Why is it that the US government has a Ukraine policy that it does not believe will be effective? On the one hand does the US threaten Russia with severe economic sanctions and on other hand does the US predict that there is a high likelihood of a Russian invasion of Ukraine. At the same time does the US acknowledge that they will lose all leverage over Russia once the sanctions are imposed. What is really the point of imposing sanctions on Moscow once Russia has invaded Ukraine? US sanctions have never been successful in changing the policies of any foreign government. Sanctions are an effective tool for weakening an adversary, not for influencing its policy making.
Ukraine is an emerging democracy with a huge population of 41 million that could in the future become a considerable export market for US products once it has joined the European Union. Yet, instead Ukraine is effectively ceded to Russia. No European country is able to defend itself against Russia without American participation and Ukraine is no exception. How is it possible that pro-American Ukraine is effectively abandoned?
Let us now investigate whether there is any purpose with sanctions. Russia intends to take over the rest of Europe and of course in that sense does crushing sanctions make sense in weakening the Russian economy. However, the problem with that calculus is that Russia is effectively permitted to advance up to the eastern borders of NATO in preparation for further invasions of Europe. Russia claims that NATO is seeking to advance to Russia’s western borders when in fact this is a projective propaganda accusation as it is Russia that seeks to expand to NATO’s eastern borders.
If Russia invades, the economic deterrent has failed and so there is then no more point in imposing sanctions. What is disregarded is that Ukraine has strategic value as a buffer between Russia and NATO and that NATO would be considerably geographically strengthened if Ukraine were to become a member of NATO. Instead, a major European nation and emerging democracy of 41 million will be lost forever to Russian imperialism.
It is not too late for the Biden administration to change policy and grant NATO membership to Ukraine as that will very effectively prevent an invasion. If Putin had wanted war with NATO at this point, then he would have invaded NATO and not merely Ukraine. Russia wants the US to believe that Ukrainian NATO membership will lead to war between Russia and NATO and the Biden administration appears to be falling for this Russian psychological warfare subconscious trope. The only alternative explanation that the American superpower is afraid of war is simply not credible.
America is pursuing an irrational policy which harms the interests of the United States and endangers her NATO allies as conquering Ukraine will surely whet the appetite of the Russian crocodile for swallowing the rest of Europe. The US economic deterrence policy does not only effectively invite war in Ukraine but endangers America’s NATO allies and makes major war between Russia and NATO far more likely by giving a major prize to Russian expansionism. Make no mistake, Russia wants Ukraine and America will do nothing substantial to prevent Russia from taking over Ukraine and will only punish Russia after the fact.
It is not too late to prevent war and admit Ukraine to NATO.