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NATO in the Joe Biden Moment

Austin Bay on

On April 29, The Economist magazine asked French President Emmanuel Macron a very direct question: "Do you stand by what you said about possibly sending ground troops to Ukraine?"

The Economist referred to Macron's February 2024 statement where he mulled circumstances in which France (a NATO nation that had elected him chief executive) might commit ground forces to defend Ukraine against President Vladimir Putin's Russian aggressors.

Radical courage statement by a senior NATO leader? Yes. Thank goodness.

Macron's gut reply: "Absolutely. As I said, I'm not ruling anything out, because we are facing someone who is not ruling anything out."

My strategic historical aside: Macron has -- in our time -- hit on one of the Free World's greatest weaknesses. Free World elite academic, media and political Pollyannas don't believe bad guys really mean it, even when the thugs back hard talk with paid mobs, assassination, guns and bombs. In the 1930s, the Free World feckless caved when Adolf Hitler's legions seized the demilitarized Rhineland (March 1936). In 1938, they ratified Neville Chamberlain's Czechoslovakia sellout.

But back to Macron, Putin and our time.

 

In the past 10 days, Putin threatened Europe and North America with nuclear attack. For the record, Vlad and his regime have threatened nuclear war on NATO several times since February 2022 -- the month the Russian dictator launched an invasion of Ukraine that was supposed to end in three weeks with a slam-dunk win.

Putin's latest nuclear threat was aimed at France, Britain and even Germany.

Why? Western Europe's most powerful nations are stepping up to back Europe's vulnerable eastern nations. This is good news. I'll bet former President Donald Trump is delighted. He wants NATO to share burdens.

On May 7, a Polish newspaper reported Poland's chief intelligence officer Jaroslaw Strozyk believed Putin is preparing "for some kind of mini-operation against one of the Baltic countries, for example, to enter the famous (city of) Narva or land on one of the Swedish islands." Don't write this off as a fevered imagination. Narva's population is almost 90% Russian. Strozyk envisions a Russian "hybrid" attack akin to seizing eastern Ukraine in 2014 -- except Estonia is a NATO nation.

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Copyright 2024 Creators Syndicate, Inc.

 

 

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