Joe Does It Again

Timeline: The morning of Tuesday July 11, 2023

Today the baseball All Star Game is being played in Seattle. A lot of baseball brass will all be in the same place at the same time. While they may not happen for a bit and certainly won’t be announced, a lot of deals will take place. Much the same can be said for NATO’s leaders gathering in Vilnius, Lithuania. In this case, the biggest deals have been announced, Joe Biden was at the center of most of them and we’ll visit a few of them below.

The biggest deal centered around Sweden but it was far from the only one.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was visiting the meeting to lobby on behalf of his country. His utopian goal, which he had to realize wasn’t going to happen, was for Ukraine to become a NATO member. Biden killed that by saying that they could not be admitted as long as their war with Russia was still ongoing. At this point I agree with that stance. If Ukraine were to be admitted to NATO it would instantly turn the proxy war (and that’s what it is) into a hot war and a direct conflict with Russia.

The “agenda” big issue was the admission of Sweden to the club. Recep Erdogan’s Turkey had been the big holdup. (Hungary has also yet to approve Sweden’s admission but all indications are that that stumbling block is very surmountable.) Turkey was using their leverage to achieve some other objectives. It seems to have extracted the best deal possible and Erdogan has pledged to back Sweden’s admission.

The direct Turkey-Sweden conflict seems to have centered around Sweden allowing the PKK (the Kurdish opposition political party in Turkey) to stage some protest demonstrations in Sweden and was resolved between the leadership of both countries. If that sounds like small potatoes to you, we are of like minds.

Turkey has long wanted some F-16s from America. The Biden administration has reluctantly favored the deal. Turkey may be a snake that plays both sides against the middle but it is better to keep them (if only nominally) in our fold. (Kind of like Joe Manchin.) It appears Biden convinced Democratic Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to drop his objections to the sale of the planes.

The big winners appear to be NATO, Turkey, Sweden, Ukraine and it was all brokered by Joe Biden or at his direction. There is little doubt that he is an international relations genius level deal maker. It’s too late to redo history but perhaps he should have been Secretary of State long ago.

NATO got Sweden. It’s not official yet, but that is the reality. With Sweden in NATO Finland gets its back door protected and combined with Norway, NATO now has the entire Scandinavian Peninsula in the fold.

Turkey will get the F-16s it needs. The PKK thing is minor except personally to a wannabe strongman like Erdogan.

Sweden gets into NATO.

Ukraine, via the Zelenskyy – Erdogan meetings got Turkey – who again, plays all sides – closer to its side in its ongoing war with Russia. This is huge when you consider the access/ control/ influence Turkey has over the Black Sea. It has no immediate impact and has largely been lost in the shuffle but Erdogan declared that Ukraine is ready for NATO membership. Stick a pin in that one for down the road.

I hope the American electorate recognizes it before the 2024 election but Joe Biden got another major international win. America is back as the free world’s leader. My only concern is that the voters don’t mess that up next fall.

The big loser is Vladimir Putin. One of the reasons for the incursion into Ukraine was to weaken NATO. Well, it will soon be two countries stronger than it was when Putin invaded and its land border with Russia is now twice as long by virtue of Finland’s admission. Also, when Sweden joins that border will be thicker.

I might be reading too much into the events of earlier this week but it appears Turkey, at least for the moment has slide just a bit further from Russia.

Lastly, I find it interesting that Hungary, led by wannabe strongman Viktor Orban, hasn’t thrown much sand in the gears. Putin can’t like that.

Now if only Bubba, or perhaps more importantly Mrs. Bubba, is paying attention.

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