Biden reportedly considering new troop deployments as Russia continues to threaten Ukraine

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WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 09: U.S. President Joe Biden talks on the phone with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky from the Oval Office at the White House on December 09, 2021 in Washington, DC. According to the White House, Biden and Zelensky discussed Russia’s military build-up on Ukraine’s borders. (Photo by Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images)

As Russian President Vladimir Putin continues to saber-rattle on the Ukrainian border, The New York Times reports that President Joe Biden is contemplating “deploying several thousand U.S. troops, as well as warships and aircraft,” to NATO allies in Eastern Europe. The administration was presented with several such plans, says the Times; whether those plans are close to fruition or are being floated publicly primarily to remind the Russian oligarchy that a Ukrainian invasion would bring more threats to Russia’s western borders rather than less remains to be seen.

Other NATO allies are already moving similar forces into position, however, which suggests the Biden administration may follow, and the U.S. has now put up to 8,500 troops on alert in preparation for deployment.

As Russia’s foreign power continues to dwindle, Putin has increasingly turned to crisis provocation as preferred tool for extracting concessions from the rest of the world. Like North Korea, the state has used military maneuvers as public tantrum when it thinks top nations haven’t been paying enough attention to it, and Putin has even adopted the North Korean strategy of using new missile tests to further troll world governments. This time around, NATO countries appear to believe that Putin may indeed order a new Ukrainian invasion. On Sunday, the United States ordered families of U.S. Embassy personnel in Ukraine to evacuate the country. That’s a more significant move than previous Russian belligerence has provoked.

Previous reports have suggested Putin sees a full or partial capture of Ukraine as useful for boosting his ever-tenuous domestic support, and the continued Russian occupation of Crimea proves that all-out invasion is in fact something Putin could order if he believes he can weather the resulting international punishment.

Most U.S. plans, therefore, are focused on pushing the Russian economy out of a Moscow window in response to any Putin aggression. And that’s leading the Biden administration to contemplate a move perhaps even more consequential than troop repositioning: the imposition of a broad export ban that could see Russia cut off from many or even most U.S.-designed electronics. Using the foreign direct product rule formerly used against Chinese tech firm Huawei, reports The Washington Post, the administration could demand that any product using U.S.-designed or partially U.S.-designed semiconductors be barred from export to Russia.

That, especially if used in conjunction with new rounds of financial sanctions, could truly decimate many Russian industries. But it also would be challenging to enforce, given the profits that world tech companies gain from catering to Russian markets.

For years, Putin has engaged in these moves so as to focus world attention on the needs of the Russian kleptocracy, which relies heavily on oil and gas production as the means of sucking the wealth from their nation and which requires the cooperation of Europe and nations elsewhere. But NATO now appears to be convinced that this new threat is not merely another Russian tantrum, and the options NATO members are contemplating as Russian forces seemingly prepare for action seem to be escalating rapidly.



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