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New York Times columnist Tom Friedman penned an op-ed that warned the United States risks being inadvertently dragged into direct war with Russia due to its support for Ukraine.
“If you just followed the news reports on Ukraine, you might think that this war has settled into a long, grinding, and somewhat boring slog. You would be wrong,” Friedman, a longstanding opinion columnist for the Times, wrote.
The article, titled “The War is Getting More Dangerous for America, and Biden Knows It,” asserts that “things are actually getting more dangerous day by day.”
“The longer this war goes on, the more opportunity for catastrophic miscalculations,” Friedman wrote.
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Friedman pointed to two recent leaks; one that the United States provided Ukrainian forces with intelligence used to kill Russian generals, and the second that America provided intelligence to Ukrainian forces to sink Russia’s Moskva, its flagship battleship.
Friedman reported how President Biden never intended for the U.S.’s involvement in these strikes to be known, and was “livid” when said knowledge became public.
“From everything I have been able to glean from senior U.S. officials, who spoke to me on condition of anonymity, the leaks were not part of any thought-out strategy, and President Biden was livid about them,” he wrote. “The staggering takeaway from these leaks is that they suggest we are no longer in an indirect war with Russia but rather are edging toward a direct war — and no one has prepared the American people or Congress for that.”
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He continued, “Vladimir Putin surely has no illusions about how much the U.S. and NATO are arming Ukraine with material and intelligence, but when American officials start to brag in public about playing a role in killing Russian generals and sinking the Russian flagship, killing many sailors, we could be creating an opening for Putin to respond in ways that could dangerously widen this conflict — and drag the U.S. in deeper than it wants to be.”
Friedman also warned that while he admires what he views as Zelensky’s “heroism and leadership”, the Ukrainian president has a vested interest in increasing American involvement in the conflict even if it is not in the United States’ best interest.
“President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine has been trying to do the same thing [involve America in the conflict] from the start — to make Ukraine an immediate member of NATO or get Washington to forge a bilateral security pact with Kyiv,” Friedman wrote. “I am in awe of Zelensky’s heroism and leadership. If I were him, I’d be trying to get the U.S. as enmeshed on my side as he is.”
Friedman said that as an American citizen, he wants the country to do what is in its own best interest and to remain “laser-focused” so the U.S. doesn’t risk of being pulled directly into the conflict.
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Friedman concluded by cautioning that America is “dealing with some incredibly unstable elements” including a “politically wounded Putin.”
“Boasting about killing [Putin’s] generals and sinking his ships, or falling in love with Ukraine in ways that will get us enmeshed there forever, is the height of folly,” he wrote.