April 8, 2022

Tough-Talking Biden Is Still Weak

Putin does not fear Biden, which is why the invasion of Ukraine came to fruition.

Lately, President Joe Biden has been talking tough about Russia. But that’s only because Biden’s trying to cover for the fact that his own weakness emboldened Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

When interviewed early in 2021, Biden said Putin “didn’t have a soul” and that Putin would pay a price for Russia’s alleged election interference.

That price was never paid.

It’s called lip service, and it’s Biden’s favorite ruse to cover his weakness when tough leadership is in demand.

Now that Russia has invaded Ukraine and appears to be guilty of horrific war crimes against civilians, tough leadership is more important than ever. The problem is that Biden’s words either confuse international observers about America’s foreign policy or they just don’t listen to what he has to say in the first place.

All in all, it’s not a good look for the leader of the free world.

Despite Biden’s bumbling bravado, Putin has mostly executed his plan, with the exception of Kyiv. Biden and his State Department need to tread carefully. Every misstep is an opportunity for Putin to blame the West, and more specifically the United States.

While Putin is the one who made the call to invade a neighboring country, there’s no doubt that Biden’s inept leadership paved the way.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz blamed Biden’s “enormous mistakes” — primarily the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan — for sending a signal to despots like Putin that America is backing down. Cruz, of course, wasn’t the only one to see that connection. The Afghanistan debacle basically set the stage for the invasion of Ukraine. Biden’s earlier decision to waive restrictions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline between Russia and Germany also opened the door to Russian aggression.

As political analyst John Feehery writes: “Joe Biden doesn’t deserve all the blame. Just most of it.”

Once Russia plowed through Ukrainian towns and cities, it was a prime moment for Biden to choose his words carefully. Instead, he called for regime change in Russia. Sure, it was a bold statement. But did Biden really mean it? Apparently, he didn’t, and the White House went into spin mode by walking it back. Unsurprisingly, Biden then defended his remarks anyway.

Even Biden’s supporters weren’t fooled. The left-wing website Slate published an article titled “The Gaffe Heard ‘Round the World,” in which its scribe argued: “If Biden’s words are to be taken seriously, it would be reasonable for someone to believe that Russian regime change is U.S. strategy. The question is whether his words are to be taken seriously.”

While Biden talked, Russia continued to make a deplorable invasion of Ukraine into a horrific act against humanity with the discovery of mass graves of civilians in the town of Bucha, among other atrocities. In response, Biden called for more sanctions against Russia, but sanctions simply haven’t worked. (He first claimed they would, and then he said he never said they’d work.) For now, at least, the Russian ruble has recovered.

Biden also called for Putin to be tried in the International Criminal Court. Again, it’s all tough talk. Besides, argues former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy, the ICC is not the proper venue for trying Putin. The Wall Street Journal editorial board suggests another approach: specifically identifying Russian officers and letting Europe take on more of the burden.

Meanwhile, the UN did suspend Russia from the Human Rights Council. It was a relatively bold move for a feckless gaggle of bureaucrats, but it still leaves other paragons of virtue such as Cuba, Venezuela, and China firmly ensconced on the council. Those nations were among Russia’s supporters, too.

The confusion and chaos in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is unsettling. America, and the world, want answers. But those answers aren’t coming from the Oval Office. Instead, we’re getting more chaos and more confusion.

These are tough times, indeed, but there is a silver lining. History teaches us important lessons, and future presidents can learn from the mistakes of this president. For now, leaders in the West can fill the void left by Biden. America might be taking a credibility hit, but in the end we believe the forces of good will prevail.

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