Currently, the United States and its Western allies are imposing heavy punitive economic sanctions on Russia, sanctions that are already throwing the Russian economy into crisis, and although no country is sending troops to Ukraine, weapons are being sent. But there are two things the West isn’t doing. Although the West is cutting off other forms of trade with Russia, the West is not cutting off the purchase of oil and natural gas from Russia. Doing that would punish the West at least as much as it would punish Russia. In fact, Russia could severely punish the West by cutting off the sale of fuel. So far, neither of those things is happening, but the situation with the fuel trade is precarious.
But that’s not the worst of it.
The government of Ukraine is asking the U.S. and its allies to declare a no-fly zone over Ukraine. What would that mean? In short form, it would mean that the U.S. and its allies would be shooting down Russian planes as they attempted to fly over Ukraine, which Russia would certainly regard as an act of war against Russia. It would lead Russia to launch some kind of retaliatory attack. Because Biden knows that, he has made it fairly clear that the no-fly zone isn’t going to happen, much to the anger and frustration of Ukrainians. But even without the no-fly zone, Putin is calling the punitive economic sanctions an act of war. And here’s the rub: If Russia attacks any member of the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance (NATO), that means all of the NATO member countries have to treat it as an attack upon them, and thus must cooperate in the response.
And thus, if Russia attacks any NATO member, it will mean that the United States will be formally and officially at war with Russia.
And both countries have nuclear weapons.
And one of the two countries is ruled by a mad man who doesn’t have the kind of restraint that rational people have.
This is why we’re hearing talk of World War III as a serious possibility.
(For updates, see the news feeds that I have built into this OpenLab site., on the right side of the page if you’re on a computer.)