Why is Biden warning a Russian invasion of Ukraine is imminent? And what if Putin calls his bluff?

Russia ‘has all the chips’ in Ukraine standoff: McFarland

Former deputy national security adviser KT McFarland and Fox News contributor Marc Thiessen weigh in on the rising tensions between Russia and Ukraine on ‘The Story.’

The Biden administration keeps yammering on about Russia invading Ukraine any minute, warning Russian troops could take Kyiv in three hours. It’s right about Russian capabilities, but why is the administration screaming it from the rooftops? Does it think Europeans, especially Germany, will be spurred into action?  

Well, that ship sailed a year ago when President Joe Biden started shutting down the U.S. energy industry, while at the same time allowing Russian energy exports to expand. He threw away American energy independence. It drove up oil and gas prices, hurt the U.S. and European economies, and made Russia rich.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s position was pretty clear – to everyone except apparently Biden – when the two met at the White House this week. At their joint press conference, Biden announced: “If Russia invades, that means tanks and troops crossing the border of Ukraine again, then there will be no longer a Nord Stream 2. We will bring an end to it.”

Chancellor Scholz dodged questions on whether Germany would go along with Biden’s threats. Therein lies the problem – Germany, and other major European powers aren’t going to war, military or economic, over Ukraine. They can’t, because they don’t dare jeopardize their economies, which rely on Russian oil and natural gas to function.  

Biden claims canceling Nord Stream 2 before it goes operational will send a message to Russia, but not affect Europe’s current import flow. Putin can still punish Europe by causing supply shortages to the energy Europe already gets from existing pipelines. It could even be to Putin’s advantage – prices will go up, and he’ll get the same revenue for less product.  

If Germany does cancel Nord Stream 2, Putin’s got that covered, too. He’s lined up China as the new buyer.

What if Biden’s actions are actually goading Putin into crossing into Ukraine?

So, the question remains, why does Team Biden insist on threatening massive sanctions if Russia invades? President Biden may have tipped his hand when he carefully defined an invasion as Russian forces crossing the border. Just a week or two ago, Biden implied a “minor incursion” might trigger a different response or not much of a response at all. He has made no mention at all on whether we would respond to hybrid warfare.

Putin can do whatever he wants with Ukraine – everything from outright invasion to everything else that falls just below that threshold. What is important to him is to keep Ukraine out of NATO, to drive a wedge between NATO members, and ultimately to bring Ukraine back under Moscow’s control.

I do not believe Putin wants to invade and occupy Ukraine. He can probably get what he wants with hybrid warfare – economic pressure, energy outages, cyberattacks, disinformation campaigns, false flag operations, and intimidation. These all fall under the threshold of a hot war, and give Putin deniability, even if nobody outside of Russia believes him.

An actual invasion could get messy. If the Ukrainian military fights to defend itself, especially if there are significant civilian casualties, Russia risks looking like a bully on the world stage. If Ukrainians resort to guerilla attacks, or if the fighting is prolonged, Putin risks Russians coming home in body bags.

Which brings me back to the original point: Why is Team Biden warning a large-scale invasion is imminent? Maybe because they’re setting the stage for the Biden version of the Cuban Missile Crisis. If Putin doesn’t invade – because he can get what he wants without doing so – Biden can claim this as a great victory. He would be the man who faced down Putin and got him to back away from all-out war.

The problem is that President Biden has a tendency to miscalculate things – the rapid Taliban takeover and our shambolic withdrawal; supply chain shortages; an American public fed up with masks and mandates; persistent high inflation due in part to high energy prices Biden’s own policies caused.

What if his actions are actually goading Putin into crossing into Ukraine? What if Putin calls Biden’s bluff?

Don’t worry, Biden has a plan for that, too. Biden is sending additional U.S. troops to NATO countries that border Ukraine. He’s not going to have another Kabul crisis. The Pentagon announced U.S. troops can help evacuate some 30,000 Americans in Ukraine.

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