The Western response to Russia’s provocative invasion of Ukraine is resolutely unified and consequential, but says it will deter and contain Vladimir Putin’s design for Ukraine and the front-line states of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Not enough for the mission. Sanctions alone are not enough to deter him. Putin, like the myriad European tyrants before him, admits only strength. If Western leaders want to appeal to Mr Putin for peace, they need to raise the level of the army on the eastern side of NATO and introduce a strong defensive military presence in western Ukraine and blacks.
Currently, the West allows Mr Putin’s tort and saber rattling to define the battlefield. This is wrong. Western troops can and should operate in western Ukraine, far from Russia’s ground operations in the eastern part of the country. Armies in Ukraine have signaled Putin that the West will not tolerate Russia’s attempts to redraw the border, stopping Europe’s worst bloodshed since 1945 and preventing future Russian invasion in Europe. Will prevent it.
Western politicians recognize that we are at a crucial moment in history. Putin is trying to overturn the European order built by the US-led victory in World War II and the Cold War. If his burning tactics bring victory in Ukraine, he causes problems in Moldova, the Baltic states, or Poland. It is unwise to assume that it is historical and not. Hitler’s 1938 annexation of Sudetenland is an incomplete but informative analogy.
Article 5 of the NATO Charter requires all blocks to come to the defense of attacked member states. Western determination in the present crisis will shape Mr Putin’s willingness to bet on such a response in a future confrontation. His success in the Crimean 2014 and 2015-16 Syria was a key factor in his decision to invade Ukraine.
The United States and Europe stood up on this occasion, imposing overwhelming fines on Russian companies and rushing supplies to Ukraine. But bloody history shows that strategic patience rewards Russia. Putin has the potential to affect much of Ukraine. Restrained by the Kremlin, he plans his next move westward. After long campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, Western politicians, who are, of course, wary of military involvement, have ruled out sending troops. Horrible bloodshed, and on the road, bold Russia.
Now that Putin has invaded Ukraine, there are no international treaties or laws that impede military development. The democratically elected Volodymyr Zelensky administration will welcome the existence of such an army. That dynamics needs to be reversed.
Western nations have sent thousands of troops to frontline NATO members for humanitarian purposes, but the impact of these troops is far more important within Ukraine. Western nations need to insert heavy armored forces into the pockets of western Ukraine and reveal that such deployments have been invited to be part of a sovereign government and designed to protect humanitarian activities. It does not engage aggressively with the Russian army.
Such units drawn from NATO countries and perhaps other allies could be configured as well as NATO-led missions in Kosovo and Afghanistan. The recent increase in airstrikes in parts of western Ukraine underscores the need to discourage Putin from bringing indiscriminate bombing operations to towns and cities around NATO.
This plan requires rigorous leadership, but it does not mean an automatic war with Russia, let alone a nuclear war. Putin likes Saber rattle, especially because it has served as a deterrent in the past. Russian leader Putin may be an enthusiastic and gambler, but Putin is in trouble by barbaric but determined Ukrainian troops, on the other side of Ukraine in a well-equipped west. It is unlikely that you risk a skirmish that the division has not shot him. And his generals remain rational and they do not want to cause a nuclear war.
Western deployments in and around Ukraine have informed Mr Putin that the United States and NATO will no longer tolerate attempts to violate post-WWII rule-based order, softening Russia’s interests in Ukraine. It helps to ensure the survival of the country. Countless lives will be saved, even if it is split in the short term.
This moment requires decisive action that is well planned and coordinated to avoid a shootout. Politicians must abandon Straumann’s argument and hypothetical scenarios and make it clear to Mr Putin that his attack must end.
Mr. Hood, who has been practicing foreign policy since 2001, worked for the United Nations from 2001 to 2006 and to the Vice President’s Office of Mike Pence from 2019 to 21.
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