Alice Green | Aug 6, 2022 | 3
Zelenskyy makes Biden look weak
There is an old showbiz saying that you never wanted to follow an act with children or dogs. You just cannot do well by comparison. In a way, that is what President Biden faced when he decided to follow Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s address to Congress in what essentially represented a public response.
First of all, Biden is no match for Zelenskyy in terms of stagecraft – or statecraft. Besides which, Biden did not have a good message compared to Zelenskyy. In the most impressive and eloquent terms, Zelenskyy laid out the needs of Ukraine – and what is at stake in his nation’s battle with the maniacal Vladimir Putin. Biden gave an “aw gee, I wish we could help more” response.
The juxtaposed speeches were so obvious a mismatch it is a wonder that Biden – and his advisors – would have thought it a good idea for the American President to follow Zelenskyy. No wartime head-of-state has proven to be more durable, more persuasive and more impressive than Zelenskyy – with the possible exception of Britain’s Winston Churchill.
Of course, Zelenskyy has the sympathy and support of the civilized world. He is the guy facing down the Madman of Moscow. It is his cities being bombed … his people dying. It is Zelenskyy who is under a shoot-to-kill order from Putin.
Apart of the settings in which the two leaders find themselves — and the painfully obvious disparity in speaking ability — Zelensky also wins on substance. The Ukraine leader was powerful and specific in his request for existential support from the United States – support that is solely in the hands of Biden. If it were up to Congress or a plebiscite of the American people, it is likely all of Zelenskyy’s requests would have been honored – and then some. The calls for Biden to do a lot more are overwhelming and bipartisan.
Zelenskyy gave Biden the obligatory compliments, but the reasonable request of the Ukrainian leader and the continued rejections by Biden undermine our President’s words of support – those “we got your back” statements.
To be fair, the Biden administration had imposed significant sanctions on Russia and Russian oligarchs – but he did not lead on this issue. Initially, Biden sanctioned three oligarchs at the same time Britain sanctioned 17. Biden never hit Putin with the full range of available sanctions at the beginning of the invasion – as he had promised. There are still sanctions left to be imposed.
Biden is providing weapons that have already been financed by Congress in a $13 billion Ukrainian aid package. In his speech, Biden said he was sending up to $1 billion of that money.
Biden is either convinced – or at least wants the American people to be convinced – that giving Zelenskyy a few planes and declaring a no-fly zone over Ukraine is the opening gambit of a third world war. That is so ridiculous that it is hard to imagine that Biden would actually believe such nonsense.
The essential role for America and NATO is NOT to slow down the Russian war machine – gain a stalemate ceasefire — but to actually WIN the war. And what does that look like?
It means Putin completely withdraws from Ukraine – including the Donbas Regions and the Crimea. It means the Russia pays reparations for the damage it has done to Ukraine. And Ukraine moves forward with its applications to NATO and the European Union. That is what the defeat of Putin looks like. Anything less is a victory for Russian despot.
The White House, the Pentagon and the news media all assure the people that America has, by far, the most powerful military in the world. Combine that with NATO and there is no nation – or combination of nations that even come close. And they are correct.
It is also being reported that the Russian military has been over assessed for years. They cannot even conquer Ukraine. Their equipment is faulty. Their strategies flawed. And the military command is corrupt. They are running out of supplies.
So … Biden seems to want us to believe that we have reason to fear escalation of the war. We are to try to work out a deal in which Putin gets at least a face-saving concession – a victory.
In this juxtaposition of Zelenskyy and Biden at this seminal moment, we see an admirable and courageous fighter for the free world — a man with surprising nobility and strength — against an aging, appeasing, weak leader – going only so far as events push him. A man whose dedication to liberty and justice for Ukraine is mostly lip service, symbolic gestures, and insufficient responses – too little and too late.
Watching Biden take to the dais after Zelenskyy was sad. The Ukrainian President was inspiring and dynamic. The American President is pathetic and embarrassing. One was strong and the other weak. We can only hope that the people of Ukraine – with the support that has been given – will be sufficient to DEFEAT the Russian military. And more support from America would help.
So, there ‘tis.