WARSAW – After a long, mysterious silence, US President Joe Biden has spoken out about the ever-increasing concentration of Russian troops near the Ukrainian border. He would have been better off keeping quiet, given his astonishing and dangerous message. NATO officials – and his own aides – have had to scramble to redefine the meaning of his words.
When asked at a press conference if he thought Russian President Vladimir Putin would attack Ukraine again, Biden said, “My guess is he will move in. He has to do something.” Worse, Biden then revealed that there is no unity among NATO members on how tough the threat of new sanctions against Russia should be. All the Alliance will do in response to an invasion of Ukraine is deploy more troops in Poland and Romania. This response is wholly inadequate to the scale of the crime Putin is threatening to commit.
In Russia, Biden is considered a weak president, and Kremlin bureaucrats see his lack of leadership as an opportunity for action. Biden just confirmed their view. Trickling in a few more troops is not a policy; it is an alibi. The West must be seen to be doing something to preserve its moral virtue, so it offered a symbolic gesture in the hope of resuming its focus on domestic concerns. Biden has not even said whether the deployments in Poland and Romania will become a permanent presence (they are currently rotational). As a result, the US response will neither improve Ukraine’s situation nor assure Poland’s security.
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