A massive troop buildup and two major nuclear powers on either side. A lot can go wrong. So, Joe Biden dispatched his top cabinet members to Europe, America’s defence and foreign secretaries.
They are talking to European leaders, holding meetings with the Ukrainians and increasing their military presence in Germany. Will this be enough to ensure a Russian troop withdrawal?
Soldiers are at the border, Sukhois in the air and the navy in the Black Sea. Russia’s build up near Ukraine has alarmed the West. America says all this can’t be just a training exercise and Europe is equally worried. They fear a serious escalation at the Ukrainian border. The Ukrainian Foreign Minister is meeting Nato officials. Biden’s top diplomats have landed in Europe. Lloyd Austin and Antony Blinken are holding talks in Brussels, the US secretary of state met with his Ukrainian counterpart and reaffirmed America’s support to Ukraine.
The US secretary of defence was in Berlin and met his German counterpart. Austin announced that America will increase its military presence in Germany by 500 soldiers. The US has also called off the withdrawal of 12,000 soldiers from Germany. It’s a reversal of former president Donald Trump’s plans.
Russia is watching the shift. It could have implications for a major energy project, the Nord Stream 2. It’s a gas pipeline from Russia to Germany. The Biden administration isn’t happy about it. Republicans in the US are demanding sanctions against German companies. What will President Biden do?
Look the other way, for the moment. Russia is raising the spectre of war against Ukraine. Now, is not the time to sanction Germany. The United States and NATO are speaking in one voice. America sees Russia’s moves as an opportunity to repair ties with Europe. It’s an alliance that was battered under Trump. In his four years as president, Trump pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal, slapped tariffs on goods from the European Union and repeatedly questioned NATO members, over their contributions to the alliance.
At the same time, Moscow cultivated bilateral ties with key European powers, the Ukrainian misadventure may change the European chessboard.