Russian tanks escorted by so-called “peacekeepers” entered Ukraine just hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized two self-proclaimed regions in the eastern part of the country.
We’ll see what economic sanctions the United States and the European Union ultimately decide to apply against the Kremlin, but for now, Biden appears to be under the “minor intrusion” he called for.
“I think you will see that Russia will be held accountable if it invades,” Biden said during a disastrous Q&A session following his January 19 prepared speech.
When a president goes off the script, he usually gets in trouble, and this time he really did.
“And it depends on what he does,” Biden continued. “It’s one thing if it’s a minor intrusion, and then we end up fighting over what to do and what not to do, and so on.”
The reporter continued by giving the President the opportunity to correct this mistake.
“Are you actually giving Putin permission to make a small invasion of the country?” she asked.
The President laughed and said, “Good question. That’s how it sounded, right?
At this point, it seems that Biden is undergoing a “minor intrusion” that he himself caused. (Above) President Joe Biden presents the national report on the situation on the Russian-Ukrainian border at the White House in Washington, DC, February 18, 2022.
Pro-Russian activists react after Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree recognizing two Russian-backed breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine as independent entities in the separatist-controlled city of Donetsk, Ukraine February 21, 2022.
The official “clarification” of Biden’s remarks came later in a statement by White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki.
“President Biden has made it clear to the President of Russia that if any Russian military forces cross the Ukrainian border, this will be a renewed invasion and it will be met with a swift, tough and united response from the United States and our allies,” read it.
But now Biden’s erratic and controversial approach to Vladimir Putin is bearing bitter fruit.
Biden has always had opposing impulses towards Putin and Russia.
During the campaign, Biden posed as John Wayne; Two years ago, Biden — or more likely some campaign official — tweeted, “Vladimir Putin doesn’t want me to be president.” He doesn’t want me to be our candidate. If you’re wondering why, it’s because I’m the only person in the field who has ever gone head-to-head with him.
But then, after coming to power, Biden vowed that he wanted a “stable and predictable” relationship with Russia.
In March, Biden touted an extension of the arms deal with Russia.
By May, Biden had lifted his objections to the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline running from Russia to Germany, which would increase Europe’s dependence on Russian energy exports.
In a face-to-face meeting with Putin in June, Biden called Putin “smart,” “tough,” and “a worthy adversary.”
Biden no doubt thought he was showing Putin the right balance of toughness and sensible reconciliation.
But it is clear that Vladimir Putin – with memories of the Obama administration’s low-key response to the 2014 annexation of Crimea – looked at Biden and saw nothing. (The catastrophic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan has likely further convinced Putin that Biden wants to withdraw from the world and focus on domestic issues.)
Biden’s weakness provoked Putin’s aggression. This is what happens when containment fails.
The deployment of Russian troops to eastern Ukraine must be considered one of the least unexpected attacks in history; Russian forces have been moving into place for several months.
And all the while, Biden and his allies have promised devastating consequences if Putin violates Ukraine’s sovereignty.
“We are ready to respond strongly to a Russian attack on Ukraine, which is still very likely,” Biden said on February 15.
A tank drives down the street after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian troops to be stationed in two post-independence breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine, in the separatist-controlled city of Donetsk, Ukraine February 22, 2022.
A military truck drives down a street in Donetsk after Putin ordered Russian troops to enter two separatist regions in eastern Ukraine.
Yet by sending so-called “peacekeepers” to Ukraine, Putin is confusing Biden and America’s European allies, who seemed convinced that Putin would be contained, as Vice President Kamala Harris put it, “one of the most serious sanctions if not the strongest.” that we have ever released.
Even before Putin made his move, cracks appeared in the West’s resolve to resist him.
On Friday, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi made it clear that he did not fully agree with the tough sanctions.
“We are discussing sanctions with the EU, and during those discussions we have stated our position that they should be focused on narrow sectors, not including energy,” said Draghi, whose country imports 90% of gas supplies, with Russia being one of the the largest suppliers.
The containment was crumbling. Putin continues to insist.
One might assume that Biden and NATO leaders had planned this ahead of time and reacted immediately to the “minor incursion,” but once again they were caught off guard.
Biden’s first move was to ban U.S. investment in what Russia calls the “Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics.”
But how many American businessmen were willing to invest in a war zone? Disney did not plan to build new theme parks there.
It was a completely symbolic gesture – and Russian soldiers do not back down before symbolic gestures.
Putin must have laughed.
On Monday evening, the UN Security Council held an emergency meeting, and most of its representatives vehemently condemned Russia.
And yet… the meeting was adjourned after 90 minutes, but no action was taken.
Yes, it is good news that German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has suspended the certification of Nord Stream 2, but this essentially stops the paperwork. The pipeline is still there, waiting to be used.
Political and economic pressure to start using the $11 billion pipeline will inevitably mount.
This project was a major initiative of the last two German chancellors, Gerhard Schröder and Angela Merkel, who invested a lot of political capital in the Nord Stream 2 project.
If the West really wants Europe to be independent of Russian gas exports, this pipeline must be shut down forever.
Fill it up with salt water.
Now we see how devastating Biden’s “minor intrusion” oversight was – he said the quiet part aloud.
He wanted to stop the Russian invasion, but not too costly, and the president’s “red line” has always been a bit vague.
On Monday evening, the Biden administration assigned two senior officials to brief journalists, and they stressed that Russia’s actions would not necessarily trigger a whole package of retaliatory sanctions.
“The entry of Russian troops into the Donbass in itself will not be a new step. Russia has troops in Donbass for the last eight years,” an anonymous source said.
Another mixed message, another sign that the West can put up with a “minor invasion” in the wake of Putin’s frighteningly belligerent and displeasure-filled speech in Moscow on Monday.
Finally, by Tuesday morning, the White House was using the word “I.”
“We think it is, yes, the beginning of an invasion, the latest Russian invasion of Ukraine,” Deputy National Security Adviser John Finer told CNN.
Now that’s tough!
CNN Deputy Adviser – Putin should be scared. America’s allies must be sure that the US supports them.
Give me a break!
Which side is now more determined to win?
Which side wants more control over these regions?
Which side is ready to fight, and which continues to frantically talk about exit ramps?
Now the question is: will Putin stop at a “minor invasion”?
The weak threat of economic sanctions has not stopped him yet.