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The Need for Real Leadership: The Cost of Not Supporting Ukraine –The Gatestone Institute - 16.10.22

by Pete Hoekstra

The difficult reality is that we may never know what would push Putin to make the decision to go nuclear.... The U.S. objective should be to deter him: make the potential cost to him so high that it would be suicidal for him even to try.

The clearest and most welcome statement was made by Biden himself in March: he stated, "For God's sake, this man cannot remain in power."

Biden is old enough to remember that "what happens in Sudetenland does not stay in Sudetenland." If Putin is allowed to occupy Ukraine, Russia -- and undoubtedly all the other aggressor nations waiting in the wings -- China, Iran, Turkey, North Korea -- will be emboldened to begin a free-for-all of invading their countries of choice. Putin could further move to take over Moldova, Poland and the Baltic states, for a start; Turkey could move on Greece and southern Cyprus, and China would most certainly move on the world's computer-chip center, Taiwan.

Biden.... on day one, effectively closed down America's ability to produce and export oil, thereby instantly creating an acute shortage of energy worldwide. Putin could not have dreamed of a bigger gift. Immediately, the price of oil tripled, from roughly $40 to $112. Russia was making a billion dollars a day, or $360 billion a year. Biden, with a stroke of his pen, had just financed Russia's entire war on Ukraine even before granting Putin the use of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to Europe, thereby guaranteeing Russia the ability to hold Europe hostage come winter.

The problem with this response [wishing to isolate America to avoid restoring Ukraine's integrity] is that it is exactly the same view that, in 1938, led British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain to wave around a piece of paper and inaccurately claim "peace for our time" with Hitler. Chamberlain evidently saw that his British voters did not want war, so he tried to give them what they wanted. That is not great leadership; that is great followership.

People in thriving democracies usually do not want war -- ever. They can see that they are enjoying magical, free lives -- and wish to keep them. We all would like peace handed to us on a platter. Unfortunately, that is not always the available choice, particularly looking a few moves ahead. How much less costly it would have been in blood and treasure to have stopped Hitler before he crossed the Rhine. Surrender always remains an option -- but usually not a happy one.

The U.S. and EU must put in place compelling plans to address the threat of slowing economies (growth); high inflation (stop government spending); rising energy prices (re-open the oil spigots), and potential shortages... at the same time as educating the public about the even worse consequences of not supporting Ukraine.

The idea is to make Putin afraid, not Americans.

Leaders of both U.S. political parties need clearly to articulate the American strategic interest in Ukraine, where a Western defeat could mean the beginning of the end of Europe, and let Putin know in no uncertain terms what the U.S. responses to any unpleasant escalation might be. The same can be done in European capitals and NATO countries, as well.

Leaders of both parties also need to lay out how they will address the current internal economic crises, their continuing support for Ukraine, defeating Putin and deterring further aggression by Russia, China, Turkey, North Korea and Iran. Short of delivering on these questions, they are doing no less than seriously jeopardizing the long-term national security of the U.S. and the West.

For the full article in pdf, please click here:

The Need for Real Leadership - The Cost of Not Supporting Ukraine – by Pete Hoekstra for T
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Peter Hoekstra was US Ambassador to the Netherlands during the Trump administration. He served 18 years in the U.S. House of Representatives representing the second district of Michigan and served as Chairman and Ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee. He is currently Chairman of the Center for Security Policy Board of Advisors and a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Gatestone Institute.

Pictured: Russian Yars intercontinental ballistic missile launchers parade through Red Square in Moscow, on May 9, 2022. (Photo by Alexander Nemenov/AFP via Getty Images)

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