Shall I join with other nations in alliance?
If allies are weak, am I not best alone?
If allies are strong with power to protect me,
Might they not protect me out of all I own?
-- "A Puzzlement" from "The King and I," Rodgers and Hammerstein
By CHRIS POWELL
Regarding foreign policy, Theodore Roosevelt famously advised: "Speak softly and carry a big stick." But in regard to Ukraine, President Biden embodies saber rattling. He warns repeatedly that Russia is sure to attack soon and makes a show of sending to eastern Europe what are only nominal forces, nothing that would much delay a Russian invasion.
Despite the saber rattling, everyone knows that the United States is not going to fight Russia militarily on Russia's own border. Since conventional land forces are lacking in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), military resistance to a Russian invasion of Ukraine could be effective only with nuclear weapons, which would risk a world war – and for what?
The United States and NATO have no security interest in Ukraine and Russia's other former satellite states, and those states, even the ones lately admitted to NATO, bring nothing to the alliance but liabilities. They aspire to be only trip wires compelling U.S. military intervention.
So in response to a Russian invasion of Ukraine, the United States will attempt only more economic sanctions, and even those may not be supported by other NATO allies, Germany foremost among them. Those allies know that Russia would have enough trouble just reincorporating Ukraine amid resistance from most Ukrainians – and those allies are desperately short of energy in the middle of winter, crippled by their stupid "green" policies, and probably won't be able to get by without Russian natural gas for many years.
Meanwhile the United States is crippling its own energy industry.
That's why the United States has nothing to lose by accepting Russia's simple demand about Ukraine – to stop the eastward expansion of NATO and its placement of offensive weapons, potentially nuclear weapons, on Russia's border.
Of course the United States made a similar demand of Russia – then the Soviet Union – in regard to Cuba in 1962, and, for nearly 200 years, via the Monroe Doctrine, the United States has claimed the right to repel foreign intervention in all the Americas.
Since the United States is not going to fight for Ukraine, it would give up nothing to get Russia's promise to leave Ukraine alone as long as it stayed out of NATO. Of course the Russian regime is brutal and not particularly trustworthy, but having made such a deal, Russia would risk much by breaking it – not just sanctions but exposure of the true nature of its regime. Then even Germany might start to worry about relying on Russia so much.
In any case the European Union, home of many NATO members, is beginning to crack up under the weight of bureaucracy, political correctness, uncontrolled immigration, and nationalism. Every day NATO members in Europe are less inclined and able to defend themselves, much less the United States, while the United States remains obliged to defend them.
So it may be time for the United States to face the musical question:
“If allies are weak, am I not best alone?”
* * *
THEY JUST WANT MONEY: State government, the Connecticut Mirror notes, has vastly expanded gambling in the state via sports betting and casino games on the internet and is tracking its new revenue closely without also tracking the increase in gambling addiction and without increasing gambling addiction services.
That's sad in one way but in another it's useful. For it proclaims state government's highest priority is only to get more money by any means.
State government constantly prattles about the poor and sometimes appropriates money to be paid to them directly. Governor Lamont and other top Democrats now want to increase the state's earned income tax credit for the poor. But making the poor more self-sufficient is something else.
No government that really wanted to help the poor and raise them to self-sufficiency would be hurling a lot more gambling at them on top of state-sponsored marijuana.
Chris Powell is a columnist for the Journal Inquirer in Manchester.