Ukraine

The U.S. Needs To Rethink Its Approach to Ukraine and Russia

“One of the problems in this crisis is that people have tried to find the magic bullet that explains everything,” says Rajan Menon of Defense Priorities.

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This week, American and Russian officials are engaged in a diplomatic brawl over rising tensions in Ukraine. While Russia has denied that the 100,000 troops stationed on the Ukrainian border are gearing up for an invasion, President Joe Biden has begun to weigh how the U.S. will respond if Russia does invade. The past month has featured arms shipments to Ukraine, debates about NATO enlargement, and talks of sanctions against Moscow. And while American officials are responding to the situation with a sense of urgency, they're missing important parts of the big picture.

Rajan Menon, director of the Grand Strategy program at Defense Priorities and expert on Russia and Ukraine, criticizes what he sees as misconceptions and oversimplifications of the conflict. "One of the problems in this crisis is that people have tried to find the magic bullet that explains everything," Menon tells Reason. "And whether it's on the Russian side or our side, there are many, many pieces going on."

There's no perfect solution to current tensions, but that hasn't stopped some U.S. officials from quickly looking to American military might. The Pentagon has put 8,500 U.S. troops on "heightened alert" for potential deployment to Eastern Europe, and Biden has said that the U.S. will send troops to NATO countries "in the near term" (but not "a lot" of them). Just last week, the U.S. sent Ukraine a shipment of munitions as part of a $200 million security assistance package.

There are several issues with the instinct to jump straight to military-based actions, whether they involve boots on the ground or not. First, fewer than one in six Americans believes the U.S. should send American soldiers to defend Ukraine in the event of a Russian invasion. Second, as Menon argues, "Ukraine is not an ally…an ally is a country to which we have made a defense commitment." Painting Ukraine as an ally distorts U.S. obligations and "misleads the American public."

Third—and overlooked by politicians and pundits alike—is that Biden arguably does not have the authority to deploy troops in the way he's suggested.

Proponents of U.S. involvement have pointed out that Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty—which says an armed attack on one NATO member "shall be considered an attack against them all," triggering collective self-defense measures—might call the U.S. to act militarily, and allow Biden to do so without congressional approval. But Russian President Vladimir Putin has neither attacked Ukraine nor a NATO ally, rendering this concern moot for now.

What is concerning is Biden's decision to deploy troops to NATO's eastern flank without consulting Congress. While the president is authorized under the Constitution to direct the U.S. Armed Forces, he can only do so following a congressional declaration of war. Presidents have deployed U.S. troops across the globe without congressional approval countless times since the last official declaration of war, which came during World War II. Lawmakers passed the 1973 War Powers Act in an attempt to restrict such presidential overreach in conflicts, requiring the executive to remove any troops he's deployed after 60 days if Congress doesn't grant an extension.

Since 1973, the legislation has done little to restore Congress' rightful war-making powers, and it likely won't limit Biden's Ukraine-adjacent deployment. "The War Powers Act has almost pretty much become meaningless, because presidents have clever lawyers who make the case that this is not actually a war," says Menon. "The imperial presidency has, in this respect, kind of sidelined Congress."

Though sidelined in this conversation, Congress hasn't been much better in its own approach to the conflict. The Intercept reported last week that House Democrats were planning to expedite a massive bill that would greatly expand U.S. security assistance to Ukraine and map out dramatic sanctions on Russia. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D–Calif.) reportedly told her colleagues that she hoped to skip the markup stage. "This is how the space for nonmilitary options gets slowly closed off in Washington, without any real debate," a senior Democratic aide told The Intercept. A Senate bill, meanwhile, would send $500 million in military aid to Ukraine and give it priority status for excess defense equipment.

Concerned politicians have invoked "the United States' withdrawal from Afghanistan" and warned of a rising "new Iron Curtain" if the U.S. doesn't forcefully (and militarily) counter Russia. This, too, puts matters in overly simplistic terms. "The question's not abandonment versus sending American troops to fight on Russia's doorstep," says Menon, pointing to a "continuum of measures" that Biden could take instead.

Right now, the U.S. should be doing all it can diplomatically to avoid conflict with Russia. That could take a number of forms: prioritizing U.S.-Russia bilateral talks, offering Russia a moratorium on Ukrainian NATO admission, and halting U.S. military aid to Ukraine in exchange for Russia stopping its military buildup on the border. Russia is chiefly responsible for current tensions, and Putin's finger is on the trigger, but compromise will be necessary to prevent a full-blown invasion.

Russian and American envoys met yesterday in the United Nations Security Council to discuss tensions in Ukraine, though the talks featured little more than harsh words. "We're going to go in the room prepared to listen to [Russia]," America's U.N. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said in advance of the meeting. "But we're not going to be distracted by their propaganda, and we're going to be prepared to respond to any disinformation that they attempt to spread during this meeting."

"If anything, the strident rhetoric might get—unless it's carefully done—the two sides to go further out and take positions that they'll have a hard time climbing back from," Menon says.

Even if U.S. politicians do end up rethinking their approach to the conflict, they will still need to tackle their underlying assumptions. This is a prime opportunity to reconsider U.S. military obligations (perceived or real) to war-prone nations, the tendency to address tensions with soldiers and weapons rather than negotiations and compromise, and America's deep involvement in European security. As with so many other aspects of Ukraine-Russia tensions, American lawmakers ignore the bigger picture at their own peril.

NEXT: Brickbats: February 2022

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  1. Who paid for those arms shipments to Ukraine?

    1. All of those arms shipments consisted of guns and ammo confiscated from American street gang-bangers who didn't buy mandatory gun insurance, so NO tax money was involved!

      1. Maybe Eric holder had some leftover guns.

    2. Us, and they cost an arm and a leg.

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      2. Was hoping the deal tanked…

      3. charges were explosive because of the graft.

  2. If President Biden takes us to war with Russia, I will 100% support him. Putin still hasn't been adequately punished for hacking our 2016 election.

    #LibertariansForGettingToughWithRussia

    1. Botcher Joe seems to be biden his time until he can putin some troops to prevent the red army from russian into Ukraine. He says Moscow will be tsarry if they cross the border.

      1. Well now you've gone and hogged the puns so there is nothing for the rest of us to add.

        1. Quit your stalin and find some others.

        2. Xiiissh! he has not.

          1. Crimea river?

            1. U Krainin' yer neck & stealin' my puns off'n my desk!

  3. "...the magic bullet that explains everything,”

    And that would be journalistic bread and butter?

  4. The US doesn't care about Russia Ukraine. It's the (D) that care. They ruined the country in under a year and need a distraction,

    1. I think it's even narrower than that. I think it's about particular interested parties in Russia and Ukraine. I don't know who those parties are, but they're there.

  5. "The U.S. Needs To Rethink Its Approach to Ukraine and Russia"

    If the U.S. were on the border of Ukraine threatening to annex it because it's always been part of the USA, I might agree with you.

    Meanwhile, the Polish, the British, and the Turks are arming the Ukrainians with anti-tank systems, anti-aircraft systems and drones--while France and Germany are lobbying for capitulation to Putin by ceding Ukraine's autonomy giving veto authority to the Russians via Minsk 2.

    "The U.K. has provided around 2,000 light antitank missile systems, the U.S. has sent another batch of Javelin antitank missiles, and the Baltic states have shipped U.S.-made Stinger antiaircraft missiles. The U.K. and France have said they could add troops to fortify NATO’s eastern flank."

    "Turkey, whose President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is slated to visit Kyiv later this week, has long worked with Ukraine on Bayraktar TB2 armed drones that proved a game-changer in Azerbaijan’s war against Armenian forces in Nagorno-Karabakh in 2020.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/nato-leaders-stream-to-ukraine-showing-support-as-russia-masses-troops-11643657492?

    Putin may not have expected NATO to react this way. He may be looking for a way to get out of this while saving face. Capitulating to Russia on Minsk 2 isn't the solution. I don't see people in the streets of Ukraine protesting against their government for not capitulating to Putin, even though they understand that war is imminent. Public opinion seems to be about defending Ukraine.

    I'd suggest we promise Putin to oppose Ukraine entering NATO for ten or twenty years. We don't want Ukraine in NATO at this point anyway, and such an agreement would practically mean that Russia would assent to Ukraine joining NATO ten or twenty years from now. Of course, we'd still be able to deny them membership then, if we wanted, and Putin could tell his people that he didn't come back empty handed.

    Minsk 2 is capitulation. Minsk 2 is appeasement. Minsk 2 will encourage similar aggression against other countries in the future.

    1. "Constitutional reform in Ukraine, with a new constitution to come into effect by the end of 2015, the key element of which is decentralisation (taking into account peculiarities of particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, agreed with representatives of these districts), and also approval of permanent legislation on the special status of particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts in accordance with the measures spelt out in the attached footnote,[note 1] by the end of 2015.

      ----Minsk 2

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minsk_Protocol#Minsk_II

      This would be like the United States agreeing to give Texas to the Russians, and we also agreed to alter the Constitution so that the United States could never make a decision again that couldn't be vetoed by whatever governor Putin appoints in Texas.

      Germany, in particular, is disgracing itself by trying to force the Ukraine to permanently divide itself as a condition for what--for not capitulating to Putin invading their country and taking it over? The solution to Putin biting off more than he could chew is for him to back down, and if he needs an excuse to tell his own people, we should give him nothing more than an empty promise.

      P.S. Germany's behavior here in trying to undermine NATO in the interests of capitulating to Putin are almost entirely a direct result of Biden's idiotic decision on Nord 2. We probably wouldn't be looking at this situation if it wasn't for Biden's idiotic decision on Nord 2. He is a truly incompetent president.

      1. It has been cold in Germany this winter. And as much greenwashing as they like to advertise, they need Russian natural gas. They are in discussions with the UAE about shipping natural gas to them; it is unclear how much they can actually provide and it would likely be more expensive than from the Russians.
        Iirc, US energy companies opposed cheap Russian gas being piped to central Europe. And Nordstream 2 also bypasses Ukranian rent seekers, so they are unhappy.
        The people of Donbas should decide what is best for them. It is more like a few counties on the Texas-Mexican border with a majority of Mexicans that don’t like the direction of DC and prefer to be part of Mexico.

    2. It seems like NATO membership (yes or no) for Ukraine is the magic bullet. The USA probably would feel a little uneasy if Mexico decided to join China in a "mutual defense" treaty organization and Chinese troops started practicing desert warfare in Mexico. It seems like Ukraine and NATO thinking about getting together is what instigated the crisis.

      1. Ukraine was making the pitch to join NATO in 2018, when Trump launched into his famous outburst against Merkel for Germany being a deadbeat in regards to NATO.

        What sparked this was the Ukrainian people rising up against a corrupt government that wanted to orient itself as a Putin crony rather than embrace the EU and NATO.

        "The protests were sparked by the Ukrainian government's decision to suspend the signing of the European Union–Ukraine Association Agreement, instead choosing closer ties to Russia and the Eurasian Economic Union. The scope of the protests widened, with calls for the resignation of the President of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, and the Second Azarov Government.[80] The protests were fueled by the perception of "widespread government corruption", "abuse of power", and "violation of human rights in Ukraine".[81] Transparency International named President Yanukovych as the top example of corruption in the world.[82] The situation escalated after the violent dispersal of protesters on 30 November, leading to many more protesters joining.[5] The protests led to the 2014 Ukrainian revolution, known as the Revolution of Dignity."

        ---Euromaidan

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euromaidan

        The people of Ukraine rose up and decided they wanted to associate with the EU rather than Putin--and Putin refused to accept that. Putin invaded shortly after the Revolution of Dignity, when the Ukrainian people overthrew the Putin backed government. The new government quickly signed the European Union–Ukraine Association Agreement with broad support, and Putin immediately responded by invading the Ukraine. That's what sparked this. That's why we are where we are now. Putin had some legitimate concerns about strategic military ports in the parts of Ukraine that he invaded. These issue could have been addressed. The United States, for instance, has a base in Cuba.

        1. Ken, a couple of thoughts.

          Ukraine is not a NATO member. We have no legal obligation.

          There is no, repeat no vital US national interest in Ukraine.

          I am all for selling Ukraine every weapon they can pay cash for. No credit. Same deal as WW2, cash and carry. They buy it, and transport it.

          The Biden admin needs to say much less. They are talking too fucking much. They need to just STFU and get Poland, Romania, Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia completely resupplied, locked and cocked. The unspoken message has to be: Fuck with a NATO country and you're going to have possibly the worst day of your life.

          Ukraine is corrupt AF. They are not a worthy partner. You know, there is a reason NATO debated their entry for 20+ years. I don't see Ukraine as worth the trouble. FTR, I see Turkey much the same way, only more strategically important.

          Having said all that, we can help give the Soviet Russian bear a very, very bloody nose. Use the Brits to do that. They're still pissed about that poisoning deal. They would LOVE payback. Frankly, I have no love lost for the communists and I won't weep if a lot of those commie fuckers die in a useless war they instigate.

          No way the US gets involved unless a NATO ally is attacked. And even then, Congress must vote and authorize explicit use of force.

        2. But their previous government was corrupt too.

  6. I really like how this article says that there are tensions in Ukraine and pearl clutches about what the United States should do without rally any description of what the tensions are over. If you are recommending compromise, it might help to take some minimal effort to describe what you want compromise on. I realize that may be asking much of a journalist.

    1. Journalist? Did you say journalist? Here....at Reason? 🙂

  7. REthink? What makes you believe that thinking has anything to do with U.S. foreign policy?

  8. Reason's reputation is really in the gutter, when most of the commenter are actually anti war (more so than reason as past years have shown), but are still calling reasons anti war articles shoddy writing and logic.

    1. Reason often embraces that subset of policies that progressives and (some) libertarians agree on. Unfortunately, Reason's justifications and analysis are usually progressive.

      IOW, Reason is really a progressive magazine that happens to stick to those policies that libertarians are most likely to agree with.

      That makes Reason more propaganda and manipulation than an advocate for libertarianism.

  9. It's sad to see so many here falling for the proggies and Rinos' attempt to salve their bruised egos. In 2014, they played a bunch of silly political games trying to peel the Ukraine out of Russian orbit (coughcoughCIAcoughcough). Putin had warned them that that would be something no Russian leader would ever accept. But, that was old news. Putin was an old fashioned white guy. All that old, fusty stuff about realpolitik and balance of power didn’t matter anymore. Putin wouldn’t have any recourse from their strategy because these were the best and brightest trying this. They had soft power. Their parents told them as much. And their professors. And everyone else in their echo chamber. And Putin showed how silly their machinations were. He was willing to get in a military fight over the matter. They weren't. Hell, they'd announced they weren't. And so they were left with their dicks in their hands. Looking ridiculous. As guys showing up to a fight with their dicks in their hands are wont to do.
    Donald Trump at least had the good sense to leave sleeping dogs lie. But, now the neocons and liberal imperialists are back. And they're going to show that mean old Putin. And so they're telling us that Putin must be stopped! He’s the new New Hitler. And if we don’t stop him at the Ukraine, why, surely he’s got his sights set on Latvia and Lithuania and even Poland (and from there, France and Germany)! Even though those countries are NATO members and the Russians did nothing when they actually became NATO members. Hell, even though the Eastern Ukrainian provinces voted to be annexed by Russia in a plebiscite and the Russians turned them down. Even though Russia has been offering up diplomatic solutions for years.
    And for this, we’re risking World War III. And certainly pushing Russia further into Chinese arms.

    1. War is the health of the State. That's why there's always a war against someone or something.

    2. Yes, this is the thing I don't get. On realpolitik terms, what can the US get from Russia, and what from Ukraine? On human rights/welfare concern, what is the relative benefit of people to be governed by Russia vs. by Ukraine?

      So there's only one possible motivator left: This is personal. There are some Important Persons with something at stake that doesn't concern the rest of us, except that no matter what, it's sure to come out of our hides.

    3. Translation: Orange Hitler goood, Czarist Emperor baaad!

      1. Hank, take your meds and fuck off.

  10. After its formation in 1949 with twelve founding members, NATO added Greece and Turkey in 1952 and West Germany in 1955, and then later Spain in 1982. In 1999, Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic joined NATO, amid much debate within the organization and Russian opposition. Another expansion came with the accession of seven Central and Eastern European countries: Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia.. Albania and Croatia joined on 1 April 2009, The most recent member states to be added to NATO are Montenegro on 5 June 2017 and North Macedonia on 27 March 2020.

    Us getting involved with Ukraine is like Russia sending troops to Mexico. Please look at the maps before commenting. If this huge conglomeration of Countries feels threatened by Russia, let them take care of their own defense

    1. Turkey and Greece were added because they control access to the Black Sea. Their governments do not share the same goals as the rest of NATO and are often openly hostile to other NATO members, especially Turkey.

      1. Internal contradiction detected: Turkey hostile to Turkey. Then again...

    2. With NATO, countries like Germany can pursue dangerous policies and have America bear the cost.

      NATO needs to end.

  11. The troops on the boarder can achive Putin's aims without ever invading. NATO is fractured over what to do about it with the US pants shitting hysterical. Putin never invades, Biden and the US look foolish and NATO has been weakend by in-fighting. It will be a decade or more before NATO heals to the point of adding new members and Putin can use this a cover to get more arms to 'separatists'in Donbas. At least that would be my move.

    1. And why do we need NATO in the first place? Why not just dissolve it?

      1. Valid question - but irrelevant right now. NATO exists. The US plays an important part. If you want to get rid of NATO fine (I agreed with that way back when and now) - but you don't do so by playing a game of betray the only allies we will ever have and ooh let's be a surrender monkey too.

        1. With Allies like Petain, Quisling and Chamberlain, who needs enemies?

        2. "Valid question - but irrelevant right now..."

          Bullshit.
          Assertions from lefty shit piles =/= evidence.

        3. These countries have failed to live up to their obligations under NATO for years. Those countries are incapable of contributing to a meaningful mutual defense pact, and their leaders despise the American system of government and American culture. For the US to walk away isn’t betrayal, it’s accepting reality.

    2. Libertarian spoiler votes likewise force the looter Kleptocracy to gradually repeal cruel, mindless laws without very many Libertarians having to take office and breathe the stench of a roomful of self-deceiving tools. The Solomon Asch experiment proved that a single dissenting vote suffices to nullify the self-deluding influence of a smug majority of conspirators. We should use this facet of human nature to put our house in order while Ukraine wishes it had done the same.

  12. Yes: the US needs to stop meddling in Ukraine, and it needs to stop guaranteeing the defense of places like Germany that get in bed with Russia.

    This is not our fight.

  13. Right now, the U.S. should be doing all it can diplomatically to avoid conflict with Russia.

    That is NOT the primary objective here. The primary objectives are:
    support NATO allies who are clearly being intimidated into submission here by Russia. That does not include Ukraine but it definitely does include Poland and the Baltic states. The main objective of Russia re those states is to demand that NATO/US accept that those NATO allies are in a Russian sphere of influence. The Molotov-Ribbentrop secret protocols v2.

    support what has generally been considered liberal democratic Western ideas of governance and rule of law. That is perhaps the only long-term contribution of our time of US-as-hegemon. Pissing that away is pissing away everything that made the US great in the first place. Neither Ukraine nor Russia fit into or model that - but it is obvious that Putin is the implacable enemy of all of that. Unfortunately, it does appear that the US foreign policy establishment is incompetent at even understanding what principles the US stands for.

    1. Translation: (Jumps up and down yelling) Kill! Kill! Kill! Sacrifice! Sacrifice! Sacrifice! Obvious! Obvious! Obvious!

    2. What makes you think Putin is the implacable enemy of all that? Putin's just this guy who rose to the top of a kleptocracy and has to carefully keep his balance on that peak. Where his own position is not threatened, he's a democratic leader and favors rule of law — and is about as good as the Russians could expect at that.

      1. What makes you think Putin is the implacable enemy of all that?

        Crimea for one. Pretty much everything that Putin has ever said about the post-Cold War world. That doesn't mean that the security concerns he has talked about are either totally unfounded or newly expressed. Good article in New Yorker about the 1990's NATO expansions.

    3. "...Unfortunately, it does appear that the US foreign policy establishment is incompetent at even understanding what principles the US stands for."

      You.
      Are.
      STILL.
      Full.
      Of.
      Shit.

    4. Europe isn’t our “ally”; they are a bunch of nations that treat the US as their unpaid mercenary force, enriching themselves at the expense of the US, and despising everything about the US. Europe itself is turning into a bunch of proto fascist authoritarian states under German leadership.

      And this arrangement that has existed since WWI is what had been destroying the US. Every US foreign policy disaster, war, and destruction of civil liberties can be traced back to the aftermath of European political failures.

      The sooner the US walks away and lets Europe deal with its own problems, the better.

  14. Thirty years ago voters and politicians in the Ukraine failed to add a Second Amendment to the national Constitution. Our Constitution guarantees States the right to repel invasions or attacks with no Mother-May-I. And the Second Amendment makes sure that no nationalsocialist or communist mob can disarm our militias without rewriting the Constitution, as Nixon learned. Ukrainians are now regretting their dereliction. Their dereliction does not justify violent entanglement of American citizens now that the jackass is out of the barn.

  15. So here we stand on the border of warfare once again. Why? Did Russia cause this with minor exercises within its own borders? Has Ukraine engineered this to profit from the immense foreign aid it will soon be receiving? Does Germany want to cut off its main supply of natural gas? Does France want its lovely EU at war with the greatest land-power on Earth? No I don't think so.

    This is all about the deflection of attention in the party politics of the British and AmeriKan empires. Boris Johnson needed some way to distract from his maskless parties and Nigel Farage's swelling support within the Conservative Party. Brandon needs a distraction from everything he's done since stealing the oval office. I won't tiredly list them all just a few. The Steal, the revealed, fake media, the fake republic the fake administration of the empire and the emperor without clothes who is not armored by the will of the people. Inflation stoked by the greedy pork-barrel spending of the Progressive-Demonrats and their Neocon allies in the Coalition of Evil.

    Yes, it is a deflection from domestic politics which has brought the world to the verge of WWIII. Every large European conflict to date since the 20th century has been termed a World War why not a conflict between the forces of NATO and Russia in Ukraine which could spread beyond all sanity. "Forever War" forever, apparently.

    God Bless You All

  16. Want something fucked up? Give it to droolin' Joe and wait a bit.

  17. A good start would be to acknowledge that Russia has a genuine strategic interest in Ukraine, and we don't.
    Expanding NATO steadily eastward guaranteed that this conflict would happen. I realize the NATO membership is voluntary, but that doesn't mean we have to grant it.

    1. Note that the US explicitly promised to limit NATO expansion after the fall of the USSR and immediately broke it.

      NATO is obsolete. It should be abolished. The US has no interest anymore in defending continental Europe.

  18. It's not just about not admitting Ukraine to NATO, we'd also have to agree not to admit Finland or Sweden. Those countries have maintained neutrality, but effectively always regarded NATO as an option: if Russia got too aggressive, they could always join NATO as a last recourse. This worked against both the USSR and later Russia in that they kept the USSR from driving them into NATO, and hence the benefits of the alliance without the monetary and political cost of membership. By Russia getting the U.S. to deny them membership this defense option is taken off the table, opening for Russia to fully exercise influence over small states incapable of saying no. It would effectively put Russia's neutral neighbors behind their curtain of control. Worst case, Russia would be free to install whatever regime it desires. Needless to say, denying NATO as an option isn't going over any better in Finland or Sweden than in Ukraine. Even if there is no formal moratorium there will still be a barrier, and this will create maneuver room for Russia to exercise limited control.

    Personally, I don't really care about their future. The U.S. should end our occupation of Europe - withdraw all forces, close all bases, and stop maintaining warships in their waters. Then leave NATO effectively dissolving it, allowing the Europeans to figure out on their own what they want to do for security. Assuming they want to do anything at all, or maybe they prefer to go down a path similar to the Afghan government, but that's entirely their choice.

    But let's not kid ourselves what this is about. It's about Russian imperialism, and its actions are those of a state predator.

  19. You're in over your head here.

    The Constitution grants Congress the power to declare war, but it has never been though to restrict the President's authority over deployment of troops.

    The War Powers Act was partly intended to restrict the President, but it was also intended to provide an essentially blanket authorization for the President to engage in military conflict on short notice, so long as he gets Congressional ratification after the fact.

    WWII is the last time that Congress used the phrase "declare war," and it probably never will again, for PR reasons, but Congress did specifically authorize military action in Iraq (twice) and Afghanistan.

    Also, duly ratified treaties have also long been understood to be a constitutional basis for military action. So any UN Sec C. resolution authorizing force would count, as would an attack on a NATO member.

  20. Someone should tell JobBama and Victoria Nuland.

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    Victoria Nuland, key American figure in Ukraine's bloody 2014 ‘Maidan,’ wants meeting with Moscow despite visa ban – Kommersant

    By Bryan MacDonald
    Victoria Nuland, key American figure in Ukraine's bloody 2014 ‘Maidan,’ wants meeting with Moscow despite visa ban – Kommersant
    FILE PHOTO: US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland speaks as she attends a news conference after talks with the Russian Foreign Ministry officials in Moscow, Russia, May 18, 2015. © REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

    One of America's most prominent diplomats, widely cast as the leading foreign force behind calls for regime change in the unrest that hit Ukraine in 2014, is hoping for a summit with officials in Moscow, Russian media reports.

    Victoria Nuland, who serves as US President Joe Biden's Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, is said to have opened up bilateral channels with the Kremlin in an effort to secure a meeting with counterparts in Russia. Moscow daily Kommersant, which is known to have good sources in the diplomatic sphere, reported on Friday that authorities are considering the request and that "sources have made it clear that such a visit is highly likely," but that no date has been set at present.

    "The meeting is being discussed – maybe for November, but this isn't yet confirmed. So far, we haven't discussed the specifics of negotiators," a source in Washington told the publication.
    Also on rt.com Victoria Nuland, US midwife to Maidan-2014, denied visa to Russia

    Nuland previously served as Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs under former President Barack Obama. In 2014, she played a leading role in Ukraine's Maidan, handing out snacks and taking pictures with activists railing against the country's government. In the aftermath, she promised the troubled nation a $1-billion-dollar loan guarantee program and to provide assistance to its military, in response to Kiev's attempt to turn towards the West.

    In a leaked recording of a call between Nuland and the US's then-Ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, the pair appeared to discuss which opposition politicians should and shouldn't be included in the post-Maidan government, hinting that they were actively involved in discussions with activists. At the same time, Nuland suggested bringing in then-Vice President Biden to “midwife this thing.” She also famously expressed her view that they should "f**k the EU," by ignoring its input.

    In 2019, the diplomat was denied a visa to attend a closed-door conference in Russia, with her name included on a blacklist maintained by authorities in response to sanctions against Russian officials by Washington.
    It's Déjà vu all over again.

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