Biden Hyping Russia Threat for Partisan Gain
Sitzkreig underwhelms, but good for ratings
I’ve heard of low-intensity conflict, but this is ridiculous. Joe Biden and the legions of palace eunuchs who comprise the national security complex, both inside and outside of the executive branch, combined with Pentagon reporters with a touch of Stockholm Syndrome, promised the grandest European battle since Waterloo. First Russia was going to invade Ukraine last Saturday. Then it was going to be last Wednesday. Then this weekend. So far, with the exception of a few minor explosions in Russian Ukraine, the silence is thunderous.
Now, it will go down early next week, or so we are told. In a press conference on Friday, Biden said he knew that Russian President Vladimir Putin had decided to order an invasion. His explanation of the source of this insight: “We have a significant intelligence capability.”
Mmmkay. A few countries have excellent intelligence capabilities, including capabilities that reveal the thinking of their opponents. The USA isn’t one of them. The probability that Biden knows the thinking of Putin or other adversaries, which cannot be discerned from satellite pictures, is about the same as finding a three-legged ballerina.
Over the weekend, the White House started to pull back the throttle ever so slightly on its talking points, saying Biden received a briefing from his aides: “They reaffirmed that Russia could launch an attack against Ukraine at any time.”
Why did “would” become “could” in a single day after Biden’s press conference?
Even if Russia eventually makes a major move, which I have argued is unlikely, Biden and his helpers have already squandered more of the precious little credibility the USA possessed after the debacle in Afghanistan. Even the Ukrainian government has publicly disagreed with the White House hype. However, looking through its activist progressive political lens, the White House doesn’t care about this cost to our credibility. They have accentuated the crisis because they want Biden to get credit for preventing a big European war if it doesn’t happen.
It’s looking increasingly likely Biden hyped the chance of war to change the topic in Washington. He and his vice president have lied to Congress, the media, our allies and the public.
Polls show Americans disapprove of Biden on foreign affairs, among other topics, because of the fiasco in Kabul. Inflation is out of control and getting worse. The economy is slowing, raising the specter of Jimmy Carter-style stagflation. Asset bubbles like the stock market are bouncing on needles as the Fed dials back after two years of printing new pesos at breakneck speed. The post-stroke absence of Democrat Ben Lujan of New Mexico in the 50-50 Senate until April has halted what was left of Biden’s legislative agenda. The RealClearPolitics average of generic polls indicates mostly useless congressional Republicans are nonetheless on track to win both houses in November—perhaps even benefitting from a realignment on the scale of a 1994 or, better yet, 1932-1934, despite having done almost nothing to protect us from WuFlu tyrants or woke mobs. Amid this unpleasant climate, the White House and congressional Democrats fell back on the familiar crutch of Russia Russia Russia.
Will Putin let Biden claim this victory? Quite likely, yes. Putin has crossed off the key items on his to-do list: He has made his office one of the three most powerful on Earth, ensured NATO will not admit Ukraine thanks to reticence in Germany and the rest of Old Europe to fight another world war, clarified the cost to Ukrainian voters of further estrangement, shown that NATO cannot defend Ukraine much less the Baltics and maybe not even Poland, and elevated oil and gas prices that have more than paid for the expense of Russia’s dress rehearsal for invasion. With all of this in his pocket, why not let the dotard in the White House have his claim of success in heading off a war? Keeping Biden and Harris in power means keeping Putin on top of the world. Who else can be relied on to fall for every trick in the book?
If a Republican were in the White House, we would already be hearing moans from Congress and the media about whether the president had perverted or misrepresented intelligence for political purposes. Biden lied repeatedly in his Friday presser, claiming unified support among the American public, NATO, and Europe, when in fact all are very much divided on what is happening and what to do. But beyond those casual lies, Republicans should be probing what Biden has been told by our intelligence bureaucracy, and whether it differs from what he is telling the public.
Instead, many leading Republicans are trying to out-hawk Biden on Russia, seeking to apply new sanctions on Russia even before an invasion. That would certainly take double-secret probation to a new level. Republicans will share the chapter in history about our ruling elite pushing Russia into China’s arms, much to the joy of Beijing. Such conduct is understandable for neoliberals, who have always been aghast that Russia has not signed on to the post-modern woke agenda of European decadent decline. They long to sit in a cafe in Kiev or even Moscow with like-minded bobos and debate how many genders there are, how virtuous open borders would be, maybe even getting a table-side visit by a hip young Russian Orthodox clergyman who has traded his congregation for a goatee, a lefty agenda, and a knack for deconstructing Russian history.
Republicans ought to know better, dispassionately and even cruelly grasp and pursue American interests, and understand the imperative of keeping Moscow at least on the sideline of our epic struggle with the Chinese Communist Party. Instead, four particularly useless if powerful Republican senators—Romney, Graham, Inhofe, and Burr—are off at the Munich security conference, where everyone agrees Europe should fight Russia to the last American. Their absence caused the failure of an effort by fellow Republicans to undermine federal vaccine mandates, which would have succeeded had they been present.
Amid this maelstrom who is the happiest man on Earth? It can only be Vladimir Putin.
Pompeo on Nukes, Russia, and China
The only think tank in Washington that has gotten Russia and current crisis right is the Center for the National Interest. At a Center event on Friday, Harry Kazianis interviewed Mike Pompeo, the second or third-best modern Secretary of State after John Foster Dulles and maybe James Byrnes. Pompeo focused his opening remarks on nuclear weapons as planned, but the subsequent discussion understandably focused largely on Russia. Particularly important are Pompeo’s comments in Q&A on dividing Beijing and Moscow. Check it out.