What, if anything, is in President Biden’s mind when he makes statements such as those he made last week?
Biden has declined to send Polish MiG-29s to Ukraine, which they need badly, because he believes it would be an escalation of the war there.
On Saturday, Biden called on the people of Russia to stand up against President Putin and throw him out of power. Biden said, “The American people will stand with you,” adding, “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power,” and emphasizing the need to “fight the corruption coming from the Kremlin.” That’s not escalatory?
Let’s hope a specific kind of damage was done by that remark. Biden, by appeasing Putin in a host of ways, has for over a year relied on Putin and his representatives run the Iran negotiations and help talk Iran into a renewal of the 2015 Obama nuclear weapons deal with Iran. If Biden’s off-script to oust Putin enrages the latter, Putin could ensure that the new Iran deal will fall through.
Biden needs to be made to understand that the combat aircraft Ukraine needs are essential to winning the war. Enabling the Poles to give Ukraine their MiG-29s — if they are still willing to do so — could make the difference between winning and losing.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken quickly recanted Biden’s remark, emphasizing that Biden wasn’t advocating regime change in Moscow which, of course, Biden had just done. Biden is confused and befuddled far more than anyone else involved in the matter.
Putin has been accusing Ukraine — falsely — of having chemical and biological weapons. Biden, and our intelligence community, believe that Putin’s words indicate Russia’s intent to use chemical weapons against Ukraine.
In a conversation by text message, I spoke with Oleksandr Merezhko. He is chairman of the foreign affairs committee of the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s unicameral parliament.
Merezhko said that Ukraine regarded the U.S. as its most reliable strategic partner and that his nation is very grateful for all the aid and support it has received so far.
Merezhko takes the threat of Russian use of chemical weapons very seriously. He agrees with Biden that Putin’s accusation that Ukraine has chemical and biological weapons is an indication that Russia might use such weapons against Ukraine. History tells us that Russia frequently accuses its opponents of doing exactly what it does or intends to do.
On Thursday, Biden said that Russia’s use of chemical weapons in Ukraine “would trigger a response in kind” by NATO, adding that, “The nature of the response would depend on the nature of the use.”
Any response “in kind” by NATO forces would have to be an attack on Russian forces with chemical weapons, but the “nature of the use” is such an ambiguous qualifier it makes the threat meaningless. Biden escalated the conflict, drawing a red line with one breath and erased it with the next.
On Thursday, Biden was speaking to some U.S. troops in Poland. Praising the Ukrainians for courage, he said, “You’re going to see when you’re there — some of you have been there — you’re going to see women, young people, standing in the middle, in front of a damn tank, saying, ‘I’m not leaving.’” Was he going to escalate the war hugely by sending U.S. troops there?
Of course not. On Friday, the White House press office spent its day cleaning up after Biden and making sure nobody believed he was sending U.S. troops into Ukraine.
Before Biden’s Afghanistan debacle some of us said that the Taliban could win by not losing. That was before — thanks to Biden — they drove us out of Afghanistan. The Ukrainians may win by actually defeating the Russian invasion, but only if we give them the means to do so.
The Ukrainians have received hundreds of tons of military equipment from us and other NATO nations, including Javelin and Stinger missiles. They have not received, as I’ve written several times, the things they need most such as Poland’s MiG-29 fighter-bombers and more sophisticated anti-aircraft weapon systems.
The supplies they’ve received are not unlimited and are being expended at a great rate. Ukraine says it will soon run out of the bombs, missiles, drones, and other tools of war they need. We need to act now to ensure that doesn’t happen.
Biden needs to be made to understand that the combat aircraft Ukraine needs are essential to winning the war. Enabling the Poles to give Ukraine their MiG-29s — if they are still willing to do so — could make the difference between winning and losing. It’s impossible for Biden to be made to understand that because his principal advisers — Blinken, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin — don’t understand the point and won’t attempt to change Biden’s mind.
The Russian army, navy, and air force haven’t been able to take several major cities including Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv. They are committing war crimes on an hourly basis by intentionally killing civilians. But they are, again, reportedly stalled for some period of time. There are reports that Putin is ordering more troops and materiel to Ukraine from as far away as Siberia.
Ukraine hasn’t won — yet — but it’s foolish to say that it can’t. Biden needs to ensure that the Ukrainians get everything they need to keep up the fight, including the Polish MiGs.
It’s entirely appropriate to ask if President Biden has established a goal for Ukraine’s defense against the Russian invasion and has a plan to achieve that goal. His record on such planning, such as his Afghanistan withdrawal plan, is below dismal. Biden’s evident failure goes back to last year.
In September 2021, during one of Russia’s buildups of forces on Ukraine’s border, Biden made a speech in which he assured Ukraine that we would stand by its sovereignty and territorial integrity. He has repeated that statement several times since.
In January and early February, when our intelligence community was predicting an invasion of Ukraine by Russia, Biden threatened severe sanctions. Vice President Kammy Harris and Secretary of State Blinken said repeatedly that threats of sanctions could deter Putin from mounting an invasion.
Ukrainian President Zelensky said that the sanctions should be imposed before the invasion in order to be effective. He was right.
Biden chose not to impose sanctions before the February 24 invasion. After the invasion began Biden, joined by several other NATO nations, imposed supposedly severe economic sanctions on Russia. For example, the sanctions removed several Russian banks from the “SWIFT” system, making them unable to clear transactions with western banks.
Of course, the principal banks that handle the transactions enabling western Europe to buy Russian gas and oil were exempted from the sanctions. And, inevitably, the toothless sanctions didn’t do anything to slow or stop Russia’s invasion forces.
What did slow Russia’s forces, and has now stopped them temporarily, is Ukraine’s forces’ bravery and sheer will to fight. Russia’s losses may amount to as many as forty thousand troops so far.
Unfortunately, there’s still a flood of absurdity coming out of Biden and Harris.
Last Wednesday, Biden was asked about the deterrent effect of sanctions and — despite what Harris and Blinken said — Biden answered, “Let’s get something straight. You remember if you covered me from the very beginning, I did not say that, in fact, the sanctions would deter him. Sanctions never deter. You keep talking about that. Sanctions never deter.”
Sanctions never deter? Biden never corrected Harris or Blinken when they made their statements about sanctions deterring Putin. Seems like I’ve written that about fifty times over the past ten years. And history has confirmed it almost as many times over the same period.
The only person confused by all this is our senile, befuddled, incompetent president.
The last time I checked, America still stands for freedom and against tyranny. Let’s give the Ukrainians the tools they need to defeat the Russian invasion.
One of the ways to measure Russia’s losses is by what equipment its forces abandon to be seized by the Ukrainians. One very interesting piece of equipment they apparently abandoned is a Russian Krasukha-4 electronic warfare system.
Ukraine reportedly captured a Krasukha-4 system last week. It’s supposed to be able to jam satellites and U.S. radar reconnaissance and battle management aircraft such as the AWACS, JSTARS, and Sentry aircraft. We know that Russia has been jamming Ukrainian cell phone communication, and the Krasukha-4 is probably the system they were using to do it. Russia probably has more of the systems beyond the one captured.
The Krasukha-4 system — Russia’s latest — comes in two large containers hauled on trucks, one for the EW components and one command module.
One source informs me that the Ukrainians proved their gratitude by giving it to us, and it’s probably already in Germany or the U.S. It’s a huge prize for our military and intelligence communities if they are wise enough to study it and learn its limitations.