Ukraine War, July 26, 2022: Niall Ferguson on Biden v. Trump in Ukraine

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THE WAR TO SAVE THE U.N.  CHARTER AND INTERNATIONAL LAW

To see a list of previous articles, enter “Ukraine” in the Search Box on the upper right, on The Trenchant Observer web site, and you will see a list in chronological order.

Dispatches

1) Maciej Stasinski, “NIALL FERGUSON Interview: ‘In Europa glaubt man, dass Trump der Schlimmste ist. Aber Biden ist noch viel schlimmer,”” Die Welt, den 26. Juli 2022 (13:33 Uhr);

2) Maciej Stasinski, “NIALL FERGUSON Interview: ‘In Europe, it is believed that Trump is the worst. But Biden is much worse,”” Die Welt (Google English translation on website), July 26, 2022 (1:33 pm);

Analysis

Reading an interview with Niall Ferguson, a renowned Harvard historian also associated with Stanford, one has the sinking feeling that he is right when he says that on Ukraine and Russia, Joe Biden has been much worse than Donald Trump would have been.

We have reported for a long time, going back to Biden’s first appointments to foreign policy positions and even more clearly since he decided to withdraw all American forces from Afghanistan, that his foreign policy team is disastrously incompetent, and has needed to be reshuffled and strengthened for a very long time.

Ferguson draws very negative conclusions about Biden’s foreign policy vis-à-vis Russia and the war in Ukraine, and in essence agrees with our principal criticisms.

This is small solace to a writer who wishes to see, above all, a competent foreign policy team under President Biden who can guide him wisely in adopting policies and decisions to stop Vladimir Putin’s war of aggression against Ukraine.

In the interview Ferguson answers a series of short and pointed questions, explaining that he never beieved in the effectiveness of economic sanctions. “So long as Russia can sell gas and oil, the ruble will remain strong and Russia will survive.”

Ferguson answered further questions, stating that he thought Russia would probably never conquer Kyiv, that the Western sanctions would never force Putin to realize he can’t win and to withdraw his troops, and that the economic and political pressure of the West would not lead to a palace coup and the overthrow of Putin.

Die Welt asked, “Would setbacks drive Putin to desperation and the use of nuclear weapons?

“Probably not,” Ferguson replied.

The following excerpts from the interview address the future, and also the question of what would have happened had Trump been president:

WELT: Will China withdraw its support for Russia if it doesn’t make peace?

Ferguson: “No. They will not pull back, and they will not push for peace,”

WELT: Will our Western war weariness grow and support for Ukraine weaken?

Ferguson: Yes. That is already the case.

Ferguson argues that Biden has been much worse for the NATO alliance than Trump was:

I do not deny that Trump was and is a liar or that he was and perhaps still is a threat to American democracy. But the question is: Which of these presidents was better for NATO? Europeans are making a big mistake on this point.

Ferguson lays out what could be a powerful Republican critique of Biden’s foreign policy in the 2024 presidential election:

One of these two presidents ordered the withdrawal of the Americans from Afghanistan, almost without consulting the allies. It wasn’t Trump. One of them reduced arms deliveries to Ukraine in 2021. Not Trump. Last year, the sanctions against Nord Stream 2 were suspended. And again, it wasn’t Trump. Putin was told that he would only have to expect sanctions in the event of an invasion of Ukraine. It wasn’t Trump….

Niall Ferguson concludes the interview with the following observation:

“In my opinion, it cannot be ruled out that if Trump had been re-elected, Putin would not have invaded Ukraine.”

There are some things that are so shocking they can almost never be said.

There, Niall Ferguson has said it.

The Trenchant Observer

***

See also,

Only force can stop Putin

“Ukraine War, April 5, 2022 (II): Force must be used to stop Putin,” The Trenchant Observer, April 5, 2922 .

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