The Russian sanctions that President Biden announced at his press conference yesterday (White House transcript here) are a joke. Weren’t sanctions intended to deter Putin’s invasion of Ukraine? Why, yes, they were. Isn’t it a bit late to deter the Russian invasion of Ukraine? Why, yes, it is.
So Biden prevaricated: “[N]o one expected the sanctions to prevent anything from happening. That has to sh- — this is going to take time. And we have to show resolve so he knows what’s coming and so the people of Russia know what he’s brought on them. That’s what this is all about.” Ooh, scary.
And this: “This is going to take time. It’s not going to occur — he’s going to say, ‘Oh my God, these sanctions are coming. I’m going to stand down.’” Now he tells us. What a buffoon.
Sorry, but Putin discounted these sanctions in his planning long ago. I’m not sure of much, but I am sure of this. Our enemies are laughing at us and licking their chops when they quit laughing.
Another quotable quote: “[Putin’s] ambitions are — are completely contrary to the place where the rest of the world has arrived.” He is apparently undeterred by the disapproval of “the world” — “the world” of fiction, anyway.
And note the blatant lie: “Specifically, the sanctions we’ve imposed exceed SWIFT. The sanctions we imposed exceed anything that’s ever been done. The sanctions we imposed have generated two thirds of the world joining us. They are profound sanctions. Let’s have a conversation in another month or so to see if they’re working.” He’ll get back to us on that.
Philip Wegmann’s RCP column on the China syndrome includes this fitting postscript to my observations:
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki insisted China was not capable of countering the sum of allied sanctions. All the same, she said Biden was “certainly open” to a conversation with Chinese leader Xi Jinping. Then, for the second time this week, the White House spokeswoman appealed to the better nature of the Chinese communist regime: “This is really a moment for China, for any country, to think about what side of history they want to stand on.”
China means to shape that history and, unlike Biden and his spokesmen, they are serious about it.