Secretary of State Antony Blinken is no one’s idea of a hardliner. For example, he’s leading the charge to appease Iran in the hope that, with the pot sweetened, the mullahs will permit the U.S. to reenter the nuclear deal.
But Blinken is what passes for a hardliner in the feckless Biden administration. Reportedly, he strongly urged Joe Biden to sanction the company and the CEO behind the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. That pipeline is vital to Russia’s interests in its quest to use oil and gas to isolate Ukraine and leverage its way to power in Europe.
Blinken was joined in his push for sanctions by his deputy, Wendy Sherman, a major foreign policy player in past Democratic administrations. Key congressional Democrats, including Senate Foreign Relations Committee head Robert Menendez, also wanted the sanctions.
But Biden declined to impose them. And in related news, Biden also decided not provide a package of lethal and non-lethal aid to Ukraine. Congress authorized him to supply the aid, worth tens of millions of dollars, but Biden didn’t follow through.
Donald Trump made the opposite decisions. He stood in the way of Nord Stream 2 and he suppled congressionally-authorized aid to Ukraine, albeit after trying briefly to leverage it to his political advantage.
Imagine if, instead, Trump had done what Biden is doing. He would be accused of selling out to Russia and, indeed, of being Putin’s stooge.
Yet, Biden’s decisions barely rate a mention in the mainstream media. There’s a good chance you didn’t know about the decision to withhold aid to Ukraine.
What are Team Biden’s excuses for these decisions? On the pipeline, his apologists, such as the Washington Post, argue that Biden didn’t want to “inflame relations” with Germany and that the pipeline is basically a fait accompli at this point. (The Post, by the way, calls Biden’s Russia policy “a mix of confrontation and cooperation.” There’s a name for that: incoherence.)
These excuses are self-contradictory. If the sanctions won’t stop the pipeline, it’s impossible to believe that sanctions aimed at halting it will have a significant effect on our relations with Germany.
Anyway, since when does Germany dictate U.S. policy towards Russia? If Ronald Reagan had listened to Europeans during the Cold War, that conflict might have lingered on for at least another decade.
The excuse for not aiding Ukraine is that Russia withdrew troops from the Ukrainian border. So what? Russia could bring back its troops and send them into Ukraine in short order. Indeed, the less well-equipped Ukraine is, the more likely it is that Putin will launch an attack.
The notion that foreign troops need to be amassed on one’s border before a nation fully prepares to defend itself from an enemy is ludicrous. No nation follows this policy. If Biden were serious about opposing Russia, he wouldn’t have put Ukraine in that position.
When Trump was president, Joe Biden pretended to be serious about opposing Russia. Now that Biden is in power, he is still pretending.
And by the way, where are those hand-wringing Ukraine and Europe hands who testified so earnestly (or mock earnestly) during the first impeachment proceedings about Trump’s betrayal of Ukraine? Can they be reached for comment now?
If anything, the need to take a hard line on Russia is greater now than during the Trump administration (when, by the way, Trump did take a hard line through his actions, if not always his words). Russia is behind ransom ware attacks on U.S. infrastructure (the real thing, not the Democrats’ idea of infrastructure).
Biden’s response? Following in Barack Obama’s footsteps when Russian election interference was the issue, he told Putin, in effect, to cut it out.
Biden then listed 16 sectors considered critical infrastructure under U.S. policy that should be off-limits from attack. He thus seemed to imply that it’s okay to attack other sectors or entities.