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Tags: crimea | donbas

Biden's Feckless Foreign Policy Ushered Invasion of Ukraine

us president joe biden
(Drew Angerer/Getty Images) 

Paul du Quenoy By Thursday, 24 February 2022 11:18 AM EST Current | Bio | Archive

"Whose fault is it?," asks one of the age-old questions of Russian history. Today, as Russian strike forces devastate Ukraine’s military installations, there can be little doubt that the fault is that of President Joseph R. Biden and his utterly feckless foreign policy team.

Not since the days of Barack Obama have we seen Russia more ferociously on the march.

Now, as then, a catastrophic global projection of American weakness has emboldened Russian President Vladimir Putin to invade Ukraine, which he openly regards as an inseparable part of Russia.

In 2014, in violation of international agreements Russia had signed in good faith, Putin seized Crimea and supported pro-Russian separatist forces in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine. Russia subsequently annexed Crimea after a rigged referendum and maintained a deadly "frozen conflict" in the Donbas that has claimed 14,000 lives.

Only a few months earlier, in September 2013, Obama had set, and then failed to enforce, a "red line" intended to dissuade Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from using chemical weapons against his own people.

Putin perceived weakness and moved on Ukraine in February of the following year.

Obama responded with sanctions against Russian political and economic figures believed to be responsible for the incursions and supplied Ukraine with non-lethal equipment. Neither measure had even the least effect.

During the Trump administration, the situation changed dramatically.

Despite fraudulent allegations of "collusion" with Russia and fantastical claims that Trump was in some way or other beholden to Russian interests, the U.S.’s Russia policy became bolder.

Trump actively worked to secure larger commitments from NATO allies to common European defense and increased American troop and training levels in Poland and the Baltic States, the first line of defense against any possible Russian move against Europe.

Trump supplied Ukraine with lethal weapons valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars — an investment so high that it will ironically help Ukraine offer stronger resistance to Russia now.

Trump stood up to China on trade, human rights, control of the strategically and commercially important South China Sea, and the rights and security of Hong Kong and Taiwan.

He used power politics to broker multiple peace deals in the Middle East for the first time in a generation.

Through a policy of force in Afghanistan, he secured a durable understanding with the Taliban, which refrained from attacking American assets for the rest of his presidency.

In Syria and Iraq, U.S. forces destroyed ISIS, killed its leadership, limited Russian influence, and even dealt Russia a regional blow by wiping out proxy Russian mercenary forces on the battlefield.

Trump withdrew from a deeply flawed Obama-era nuclear agreement that conceded Iran’s eventual acquisition of nuclear weapons in exchange for a decade of delay and tens of billions of dollars in subsidy payments funded by the American taxpayer.

Trump oversaw and promoted American energy independence and an expansion of energy exports, challenging Russia’s near-monopoly on natural gas supplies in Europe and other places.

In direct relations with Moscow, Trump, like all of his post-cold war predecessors, began his administration by seeking a broad bilateral settlement of outstanding issues and made some progress in arms control, Mideast policy, and other areas where relations were historically difficult.

Above all, Trump’s general approach to international politics, though sometimes perceived as erratic, achieved what many observers now credit Putin for — a sly unpredictability, a changing game that kept his opponents off balance, and a highly adaptable pragmatism that left America far stronger in 2020 than it had been four years earlier.

In 13 short months in office, Biden has managed to reverse virtually all of these gains.

Meanwhile, the world has watched with a mixture of bemusement, incomprehension, and horror as Biden’s political party presides over a racialized cultural revolution led by radical Marxist zealots who have demonized the country’s founding principles and assaulted every value and institution making it great.

Who would respect or fear an American leader whose supporters believe men can get pregnant?

China has stolen the march in a renewed trade war, cracked down on human rights, imposed a near-genocidal regime on its Uighur population, suppressed Hong Kong’s liberties in a Soviet-style crackdown, and repeatedly threatened Taiwan.

Without any compulsion from Iran, Biden returned to the negotiating table on Iran’s future nuclear status, earning nothing but contempt from the mullahs in Tehran while squandering hard won American advantages and worrying Israel and other regional allies who are now drifting away from Washington and toward Beijing and Moscow.

Syria, and neighboring Lebanon, are now virtual Iranian satrapies where Russian influence is unchallenged.

In one of the most humiliating reversals in American diplomatic history, the removal of any credible American deterrent caused the stabilized situation in Afghanistan to collapse in a matter of days, while a staggering $85 billion in military equipment was abandoned to our enemies.

American energy independence is now a thing of the past, deliberately sabotaged by executive order even as Russia bullied Europe by leveraging its traditional energy supplies and new Nordstream pipeline.

Treating Putin as a geopolitical equal in bilateral summits held in June and December 2021 merely emboldened him to act like the leader of a global power he would like to be, rather than the petty regional tyrant he is.

Months of inconclusive negotiations and milquetoast diplomatic assurances fielded by weak nonentities left over from the Obama administration only gave Putin the time he needed to build up his invasion force on Ukraine’s borders.

Threats of sanctions, which have never worked before and won't work now, fell on deaf ears that suddenly picked up when the White House stupidly announced that Biden would take no military action to oppose a Russian invasion of the Ukraine, even if American lives were in danger.

Putin’s maximal goals remain unknown, but Ukraine and the structures of European security will never be the same as American power and prestige needlessly fall farther down the rabbit hole as Europe enters its biggest conflict since World War II.

The man most responsible? Joseph Robinette Biden.

Paul du Quenoy is president of the Palm Beach Freedom Institute. He holds a Ph.D. in history from Georgetown University. Read more — Here.

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PaulduQuenoy
Months of inconclusive negotiations and milquetoast diplomatic assurances fielded by weak nonentities left over from the Obama administration only gave Putin the time he needed to build up his invasion force on Ukraine’s borders.
crimea, donbas
1026
2022-18-24
Thursday, 24 February 2022 11:18 AM
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