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The Biden Paradox: Fighting Russian fascism in Ukraine but not fighting American fascism in the United States
The paradox could not be greater: The U.S. and allied countries are engaged in a massive effort to defeat Russian fascism in Ukraine, to defend freedom and democracy and international law.
But President Joe Biden, who is leading the effort in Ukraine, has not even begun the massive effort that may be required to defeat Donald Trump and fascism in America.
Biden was slow in coming to a strong policy of opposing Vladimir Putin and Russian fascism in Ukraine. He made huge mistakes which may have contributed to Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine on February 24, 2022.
First, in April, 2022 he made the catastrophic decision to withdraw all American troops from Afghanistan.
Second, as early as November, 2021, he announced publicly that he was taking force off the table in considering possible responses to a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine. He repeated this policy up through the invasion, and has stuck to it adamantly since then.
Third, Biden failed to impose any sanctions on Russia for threatening the illegal use of force against Ukraine, in flagrant violation of Artice 2 paragraph 4 of the U.N. Charter, which prohibits not only the illegal use of force, but also the threat of such use of force. This was an early sign of American weakness.
Fourth, he failed to object to Russia’s military intervention in Kazakstan in January, 2022. There are strong legal arguments to the effect this intervention violated the prohibition of the use of force in the U.N. Charter. The fact that the U.S. didn’t even try to make the case was another sign of weakness.
Fifth, he insisted on using highly-calibrated threats of economic sanctions to try to deter Putin, withholding the most serious of these until well after the invasion. The threatened sanctions, based on the well-known and flawed assumptions of “The Rational Actor Paradigm”, did not deter Putin.
Finally, in the first months of the war he was extremely timid in doing anything he thought might provoke Putin.
But slowly, as the evidence of Russian war crimes and atrocities became overwhelming, and the Ukrainians demonstrated enormous prowess and courage on the battlefield, Biden came around to a position of increasing determination in opposing Russia and supporting Ukraine with weapons and other assistance.
Biden’s failure to take on Trump and American fascism
Paradoxically, however, Biden showed the same reluctance to oppose Trump and fascism in America that he demonstrated in the early days of the Ukraine crisis and then the Ukraine war.
Just as he was afraid of provoking Vladimir Putin and the Russians, Biden has been afraid of provoking Donald Trump and his supporters. He has been extremely slow and indeed has failed to defend American freedom and democracy from the fascist threat.
First, the Biden administration has failed to indict and prosecute Donald Trump and his supporters for any of the innumerable crimes they apparently committed, often in public view. All available indications suggest that Attorney General Merrick Garland has not even initiated the major investigations that would be necessary to secure convictions for these apparent crimes.
The Rule of Law has been broken in the United States, and not only by Donald Trump and his supporters.
It has also been broken by the Biden administration, which has in effect granted impunity to Donald Trump and his supporters–who clearly appear to have committed grave electoral and other crimes.
Garland has allowed the five-year statute of limitations to run out on many of these crimes, without comment.
We are currently witnessing a kind of rolling grant of impunity, as the statutes of limitations expire each week on extremely serious crimes.
Second, with Democratic majorities in both the House and the Senate, Biden and the Democrats have failed to pass any voting rights legislation that might halt the blatant efforts by Republicans in a number of states to suppress voting in certain communities, and to politicize the selection of state election officials, providing Republicans with the tools they lacked in 2020 but will now have available to rig elections in 2024, if not sooner.
Biden and Garland appear to be afraid of Donald Trump and his supporters.
Indeed, their timorousness is eerily reminiscent of the Biden administration’s extreme caution in the early weeks of the Ukraine war in not taking any actions they feared might provoke Vladimir Putin.
Biden seems to be overcoming his fear of provoking Putin.
But he has yet to begin overcoming his fear of Trump and his American fascist supporters.
One final observation:
Even if we succeed in stopping Putin and Russian fascism in Ukraine, that victory will be lost if we fail to defend freedom and democracy against American fascism in the United States.
The Trenchant Observer
Only force can stop Putin
“Ukraine War, April 5, 2022 (II): Force must be used to stop Putin,” The Trenchant Observer, April 5, 2022.