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Biden's perilous Putin policy
By Mark Alexander
A month ago, Joe Biden went to Europe to warn Vladimir Putin to get back in his box, or else. Fact is, the most sensible thing he said — that Putin "cannot remain in power" — was immediately walked back by his full-time team of "he didn't know what he was saying" record correctors.
His bumbling Brussels confab proved to be what we all knew it would be — another Biden failure. He even denied that sanctions were a deterrent, after two months of his entire administration's declarations that sanctions were a deterrent.
A month earlier, Biden had sent over his version of Neville Chamberlain's "peace for our time" appeasers, Tony Blinken and Wendy Sherman, to fix it, with equally predictable results.
Last week Biden sent Blinken back, along with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, and this time they ventured across the border into Kyiv for a photo-op with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. They led from behind by announcing that our embassy personnel would return from Poland to Ukraine, and Biden appointed a U.S. ambassador, Bridget Brink, a career Foggy Bottom bureaucrat, to the post that had been vacant since 2019. (We were rooting for ambassador Hunter Biden, since he has so much experience in Ukraine, but to no avail.)
Of course, they came bearing more gifts, including another $713 million in foreign military financial aid and $165 million in "non-standard ammunition." According to Austin, "We want to see Russia weakened to the degree that it can't do the kinds of things that it has done in invading Ukraine." Or at least "weakened to the degree that it can't do the kinds of things" the Demos' Russian disinformation cabal falsely claimed they did with Donald Trump. (Please put them in jail!)
Officially, Blinken concluded: "Russia is failing, Ukraine is succeeding. Russia has sought as its principal aim to totally subjugate Ukraine — to take away its sovereignty, to take away its independence. That has failed."
For the moment.
Putin underestimated the tenacity of Ukrainians, both those in uniform and street resistance fighters. Evidence of their fighting spirit is displayed on billboards, including references to the sinking of his prize Black Sea fleet flagship Moskva (Moscow) in retaliation for the Snake Island attack. As you recall, the Ukrainian guards manning that small outpost responded to demands they surrender, "Русский военный корабль, иди на хуй" ("Russian warship, go f*ck yourself," as noted on the billboard). Other billboards encourage street methods for fighting, like the use of Molotov cocktails. (Compliments to our friends on the ground in Ukraine for the billboard photos.)
Responding to Biden and Blinken's assessment, Putin is shutting off the gas lines to Poland (a primary weapons staging area) and Bulgaria until which time they pay in rubles — a measure to shore up the value of the ruble and to remind the EU they have struck a bargain with the devil.
EU President Ursula von der Leyen observed the obvious: "Unilaterally stopping delivery of gas to customers in Europe is yet another attempt by Russia to use gas as an instrument of blackmail. This is unjustified and unacceptable. And it shows once again the unreliability of Russia as a gas supplier."
Memo to Ursula: Duh!
The good news is that citizens in the EU are getting a very rude wakeup call.
So, what's the current status of the Russian threat to Ukraine and NATO?
Despite weeks of hopeful predictions that Putin was in retreat after failing to take Kyiv, if that was in fact his objective, along with pulling back to refortify his position in the Donbas region on the Eastern Ukraine border with Russia, what is Putin's next move?
No question that the Russian dictator met more resistance than expected in Kyiv, but as all war strategists know, the best laid plans are compromised after the first shots are fired. However, the surge to Kyiv may have been a feint, a diversion, and the refocus on taking the Donbas region may be precisely Putin's strategy.
However, re-staffing our embassy in Kyiv is the right move, coming on the heels of the UK and other European countries, and finally affirming that the Biden administration believes that Putin might be stopped in Donbas. But the perils abound.
In December, I outlined Putin's Ukraine invasion strategy and rationale in "Putin the Tyrant v. Biden the Appeaser." As I noted then (and as a few media outlets are finally mentioning now): "Why does Putin want to retake Ukraine? One reason is the threat that Ukraine could eventually become a NATO country, providing a military staging ground on Russia's western front. But more to the point would be that on 22 February of 2014, after hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians rose up against Putin's puppet president Victor Yanukovych, occupying Kyiv's Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square), Yanukovych was forced to flee back to Russia in what was a severe blow to Putin's power and ego."
Putin wants to restore his legacy.
Note that, as we anticipated, while the layers of economic sanctions being enforced against Russia are doing significant damage, Putin has also used the pain as a rallying point to bolster nationalist fervor, the model used by Adolf Hitler. However, on the other side of some negotiated victory, what are Putin's options now that Biden has accused him of war crimes and genocide?
The Hoover Institution's Niall Ferguson writes in his assessment of worst-case scenarios: "Most conflicts end quickly, but this one looks increasingly like it won't. The repercussions could range from global stagflation to World War III."
Of those, the one we are most concerned about is the very real risk that a cornered Putin would utilize tactical nukes. (A tactical nuclear weapon is one specifically designed for battlefield use.) He may well be determined to demolish what he can't possess.
Remember that Ukraine is already the site of history's worst nuclear accident — the nuclear power plant core meltdown in 1986 at Chernobyl, which is located just north of Kyiv — so pilling on additional nuclear contamination is not beyond Putin's playbook.
Ferguson notes: "Biden and his advisers seem remarkably confident that the combination of attrition in Ukraine and sanctions on Russia will bring about a political crisis in Moscow comparable to the one that dissolved the Soviet Union 31 years ago. ... Those who prematurely proclaim Ukrainian victory seem to forget that the worse things go for Russia in conventional warfare, the higher the probability rises that Putin uses chemical weapons or a small nuclear weapon."
Further, he writes: "Those who dismiss the risk of World War III overlook this stark reality. In the Cold War, it was NATO that could not hope to win a conventional war with the Soviet Union. That was why it had tactical nuclear weapons ready to launch against the Red Army if it marched into Western Europe. Today Russia would stand no chance in a conventional war with NATO. That is why Putin has tactical nuclear weapons ready to launch in response to a Western attack on Russia. And the Kremlin has already made the argument that such an attack is underway."
On the other hand, as I have previously asserted, the scenario we find most appealing is this: The tidiest way to end Putin's dictatorship is for a member of his security or military detail to take him out. The more war and sanction-related civil unrest that emerges in Russia's major cities, the more likely a proud and heroic individual may impose that "regime change" — and that individual would qualify for a "Hero of Russia" medal.
Ferguson suggests the "combination of military and economic crisis precipitate a palace coup against Putin." He believes "the Biden administration is betting on regime change in Moscow." He concludes, "There is no doubt in my mind that the U.S. (and at least some of its European allies) are aiming to get rid of Putin."
The standoff is best summarized in an assertion by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov: "NATO is, in essence, going to war with Russia through a proxy and arming that proxy." Of course, the same can be said of Russia, going to war with NATO through a proxy and attacking that proxy.
Clearly, one outcome of the Ukraine war is that our military footprint in Europe, which was receding, is now growing, with significant budgetary and military allocation implications.
All the hopeful predictions that Putin is on the ropes notwithstanding, it is actually Biden who is on the ropes as a result of his growing list of domestic and foreign policy failures. And make no mistake, Biden's handlers are making no moves without calculating, first and foremost, how those moves affect the midterm elections and the socialist Democrat Party agenda.
They are not responsible for his failures, of course, but they are most assuredly responsible for putting him in a position to codify those failures, and the dire consequences are on them. What exactly did Biden voters think he was going to accomplish? A bustling economy? World peace? A restoration of dignity to the executive branch? Biden, and by extension our nation, is the laughing stock of the world.
Finally, as I have stated previously, Putin's "minor incursion" into Ukraine, as Biden framed it ahead of the invasion, is the direct consequence of a weak and inept commander-in-chief — one who was a foreign policy dolt long before he was elected. Power does not tolerate a vacuum, nor a feeble-minded appeaser. Consequently, Biden's weakness invited aggression.
Mark Alexander is the executive editor of the Patriot Post.