October 6, 2022

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Tensions in Ukraine | Pitton’s poker face with Putin

(New York) February 16, 2022 is not the only date on the calendar. During a video conference with his Western allies last week, Joe Biden said Vladimir Putin could choose to invade Ukraine this Wednesday.

Released at 6:00 p.m.

Richard Head

Richard Head
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Does it mean that the US president will go crazy if the day passes without Russian soldiers infiltrating the Ukrainian border in the slightest?

“No!” Shouted William Bomarans, a Russian expert at the Wilson Center Think Tank on Tuesday.

“To a certain extent, yes,” replied Michael Kimmaz, historian of relations between the United States and Russia.

Sputnik photo, via Reuters

Vladimir Putin, President of Russia

Obviously, the validity of Joe Biden’s growing warnings about the Ukrainian crisis is not unanimous among experts.

But these reports are part of the poker game, the winner of which is not yet known. This is even more true the day after Russia announced that it was withdrawing some Russian troops stationed around Ukraine.

Whether the invasion takes place on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday, it makes no small difference. The important thing is that Biden highlighted Russia’s actions, so he forced Putin to issue some denials, which he probably did not want to release, and it is noteworthy that he had no intention of invading Ukraine.

William Bomarans, Russian scholar on the Wilson Center Thinking Group

Michael Kimmage does not believe this argument. Of course, he agrees, the White House will use it if Russia does not invade Ukraine. But it would be an illusion to believe that the Biden administration’s statements about the invasion on such a date would have an impact on Vladimir Putin’s plans.

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Information war

“The fact that the United States has released its timetable does not carry much weight on Putin’s decisions,” said a former State Department official under Barack Obama. “Both parties are trying to play better points on their side, and Putin may have provided false information about the invasion to confuse the US government.”

Of course, Joe Biden has distanced himself from Barack Obama’s approach to Vladimir Putin during the crisis that led to the annexation of Crimea in 2014. In a recent article, New York Times He noted that US intelligence had prevented the Obama administration from disclosing to the public the intentions of the Russian president at the time.

In stark contrast, the Biden administration is quick to categorize information about Russian plans that go beyond the date of the invasion. In particular, he accused Russia of seeking to justify military action in Ukraine by using fake videos.

“I have nothing to do with the CIA knowing that the CIA gave the green light to release this information, but I would say that this transparency put Putin on the defensive to a certain point,” said William Pomeranz.

Photo by MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV, Associated Press

Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Olaf Scholes met Tuesday in the Kremlin in Moscow.

Shortly before the meeting between Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Olaf Scholes in Moscow, he announced that he was “delighted” by the announcement that Russian troops stationed around Ukraine would be partially withdrawn.

The Russian president confirmed the withdrawal after the meeting, suggesting that Moscow could consider a military expansion.

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Warning in Washington

In Washington, Joe Biden welcomed the Russian announcement with caution.

“This is a good thing, but we have not yet confirmed it,” he said, referring to the withdrawal of Russian troops from the White House. “In fact, our researchers point out that they are in a very threatening position.”

Noting that “an invasion is a real possibility”, he promised to “give diplomacy every opportunity” to prevent it.

Analysts agree with Joe Biden that conclusions from the Russian announcement on Tuesday are still very soon.

“Many historians and parlor analysts have asked, ‘Is Putin disturbed?’ I hope they will ask the question. We will find out soon.

Meanwhile, William Pomeranz generally believes that Joe Biden is handling the Ukrainian crisis well, a comment shared by Michael Kimmez.

“So far so good,” says professor and chairman of the Department of History at Catholic University in the United States. “Biden has opened the door to diplomacy. He has kept his statements about Putin moderate. And he did not make any concessions at the same time.

“As far as the US NATO leadership is concerned, Biden is fundamentally responsible and capable. One can only imagine the difference if a President was in power at this time.”