Ukraine part 2

Here are some more suggestions:

1. Open a second (or third) front.
Russia invaded Georgia and set up a puppet government over South Ossetia in 2008. We could send Georgia military aid to allow them to take it back.
Earlier this year, Russia sent troops to Kazakhstan to keep the government there in power. If a neighboring country is willing, we could send arms to rebels in Kazakhstan.
Since Russia already has about 2/3 of its forces in Ukraine, these moves would force Putin to split his forces. He would have to give something up.

2. Put pressure on China.
China is considering aiding Russia. We should carefully document the supply chain that begins in China. That would include not only things we import directly from China, but also components and materials that are produced in China, used in third countries, then imported into the United States. The point is to be ready to impose sanctions on China if it helps Russia.

3. Encourage production of oil and natural gas.
Russia makes a lot of money from oil and gas exports. We need to replace Russian exports with American exports.
Oil and gas companies are reluctant to invest in new production (e.g. drill new wells) because of uncertainty about future prices. This is exacerbated by government regulations. To compensate for that, Congress should appropriate $100 billion to guarantee prices. E.g. if the target price is $60 per barrel, then the government would pay the difference between that price and the actual price of oil for any oil pumped in America. That would give companies the incentive to invest in new capacity. The same could be done for natural gas.
We could also make use of our massive coal reserves. Electric companies haven't been building coal fired power plants because of regulatory uncertainty. The Federal government should pay to build new coal power generators. To get them built quickly and efficiently, private companies would bid on construction contracts with bonuses for early completion and penalties for delays. In California, in 1994, Governor Pete Wilson used that technique to rebuild a freeway overpass very quickly.

4. Challenge Russia to allow humanitarian aid.
Russia is trying to stop the flow a supplies to Ukraine: the justification is that the West is supplying weapons to Ukraine to kill Russian soldiers. We could separate humanitarian aid (food, medical supplies, water purification devices) from military aid by having it sent in on specially marked planes. The Russians would be invited to inspect the cargoes of the planes before takeoff to ensure that they weren't carrying contraband.

Posted 2022/March/15