His Democratic critics maintained that he was imperiling an invaluable European ally who stands on the front line against Russian aggression.
It seemed then that Democrats were almost begging for war with Russia in their effort to subvert that president, Donald Trump, who was eventually impeached for his Ukraine conversation and long criticized as being soft on the menacing former communist power from the east.
Now, current Democratic President Joe Biden seems ready to give his party that war.
Barely in the space of 24 hours, blundering Biden went from green-lighting a Russian invasion of Ukraine to almost promising a U.S. military intervention on Vladimir Putin gets friskier on the Ukrainian border.
Biden, at a press conference on Wednesday, told reporters, “I think what you’re going to see is that Russia will be held accountable if it invades. And it depends on what it does. It’s one thing if it’s a minor incursion and then we end up having a fight about what to do and not do, etc.”
“But if they actually do what they’re capable of doing with the force they’ve massed on the border, it is going to be a disaster for Russia.”
Yet right after predicting that disaster, Biden added, “I’ve already shipped over $600 million worth of sophisticated equipment, defensive equipment to the Ukrainians. The cost of going into Ukraine in terms of the physical loss of life for the Russians — and they’ll, they’ll be able to prevail over time, but it’s going to be heavy. It’s going to be real. It’s going to be consequential.”
Biden’s admission that the U.S. would leave Ukraine to itself forced White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki to try to clean up the president’s rhetorical mess.
“If any Russian military forces move across the Ukrainian border, that’s a renewed invasion, and it will be met with a swift, severe, and united response from the United States and our Allies,” she said in a statement.
“President Biden also knows from long experience that the Russians have an extensive playbook of aggression short of military action, including cyberattacks and paramilitary tactics. And he affirmed today that those acts of Russian aggression will be met with a decisive, reciprocal, and united response.”
A worried and horrified Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky did not take that well.
“We want to remind the great powers that there are no minor incursions and small nations,” Zelensky said on Twitter. “Just as there are no minor casualties and little grief from the loss of loved ones. I say this as the president of a great power.”
On Thursday, according to the New York Post, a Ukrainian diplomat said, “Kiev is stunned.”
“This gives the green light to Putin to enter Ukraine at his pleasure. Putin senses weakness,” the official said. He shared that he was “shocked that the US President Biden would distinguish between incursion and invasion.”
Then, trying to get out of the hole he had dug for himself, and perhaps American troops, Biden instead issued a threat.
“Let there be no doubt at all — that if Putin makes this choice, Russia will pay a heavy price,” he said on Thursday. “I’ve been absolutely clear with President Putin. He has no misunderstanding. If any, any assembled Russian units move across the Ukrainian border, that is an invasion.”
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