Ukraine invasion shows how world is missing Trump

Russia has invaded Ukraine. It has now marched up to the capital, Kyiv. This will not end well.

For weeks now, Russian President Vladimir Putin has been massing military forces on his country’s border with Ukraine. Something has gone badly unhinged in the world.

In response to Russia’s invasion, what has Ukraine’s greatest ally, the US done? US President Joe Biden has been reduced to twiddling his thumbs and talking up sanctions that Putin has cocked a snook at. Ukraine is on its own.

Putin’s concerns are not new. He has been warning that the tightening noose that North Atlantic Alliance (NATO) is drawing around Russia as its neighbours become members is unacceptable. NATO was formed in 1949 by the US and her allies to confront and resist Russia’s post-2nd world war military expansion. Since the Soviet Union’s collapse, many of Russia’s neighbours have either joined NATO, or applied to do so. Ukraine is on the verge of joining.

The world has become a very dangerous place since Biden became US President. Rogue nations, under check when the bellicose Donald Trump was President, have gone back to their bad old ways. They have calculated, correctly, that the US, (and by extension NATO)  under Biden, is weak and disjointed.

Trump had cobbled together a very effective peace-balance in the world. He ramped up US military strength, creating a credible deterrent in a world with too many nuclear-powered rogue countries. He believed in “peace through strength.” It worked.

His elimination of Iranian general Qasim Soleiman, who financed and operated hordes of militia groups that perennially terrorized the entire Middle East, brought quiet to that part of the world. He dismantled the Islamic State Caliphate in Syria and Iraq.

Further, Trump sponsored peace deals between Israel and the Arab countries of Bahrain, United Arab Emirates and Sudan.

His robust engagement of North Korea saw that country cease its perennial missile tests that it used to terrorise its neighbours. His scrapping of what he deemed a badly flawed nuclear pact between Iran and the US put the former country on the backfoot.

His readiness to aggressively push back against China in all spheres signaled that the US was ready to stand up to any world power. No leader wanted to test his resolve. The world calmed down, and rogue nations took time off.

Trump was the only US President for decades to run his entire term without starting a war.

Clearly, another four years of Trump would have seen a completely changed global peace map. Instead, everything has collapsed barely a year into Biden. Ironically, both President Zelensky and NATO countries had huge antipathy towards Trump, and were very happy Biden beat him. Well, here we are.

With Biden reinstating all the comforts that rogue nations have interpreted as a licence to be belligerent without any risk of a US backlash, many have figured the road is wide open to make up for lost time. Thus the Ukraine invasion. Clearly, all these countries read this appeasement as weakness. Biden’s absolutely shambolic withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan told all rogue leaders around the world all they needed to know.

Iran has reinstated its nuclear arms programme at full steam ahead; North Korea is back to its ballistic missiles testing programme; and China has adopted an increasingly menacing posture towards Taiwan. The invasion of that country is now a real possibility. Apparently, Biden does not have the stomach for confronting bullies. Worse is to come as Russia has set a very bad precedent.

Globally, the US remains the bulwark against nations led by rogue leaders. The minute these rogue leaders discern a weakness in US leadership, they take their chances.

Putin, who dared not make any move that would have been deemed hostile by Trump, no longer has such fears. Indeed, Putin has warned that any interventions would be met by a fierce response. And Biden is barely a year into office. The world is going to badly miss Trump in the Biden years.