Biden’s strategy for Ukraine-talks but clarifies the cost of Russia

From separating Russia from the World Banking system to further arming Kiev, US President Joe Biden hopes that the threat of painful consequences will prevent his opponent Vladimir Putin from invading Ukraine.

With tens of thousands of Russian troops gathering on the Ukrainian border, the Biden administration accepted talks with Moscow in Geneva next week, and Moscow proposed an agreement to limit NATO’s expansion.

US officials have indicated that they are willing to discuss concerns. But few people think that the Biden administration is interested in the big deal. Instead, its goal is to change Putin’s calculations, at best, to bring greater stability to the relationship.

In Biden’s words, this approach is based on threats to impose “sanctions he has never seen before” on Putin. If he invades Ukraine further, Russia has supported the rebellion that has claimed the lives of more than 13,000 people since 2014.

-What sanctions are there? ——

Bill Taylor, the former US ambassador to Ukraine, said that the main idea was to convince Putin that the cost of the invasion would be “very high.”

“The whole idea is to let Mr. Putin know that he has a choice,” said Taylor, the current vice president of strategic stability and security at the US Institute of Peace.

A direct measure may be to sanction Putin’s inner circle and his family, depriving them of the right to travel or save money in the West.

Germany stated that the cost of the invasion of Ukraine could lead to the end of the Beixi No. 2 natural gas pipeline-although the United States and Eastern European countries have been criticized for years, this natural gas pipeline from Russia is nearing completion.

A far-reaching option considered by the West is to cut off Russia’s connection to the World Bank’s SWIFT network. This was an earlier step taken against Iran, but it did not attempt to target the world’s major economies.

But actions taken through Belgium-based SWIFT will inevitably hurt third-country companies and are unlikely to achieve a global consensus unless Russia flagrantly ignores the warning.

“In any case, this is not free. But the biggest loser in this decision will be the Russians,” Taylor said.

Matthew Royansky, director of the Kenan Institute of the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars, said that since the West imposed sanctions on its occupation of Crimea in 2014, Russia has adapted to some economic pressures.

But he said that the Biden administration will communicate directly with Russia, which will be inevitable and serious consequences, which is effective.

“You don’t want big, dark, scary clouds, but you are not sure about the probability of a storm coming. You want a 100% probability of a particular lightning strike,” he said.

“No one ever doubted that the United States could harm Russia economically. The question is, does this help change Russia’s behavior?

“History tells us that the only chance for it to work is to act as a threat in advance. If you do this to them after they have invaded and annexed Crimea, you won’t let them undo that thing.”

-Military pressure-

Some hawks in Congress said that Biden should have imposed sanctions for mobilizing troops.

Russia insists on the United States’ commitment not to expand NATO after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and seeks assurance that the alliance will not accept Ukraine or establish bases in more former Soviet republics.

Western officials said that Russia cannot issue orders on whether Ukraine will join NATO. But NATO’s European partners will also meet with Russia next week, and they have made it clear that they are unlikely to accept Ukraine’s accession.

Royansky said that the United States needs to be careful not to take actions behind Putin’s uneasiness, such as moving to NATO.

But Taylor said that Biden, who has ruled out sending troops to Ukraine, can share more intelligence with Kiev, send troops to NATO countries bordering Russia, and even arm Ukraine’s irregular forces against Moscow.

“So if he decides to invade, he will get what he doesn’t want,” Taylor said of Putin.

“He should be prevented from doing this. But will he? Only one person can answer this question.”

sct-fff / md

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