It is now time for our moral outrage to be redirected from Vladimir Putin to Joe Biden and the feckless leaders of the West who refuse to use force to stop Putin’s commission of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide against the Ukrainian people.
Biden is a coward, a defeatist, and a pacifist, as his actions in withdrawing from Afghanistan and in seeking to deter Putin from invading Ukraine amply demonstrate.
If we look at Biden’s history, we can see that he and Obama imposed only “slap on the wrist” sanctions on Putin and Russia after the invasion and “annexation” of the Crimea in February and March 2014.
Though the European Union did finally impose serious sectorial sanctions on Russia on September 5, 2014, after Russia had invaded the Eastern Ukraine beginning with irregulars in April and with regular troops in August 2014, Obama and Biden did not seem to have led the effort. Obama refused to send weapons or so-called “lethal aid” to Ukraine, and Biden was part of that decision.
After Putin’s nuclear threats, Obama blinked, and even decided to address the question of efforts to bring peace to Syria by “working through the Russians”.
In Syria, where Russia was supporting Bashar al-Assad in the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity on a massive scale, and committing those crimes on its own, Obama decided to look the other way and to enter into a cooperative military relationship with Putin in prosecuting the war against ISIS.
Biden was a participant in all of these decisions.
Moral outrage directed at Putin is wasted effort. He is simply evil, on the same level as Hitler and Stalin. Instead, we should direct our moral outrage at Biden and his incompetent foreign policy team, who have been responsible for America’s defeatist and pacifist approach, first, to deter Putin from invading Ukraine and, now, to halt his barbarous attack on Ukraine and its people.
When we watch scenes on TV of thousands of Ukrainian citizens being bombed in their homes and being killed, following the Russian pattern in Grozny and Aleppo, we should feel moral outrage–and disgust at the cowardice of our current leaders.
Biden can’t even decide to establish an oil embargo, as he is concerned about the political impact of higher prices at the gas pump. His rhetoric is soaring. However, like Obama’s, it must be measured against his actions.
What is to be done?
In the U.S. leaders from both parties and concerned citizens should now rise up to demand that Biden bring in a bipartisan group of senior national security officials to expand his current foreign policy team, in order to set up the policies and procedures that are necessary to effectively prosecute and win the current war.
Above all, they need to be clear-eyed about the potential need to use force in defending Ukraine, Europe, and the West.
While he is at it, he might bring Susan Rice back from her domestic policy assignment to his new reformulated foreign policy team.
Finally, a few clarifying words about the use of force against Russia in Ukraine and the risk of “World War III” are in order.
The risk of escalation to nuclear war is no greater in the case of opposing Russia in Ukraine than it would be in opposing Russian aggression against NATO countries such as Lithuania and Latvia, which stand in the way of joining the exclave of Kaliningrad to Russia proper.
In short, Article 5 of the NATO treaty is largely irrelevant in assessing the risks of using force to oppose Russian aggression and the risks of nuclear escalation.
The Trenchant Observer