Joe Biden doesn’t need little ol’ me to give him advice as he talks to Vlad Putin, but I will offer it anyway and will make sure I send it to the appropriate place where someone on his staff might see it.
Mr. President, you need to remind Putin — as if he needs reminding — that he presides over a country with a third-rate economy. It is not a First World economic system. It is Third World at best, relying on oil and natural gas to keep it fueled.
Tell your colleague, Mr. President, that economic sanctions of the type we are able to level on Russia will bring great pain to himself and to the people he governs. We can cut off the oil and natural gas shipments to western Europe, which you have threatened to do if he invades Ukraine. We can freeze Russian monetary assets in banks in this country and we can persuade our NATO allies to do the same.
Also, the president ought to remind Putin of the terrible military cost his armed forces will suffer if they take on Ukrainian forces. Ukraine is not defenseless against the Russians. The Russians can win a ground war if they launch a full-scale invasion, but it will come at considerable cost.
And if Putin is interested in gathering up what’s left of Ukraine and annexing it into the Russian federation, he will do inherit a population that hates his ever-lovin’ guts.
The cost of an invasion — no matter its scale — is too great for the Russians to bear. Putin knows this. He just needs a not-so-gentle reminder from the leader of the world’s remaining military superpower.