Tag Archives: NATO

Are we better off … ?

The Republican leader of the U.S. House of Representatives sought to make some political hay by asking if we are “better off today than we were two years ago.”

Well, Kevin McCarthy of California, your effort to denigrate Joe Biden’s presidency deserves a look. So … here goes:

  • On Biden’s watch, Congress approved a bipartisan bill — the first in 30-something years — that seeks to stem gun violence.
  • When Russia invaded Ukraine this past February, President Biden was able to present a unified NATO and European Union front in response to the illegal and criminal act of war.
  • The president was able to shepherd through Congress a massive infrastructure improvement bill that seeks to repair our nation’s roads, bridges and airports.
  • Joe Biden nominated and then welcomed the nation’s first Black woman to the U.S. Supreme Court — Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson.
  • We have turned the corner on the international pandemic.
  • Fuel prices, which skyrocketed and led the inflationary surge of recent months, have retreated dramatically.
  • The United States has created more private-sector jobs in the first two years of President Biden’s term than at any similar time in its history.
  • Unemployment currently stands at 3.5%.
  • Congressional Democrats — fighting unanimous Republican opposition — managed to pass the nation’s first-ever meaningful law dealing with climate change; it also seeks to curb health costs and reduce inflation.
  • We have cut by roughly half the nation’s annual budget deficit.

So, taken together, I think I have an answer to Leader McCarthy’s question.

Yes. We are better off than we were when President Joseph R. Biden Jr. took office.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Putin’s big aim? Pffftt!

Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine those many weeks ago to prevent an expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Hah! What happened then? Oh, Sweden and Finland have applied for NATO membership. Indeed, if Finland is accepted as a NATO member, the Russian tyrant will watch his country’s border with NATO expand by roughly double what it is at the moment.

So, this begs the question: How is it working out for you … Vlad?

It ain’t!

Russian troops are getting their butts kicked on the battlefield by dedicated Ukrainian soldiers and militia. Putin sought to conquer Kyiv and Kharkiv — Ukraine’s two largest cities — only to watch those efforts literally go up in flames.

Russian soldiers are suffering from low morale, lack of ammunition, faltering equipment, resupply crises and are showing signs of insubordination on the field of battle.

None of this is likely to stem the assault that Putin launched against a sovereign nation. He now is threatening Finland with reprisal if NATO accepts the Finns and the Swedes.

I must point out, too, that NATO — thanks to the diplomatic efforts led by President Biden — is more united than ever in its mission to stand as one against any threats from Russia.

If I were advising Putin, I would consider offering a suggestion for a way to declare victory and just get the hell out of Ukraine.

Johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

War with NATO? Seriously?

Now we are hearing reports that Russian madman Vladimir Putin is telling his people they should prepare for war against the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which makes me believe more than ever that Vlad has a screw loose in that spook’s brain.

I cannot think of a worse outcome for Putin’s illegal, unprovoked invasion of Ukraine than for him to send missiles into NATO countries bordering the Russian frontier.

We have this “thing” called Article V, which states that an attack against one NATO nation is an attack on all of them. All of them includes the United States of America.

To be clear, President Biden has said he will do everything within his immense power as U.S. commander in chief to keep our fighting men and women off the battlefield against Russia. I believe the president.

Putin, though, has far more to worry about than just the U.S. presence among NATO’s alliance of nations. The combined NATO military force constitutes an overpowering adversary. Does the Russian madman really intend to wage war against NATO? I want to believe the answer is no.

These chilling reports from Moscow, though, give me cause to think Putin really is mad.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

NATO stands as one

It is impossible to overstate the diplomatic victory that President Biden has scored as he seeks to get Russia to stand down in its military invasion of Ukraine.

The victory involves the unanimous support for Ukraine by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which leads me to hope — if not yet believe — that Russian goon Vladimir Putin will resist launching an attack on any of the NATO nations that border Ukraine.

NATO has this document called Article V, which declares that an attack on a single NATO nation is an attack on all of them. It reminds me of the warning President Kennedy issued in October 1962 when the USSR was erecting missile launch sites in Cuba; JFK told the Soviet leadership that an attack against any nation in the Western Hemisphere would bring a “full retaliatory response” from the United States.

President Biden has made essentially the same declaration, as has NATO, which is that the organization formed to protect Western Europe against the Soviet threat would respond collectively if the  Russians attacked any NATO state.

Think of where U.S.-NATO relations have gone since the Donald Trump administration. Trump castigated NATO over whether European members were paying their fair share of the cost. Yes, many of the nations have stepped up their financial load, but they did not trust the U.S. president to be there if a crisis exploded.

President Biden has helped restore that trust and in the process well might have acquired some leverage to keep the Russians from committing an act of utter foolishness.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Alliances hold firm

It is virtually impossible to overstate the importance of the alliance that President Biden has crafted as the world seeks to pressure Russian goon/despot/tyrant Vladimir Putin to end his unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

Sure, there are holdouts, nations that remain committed to supporting Putin’s act of aggression. However, the alliances that matter are holding firm. I want to talk briefly about NATO and the European Union.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization came into being after World War II. NATO’s mission was to act as a deterrent to potential Soviet expansion from Eastern Europe into the western part of the continent. NATO did its job then and it is doing the same now as Russia – the descendant of the Soviet Union – seeks to bring Ukraine under its influence.

The European Union also has formed a tight bond among its members as it stands united against the Russian aggressors.

What do NATO and the EU have in common? They all have been pressured by President Joe Biden to ensure that Putin’s power grab does not stand. Whether NATO and the EU, along with the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan and other great powers are able to force Putin to give up his assault on Ukraine remains to be determined.

It’s just amazing to watch a U.S. president employ his decades of experience dealing with foreign leaders as a tool to craft alliances that hold firm in the face of a tyrant.

Johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Zelenskyy gathers more allies

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy sought more help today from the United States of America in his fight against the Russian invaders who are seeking to pummel Ukraine into submission.

If the Ukrainians are following the lead of their president, Russia remains a huge distance from achieving its goal.

Zelenskyy made an appearance today before Congress, getting a bipartisan standing ovation. In his virtual speech, Zelenskyy asked for more weapons, even more stringent economic sanctions and for the United States to endorse the idea of establishing a no-fly zone over Ukraine; President Biden has adamantly opposed the latter strategy.

However, the U.S. president did pledge to spend $800 million in additional aid to Ukraine.

I want to offer a good word yet again for the skill that Biden has used in unifying NATO in opposition to the unprovoked Russian attack on Ukraine. NATO comprises nations with widely different cultures and political points of view. On this score, thanks in large measure to the pressure put on them by Joe Biden, NATO is singing in unison.

President Zelenskyy, therefore, has an ally at his front doorstep as well as across the ocean.

I wish him well as he seeks to stand firm against the Russian aggressors.

Johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Biden deserves praise for bring allies on board

President Biden deserves a lot more credit than he is getting as he weighs his options on how to respond to Russia’s naked and unprovoked aggression against Ukraine.

Part of the package of responses involves the president’s masterful diplomacy in bringing the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization collection of nations on board in a collective response to Russia’s ham-handed and brutal invasion.

The EU and NATO have signed on to the vast array of economic sanctions initiated by the United States. Who has persuaded them? The Biden administration diplomatic team led by our head of state. The remarkable show of unity lies in stark contrast to what the United States witnessed during the previous administration, when the POTUS would criticize NATO openly for other member nations not paying enough for the defense of Europe; the ex-POTUS also angered EU members repeatedly by imposing tariffs on goods brought to this country. He also led the international cheering squad that encouraged the United Kingdom to withdraw from the EU, a move that surely didn’t set well in EU capitals across Europe. It was all part of a half-baked and poorly conceived America First policy enacted by the president.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/biden-joins-eu-g7-in-calling-to-strip-russia-s-trade-status-over-ukraine-allowing-for-new-tariffs/ar-AAUW8hb?ocid=msedgntp

Well, the world has shrunk some more. We see Russian troops bombing civilian targets in Ukraine. The Ukrainians are fighting for their country’s very survival. They need the help of the EU and NATO. They are getting that support.

President Joe Biden deserves high praise for ensuring our allies are lined up in unison.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Mr. POTUS, tell Putin …

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.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Hoping for sanity in Kremlin

If you’ll forgive me for relying on my sometimes-wrong trick knee, but I am going to say that the ol’ knee’s throbbing is telling me there will be no land war in Europe.

Russian troops have gathered along their country’s border with Ukraine. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has been negotiating his brains out with his Russian counterpart, foreign minister Sergie Lavrov, over ways to forgo an armed conflict.

There will be sufficient economic sanctions coming from the United States and the rest of NATO in response to a Russian attack on Ukraine, if it comes.

I am going to hold out hope that Russian dictator Vladimir Putin is going to think better of his temptation to invade Ukraine. He knows that his country is a third-rate economic power fueled almost exclusively by oil. He knows, too, that European NATO forces are not going to war with Russia. Neither will the United States, nor should we enter a land war with Russian forces.

President Biden has walked back the gaffe he uttered at his press conference this past week, suggesting that a mere “incursion” wouldn’t provoke a severe response. There isn’t a damn bit of difference between an incursion and an invasion. Biden must treat them the same way. Yes, U.S. staff levels in Ukraine have been reduced in anticipation of some military action. It is better to be prepared for the worst.

Don’t let me down, trick knee

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

‘America First’ gives way to alliance-building

(Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

A president of the United States who declares an “America First” foreign policy always must be mindful of a simple fact.

The United States of America cannot shirk its global obligations military, economically and environmentally, which means that the U.S. of A. must honor the alliances it has built over many decades with other nations who depend on our leadership.

President Biden is seeking to reconstruct the trust that his immediate presidential predecessor dismantled repeatedly during his tenure in office.

The term “globalism” has become a four-letter word in some sectors of this country. Whether in offices, or in coffee houses, barber shops or grange halls, we hear Americans dismiss the notion that this nation is part of a much larger — but oddly shrinking — global community.

That is why President Biden returned the nation to the Paris Climate Accords, to the World Health Organization, the Iran nuclear talks and reasserted our role as NATO’s senior partner immediately upon taking office.

It also is why Biden will sit down soon with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin and, as he said the other day, “tell him things I want him to hear.”

Joe Biden is operating at the summit level from a position of immense strength. Whereas Biden’s predecessor coddled the likes of Putin, North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the current president vows a vastly different approach. I do not expect President Biden to shake hands with Kim Jong Un for as long as Kim continues to murder his people.

And someone has to explain to me why such dictator-coddling in any form or fashion produces foreign policies that “put America First.”

It’s a new era dawning on the international stage with President Biden’s first foreign journey. In a way, though, it resembles a return to the way it used to be … which is all right with me.