Putin Sees NATO as the Threat and Gambles Everything

by | Mar 8, 2022 |

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Writing for Atlantic Council, a Washington D.C.-based think tank, Rutgers University political science professor Alexander Motyl titled his February 27th essay, “Vladimir Putin has gambled everything and lost.” Putin had risen to the position of a respected and feared world leader. He had kept Ukraine from joining NATO with ample arms resting at the Russia-Ukraine border. He took advantage of America’s and Europe’s irrational fixation on the fraudulent climate change scare by cashing in on their elimination of their own oil and gas supplies, forcing them to buy Russian oil.

In 2021, the United States imported more than 20.4 million barrels of crude oil and refined products per month from Russia giving Putin billions of dollars he would otherwise not have had—enough income to buy 20 new T-14 Armata main battle tanks every day. In fact, during Biden’s first full year in office, the U.S. imported 24% more oil from Russia than in 2020. As public pressure was mounting, Biden had little choice but to ban the imports of Russian oil in a speech delivered on Tuesday, due to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

At the same time, the Washington Post reported on February 27th that:

“President Biden has authorized nearly $1 billion in military assistance over the past year for Ukraine, including $350 million in weapons such as antitank and antiaircraft missiles last week, and $200 million in drawdowns from U.S. arms stocks approved in December.”

So, the U.S. has effectively funded both sides of the Ukraine conflict. Putin uses the money we had been paying him for oil to buy weapons to fight the Ukrainians who then blow up those weapons using weapons we provide to Ukraine. Good for arms manufacturers to be sure.

There is of course a long history of entities funding both sides in wars. In “Banksters and Warmongers,” published in 2019 by the European Institute of International Relations, Giorgio Spagnol writes “the Rothschild family have funded the losers and the winners of all wars since the Napoleonic Wars of 1803 to 1815.”

The Rothschilds did this on purpose, of course, Spagnol explains, “so that whichever side wins, they profit.” But America does this through gross ineptitude, a clear example being how we continued to buy Saudi oil even while they were helping fund the terrorist groups we were seeking to eliminate. And during the Afghanistan war, even then-Secretary of State Hilary Clinton publicly expressed concerns that the U.S. was funding both sides when it became apparent that many of the companies coordinating the trucking of supplies to American soldiers in the field were allied directly with warlords, insurgents, and sometimes, with the Taliban itself. 

From the day of his inauguration, Biden has worked to make this situation far worse by eliminating America’s strength in using and exporting our own vast supplies of oil and natural gas. He even canceled the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada, our closest allies, “to stop climate change,” an entirely ludicrous decision. Biden’s feckless climate czar John Kerry, always acting with a lack of gray matter, told the BBC that he feared the Ukraine war would “distract the world from the climate change crisis and produce massive emissions that will negatively impact the globe.”

Putin, who, before the war really had everything going for him. Professor Motyl said, “He blew it all by invading Ukraine. Overnight Russia became a pariah state.” International opinion almost unanimously condemned him and his own Russian citizens have shown outrage over the waste of lives and resources.

The supposed chess grandmaster Putin also grossly miscalculated the response of Ukrainian citizens. He thought they would quickly lay down their weapons rather than fight furiously, as they have done with support from around the world with supplies of weapons sent from many nations.

Even if Putin ends up conquering Ukraine, with massive loss of life, the world watches as tens of thousands have volunteered to fight and donate savings to help finance the defense of their country. Around the world, Ukrainians in foreign countries are staging rallies and fundraising for their homeland. Motyl said: “Ukraine’s dramatic show of wartime unity and national strength is exceptionally inconvenient for Putin.”

Putin’s options now are all bad. He could continue to ruin Ukraine and many of the people therein, set up a puppet government and occupy the country with the necessary million soldiers who would then become targets of a well-organized resistance movement. He could negotiate peace with Ukraine, admitting defeat to his own population and circle of leaders. His billionaire oligarch circle is already turning against him as it is they who are feeling the brunt of many of the economic sanctions. For example, Russia’s richest man, Vladimir Potanin, lost $3 billion in one day after his country invaded Ukraine.

We have never viewed Putin as lacking in intelligence so why did he act so stupidly in this case. It is most likely that as the leader of his nation for two decades, his advisors no longer challenge what might set him off. Also, historically Russia never viewed Ukraine as other than a weak sibling subservient to its older brother. He may never have seen “Ukraine as a nation with its own interests and culture”, as professor Motyl believes.

As sad as this situation is for the citizens of Ukraine, will the world eventually benefit from a permanently weaker Russia and its leader?

Did irresponsible NATO actions indirectly contribute to this conflict unfolding? As explained in “NATO Expansion: What Gorbachev Heard,” the Bill Clinton and subsequent administrations (as well as other NATO leaders) ignored the promise U.S. Secretary of State James Baker made to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev on February 9, 1990, to move the alliance “not one inch eastward” in exchange for Soviet support for the reunification of Germany. So, are we partly to blame for today’s situation? 

We will discuss all these issues this coming weekend on our America Out Loud Talk Radio program The Other Side of the Story with former two-term Wisconsin Senator and aid to President Ronald Reagan, Robert Kasten. Tune in at either 11 am or 8 pm ET on Saturday, March 12, or Sunday, March 13.


Dr. Jay Lehr is a Senior Policy Analyst with the International Climate Science Coalition and former Science Director of The Heartland Institute. He is an internationally renowned scientist, author, and speaker who has testified before Congress on dozens of occasions on environmental issues and consulted with nearly every agency of the national government and many foreign countries. After graduating from Princeton University at the age of 20 with a degree in Geological Engineering, he received the nation’s first Ph.D. in Groundwater Hydrology from the University of Arizona. He later became executive director of the National Association of Groundwater Scientists and Engineers.

Tom Harris is Executive Director of the Ottawa, Canada-based International Climate Science Coalition, and a policy advisor to The Heartland Institute. He has 40 years experience as a mechanical engineer/project manager, science and technology communications professional, technical trainer, and S&T advisor to a former Opposition Senior Environment Critic in Canada’s Parliament.

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