One wonders whether a massive buildup of troops in Alaska—or the Pacific theater more generally—would not have been a more powerful deterrent given how many units Russia had to transfer from the Far East. Would Russia risk nuclear war to protect her sparsely populated eastern wastes? She would, I think, have felt compelled to maintain more conventional forces there, reducing the numbers available for Ukraine. That might also have deterred China, in case she is planning on surprising us by piggybacking Taiwan on Ukraine.

Granted, it would have been cheap talk. The United States do not, I think, fear loss of status more than they fear war these days.