Putin Making Biden Look Like A Joke
Russian President Vladimir Putin has done his best to keep President Joe Biden guessing about his next move regarding Ukraine and so far, Putin seems to have been successful.
Biden’s strategy to deter Putin’s military buildup around Ukraine and a potential invasion has been to widely publicize U.S. intelligence, warning the public of an imminent invasion and giving a time frame for the event. The administration announced Putin would make a move ‘within days’ but that time has come and gone.
When pressed about why the predicted time came and went without an invasion, U.S. officials said we are still “in the window” of a potential invasion, giving Putin the upper hand. Many of Biden’s critics argue that his strategy ignores Putin’s own agency and knowledge that Russian military communications are far from secure.
“Too much is made of the question will Putin go or not,” a NATO official in Brussels, who had been briefed by the U.S., told Vice. “Everyone could see he was willing and ready to go and the Russian army doesn’t have particularly secure comms, so people were listening.”
“Putin has a chance to blame the hysterical West and announce he got what he wanted without taking on new sanctions. And maybe it unnerved him that the Americans released the intelligence on him. Or he didn’t care. But it’s impossible to say right now that the crisis has ended,” the official added.
Perhaps that’s what Putin did when he officially recognized two separatist groups in eastern Ukraine as independent states. On Monday evening he strategically ordered “peacekeeper” troops in the separatist-controlled territories.
Former CIA Director John McLaughlin said Putin was actually challenging whether the U.S. and NATO have a united definition of what constitutes an “invasion” of Ukraine.
“Putin has choreographed this with the hope that we and the Europeans will debate whether this is an ‘invasion’ or not. And hoping that throws us enough off-balance that he will pay a minimal price for this first slice of salami,” he wrote.
Germany has already taken the step of suspending the certification of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline Tuesday, but Biden has yet to act on the sanctions that he threatened in the event of a Russian invasion.
Both Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill demanded Biden take economic action Tuesday, with Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsay Graham saying the move “should immediately be met with forceful sanctions to destroy the ruble and crush the Russian oil and gas sector.”
Biden’s fellow Democrats called on Biden to take action as well, with Democratic Delaware Sen. Chris Coons saying the time for sanctions “starts now.”
“To be clear, if any additional Russian troops or proxy forces cross into Donbas, the Biden administration and our European allies must not hesitate in imposing crushing sanctions,” Democratic New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez said in a statement.