Joe Gilbertson | Jun 19, 2022 | 10
Biden gets his orders from Putin
President Biden engaged in a 45-minute phone call that was requested by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Based on reports from both sides, they covered the same ground and there were no resolutions of the array of existential problems that have developed out of Putin’s increasing aggression and belligerence. Even as both sides said nothing new was brought to the table and nothing was resolved, both sides inexplicably said that the conversation was “productive.” Maybe Putin just wanted to extend a New Year greeting to Biden.
Interestingly, this call came ahead of a series of meetings between Russia and the United States – including between Biden and Putin. So, why the call now?
Media pundits failed to explain it. A few thought that Biden wanted to use the occasion to underscore the threatened consequences if Putin invades Ukraine. But it was not Biden who requested the call. It is Putin’s reason that matters – and he is not a man who would be making a holiday social call. Putin obviously saw a benefit – and advantage – in requesting that call.
Since neither side covered any new ground, it is reasonable to assume that perhaps the importance of the call to Putin was not talking to Biden – but speaking to a larger audience, including NATO nations and the world-at-large.
The call was a net gain for Putin because he achieved some not-so-obvious benefits. He was able to draw a line in the sand regarding Ukraine – no western weapons in Ukraine and no military forces on the eastern edge of NATO. Ukraine can never become a NATO nation. Instead, Putin reaffirmed his contention that Ukraine is part of the Russian sphere of influence – and a potential satellite state of the new Soviet Union, although that was only implied.
Putin did not rule out further military action in Ukraine. In response, Biden did not rattle the sword, but threatened Putin with a money bag – otherwise known as sanctions. One only needs look at the effectiveness of all those sanctions imposed against Russia in the past to judge their success of them. Yes … Biden and the pin-striped pants folks at the State Department assured us that THIS TIME they will have a real impact. Uh huh. We have heard that before.
Putin also won because he proved that he could be on an international platform with Biden and not worry about the American President raising such issues as election meddling, cyber-attacks, American political prisoners, human rights, international assassinations, democratic principles, the fate of opposition leaders in Russia, the German pipeline and Russian support of terrorist nations such as Iran. And no talk about Russia getting out of the Crimea. It would seem that Putin’s threats against Ukraine have taken all those other pesky issues off the table.
We should recall how the left-leaning media and the Washington establishment – especially the pin-stripers over at State – lambasted President Trump for engaging in one-on-one meetings with heads-of-states without advance bureaucrat prep work and without an objective goal – a deliverable, as they say. It is bad memory that enables such hypocrisy. But I digress.
Through the phone call, Putin was establishing the framework for the future talks – HIS framework. Biden was like the weakling facing the bully. “You do that, and you just wait and see what happens to you,” Biden figuratively warns. With any bully, that is not a credible threat.
Biden claims to be speaking for our NATO allies – but is he? I would argue that Biden does not have a solid commitment from NATO. Some of the smaller and more vulnerable nations in the east may push back against Putin’s ambitions – and maybe France and England, to some extent. But what about all those other nations – Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain, etc. After all, Ukraine is not a NATO nation, so there is no Article 5 obligation to defend them. With Biden taking military intervention off the table, there is no chance that NATO will do anything more than criticize Putin and impose a few sanctions. Will Germany terminate the oil pipeline deal that is enriching Russia? After all, the German pipeline deal would be helping to finance any invasion.
And what if Putin pulls back on the threat to invade Ukraine – for now. He will still have had a huge victory. No more military support for Ukraine – back to the old Obama policy of sending them blankets as military aid. No admittance to NATO. And no threats of those nasty sanctions to be used against all the other Russian aggressions. They were taken off the table to buy TEMPORARY peace in Ukraine – while leaving that nation defenseless from some future invasion. Putin’s deal is to render Ukraine defenseless for some future invasion.
In short, Biden does not want western military equipment and personal at his border in Ukriane. He wants his military in western Ukraine on the border of NATO. That should keep Biden awake at night – at least during the day.
It seems that 2022 will be an existential year for Ukraine. Will it be an independent democratic nation by this time next year? Or will it be the latest captive nation in Putin’s new Soviet Union?
It appears that Putin is playing chess – virtually the Russian national sport – while Biden is playing tiddlywinks. It would not be the first time an old and weakened American President got rolled by a Russian dictator. Check out Stalin and Roosevelt at Yalta.
So, there ‘tis.