Position of Strength Required To Deter Adamant Aggressor?    -   March 11, 2022

America Must Deal With Putin From a Position of Strength.  Is It Waning?

Vladimir Putin must be convinced that America has the will and the strength to effectively interdict his aggression into Ukraine.  He will not reach that conviction as long as he foresees the weaknesses in America’s non-military strengths continuing into the future.

Adamant aggressors like Vladimir Putin love weakness and ambivalence among nations opposing their ambitions.  America brings many strengths to the table, which Putin evaluates as he considers whether and when to withdraw from Ukraine, and which allies evaluate as they consider the extent and duration of their involvement.  But we are letting some strengths waste away, and even eviscerating others.

America’s economic strength was a major determinant in the outcome of World War II and, perhaps, the critical factor in winning the Cold War with the USSR.  We have pledged billions in military and other materiel to Ukraine.  Ukrainian President Zelenskyy has been to Washington seeking more.  Allied nations also will be seeking aid.  But America’s economy is stressed by government deficit spending, which manifests most visibly in growing inflation (see https://imprimis.hillsdale.edu/inflation-united-states).  Especially during this Ukrainian crisis we should curtail, delay or forego non-essential government expenditures, programs and projects demanded by special interests.

Until recently America was energy independent, but government actions this past year or so are making us once again rely on others for some of our energy: we even import petroleum from Russia!  Draconian regulations have made it uneconomical to build or even update power plants.  Construction of petroleum pipelines has been curtailed, and some existing pipelines have been shut down.  Overreaching EPA regulations are curtailing the use of coal, America’s most plentiful energy source (see https://www.americancoalcouncil.org/general/custom.asp?page=regs).  We need to immediately strengthen our ability to supply countries that had been dependent on Russia for energy needs by opening up new oil leases/permits for drilling on government lands and offshore.  We also need to revisit regulations that are curtailing the use of coal.

America is powered by electricity, but the electric power grid is becoming increasingly subject to blackouts attributable to aging and under-maintained infrastructure; major disruptions have increased from fewer than two dozen in 2000 to more than 180 in 2020 (Wall Street Journal, February 18, 2022).  Moreover, our energy infrastructure is becoming increasingly vulnerable to cyberattack that can shut down and damage generating and transmission facilities.  Our deteriorating energy infrastructure and its cybersecurity warrant coordinated attention, with a genuine sense of urgency.

It is imperative that America immediately strengthen these areas, for the sake of Ukraine and our allies today, and for the sake of our children and the entire free world in the near future.

(For more, preview Adamant Aggressors here.)


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