Ted Cruz accurately predicted Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
It may be hard for liberals to accept, but United States Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) foresaw the calamity in Ukraine. The second-term lawmaker has been a lone voice who has consistently lobbied against Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline, the construction of which was paused due to sanctions imposed by former President Donald Trump that were reversed under President Joe Biden.
That was, however, until Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded the sovereign nation of Ukraine.
“That decision was the direct cause of the Russian invasion of Ukraine,” Cruz said in an interview with Intelligencer.
Indeed, it was Senate Democrats who in January torpedoed Cruz's bill to renew sanctions on Nord Stream 2, even amid Ukraine's plea that the project was "no less an existential threat to our security" than the buildup of Russian troops along its borders.
"Kyiv is certain that NS2 will be sanctioned eventually. We just hope it’s before further damage to trans-Atlantic unity and European security," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told Axios at the time.
Thus, Cruz believes that Biden’s undoing of the Trump-era sanctions gave Putin a green light to attack Europe’s youngest democracy.
“When Biden waived sanctions on Nord Stream 2, I said at the time, ‘The consequences of this, if the Biden administration allows Nord Stream 2 to be completed, will be a Russian invasion of Ukraine, will be Russian tanks in the streets of Kyiv.’ I wish that prediction had not proven accurate, but it has proven precisely accurate," Cruz said.
Nord Stream 2 – controlled by the Russian energy giant Gazprom – served as a means of delivering oil to Western Europe through Ukraine. And while the penalties imposed so far by the West have hit Gazprom hard, Cruz maintained that the latest rounds of sanctions that were levied after Putin’s forces entered Ukraine arrived too late and should be irreversible.
“We need to put in U.S. law that these sanctions are permanent, that that pipeline will never be on. That makes the deterrent credible. It puts teeth on the deterrent,” said Cruz.
“Right now, the focus should be on stopping Russia from conquering Ukraine,” he continued, noting that “victory is perhaps arguable” and that vanquishing Putin may require a global embargo on Russian oil. Fossil fuel exports make up a substantial percentage of the Russian economy and European consumption.
Cruz, however, harbors doubts about the president’s resolve. “Almost to a person, the Biden administration views it as inevitable that Russia wins and conquers Ukraine,” he claimed, based on briefings he attended with administration officials.
“It is a defeatist attitude that got us in this mess to begin with. I believe we can still win using the tools we have, and in particular, real economic sanctions and serious military equipment to let the Ukrainians do what they are heroically doing, which is defending their homeland. That is a path to victory,” Cruz said, adding that he is not “convinced anyone in the Biden administration believes victory is possible.”
That last statement is a reach. Biden himself said before and during his State of the Union address that diplomacy and aid to Ukraine can stop Putin.
But Cruz does agree with Biden on one critical point. Like the president, Cruz is steadfastly opposed to direct American intervention in Ukraine. Instead, he supports the “pursuit of amorphous international norms” and made no qualms about who bears ultimate responsibility for the chaos.
“We’re involved because Vladimir Putin wants to reassemble the Soviet Union. Vladimir Putin is an enemy of America. We don’t want enemies of America to become stronger. When the Soviet Union was the world’s other superpower, the American people were in greater jeopardy. It was more dangerous for American national security,” Cruz said. “We want our enemies weak and not strong.”
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