A CHESS GAME

I toned down my first response to the deliberate murkiness. I will be posting relevant news articles for the sake of history and reference. I will post the treacherous words of the real Republican President, and, a list of Republicans who dare say Trump is not the real President. How…….MURKY! Perhaps this is a plan to confuse our enemy? Imagine if there were THREE KINGS on a chess board! There are some serious “mood swings” going round. Note, how the women in the video are assimilating information and always looking for a better way to do this. I did research my Bond book for another way than using a gun. Women are not threatened by other women’s input.

John

“Gottemoeller said it’s important for the Western allies to stand together now, not just figurately, but literally.

“I do know that there’s been some consideration of bringing together the leaders of NATO in coming days to basically stand in close ranks, shoulder to shoulder,” she said. “That would be a good thing for President Biden to consider.”

“This is genius,” he said of Putin’s decision on Monday to officially recognize the breakaway provinces and authorize the use of Russian military personnel to assist them. “So Putin is now saying it’s independent — a large section of Ukraine. I said, how smart is that? And he’s gonna go in and be a peacekeeper. We could use that on our southern border. That’s the strongest peace force I’ve ever seen. There were more army tanks than I’ve ever seen. They’re gonna keep peace, all right.”

WASHINGTON — When Vladimir Putin ordered Russian troops Monday to “maintain peace” in two separatist regions in Eastern Ukraine, the White House’s first reaction was to avoid calling the operation an invasion.

“Russian troops moving into Donbas by itself would not be a new step,” a senior Biden administration official said at the time.

Less than 24 hours later, President Joe Biden condemned the military action as “the beginning of a Russian invasion of Ukraine” and announced a raft of new economic sanctions that include blacklisting two Russian financial institutions and its sovereign debt, along with penalties targeting a handful of “Russian elites” with close ties to Putin.

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The overnight change in position reflects a Putin strategy, according to experts, to keep his adversaries off balance by obfuscating his intentions. By sending troops into Donbas – where Russian-backed separatists have been operating for years – it was hard to pinpoint the level of Putin’s escalation. 

Russia’s approach to geopolitical conflict is to “create as much murkiness and doubt as possible,” said Kristine Berzina of the German Marshall Fund’s Alliance for Securing Democracy. She said that may have been part of Putin’s calculus – trying to force internal dispute about how far Western allies should go with sanctions based on Moscow’s movements into the separatist-backed areas.

“He played in the one area where there is a grey zone. He didn’t immediately bombard Kyiv, he didn’t march across the border, which is a very normal border in the north,” she said.

‘An unmistakable message’: Biden unveils US sanctions on Russia after Putin’s invasion of Ukraine

What’s next in Russia’s military escalation is unclear. But with Biden now ramping up sanctions one notch higher, diplomacy – although not ruled out by the White House  – appears all but over.

Rose Gottemoeller, who served as the deputy secretary general of NATO from 2016 to 2019, was struck by what appeared to be an afterthought of Biden’s as he wrapped up his remarks Tuesday outlining the sanctions.

“He said, ‘I am hoping diplomacy is still available,’ but he sounded like he wasn’t thinking it was available anymore,” Gottemoeller said. “And that really struck me because it’s 180 degrees from where the administration, and indeed the European leaders, have been over the last week.”

Transcript: President Biden delivers remarks on U.S. sanctions, Putin’s advancements into Ukraine

© BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI, AFP via Getty ImagesUS President Joe Biden speaks in the East Room of the White House about Russian military activity near Ukraine on February 22, 2022.

Alina Polyakova, president and chief executive officer of the Center of European Policy Analysis, a Washington think tank, said the White House – hoping for a different conclusion – likely needed time to fully assess what most experts agree is a clear Russian invasion.

“There are Russian troops literally rolling over Ukraine’s border with equipment and all kinds of other weapons including tanks,” Polyakova said.

William Pomeranz, the acting director of the Wilson Centers Kennan Institute, agreed: “Clearly, the rearmament and posting of Russian soldiers into the Donbas should be considered an invasion.”

And yet the White House held off imposing the most draconian sanctions, including cutting Russia out of the SWIFT financial system. Instead U.S. officials made clear that more severe penalties will come if Putin escalates action further.

A presidency full of crises: Pandemic, insurrection and now a new Cold War?

“This is the beginning of the invasion and this is the beginning of our response,” said Deputy National Security Advisor Daleep Singh, calling the sanctions so far “only the sharp edge of the pain we can inflict.”

The U.S. sanctions are in addition to action Germany took to stop certification of the Russian-owned Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, a potentially crippling blow to Russia’s plans to link its natural gas supply with Europe.   

White House press secretary Jen Psaki declined to discuss “military movements” when asked what changed in the last 24 hours to change the administration’s assessment about Russia’s actions.

“What we’ve seen is President Putin setting up a rationale to take more territory by force,” Psaki said.

© Efrem Lukatsky, APProtesters in front of the Russian Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Feb. 22, 2022.

In a rambling speech Monday, Putin called it “madness” that Ukraine has independence and incorrectly claimed that the country was only the product of power-brokering during the beginning of the Soviet Union.

“He’s setting up a rationale to take more territory by force, in my view,” Biden said Tuesday. “And if we listen to his speech last night, and many of you did I know, he’s setting up a rationale to go much further.”

Russia-Ukraine explained: Inside the crisis as US calls Russian movements an invasion

In the days and weeks ahead, Polyakova said Russia could choose a “slow creep” into broader parts of Ukrainian territories, but she said the hundreds of thousands of Russian troops encircling Ukraine indicate a more aggressive move toward the Ukraine capital of Kyiv is still on the table. A third, least likely option she said would be for Russia to remain in the separatist regions of regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.

“However we respond now will determine which scenario and which path they walk down,” Polyakova said. “This is not the moment for wobbliness and weakness. What the Russians have done has rewritten the rules of the European security order and it will have global consequences.”

© Vadim Ghirda, APA family crosses from pro-Russian separatists controlled territory to Ukrainian government controlled areas in Stanytsia Luhanska, the only crossing point open daily, in the Luhansk region, eastern Ukraine, Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022.

Angela Stent, a professor of Government and Foreign Service at Georgetown University and director of its Center for Eurasian, Russian, and East European Studies, expressed skepticism that the sanctions would deter Putin.

“Putin and the few people in the Kremlin who seem to be advising (him), they’ve already discounted that,” said Stent, author of “Putin’s World: Russia Against the West and with the Rest.” “They knew there would be sanctions. I don’t think this will really change their plans.”

She said it remains to be seen how Putin will respond next but predicted it’s less likely he will engage in an all-out assault on Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital city, (because) that would be expensive.

Learn: Ukraine-Russia standoff: How do you pronounce Donetsk? And is it Kyiv or Kiev?

“I think this could go on for a long time, and it could be piecemeal,  Stent said. “They could take a little more territory in the Donbass. And then if there’s fighting with the Ukrainians, then they could then use that as an excuse to go further west.”

Putin’s goal has always been to divide countries and the NATO alliance in order to weaken any response to his provocations, according to Ivo Daalder, former ambassador to NATO during the Obama administration and president of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

But he miscalculated, Daalder said, pointing to the wave of sanctions that have been announced by western leaders over the last 24 hours.

“He’s constantly thought that NATO was weaker, that the US was weaker, that we were more divided than it turned out,” he said.

Gottemoeller said it’s important for the Western allies to stand together now, not just figurately, but literally.

“I do know that there’s been some consideration of bringing together the leaders of NATO in coming days to basically stand in close ranks, shoulder to shoulder,” she said. “That would be a good thing for President Biden to consider.”

Where is Ukraine?: Where are NATO members? A guide to post-Soviet eastern Europe

Reach Joey Garrison on Twitter @joeygarrison.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: ‘Murkiness and doubt’: Putin playbook meant to throw White House, allies off balance on Ukraine invasion

About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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