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Why is Biden Prolonging the War in Ukraine?

Why is Biden Prolonging the War in Ukraine?

We are at the first anniversary of Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine.  It is a war that could have possibly been prevented.  It is a war that most certainly could have already ended.

From the very start, President Biden has been timid in America’s response to the Madman of Moscow’s maniacal ambitions.   He claims to be the world leader on this issues – and unfortunately, he may be correct.  He has not been leading for victory.

We did nothing as Putin started to surround more than half of Ukraine’s border with military forces.  He said they were only military exercises.  We knew better, but we did nothing to deter Putin other than threaten sanctions IF he did invade.  Sanctions should have started before he invaded.  

In an act of strategic stupidity, Biden stated that under no circumstances would the United States put boots on the ground in Ukraine if Putin invaded.  In fact, Biden ordered the removal of American military personnel that were serving as advisors.  We should have left Putin with doubt.  What Biden did was as close to a green light as you could give Putin.  

Biden promised to slap Russia with every sanction possible if Putin launched his dirty little war.  Putin invaded – and Biden imposed a few sanctions that virtually every expert said would not be sufficient to deter Putin or cripple his war effort, as Biden promised.  Since then, we have meted out dribs and drabs of sanctions – essentially giving Putin time to adjust to each of them.  Obviously, the sanction strategy have failed.

At the onset of the invasion, it was believed that Putin would crush the Ukraine military, topple the government and be in control of Kyiv in a matter of days.  There were plans under consideration for Ukrainian President Zelenskyy to escape to a western nation.  

To the amazement of the world, the Ukraine military was able to stop the initial invasion in its tracks – and force Putin to change his strategy to a regional ground war in the east.  That was when military aid became a top priority for the democratic nations – including NATO, the European Union, and independent nations, like Japan, South Korea, and Australia. But all that has been behind the curve.

As is almost always the case in modern times, the world democracies were looking to the United States to lead.  Unfortunately, Biden is a weak leader.  While he talked the talk – that Putin must not be allowed to win this War — his actual support was as slow and measured. Too slow.

In terms of military equipment, Biden talked about what he would NOT send as much as what he would send.  He is still holding back on more advanced weapons and fighter jets.  He expressed fears of provoking Putin into launching nuclear weapons.  He was intimidated.

Biden only offered a level of military support that would not upset Putin.  Biden would allow Putin to respond to his losses and setbacks with opportunities to revitalize and strengthen the Russian forces – time to get more soldiers to the front, time to replenish his dwindling supply of munitions, and time to recruit support from North Korea, China, and Iran (and we have seen the tragic impact of the Iranian drones).

Under international pressure, Biden has sent more powerful missiles and equipment – but still following a too-little/too-late policy.  Virtually every general who is not currently in the chain-of-command under Biden is calling on the president to flood Ukraine with all the best military equipment we have – including those fighter jets.  In a recent interview, General Stravridis, former Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, said we should send everything we have in the western arsenal to Ukraine immediately.

The Biden policy is not only prolonging the War – and causing innumerable deaths, injuries, and misery – but is risking losing the War.  He is pursuing no winning strategy or tactics.  Rather, the Biden policy to follow the past Washington practice of pursuing prolonged wars of attrition that we will eventually lose.  A policy that resulted in the American withdrawals (surrenders) in Korea, Vietnam, Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

Every day Zelenskyy and the people of Ukraine are not winning their defensive war against Putin, they are losing – and so are we.  We must either put in the military muscle needed– which could include direct military support – or drag this out until we grow war weary and surrender Ukraine to Putin.

Everyone agrees that the United States has the strongest military in the world.  That means nothing if we will not use it when necessary.  It is both embarrassing and tragic that the western world can be kicked around so easily by a tinhorn despot in a second rate nation.

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.

18 Comments

  1. Bemused Berserker

    Yeah, I don’t buy it. This essay is a very one sidled view of everything that went on, and doesn’t look at the whole global picture.
    The blunt truth is this was a NATO F**k Up. Dangling the carrot of membership in front of Ukraine’s face. Something they were warned, by a lot smarter men, not to do in the wake of the USSR’s collapse.
    Instead, NATO pursued a policy of pilfering the former Warsaw Pact nations away from Russia’s influence. Grabbing Ukraine, which doesn’t meet all of the political requirements for inclusion into NATO BTW, was one grab too far.
    The US and NATO pushed Russia into a corner and this war/money launder is the results.

    • Tom

      Good point, GHW Bush did not want NATO to expand and always lobbied against it. IT was Clinton that significantly expanded NATO eastward and can be viewed as the root cause of this problem. And then O’Bama was weak on Russia when they took Crimea and we did nothing but soft sanctions.

      • larry Horist

        Tom … it was not Clinton who “significantly expanded NATO.” He may have approved, but it was 100 percent of the member nations that significantly expanded NATO. It may have provoked Putin, but he is still the villain . Do we excuse bank robbers because they were “provoked” by the money in the vault? Or tolerate rape because women wear sexy clothes? Putin is the criminal …. period.

        • Tom

          Larry, I am not saying Putin should be excused for anything, nor am I trying to be some kind of Putin apologist. I am merely examining the facts that led to Putin’s ire, that’s all. And it was Clinton who really pushed for NATO expansion. Under Clinton, “Clinton made integrating Central and Eastern European countries a hallmark of his foreign policy following the Cold War. The Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland joined the military alliance in 1999, toward the end of his second term. Other Warsaw Pact countries were in earlier in his admin.

          Clinton takes responsibility for it himself when he said,“When I did what I did, I offered Russia not only a special partnership with NATO, but the prospect of eventual membership in NATO, arguing that our biggest security problems in the future were going to come from non-state actors or from authoritarian states selling chemical, biological and nuclear capacity to terrorist groups,” he added.

          Putin turned Clinton down, but Clinton continued. And now we are where we are today. That is simply the facts. I am not blaming Clinton or NATO. Countries have the right to decide their own futures. These countries decided when the U.S.S.R. fell that they wanted to join NATO and the Western economies. Hard to be “neutral” when you express being a part of NATO economies.

      • frank stetson

        NATO is the root cause of the Ukraine war? Don’t bogart, just pass it this way; you have got to be smokin something really good.

        Putin is the root cause.

        Biden’s done nothing terribly wrong, he has played his hand well. Some can offer better solutions, more viable plans, scream we should have been tougher, Trump would have fixed all, but you are just whistling Dixie. You can surmise, but you don’t know. It’s not Biden’s fault Putin is willing to sacrifice so much.

        Putin is the problem.

        And after a year, it seems time to change the strategy that is not getting us the desired results.

        Screw it, add Ukraine to NATO and act accordingly. And if it comes to that, take Crimea as well. Enough, it’s been a year.

        • Tom

          I agree Frank. There are many reasons why Putin thinks the way he thinks. NATO is just one of his many warped thoughts. Another is dreams of the Great Russo Empire, another warped thought. Putin also blames the West for U.S.S.R fall, and West equals NATO. He blames the USA for not loaning Russia money to keep Russia from the hard fall, but refuses to admit that Gorbachev never filed the necessary plan of economic reform Bush wanted him to file in order to get the funds. And Putin hated Gorbachev, and thought Gorby was an idiot. Putin is Stalin first generation removed trained where Russia is supreme and everyone cooperates with Russia, not the reverse. Bush was concerned with no plan on file that the money might go to the military, not economic reform. Putin thinks the West economically screwed Russia so that NATO could expand. Clinton definitely helped those Warsaw Pact countries join NATO but they were already heading towards the West anyway – but Putin sees this as betrayal by both West and Warsaw Pact countries. He does not see how poorly Russia treated these countries. I know about Poland because I still have family there!

    • larry Horist

      Bemused Berserker … Where is it written that the west has to accept Russian influence over the captive nations that once comprised the Soviet empire? Where is it written that Putin is allowed to determine the members of NATO? Putin invaded a sovereign nation and is committing war crimes against innocent people. We should not only not passively allow Putin to build his empire against the wishes of Ukraine and the people of any other former Soviet state, we should make sure his maniacal ambitions are crushed … that he is defeated. And that means no Russian forces on any of Ukraine territory — and payment of reparations for the damage and deaths he has caused … and trial as a war criminal. That is the only opiton for anyone who understands and believes in democracy.

      • Tom

        I agree Larry! Now, where is it written you ask that the West has to accept Russian influence over previous Warsaw Pact states?
        It is in their policy. весь мир русский ves’ mir russkiy which basically means the world is Russian. The word “mir” denotes ownership. Russian policy is that anywhere Russian is spoken is Russian. Crimea was one such region, so is Eastern Ukraine. Now please don’t call me a Russian sympathizer! You asked, So I am telling you. That’s all. 🙂

  2. Tom

    Well for one thing, I think Biden is given to bouts of wishful thinking and denial-ism thinking, that later of which he has repeatedly demonstrated. I think Yes I agree that Biden’s announcement of no American boots on the ground did signal a green light to Putin. I say this because it signaled a green light to this military veteran! But I do think again, Biden was given to wishful thinking when he thought that sactions would cripple Putin to the point of collapse, but did not realize just how far Putin, India, China, Iran, and NKorea had gone to work the US Sactions scenario and plan alternative wealth streams. And he demonstrates denialism now on this subject. He cannot even get the EU and India to stop buying Russian oil. But we should give him a little credit in that sanctions have been partially effective and have slowed Putins ability for resupply.

    I think a better way of describing Biden is a “timid leader”. He waits to long, and then cautiously takes half measures. This describes more timid that weak. When Putin was doing his exercises and building up in January, we should have been fortifying Ukraine, but instead we led Ukraine and the EU in a mass denial exercise. And then along the way we have timidly dolled-out out better weapons. But again, part of that timidness is because Biden has the obligation of bringing along with him 29 other countries, Putin does not have this worry because what unites Putin’s allies is “anti-USA and anti-West” thinking that is unified in its support for Putin as well as believing in “The end justifies the means” totalitarian form of thinking. Democracies always take more time to decide matters, but they are more resilient than their counterpart autocracies who seem to decide quickly but are inherently brittle.

    What I will give Biden big credit for is his skill at rebuilding NATO in which he was partially helped by Putin himself. Trump all but destroyed NATO, so Biden had to do some repair before he could build coalition – and this took valuable time where we should have already had the coalition in place and should have begun sending arms and staging military exercises in Ukraine and the Black Sea. I agree with Gen. Stravridis that now is the time to show great strength and power to Putin. Giving him rest will only prolong the war and raise the casualties. Time to stop daring not caring of Putin!!

    I do not think it is fair to say the Biden strategy is “prolonging the war”. His strategy seems to be “measured response and containment of war” where the unintended result is “prolonging the war”. I agree that it is a strategy of win by attrition. Washington has been doing this since the Civil War, so nothing new there! Again, Biden has a situation to handle in that there is not clear unanimity that all NATO countries want to defend a non-NATO country. Several countries, including France, Turkey, are not onboard with boots on the ground – and NATO only works under unanimity! Yet, I see this more as a Europe issue and not containing Putin now will only mean higher costs later. Lastly, Putin may be viewed by writers and analysts that have never been in the military and pass armchair judgements on those responsible for the decisions that will affect many, as a “tin horn despot”. But we all know an injured animal will bite anyone, and do it more viciously. Putin is a wounded animal at this point. As a military vet I understand Biden’s approach and will give him the time he needs to limit Putin’s bite – but I agree that at some point even the wounded irreparable animal needs to be put down. That time for Putin is coming but not yet. We still have the nuke threat to deal with.

    Still I will give Biden a B-minus on this one.

    • larry Horist

      Tom … I give Biden a D- minus on handling the war. You concede that his policies have prolonged the war, but you call it “containment” that leads to prolonging. Seems like a distinction without a difference. You agree that Putin “needs to be put down” but accept waiting. Why wait?

      I hear a lot about how Trump weakened NATO. How so? His most antagonist action was to get them to pay for more of the defense of the Alliance. He gave the green light to the addition of one more member nation. He maintained US funding. We may not approve of his bellicose language in pressuring for more money, but the end result was a stronger NATO. Can you give me chapter and verse as how he weakened the Alliance?

      I think we might honestly disagree as to how much Biden or Putin was responsible for the almost rock solid reaction to Putin’s invasion. Did NATO have to be cajoled by Biden? In fact, he has been behind the curve of a number of NATO nations desired responses — the fighter jets and the initial response to the Abrams tanks. Biden seems to be responding more than leading — and responding with too little, too late.

      And as far as the argument that the US and NATO provoked Putin by adding nations he wants to re-take, them how do you compute adding Finland and Sweden . Finland will have the longest border with Russian than any NATO nation. Biden has not be detrimental to NATO, but I would not give him too much credit for the united response against Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. That is what the member nations were responding to — not pressure from Biden. I give him credit for being in the same camp and not taking up the call to abandon Ukraine to Putin we hear from folks on the far right and left.

      • Tom

        I think Sweden and Finland joining NATO is a result of Putin’s aggression and poorly played hand. He woke them up. Finland suddenly remembered Russia taking ten percent of their land after WWII.

        The failure of the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump to build an international coalition to combat the coronavirus is in fact only the latest manifestation of a deeper and potentially lasting failure. Indeed, among all of Trump’s foreign-policy legacies, none may be more consequential than the damage he has done to America’s standing, influence, and power in the world by weakening the system of partnerships and alliances the country has created and relied on for decades. A world without U.S. leadership is no longer some vague and lamentable future possibility.Since the start of his presidency, Trump has abandoned multiple treaties and agreements, undermined the credibility of U.S. defense guarantees, bullied and belittled allies, and cozied up to dictators who threaten those allies and the United States. His “America First” doctrine—with its ominous echoes of the 1930s—and indifference to the rule of law at home and abroad have left allies wondering if they can count on the United States; many have started to look elsewhere for more reliable friends and partners. The result is a world in which the United States is less safe, less respected, and less able to deal with the enormous challenges it faces: climate change, pandemics, refugees, cyberattacks, election interference, nuclear proliferation, terrorism, modern technology, and the rise of China. Read full at “https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/07/14/trump-biden-foreign-policy-alliances/”

        Now your article references Admiral Stavridis, and you have used him to state Biden is weak and not supplying enough weapons to Ukrain.. It is a fact that Trump demoralized NATO members and threatened them with the USA leaving NATO which would essentially crash NATO. Now listen to the man, Admiral Stavridis: “Even discussing the idea of leaving NATO — let alone actually doing so — would be the gift of the century for Putin,” Admiral Stavridis said. See this quote at “https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/14/us/politics/nato-president-trump.html”

        Perhaps you did not read my full response. I later stated that I agree that the time for waiting is over. In Paragraph #3 I said, ” I agree with Gen. Stravridis that now is the time to show great strength and power to Putin. Giving him rest will only prolong the war and raise the casualties. Time to stop daring not caring of Putin!! ” Then in Paragraph 4 I stated that the time is not yet BECAUSE WE HAVE NOT ADDRESSED THE NUKE ISSUE YET! NATO, not just Biden, has not unequivocally threatened Putin the ultimatum that they will definitely respond with Nukes and they are already in position should he use a nuke.

        • Tom

          And Larry, after the last NATO meeting, Angela Merkel came out of that meeting and stated, “It looks like Europe will have to go it alone!”

          German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday warned that Europeans “must take our fate into our own hands,” suggesting that President Trump’s visit last week — and his contentious relations with the European Union (EU) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) — show that the days when Europe could rely on others were “over to a certain extent.”

          See full article at “https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2017/05/28/merkel-europe-fate-self-reliant/102273210/”

          Is this enough proof for you Larry???

          • larry Horist

            Tom … What specifically led Merkel to say that? You have to remember that Merkel dislike Trump for his pressure to meet their financial commitment to NATO and for calling Germany out for purchasing Russian oil and the building of the Nord Stream pipelines. We know Trump threatened to pull out of NATO, but was that a real threat or a means of getting theme to meet their obligations. In fact, Trump make no move to actually withdraw. Most folks saw it merely as pressure for the money. I am sure Merkel knew that Trump would not take the US our of NATO. An off-the-cuff comment by one angry member with a dislike of Trump hardly establishes that NATO was weakened by Trump. I think his approach was heavy handed, but it worked and I see nothing he did that actually weakened the Alliance. I think his palsy approach to Putin was stupid. Bit making the dubious claim that he weakened NATO — and then using his inexplicable coziness to Putin as a reason for something that did not happen — is all speculation. Back to the essential question. What did Trump do that actually weakened NATO? Where was the weakness to be seen. The way NATO responded to Ukraine does not suggest weakness. And if you think the NATO response was a one man (Biden) show, show me what Biden did to strengthen NATO. Did he increase American funding … enlarge our military presence in Europe (before the war)? I hear one side say Trump weakened NATO and Biden strengthened it. I hear the words, but I do not see the actions and the results. Personally, I think the NATO response to Putin was 99 percent caused by Putin. Remember, Biden has been a restraint on possible NATO action .. sending the jets … suppling longer range offensive missile launchers … providing targeting intelligence … allowing Ukraine to strike military targets in Russia. A number of NATO nations support those actions, but the US has essentially vetoed them. Is Biden weakening NATO’s response? The only real difference i see is that a number of NATO members dislike Trump and like Biden. I can understand that … but it is all just partisan rhetoric. I do not thing either of them exerts the influence folks suggest. We may be the biggest kid on the block, but there are a lot of other kids to consider.

  3. Chuck

    You forgot to mention the republican fealty to Putin as well as other demagogues , including your hero Trump.

    • larry Horist

      Chuck … Either you do not read my commentaries or you have comprehension issues. I have written critically of Trump’s overly friendly relationship with Putin on more than one occasion. And if you read anything, you know Trump is no hero to me. Why do you make up such crap?

  4. Mike f

    This is an excellent post that shows why Larry is a Republican and Biden is a democrat. Larry sees one side of every issue, and if the opposing viewpoint differs from his, they are wrong, weak and should be disregarded. Biden on the other hand seeks compromise to achieve his goals, and the war in Ukraine, and our response to it clearly shows this. There are a number of voices on both the left and right (but particularly strident on the right) that oppose the aid we have given so far. I do not agree with them, and would personally provide more aid, but would never call Biden weak because he is compromising between two opposing sides. This lack of compromise on the Republican side is why so little legislation is passed when republicans are in control of government-they prefer to have a conservative court that will override legislation, ignoring the fact that the nation (and the world) is a vastly different place than it was 250 years ago…

    • larry Horist

      Mike f … putting aside your usual nonsense and childish insults, we can cut to the quick. You favor a Biden “compromise” in Ukraine. And what would that compromise look like. Putin gets one-third of Ukraine … no reparations … no war crime trials. There are only three outcome in Ukraine … defeat Putin, compromise or let him have it all. I call the latter two .. defeat. Ukraine does not need a US President who seeks compromise with Putin.

      • Mike f

        Larry, You have impeccable timing! Biden’s meeting in Kiev showed strong western support for Ukraine. Contrast that with the previous POS that occupied the Oval Office, who only wanted to use Ukraine to help him get re-elected. Biden is definitely traversing a narrow path between the idiots on the right (plus a few on the left) who want us to do nothing for Ukraine and those of us who want to step up the attacks. But of course, you will never understand that because Biden has a “D” next to his name instead of an “R” (can you say partisan-ism?)….