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Sunday, August 14, 2022

Putin must exit world stage

GREGORY RUSOVICH
Guest Writer
Rusovich@lbknews.com

As the brave Ukrainians use heavy weaponry supplied by the West to push Putin’s forces into retreat, a unique global opportunity for the free world has emerged. America and her allies have the historic opportunity once again to lead the free world and defeat another hegemonic regime.

But do our leaders see this opening and possess the ability to grab it and win?

I am reminded of President Ronald Reagan’s powerful statement, “Here’s my strategy on the Cold War: We win, they lose.” This is the clear, principled strategy and vision we need in this era of renewed global conflict. Do not simply hold Russian forces to a standstill so they can continue to bomb innocent Ukrainians through a strategy of partitioning an already devastated country. Instead, pour weapons into Ukraine, deploy every possible sanction, codify global alliances and shepherd in a Russian defeat. And yes, call for regime change. Putin’s barbaric actions against innocent civilians and other atrocities constituting war crimes renders the despot persona non grata on the global stage. A Ukraine victory would deliver a devastating blow to Putin and could be used as a catapult for weakening an aggressive China, and bellicose Iran.

But a drastic change in global policy is needed.

China chose badly as Xi Jinping was advised by Putin prior to the invasion of Ukraine, and clearly provided a nod of approval. Russia’s failed takeover of Ukraine has brought renewed global attention on China’s voracious desire to seize Taiwan. There is a sense of satisfaction watching one autocrat subverted by the incompetent actions of another. Xi likely will now be forced into delaying his own nefarious plans for Taiwan as an awakened world monitors China’s future actions. Now is the time to rally Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, as well as Southeast Asian nations to establish closer military, trade and economic partnerships with the United States and Europe.

We can ensure that China is economically damaged should their expansionist policies persist as 19 percent of overall imports in 2020 by value flow through China, though the number has been falling over the past decade. We can ensure that its fall continues. Countries in Southeast Asia including Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, and the Philippines provide viable supply chain and export options and seek closer relations with the West. These nations are growing their manufacturing and production capabilities, and Japan, South Korea, Australia, and Taiwan represent additional mature markets for enhanced trade partnerships. Militarily, we should significantly increase aid to Taiwan and ensure a potent deterrence to any Chinese aggression. We can further strengthen military ties with our other Asian friends to deter China from further thoughts of aggressive behavior in the Pacific arena.

The Middle East presents yet another major challenge, and opportunity. While Russia threatens Eastern Europe and China strong-arms Asia, Iran continues to terrorize the Middle East. Missals landed close to our US Consulate in Iraq as Yemeni Houthis proxies launch bombs targeting civilians in Saudi Arabia and the Emirates.

Back at home, the Biden Administration attempts to negotiate a nuclear deal with Iran. And China and Russia sit side by side with the Iranians at the negotiating table helping to determine an acceptable outcome for the Ayatollah. Our historic and longstanding Middle East allies including Israel, Jordan, Egypt, the U.A.E. and Saudi Arabia are understandably outraged over America’s stance. Highlighting this wedge caused solely by this Administration’s obsession with an Iran nuclear deal, Saudi and UAE leaders recently refused a phone call from President Biden as the Saudis began considering trade of its oil in Chinese yuan rather than U.S. dollars.

America is best served by strengthening our relationships with our longtime friends in the region. Just as we work cooperatively with our European allies to confront Russia, we should fortify our Middle East partners to isolate Iran. It is an illogical notion that building alliances against Putin while tearing down our Arabic is somehow the best way forward.

Our global window of opportunity requires coherence, clarity, commitments, and loyalty to longstanding alliances.

Finally, we must recognize and accept the fact that we are in a rapidly changing. and far more dangerous world, that calls for significant increases in our own military spending. Military strength deters adversaries. Unfortunately, the recent budget submitted by the Administration results in a mere 1.5% real increase over last year’s funding, according to the Wall Street Journal. The Air Force Association stated last week that the Air Force “is now the smallest, oldest, and least ready it has ever been in its 75-year history.”

America and her allies can win this new era of global conflict. But grit, consistency, clarity, alliances, and recognition of a new dangerous world is critical.

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