Ukraine War, March 28, 2022: Strengthening “the president we have”

Developing

Dispatches

1) The Editorial Board, “The President We Have; Biden needs new advisers and help from Congress to deter Russia and other escalating threats,” Wall Street Journal, March 27, 2022 (6:31 pm ET);

2) “Ukraine War, March 10, 2022 (I): The darkest hour of the American soul; Mariupol and appeasement; U.S. is stuck with a timorous, defeatist Commander-in-Chief; Congress must secure new foreign policy team, insist on bipartisan war cabinet; NATO countries must insist on active role in war-related decision making, send war council to Washington,” The Trenchant Observer, March 10, 2022;

3) Nile Gardiner, “Will Europe finally wake up to the truth about Joe Biden now? ,”In 20 years in Washington, I have not seen a White House more disorganised, incompetent or mismanaged,” The Telegraph, March 28, 2022 )12:43 p.m.).

Nile Gardiner is the Director of the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom at The Heritage Foundation.

4) Geoffrey Cowan, “Our Secret Weapon Against Putin Isn’t So Secret; We already know a lot about how to break through the Kremlin’s wall of silence,” Politico, March 28, 2022 (11:23 a.m. EDT);

Geoffrey Cowan served as director of the Voice of America from 1994-1996.

5) Ann-Dorit Boy, “Sechs Szenarien, wie es in der Ukraine weitergehen kann; Viele zermürbende Kriegswochen sind vorbei, was folgt nun: Eine Verhandlungslösung mit geteilter Ukraine? Ein zermürbender Guerillakampf? Eine Ausweitung der russischen Aggression auf weitere europäische Länder?” Der Spiegel, den 28. März 2022 (21.07 Uhr).

 

Commentary

Nile Gardiner succinctly describes the greatest problem facing the U.S. and NATO in the battle to stop and defeat Putin and Russia in Ukraine: Joe Biden and his foreign policy team. He writes:

In 20 years in Washington, I have not seen a White House more disorganised, incompetent or mismanaged, in both the president’s and vice president’s office. It has a distinctly Monty Python-esque feel to it.

Gardiner continues,

Biden in Brussels looked way out of his depth. There was no talk of winning in Ukraine, no promise to work with allies in substantially strengthening military assistance for the Ukrainian military. Biden looked weak, disorganized and even cognitively impaired at times. He does not inspire faith in US leadership, particularly at a critically important moment in time.

Biden’s shortcomings point to the need for new leadership. But Biden is “the president we have,” as The Wall Street Journal’s Editorial Board has stressed. Gardiner concludes,

There were plenty of harsh words from Joe Biden against Putin in Warsaw. But what is the actual strategy for defeating him? His speech was full of soaring rhetoric, but short on substance. Real leadership is not the same as a debating society. Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher had a clear vision for winning against the Russians. Biden has none today.

Joe Biden simply does not lead or strengthen our alliances in the face of the enemies of the free world. The US President has not done enough to help Ukraine win the war, including working with Poland to send urgently needed MiG 29 fighters to Ukraine to defend themselves against Russia’s air force, and pressuring Europe to implement tougher sanctions.

The United States needs stronger, sharper and wiser leadership, not empty, sabre-rattling soundbites.

The Wall Street Journal’s Editorial, observing that Joe Biden is “the president we have”, suggests steps that need to be taken to strengthen the Presidency in order to get through the next three years without further foreign policy disasters.

The Editorial points out that Vice-President Kamala Harris, who was chosen as a result of Democratic identity politics, is totally unqualified to become president.

Consequently, Biden in the president we will have for the next three years.

What can be done? The Journal’s Editorial Board recommends the following:

We are fated to make the best of the President we have.

In that regard, Members of Congress of both parties will have to play a more assertive role, and the good news is that they have been doing so to good effect on Ukraine. Congress has stiffened Mr. Biden’s resolve on sanctions and military aid. The pattern is that the White House resists a tougher policy until it faces a defeat or difficult vote on Capitol Hill. Bipartisan coalitions of the willing will be even more important as the war continues, and threats from Iran, China and North Korea escalate.

As we’ve argued, Mr. Biden would also be wise to bring some high-profile conservatives and Republicans into his Administration. In 1940, as the prospect of world war approached, FDR brought in experienced GOP internationalists Henry Stimson as Secretary of War and Frank Knox as Secretary of the Navy. They built credibility with the public and on Capitol Hill for the hard choices to come.

These recommendations are similar to those made by The Trenchant Observer in the March 10 article listed above, and other articles.

Congressional leaders must act to force Biden to make these changes.

For the Democrats, such action would appear to be a prerequisite for political survival.

The Trenchant Observer

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