No wonder they give him a list of journalists to call. President Biden was doing well at his NATO press conference until it was time to leave. As he was about to leave, many journalists barked at him and asked the President another question. He called Christina Rufini from CBS News. And immediately repented. Their exchange was a reminder that Biden had trouble explaining the meaning of resistance, the effectiveness of the alliance, and America’s desired end-state in Ukraine.
“Sir,” Rufini said, “the resistance didn’t work. Do you think Vladimir Putin will change based on what you do today?
“Let’s straighten things out,” Biden replied. “Remember, if you had covered me from the beginning, I would not have said that sanctions would stop him. Prohibition never stops. You keep talking about that. Sanctions never stop. ”
Don’t they? So why did Biden start threatening Putin with sanctions?
Anyone with an internet connection and a little curiosity can see that, in the run-up to Putin’s attack, Biden’s Vice President, The Secretary of State, and the National Security Adviser all said the scope of the sanctions would have a deterrent effect. Obviously, that didn’t happen.
Towards the end of 2021 and early 2022 the U.S. strategy did not prevent war-instead of acknowledging that Biden wanted to revise the record in order to give himself foresight. Give him points for bile.
What makes the ban count, Biden said, is how long they have been in position. “The maintenance of sanctions, the maintenance of sanctions, the escalation of pain and the demonstration of why I called for this NATO meeting today,” the president continued, For the rest of the year, that’s what will stop him. “
Let’s hope so. However, the record suggests that Biden was wrong. The United States has maintained sanctions on Cuba for six decades. His behavior did not change. We have imposed sanctions on North Korea for a longer period. This week it launched an ICBM. We have imposed economic sanctions on Iran for 40 years for its misconduct. The punishment is that the Biden administration now wants to relax.
Extensively and in advance, bans can deter a bad actor. Otherwise, they are punishable. Depending on their severity, they can wreak havoc on an economy. They can thwart an authoritarian. They rarely interrupt him.
Why? Because money is less important to oppressors than power. Putin wants the most restoration of the Russian Empire under his rule. What he fears is the fall of his rule.
Putin has been around. He has seen the trial and execution of Saddam Hussein. He witnessed the popular removal of dictators in Tunisia, Yemen and Egypt during the short-lived Arab Spring. He saw Muammar Gaddafi at the time of the massacre. Putin does not care about the well-being of his citizens. He is only worried about himself.
You stop the opponent by putting some of his valuable risks. Such as his life. For Putin, the difference between victory and defeat in Ukraine is between power and powerlessness, the difference between life and death.
If President Biden had been more vague about the possible military response to the Russian attack, Putin would have thought twice before launching his “special military operation.” He may not want to risk a confrontation with the United States that could end in military defeat and political catastrophe. But Biden went out of his way to say that American troops would not defend Ukraine. And Biden continues to say that his main goal is to avoid “World War III.”
Such warnings are worthwhile. After all, prudence is a quality. But Biden has spent a lot of time talking about him Will not Than what he does Maybe If Putin escalates or expands this war, he will. That tendency has given the Russian dictator strategic advantage.
Putin lost the West’s information war. He failed to achieve his primary goal of destroying Kiev, overthrowing Zelensky and splitting NATO. He has destroyed the Russian economy. But Western governments are still fearful of his next move. Fear that acts as a deterrent in the West.
To allay such fears, Biden will need to mobilize the coalition to help Ukraine change information on the ground from a stalemate to a counter-attack. This requires a huge influx of resources into Ukraine, much more economic and military assistance than has already been provided. This requires reducing the notion that Ukraine is increasingly operating humanitarian airlifts in Soviet-era weapons systems, including fighters, or in besieged Ukrainian cities. This is not a red line for Putin to think about what this alliance can do next, but a strategic ambiguity.
Biden is not ready to start this course. “We have to be completely, completely, thoroughly united,” he told a news conference. Unity is wonderful. NATO and EU coordination has been remarkable during the crisis. But these alliances do not end in themselves. They are the way to end.
President Biden has yet to say exactly what that is. Do the West want a ceasefire, a victory for Ukraine, an end to Putin’s rule? We said we wanted to stop the attack. Of course. But where to stop? How to stop?
“The single most important thing is that we remain united, and the world continues to focus on what this man is brutal and the lives of all innocent people that are being lost and destroyed and what is happening,” Biden said Thursday. “That’s the important thing.”
No, that’s important. For twenty years the world has known Putin was a brutal man. We have to work now. Now Biden’s job is to give Ukrainians the tools to guarantee the survival of democracy and the defeat of the atrocities.
Post Biden has yet to resist appearing on the first Washington Free Beacon.