Biden’s Loose Lips May Sink Ships
There’s already one going on in Ukraine. But did President Biden just increase the chances of another shooting war, this one with China? Let’s get started, first in Ukraine…
Russia’s assault is slow and brutal, but it is proving effective in achieving Russia’s goals.
Those objectives include building a land bridge from Russian territory to Crimea (and possibly beyond to Odessa), cutting Ukraine off from access to the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea and surrounding Ukrainian troops in the east behind a wall of control that runs roughly from Kharkiv to Kherson and Mykolaiv.
Once that wall of control is established, the Ukrainian army trapped behind the line will have no choice but to surrender or face annihilation.
It is estimated 10,000 or more Ukrainian army troops in eastern Ukraine are under Russian artillery barrage. This battle may take weeks to play out, but Russian victory is likely given the extent to which the Ukrainians are outnumbered and outgunned.
If the Ukrainian forces fall, there will be little left in the east to stop a Russian consolidation that would give control of about a third of Ukraine to Russia.
This unfolding battle is not what you’ll be hearing about in legacy media outlets in the West. But don’t be lulled into false confidence by propaganda and bad reporting.
Russia is winning the financial war, and they’re winning on the ground. Meanwhile, the U.S. continues to pursue a policy of escalation against Russia.
Poking the Bear Even Harder
Biden and the Pentagon seem to have no understanding of the dangers of escalation and no capacity to act with the needed restraint. We’ve seen this play out already in Ukraine where the U.S. has first supplied weapons, then money, then intelligence, then financial sanctions and more.
Russia has responded in kind with its own countersanctions and its own advanced weaponry including anti-drone missiles and precision artillery strikes. The latest move in the wrong direction comes from Biden.
Biden announced Tuesday that he intends to send advanced rocket artillery systems to Ukraine. That’s a complete reversal from the day before, when he said the U.S. would not deliver the rockets to Ukraine.
The administration justified its initial refusal to send them on the grounds that Russia may perceive the move as a step too far, a serious provocation. What changed in the course of a day? Did they suddenly decide that it wasn’t that provocative after all?
Regardless, this type of vacillation is indicative of a policy team that doesn’t really know what it’s doing from one day to the next.
Special Forces for Embassy Duty?
The administration is also now considering sending special forces to guard the U.S. embassy in Kyiv. Special forces include units such as Delta Force, Green Berets, and Navy SEALS.
U.S. embassies around the world have routinely been guarded by the U.S. Marine Corps who are highly experienced and capable in this duty.
Special forces aren’t needed for protection, but are quite capable of going on offense and conducting sabotage and training. This assignment is another form of escalation and gets the U.S. more deeply entangled in a face-to-face war with Russia.
This is another step on the escalatory path to direct conflict and potentially, nuclear war with Russia. But did Biden just provoke war with China too?
Biden Turns Teddy Roosevelt Upside Down
In September 1901, just days before becoming president, Theodore Roosevelt remarked, “Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.”
The idea was that the ability of the U.S. to project military force should be strong but kept in the background. Diplomacy was better than war. The “big stick” acted as a deterrent.
Today, Biden’s motto seems to be: Speak loudly and carry no stick at all.
Biden is now threatening war with China over Taiwan, while simultaneously cutting the military budget and failing to give our military the technological edge it needs to compete with Russian hypersonic missiles and the Chinese space force.
Biden was on a tour of Asia last week meeting with key allies in Tokyo including the leaders of Japan, Australia and India. The meeting was clearly about efforts to counter the rise of China, yet China was not singled out by name and there was nothing on the agenda specific to the situation in Taiwan.
But when asked by a reporter if the U.S. would use force to defend Taiwan, Biden answered “Yes.”
Decades of “Strategic Ambiguity” Down the Drain
For decades, the U.S. has carried out a policy of strategic ambiguity regarding whether the U.S. would come to the aid of Taiwan if it were invaded by China. Most observers quietly believed the U.S. would help Taiwan militarily, yet that policy was never proclaimed publicly in order not to provoke China needlessly.
With that single word, Biden threw the policy of strategic ambiguity out the window.
Here’s the real problem: Biden may have provoked a war with China over Taiwan, rather than deterring one.
China considers Taiwan part of China and has repeatedly said it will control Taiwan eventually by one means or another, including an invasion. The invasion planning looks at Chinese force projection capabilities and the defenses of the Taiwanese.
But it must also take into account the likely response of the U.S. If the Chinese thought that the U.S. might respond, but that such a commitment might weaken over time, China could find it in its own best interests to wait until U.S. interest waned.
On the other hand, if China were certain that the U.S. would respond and saw the U.S. getting stronger over time, they could find it optimal to invade sooner than later.
The purpose of strategic ambiguity was to keep the Chinese guessing. By negating strategic ambiguity, China might conclude that now is the time to strike.
So, Biden’s big mouth and shoot-from-the-hip approach have made war with China more likely. And unlike Roosevelt, Biden has no big stick to back up his big mouth.
The Navy Prepares for War on… Climate Change
Any war with China over Taiwan would primarily be a naval and air war. But last year, a watchdog report demonstrated that the U.S. Navy is unprepared for a war with China.
The report cites limited resources for shipbuilding and maintenance, as well as training shortcomings and low morale. The report also claims the Navy is stretched too thin because of extended missions far from U.S. bases.
Meanwhile, the Secretary of the Navy just announced that he thinks the greatest threat to the Navy is climate change, not the Chinese Navy.
A new report, “Climate Action 2030,” discusses Navy plans to “build climate resilience,” “reduce climate threat,” “reduce its greenhouse gas emissions,” “stabilize ecosystems” and “achieve … net-zero emissions by 2050.”
Topics in the report include “Climate-informed decision-making,” “Integrating Climate considerations into the Budget Process,” “Electrification of Tactical Ground Vehicles” and “Worldwide Climate Health Partnerships.”
It’s all for the purpose of “integrating climate action into every aspect of the Department of Navy mission.”
Let’s just say the Chinese Navy has a much different set of priorities.
James G. Rickards is the editor of Strategic Intelligence. He is an American lawyer, economist, and investment banker with 35 years of experience working in capital markets on Wall Street. He was the principal negotiator of the rescue of Long-Term Capital Management L.P. (LTCM) by the U.S Federal Reserve in 1998. His clients include institutional investors and government directorates. His work is regularly featured in the Financial Times, Evening Standard, New York Times, The Telegraph, and Washington Post, and he is frequently a guest on BBC, RTE Irish National Radio, CNN, NPR, CSPAN, CNBC, Bloomberg, Fox, and The Wall Street Journal. He has contributed as an advisor on capital markets to the U.S. intelligence community, and at the Office of the Secretary of Defense in the Pentagon. Rickards is the author of The New Case for Gold (April 2016), and three New York Times best sellers, The Death of Money (2014), Currency Wars (2011), The Road to Ruin (2016) from Penguin Random House.
Send this article to a friend: