Having more information leads to better decisions. Being exposed to more ideas expand our choices. We all know this, so why do people cut themselves from data and ideas? When leaders do this, bad things can happen. We are now living the results of leaders acting with limited knowledge.
Presidents Putin and Biden are reluctant to allow diverse ideas and data in their inner circles. The consequences are all too evident in the current Ukraine War. Dictators almost always suffer from the absence of contrary views. If someone presents the correct information or course of action, they can be in prison or dead. These possible outcomes hardly encourage wide-ranging discussions.
Did anyone give Putin an accurate picture of the Russian military? Was it able to carry out the grand invasion plan? After the first two days, it was evident the answer was no. Somebody had to be aware of the military’s failings, but it never got through to Putin. The word is Putin is furious at his Generals, but would he have listened if they leveled with him? Would they even survive?
The U.S. intelligence sector alerted our President that Russia was getting ready to invade and absorb Ukraine. It was hard to miss a military build-up along Ukraine’s border approaching 200,00 troops. Even with this information, Biden failed to employ any plan to prevent war. Ukraine isn’t a NATO member, so we’re not obligated to send in our military, but we had options.
Rapid arms supply to Ukraine would’ve raised the cost of invasion. Send enough, and Russia might conclude the price is too high. When we sent the Afghan rebels some effective arms, the Russians ultimately found it wasn’t worth it and went home. If they had the hardware earlier, maybe Russia might never have invaded. Giving Ukraine the weapons requested as Russia massed its forces might’ve changed Putin’s calculations.
We talked of crippling sanctions but never put any into effect until the Russians attacked. Such action can’t deter something if the attack already is taking place. Sanctions take time to inflict pain. If we had started in the months leading up to the invasion, the Russian people maybe would’ve seen the ruble fall out of bed and wondered what their leader was planning. At that point, Putin hadn’t shut down Russian media.
Biden told everyone that we probably wouldn’t do anything if Russia only took a little. Is this comment deterrence? Who counseled Biden? The same people responsible for the Afghan debacle are inexplicitly still advising the President on Ukraine.
Neither Rusian nor American intelligence was aware of the fighting abilities of the Ukrainian military. When Trump sent them lethal weapons in 2018, they put them to good use. Javelins proved deadly. Yet everyone assumed that the war would essentially be over in a few days. The fact that they had fought Russin-backed forces to a standstill in the eastern part of the country seems overlooked.
Maybe all this explains why Biden, who to date has done little if anything right, can’t see an obvious way to redeem his fortunes. Anything less than a complete expulsion of Russian forces from Ukraine will b seen as a Russian victory. However, Russia has given its best shot. If we continue to provide the highly motivated Ukrainians with more and better weapons, the cost to the Russians could become unbearable. At the same time, sanctions will have time to take effect. As Alexander Dumas said, “nothing succeeds like success.”
If Ukraine bests the Russian monsters, their steadfast benefactor will bask in the reflected glory. Standing next to everyone’s hero, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, can’t help change the public’s perception of Biden and his administration.
So far, there is little indication that anyone in the administration sees the opportunity, much less offers the energy to make the Ukraine victory possible. A change of fortune is within reach, and those around the President are blind to the possibilities. For godsakes, send Ukraine MIGs, tanks, and ultimately anything else we have to show we are in it to win.
Has anyone in Putin’s circle made him aware if Joe Biden wakes up to how victory could save his presidency and pours endless resources into Ukraine, Russia could be in an untenable position? His options aren’t great now but would only get worse.
Both Presidents have a lot to digest but do they see the real prospects? So far, the only President operating with clarity is Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Unlike the others, he knows his options. That’s why against the odds, he can win.