Up until now, President Biden’s response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine has been slow and relatively tepid. He has talked toughed, but to the frustration of President Zelenskyy, the American response has been inadequate – and he has said so on several occasions.
More recently, Biden seems to be putting more action behind the rhetoric. Most notably, he has abandoned his previous unwillingness to provide major offensive weapons to the Ukrainian military in the fear it would provoke Vladimir Putin into using chemical or nuclear weapons.
This comes when other nations are increasing their support for Ukraine – most notably a sharp policy change in Germany, which is now sending heavy armament to Ukraine.
As a reflection of his increasing support of Ukraine, Biden sent Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to Kviv to meet with Zelenskyy. It was more than symbolic – a real work session.
Some folks criticized Biden for not following the example of other NATO heads-of-state who went to Kviv instead of sending emissaries. Personally, with Biden’s gaffes and extemporaneous disabilities, we should applaud the wisdom of sending Blink and Austin.
Even more impressive, however, was the later meeting in Germany with representatives of more than 40 nations from around the globe united in support of Ukraine. In addition, NATO and members of the European Union, there was an incredible presence of world economic and military might – such nations as Japan, South Korea and New Zealand. The group is scheduled to meet once a month.
If that group lives up to the rhetoric, it will be a real game-changer. That is “if”. We will know better of their level of commitment in a matter of weeks. We will then know if these nations will tighten the sanctions on Russia, stop buying Putin petroleum, providing military arms and humanitarian aid.
There is no doubt that these nations can virtually ensure the defeat of Putin if they talk act as tough as they talk. Regardless, at this point kudos to the Biden administration for putting this international coalition together. It was obvious that this was truly a United States initiative with Austin situated at the head of the table between the American and Ukrainian flag.
While Biden personally has not been much of a leader-type, at least he can respond to events. And laterally the ball to Austin was a good move. The Defense Secretary’s stage presence and speech were spot on.
If Putin had assumed that the worst-case scenario would be modest gains and a stalemate cease-fire, he may have been badly mistaken. The new objective of the west seems to be total defeat … expelled from Ukraine … reparations … and maybe even a war crime trial.
As insane as he is, Putin must surely be losing confidence in his decision to invade Ukraine. Hopefully, he is on the slippery slope of defeat.
So, there ‘tis.