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Ukraine: Biden’s War of Wishful Thinking

Ukraine: Biden’s War of Wishful Thinking

I have written in the past of President Biden’s tendency to be behind the curve in terms of the war in Ukraine.  Others – including many of the top generals – have referred to his response to the war as a policy of too little/too late.  They call for the United States – and NATO – to give Zelenskyy all the weaponry he is requesting.

Make no mistake, Biden’s statements on Ukraine have been tough – spot on.  He called Putin a war criminal who needed to go.  He said there is no other option than defeating Putin.  He promised maximum support for President Zelenskyy – whatever it takes.

If you look at his actions, however, they do not live up to the talk.  It seems Biden may be trapped in wishful thinking.

When Putin started amassing troops on the border, Biden threatened crippling sanctions if Russia actually invaded.  Biden’s policy seemed to be based on hoping that Putin would not actually invade.  It was not until world intelligence determined that an invasion was imminent that Biden all but conceded that his tough talk had no influence on Putin.  His wishful thinking proved wrong.

Biden immediately hit Russia with sanctions.  They were not everything possible sanction as Biden suggested in his tough talk.  In fact, they had no discernible impact on Putin’s plans.  Biden apparently chose to believe – wished – that his initial actions would be successful.  They failed miserably.

Amazingly, despite Biden’s initial threat to throw the book at Putin, the initial sanctions were only a small portion of the potential.  Over the course of the next months, Biden was forced to impose other sanctions in the hope that they would not only change Putin’s mind but make it impossible for him to execute the war.  If it was not a bad assessment of the situation, it was certainly no less than wishful thinking.  Not only has the series of sanctions not stopped the war, they have not even slowed it down – and they certainly have not crashed the Russian economy.

Biden was initially opposed to providing Ukraine with targeting intelligence and advanced weaponry.  He seemed to be hoping and wishing that Zelenskyy’s army could win without them.  When those hopes were being threatened, Biden acquiesced to providing more intelligence and sending more advanced missile systems to the Ukrainians.  After rejecting requests for American Abrams M1 tanks – obviously hoping Zelenskyy could win without them — Biden again acquiesced to Zelenskyy’s and the pressure from other NATO nations.  Acquiescence is not leadership – unless you subscribe to Obama’s irrational policy of “leading from behind.”

Biden and administration officials have expressed wishful thinking that the enormous body count of dead young Russian boys would cause a groundswell of pressure on Putin by grieving moms to end the war.  So far, that has not happened.  

Tangentially, there was expressed hope that the Russian people would lose confidence in Putin and his dirty little war.  Current polling in Russia shows that 80 percent of the people support Putin.  The few initial street protests have vanished.  The Idea of a popular uprising has been nothing but wishful thinking that has not manifested itself in the current reality.

Biden has been strong with his words of commitment to total victory over Putin – and I applaud him for that.  However, since I believe he is sincere in the desire for Ukraine to win the war, it is safe to assume that at each stage of his actions, he was hoping – wishing – his policies would make an existential difference. 

However, the best wish for the Ukrainian people is that the Russian army continues to be as weak and inept as they have been so far –and that Biden will engage in a winning strategy based on reality and action — and not wishful thinking.

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.

22 Comments

  1. frank stetson

    Hmmm, you’re softening or at least it appears so IMO.

    Wishful thinking: what would you expect? From anyone?

    So far, so good with Biden and the war. Cost us money, but not American lives. Pulled the world together. We’re not losing.

    There can be many views from the armchair. Like some see his saying no boots on the ground statement is telegraphing our lack of commitment signaling a green light to Putin by taking this option off the table. Others say it’s a clear signal to Ukraine that has brought us to this point as they fight for their country as if they know we will never put boots on the ground. Let’s face it, because Biden said and did this, Ukrainians are proven to be the toughest people on the planet today. It’s a different point of perspective.

    Everything Biden has done has worked, and little has failed. I agree though, and I said, after a year, it’s time to change strategy and up the ante. He has somewhat, but hindsight being perfect, it seems not enough, not fast enough. Then again, Ukraine is not losing.

    I say let them in NATO, close that door, and let the chips fall where they may including US boots on the ground if Russia fails to heed the auspices of the NATO agreement and what that means when a NATO country is attacked. Even though it’s Biden, no grandfathering clause in this one.

    • The Redhawk

      As long as our CIC. (Chicken sh” and t in Charges) gets ice cream he has no clues about anything nor where he is nor which curtain to shake hands with.

  2. Oscar Williams

    Putin is obviously afraid of a NATO presence so close. He also sees this as an inexorable wave of Globalist subjugation of HIS and The Kremlin’s power and world position. He understands that Communism is doomed, and is fighting for it with all he has. The presence of NATO and U.S. personnel, and microbiological mutation and possibly “weaponization” labs is an obvious and globally recognized challenge to his personality. He is a “desperate despot,” possibly willing to fire the nuclear “shot heard ’round the world.” The oligarchs in Russia and Ukraine will control him until it’s “safe” for them, whether through negotiation or escape. The U.S. should be ASHAMED of itself for the administration’s endorsing and supporting the “Military-Industrial Complex” in this. God should come with St. Michael Archangel to grab each of the NSA, CIA, WEF, WHO and FBI criminals by the throat, and take them off to a small island in the middle of the Pacific (Johnson Island ?). One can only pray for it.

    • Frank stetson

      So much for the law and order party…..

  3. Oscar Williams

    P.S: I don’t recall ANY of this happening when DJT was at the White House. Do YOU?

    • Tom

      Actually if you listen to Bolton and other secretaries during Trump, Putin several times called Trump “Russia’s NATO wrecking ball”. Putin thought Trump was an idiot. Putin thought as long as Trump is going to wreck NATO, and push conspiracy theories in Ukraine and hold up weapons, Putin did not see any reason to go into Ukraine. Putin once said of Trump, “If your enemy is doing a good job of committing suicide, leave him alone!” So to answer your question, no it did not happen with DJT because Putin saw DJT doing such an excellent job of ruining Ukraine and NATO, that Putin saw no need to invade. Putin also said he was hoping DJT would get another term so he could completely wreck NATO. That is what our enemy said about DJT!!!

      But don’t believe me, listen to the interviews yourself at “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KT7n1VOgNq0” and this longer interview with Julia Loffe at “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qEu0oRajJxE”, and lastly, “Fiona Hill at “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNhSCF9i8Qs”

    • Norman

      You are correct!! Trump was like Roosevelt-” Talk softly but carry a big stick”, and the saying, ” You don’t take a water pistol to a gun fight” !!

      • larry Horist

        Norman … You may be the on person in America — on either side of the political divide — who would suggest that Trump ever talked softly. LOL

  4. frank stetson

    of course not, that would make his buddy Don look bad. And Don was doing his best to hand Ukraine to Putin anyways in his second term.

  5. Mike f

    Larry, It is all well and good to criticize Biden, I personally agree, he should have done more in sanctions, more in military aid. However, there is a second part of this story that you have carefully stood back from-who do you think would have done a better job? In a previous life, the Republican Party would have supported a strong response to an adversary like Russia, however, as I have pointed out to you numerous times in the past, the party that you continue to support does not have the same values as the party you joined in the ‘60’s. The prevailing stance by elected Republican officials is that we are doing too much for Ukraine, rather than not enough. Time for you to wake up and realize that today’s Republicans are not going to do what is best for the country-whether it be foreign policy or domestic financial issues…

    • larry Horist

      Mike f …. You misrepresent the facts when you say “the prevailing stance by elected Republican officials is that we are doing too much for Ukraine.” You are talking about a minority of Republican officials. Most Republican officials support Ukraine. Most Republican members of Congress support aide for Ukraine. It is true that a growing number of GOP voters think we are doing too much for Ukraine, but that is not the majority. And it si also true that a growing number of Dem voters think we are doing to much for Ukraine, They seem to worry most about the money, That is why I support greater support — more weapons (planes) and more ammo, no fly zone, intercepting weapons shipments from places like Iran as sanction violations. and give Ukraine the weapons and approval to hit inside Russia, We save a lot of money by ending the war quickly and make Putin pay for reparations.

      • frank stetson

        The Gaetz bill to defund Ukraine has ten co-sponsors including These are the 10 House Republican co-sponsors, representing nine US states, of the bill:

        Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona
        Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado
        Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona
        Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia
        Rep. Anna Paulina Luna of Florida
        Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky

        Close to 60 Republican House members consistently have voted against aid to Ukraine. They are:

        The list of House Republicans who have always voted against Ukraine relief are:

        Jodey Arrington of Texas
        Brian Babin of Texas
        Jim Banks of Indiana
        Andy Biggs of Arizona
        Gus Bilirakis of Florida
        Dan Bishop of North Carolina
        Lauren Boebert of Colorado
        Ken Buck of Colorado
        Tim Burchett of Tennessee
        Kat Cammack of Florida
        Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina
        Michael Cloud of Texas
        Andrew Clyde of Georgia
        James Comer of Kentucky
        Warren Davidson of Ohio
        Scott Des Jarlais of Tennessee
        Byron Donalds of Florida
        Jeff Duncan of South Carolina
        Ron Estes of Kansas
        Russ Fulcher of Idaho
        Matt Gaetz of Florida
        Bob Gibbs of Ohio
        Louie Gohmert of Texas
        Bob Good of Virginia
        Paul Gosar of Arizona
        Garret Graves of Louisiana
        Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia
        Diana Harshbarger of Tennessee
        Vicky Hartzler of Missouri
        Kevin Hern of Oklahoma
        Yvette Herrell of New Mexico
        Jody Hice of Georgia
        Clay Higgins of Louisiana
        Bill Huizenga of Michigan
        Ronny Jackson of Texas
        Mike Johnson of Louisiana
        Jim Jordan of Ohio
        Debbie Lesko of Arizona
        Billy Long of Missouri
        Tracey Mann of Kansas
        Thomas Massie of Kentucky
        Brian Mast of Florida
        Mary Miller of Illinois
        Barry Moore of Alabama
        Troy Nehls of Texas
        Ralph Norman of South Carolina
        Scott Perry of Pennsylvania
        John Rose of Tennessee
        Matthew Rosendale of Montana
        Chip Roy of Texas
        Pete Sessions of Texas
        Greg Steube of Florida
        Tom Tiffany of Wisconsin
        Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey
        Beth Van Duyne of Texas
        Bruce Westerman of Arkansas
        Roger Williams of Texas
        Rep. Mary Miller of Illinois
        Rep. Barry Moore of Alabama
        Rep. Ralph Norman of South Carolina
        Rep. Matt Rosendale of Montana

        That’s over 25% of the Republican house members, a minority, but not a small minority. Remember them well. Texas and Florida are basically is against it as are a number of states at the Republican level. I will remember Jeff in my State.

        • larry Horist

          Frank Stetson …again, you make my point. 75% of House Republicans are supportive of Ukraine. And provide two lists with the same names. Noting the short list have co-sponsored legislation to cut off funding. By any measure, House Republicans have given Ukraine a lot of support. And then you claim that the entire states of Texas and Florida area opposed. It is pitiful to see a person desperately trying to double down on a losing argument. But … Thanks for proving my point.

          • Frank stetson

            A broken clock is right twice a day except in the military that has it down to one. 50% improvement and still broke

            Those are the facts Larry. They are not minorities in a number of states like Florida and Texas where the people who would let Ukraine fall live. Those are facts too. Your State authored the freakin bill.

            It’s a minority. It’s over 25%. That’s a big slice. Both facts.

            You may see your glass as half empty, I see it as half full. That’s our opinions. I just provided the raw facts.

            FYI: about 3.5% of bills with low sponsorship pass so it’s a distinct possibility not to be sloughed off. And, at this point, it’s all Republican. 100%. Not a bipartisan bill. More facts.

          • larry Horist

            Frank Stetson … you are starting sound really stupid. The entire state of Florida did not sponsor ANY bill. You mental glass is 75 percent empty. You call 25 percent a big minority. i do not. Regardless, it is only 25 percent no matter how you spin it. And you last paragraph shows that you are totally an ignoramus when it comes to legislation. The vast majority of low sponsorship bills are perfunctory. That is why they get passed. They are things like bills celebrating some grandma’s100th birthday or honoring the heroic deed of a firefighter. And even at that, you are giving the Ukraine cutoff bill only a 3.5 chance of getting passed. You are really going off the rails with your responses. But as I said before, obsessive behavior makes folks non compos mentis — and you are becoming an example. Seriously … take a break for you own wellbeing.

      • Mike f

        Larry, Unfortunately you do not follow the mainstream news and rely on “wishful thinking” as far as what the current crop of republican candidates for President think. All have lamented (or in the case of your beloved desantis refused to comment) regarding the amount of money/support we are giving Ukraine. Yes, the “real” conservatives-Chaney, Kinzinger and to some extent Romney think we are doing the right thing in Ukraine. But, your “base” has become disillusioned with the amount of money going overseas-they don’t think that is the way the “make America great again”. Your current frontrunner candidate certainly wouldn’t be antagonizing Vlad like Biden is. As I said above-time for you to wake up and realized that your party’s name was changed to the “know nothing’s “ while you were asleep..

        • larry Horist

          Mike f … First …. I follow all the news. I specially focus on what the key players say — less with what reporters say they say and what they mean. And as Frank Stetson pointed out, 75 percent of Republicans in the House support aid to Ukraine — as do most of the GOP senators. Some of those you refer to have expressed concern, not opposition. The left-wing media misrepresents the greater GOP position — intimating that a few minority voice are the majority. DeSantis has not made a definitive statement on aid. As far as I know, Haley, Pompeo and other are supportive of aid. Perhaps it is you who needs to broaden you news viewing — an looking deeper into the facts instead partisan interpretations.

  6. Tom

    I am not a Biden fan but I am going to come down on the side of Biden on this one. I do not think the average American, and anybody on this blog realizes the monumental job Biden has in managing Putin’s sociopathic mannerism. I do think that Biden should have done some things like move arms into Ukraine well before the invasion. I do think Biden backed off and showed weakness to Biden on sanctions. But on the other side of the ledger, Biden has been saddled between a fractured NATO and a sociopath named Putin/Russia. This is an excellent one hour and eight minute discussion of Putin and our presidents going back to G.W.Bush and up to Ukraine and Biden by someone who knows Putin, Russia, and has worked for our presidents. If you cannot listen to the whole discussion, then at least listen from minute marker 40 or so which will be 28 minutes that will open your eyes in more ways than one!! “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qEu0oRajJxE” Best wishes!!!

    • larry Horist

      Tm … watched the interview. I thought it was an excellent assessment of Putin and his thinking. Obviously, it is her view — her opinion — but I think it is a generally well informed opinion. But I think your response takes her reports further down the path of your opinion. While a lot of the interview covers her view of what Putin thinks, etc. And she nots that a lot of his thinking was wrong headed. She may be totally correct in what Putin was thinking about America .. the west .. US presidents … NATO … etc. But it does not mean his assessments were correct. You your said I should hear what our ENEMY thought of Trump, you take his view as correct, I would not be so quick to take the opinion of an deranged enemy and a liar. I think Trump was tougher on Russian than is currently seen in the political narratives. She did not that it was Trump who may have stopped Putin’s “quick” invasion from succeeded because Trump reversed the Obama/Biden police of not sending weapons — only humanitarian aid. She said those missiles stop the initial invasion strategy. Trump also bombed the air base in Syria. Refused Russian demands to stay out of Syrian airspace. We actually got into a direct shoot match with Russian soldiers — wiping out a military unit. Trump approved the expansion of NATO. I do think Trump was too palsy with Putin, but there is another side tot he story. But it was a great interview. I think she was pretty much spot on in going over the history.

    • larry Horist

      Tom … your comment reminds me of recent interviews with those media generals. They were all in high praise of Biden’s handling the war … NATO … and Putin … and then listed all the things Biden has failed to do in addressing the war effective. I think the too little/too late Biden approach is potentially snatching defeat out of the jaws of victory. Their own examples of what Biden should have done seriously undermines the high praise, in my judgment.

      • Tom

        Yes I agree Larry. I was not praising Biden when I said, “realizes the monumental job Biden has in managing Putin’s sociopathic mannerism. I do think that Biden should have done some things like move arms into Ukraine well before the invasion. I do think Biden backed off and showed weakness to Putin on sanctions. But on the other side of the ledger, Biden has been saddled between a fractured NATO and a sociopath named Putin/Russia.” I was merely exhibiting an understanding of the terrible position Biden is in having to piece back together NATO and manage a sociopath with a nuke button who if he gets backed into a corner, will press it. Remember his trapped rat example from his childhood? There was a reason he told that story, the sociopath is telling us his justification for using the nuke button. And lets face it, which would we want to be: a) accused of being too slow to deliver weapons and weak on sanctions, or, b) starting WWIII or starting a small nuke war that kills millions and lays land waste for a century or more. I think some of his slowness to deliver is due to having to choose the lesser of these two evils, he gets overwhelmed, and loses track of time and the reality that people are dying while he procrastinates. I do not think he is fibbing, I think he is procrastinating.

        So as a former teacher, I have to grade him on everything he did in my class. He has been slow to deliver weapons and sanctions so that gets a D (66/100). He has done a good to above average job at managing a sociopath so that gets an B+ (88/100). He has done very well above average at not allowing the war to expand so that gets an A 94/100. Overall, I will give him a B (83/100) which is a little better than average when all critical aspects are weighed equally and considered in the mix.

        I think there are too many arm chair generals listening to one side that says “he’s too slow” and not looking at the entire diaspora of the situation.

        With regard to Trump, again, very complex. Yes he did not always give Putin what Putin wanted. I agree. That’s a good thing. What I was saying is that this war might not have happened because Trump was already giving Putin what Putin wanted in other non-war ways, with the biggest thing being Trump’s fracturing of NATO, and creating tensions in Ukraine..

        This is a very complex situation where I do not see a one size right or wrong. I see several rights and wrongs of various sizes depending on where the lens is focused.

  7. RICHARD

    I LISTEN TO ALL THESE YAHOOS, LOVING BIDEN. YES THOSE ARE THE COMMUNIST AND SOCIALIST LOVING FOOLS. THEY NEVER LIVED IN A WAR TORN COUNTRY, NEVER WEN’T HUNGRY, NEVER HAD TO DO WITHOUT. HAVE NO LOVE FOR THEIR OWN COUNTRY,RATHER SIDE WITH TRAITORS. FUNNY I NEVER HEAR FROM ONE STANDING UP TO DEFEND CITIZENS, OR LOVE THEIR GREAT COUNTRY. BUT THERE IS NO HELP FOR FOOLS.

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