The world of nations is really stepping up in opposition to President Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. In evaluating President Biden’s role in that, one can expect the hometown referees to call the various plays in his favor. You can expect Biden to take all the credit. After all … America is the world leader.
But any objective analysis – with a more global view – might come to a different conclusion. If you look at the unfolding of events, there is a stronger argument that Biden has been slow to respond. He is not leading – or he is leading from behind in the Obama tradition. And we saw how well that turned out.
Many of the Biden base and fan club keeps suggesting that he has done an amazing job of uniting NATO. But again, the chronology of events suggests otherwise.
Yes … the opposition to Putin’s dirty little war has been overwhelming – and both the European Union and NATO have coalesced in a strong united response. But it seems more the reaction to the bravery of the Ukrainian forces, the power of President Zelenskyy and the horrors of the invasion itself. Most of the international outrage and more effective sanctions and anti-Russian action took place AFTER Ukrainian forces showed that the Russian forces were not invincible – and that a Ukraine victory was not impossible.
Over the course of the invasion build-up and launching, Biden’s actions have generally been too little, too late. He was not leading the world but following.
Until recently, crediting Biden with uniting NATO was unearned back-patting – because NATO and Europe were not United. Germany was opposed to sending military aid – and at one point denied fly-over rights to nations sending such aid. Italy opposed sanctioning oil. Hungry was said to lean to Russia. Other European countries were not joining in the full range of economic sanctions – and there was a general refusal to use the SWIFT program to punish Russia.
Biden refused to consider sanctions until after the invasion – even as Ukraine and other nations pleaded for them as a means of stopping the invasion. And even after the invasion commenced, Biden did not impose the promised Draconian sanctions and other actions that he promised – actions that were supposed to cripple the Russian economy. In fact, that first round of sanctions did nothing to damage Putin’s ability to continue the invasion. They all had long-term impacts.
Biden had actually given up hope and not only did his policies show that, but he said so. Once the invasion was in progress, Biden literally declared that Russia could not be stopped – that he never believed the sanctions would work. Yes, he said that.
He did not use the SWIFT sanction because he said his sanction on the banks would work, but if he did not impose sanctions on all the major banks. In fact, other nations booted Russia out of SWIFT before the United States. He sanctioned only three oligarchs initially. Britain sanctioned 17 oligarchs.
Biden did not sanction Putin personally until after several European nations hit Putin with sanctions.
But the response of President Zelenskyy and the actual defeat of the Russian military in a number of battles changed the international perception. It inspired the world. And that is when the pressure on Putin was increased by the world of nations … by people in the streets across the globe, and even in Russia … and by the world of athletes and celebrities, including Russians. Turkey – that allied with Russia in the Syrian conflict – has closed its airspace to Russia and sent arms to Ukraine. Biden was more of a bystander to all of that.
It is said that it was a call from Zelenskyy to Chancellor Olaf Scholz that got Germany to do a 180-degree turn and going all-in-one support for Ukraine – including the shipping of anti-tank munitions to Ukraine.
Nation after nation shut off their air space to Russian planes – military and domestic. Something Biden did not do until his State of the Union speech.
The talks between Russia and Ukraine – for whatever they may be worth – were initiated because of a phone call from French President Macron to Putin after the invasion was launched. Biden said that he has no intention of talking to Putin personally – and maybe that is a good thing.
Only belatedly – and only after other nations – did Biden enhance the kind of sanctions that should have been put in place as Biden promised – as soon as the first Russian soldier’s boot touched Ukrainian soil.
The actions of the last two days by the world’s nations are having the impact that was promised earlier. Unfortunately, the momentum of Putin’s war – that was allowed to develop because of the weak initial responses – has not stopped. It is very possible that Russia will yet take over Ukraine. And yet, Biden has still not unleashed the full arsenal of economic and military responses.
There is one thing Biden has not done – and it is a tragedy. He has not backed off his anti-domestic oil policies. He should immediately open the floodgate of oil production in America. It would have a huge impact on Russia and actually, be beneficial to the people of America.
In his State of the Union address, Biden finally is releasing oil reserves, but he still is not taking the BIG step. Stopping to buy Russian oil. Yes, that would increase prices at the pump – but more than 70 percent of Americans have said they would accept that sacrifice.
In flooding the worked with oil, Biden could plunge the price by as much as 30 percent. Keep in mind … the high cost of oil is what is enabling Russia to keep the war machine going. The economy of Russia has been hit hard by the banking and economic sanctions, but the coup de grace would be lower gas prices. Putin must sell a lot of oil at a high price or Russia totally collapses.
Biden has the death blow in his power but is not using it because of domestic political conditions. He is afraid to go against the radical left in his Democratic Party.
No. Biden is not leading the world against Putin. He was prepared to accept the Russian takeover of Ukraine. At best, he is following other nations in a continuation of his limited too-little, too-late policies. If the world was following Biden’s lead, it is likely that Russian flags would be flying over Kyiv today.
The person who has been leading the world more than anyone is Ukrainian President Zelenskyy. Several other foreign leaders are leading—but not Biden.
So, there ‘tis.