s economy also seem excessive. Putin’s larger strategic dance also looks illogical.

After all, his calls for NATO to withdraw soldiers and armaments from Eastern Europe led Biden to order 3,000 troops to Germany, Russia, and Poland this week.
A worldview based on wanting to return respect, attention, and prestige to Russia 30 years after the conclusion of the Cold War, Putin’s logic is not compatible with Western thinking. The world is not Moscow. Washington theorizes that Putin is too isolated within his own system to get good outside guidance. But he’s keeping the West on edge, which may be enough.

Putin’s readiness to talk may be an indication he isn’t serious about an invasion; he recently spoke to Macron. Meanwhile, Biden’s deployment of soldiers to NATO partners is already being presented in Moscow as proof that the West threatens Russia’s borders and security. Such justifications can legitimize his own strongman leadership.

The Russian leader often exploits nationalism to prop up an oppressive regime that stifles media freedoms and imprisons critics. Undeniably, signals of political acrimony in the US feed into Russian beliefs that a state based on stability and order above democracy works best.
Red flags
Despite some bad messaging, Biden has performed well in the Ukraine issue, at least in the eyes of those who like a US President to behave as a traditional Western leader.
He has assured Putin that NATO’s strategic alliance is unbreakable and will be preserved. He’s given Putin diplomatic off-ramps without compromising Western geopolitical principles. And he’s persuaded some reluctant partners to sign on to extraordinary sanctions aimed to dissuade Putin.
The readiness of the US and UK to play the Russians at their own propaganda game has been intriguing. Washington accused Russia on Thursday of planning to “fabricate a pretext for an invasion” by developing a “very gory propaganda movie.” Officials suggested Moscow may attack “Russian speaking peoples” in Ukraine to justify crossing.

This is concerning because it echoes Russian justifications used to invade Crimea, a sovereign Ukrainian territory, in 2014.
Russian denied it. The problem with the West dealing with intelligence is that it is difficult to back up claims with facts in public due to a desire to protect sources and techniques.
On Thursday, State Department spokesperson Ned Price suggested media should just trust the administration, despite decades of officials misrepresenting the American people.

“If you dispute the credibility of the US, British, or other governments and want to find solace in material provided by the Russians, that is your prerogative,” Price added.
Putin’s achievement in dividing Americans may be enough to justify his thuggery over Ukraine.

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