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Biden’s Politicization of Russian Invasion Threatens Ukrainian Success

AMAC Exclusive – By Daniel Berman

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Late last week, the Russian Defense Ministry announced that in order to establish a better defensive line, Russian forces would withdraw to the eastern side of the Dnieper River, abandoning the city of Kherson which they had held since the first weeks of the conflict – a clear admission of defeat for Russia.

As has become a pattern, the victory for Ukraine came at an awkward time for the Biden administration, which only days before had begun briefing the press that the United States expected Kyiv to open talks with Russia, lest support for Ukraine begin to wane. The incident again demonstrated the problem with U.S. President Joe Biden’s insistence on viewing the conflict through a domestic lens and as a weapon with which to attack the GOP, attempting to sell his policy as a Biden policy rather than an American policy.

The irony is that the United States has not done particularly badly when it comes to supporting Ukraine. Without a doubt, the Biden administration’s belligerent tone towards Russia, combined with a shockingly blasé attitude toward the possibility that a cornered Putin might lash out rather than retreat, contributed to the outbreak of conflict. Mixed messages to European allies regarding energy policy meant that Europe was far less prepared for Russia’s weaponization of energy than it otherwise would have been. Biden’s alienation of Saudi Arabia closed off an alternative source of energy, while sanctions were designed in a way which hurt the West as much as Russia.

Nonetheless, on the military and political side, the United States performed much better, perhaps because the military operated outside the control of political actors. Ukraine’s forces were clearly prepared for the Russian assault, with the initial blitzkrieg failing to achieve air superiority or to cripple Ukrainian command and control. Not only were Ukrainian forces awash with Javelin missiles, but they knew how to use them, and the same was true for an ability to exploit satellite intelligence and communications. While U.S. aid has been expensive in absolute terms, as a relative matter $50 billion is barely 8% of the U.S. annual military expenditure, and it has served to humiliate Russia and secure U.S. dominance in Europe without the loss of American lives. Compared to the trillions poured into Afghanistan and Iraq for no, or limited gains, it is a bargain.

The Biden administration, however, has failed to sell the efficiency of this success, because it finds itself trapped in a messaging contradiction. On the one hand, the Biden administration has argued that they have fought the war relatively on the cheap, if not as cheaply as they could. But on the other hand, the Biden administration has sought to blame Putin for inflation in general and higher energy prices in particular. If the “cheapness” of the conflict is emphasized, it is hard to then argue that the war and Putin are responsible for inflation and high energy prices rather than other policies over which the administration has control. On the other hand, blaming Putin and the “war” for inflation creates the false impression that the war is much costlier than it in fact is. How can anyone hold it against Americans wondering if defending Ukraine is worth 9% inflation and $4.50 gas?

The Biden administration, then, by trying to blame Putin for inflation, has undermined support for Ukraine by convincing many that the cost of the war is inflation and high gas prices.

The administration has compounded this messaging failure by trying to use the war as a manner of trying to attack the Republican Party in general, and supporters of Donald Trump in particular. Suggesting that the Republican Party is soft on Russia has been a core part of Democratic messaging since 2016, and Ukraine has been a key part of this messaging since Donald Trump’s first impeachment in 2019. The result has been that Democrats have rushed to identify themselves with President Zelensky, while also implying that Republicans are secretly unsupportive of Ukraine. At the same time, they have seized on examples of the minority of Republicans who are seen to have said things sympathetic to a negotiated settlement while deliberately isolating or ignoring those who support Ukraine. The result has been to promote the former at the expense of the latter.

Republicans, feeling attacked, can be forgiven for resenting the way Democrats use Ukraine even if they support Ukraine’s fight against Russia. Even if they support Zelensky and understand he has no choice but to indulge the Biden administration, which after all controls the support upon which his country depends, they can resent his inability to resist being used as a prop in the very way Democrats accused Trump of attempting to do in 2019.

Democrats now appear to have become prisoners of their own politicization of the conflict. For months, the need to create a clear distinction between the parties on Ukraine took precedence over policy. The Biden administration always had to be more hawkish than the GOP on Russia, and as the GOP was plenty hawkish, this reached farcical proportions. In the spring, that meant calling for Putin’s overthrow or suggesting he should be tried for war crimes. Later, it involved rejecting any calls for negotiations and even flirting with support for Ukraine retaking Crimea.

The problem was that the contradictions between what the Biden administration could sustain in terms of support for Ukraine and what it was publicly calling for were widening. If Biden called for negotiations, he would be embracing a position that he had suggested was seditious when Republicans or members of the House Progressive Caucus suggested it. If he rejected that position, he would be urging Ukraine to fight indefinitely when he could not promise infinite monetary support for an indefinite period.

The solution from the start has been to selectively leak certain information to the press. The Biden administration has generally leaked to the press that U.S. officials “privately” urge Ukraine to do “x or y.” Earlier this year, this involved a withdrawal from Luhansk, as well as complaints about Kyiv not being forthcoming about objectives. Reports that U.S. leaders were advising Ukraine to open talks with Moscow were merely the most recent example of this strategy in action.

It would be one thing if these leaks were driven by actual strategic considerations for Ukraine. But the stunning thing about the recent calls for talks prior to the Russian withdrawal from Kherson was the timing. It was so sudden that many assumed some sort of conspiracy. There was speculation that the withdrawal was intended to set up a ceasefire line.

The Biden administration is not entirely wrong to warn Ukraine about the limits of U.S. support, or the need for an endgame. But the administration owes it to Kyiv and to the American people to be straightforward about what its objectives are. Right now, the politicalized, leak-heavy approach is directly contributing to the decline in unanimity for further support for Ukraine in the United States, and causing confusion in Kyiv and Moscow, not to mention European capitals, about what the U.S. wants. If Germany or Hungary were to offer to mediate backchannel talks between Ukrainian and Russian officials, would they be taking a “hint” from the Biden administration and facilitating direct talks between Kyiv and Moscow? Or would they be denounced by a string of Democratic Senators and media personalities for once more “proving” their disloyalty to NATO and the Western Alliance? Too many are being burned.

The Ukrainians are fighting heroically and achieving results. Their war is too important to everyone to be treated like a political football, much less as a second tier one. Winning should be a priority for both parties. But to that end Biden and his team must stop using the war as a political weapon and be willing to attach their names to their policy demands. They should not take one approach in public and another in anonymous leaks to the media.

Daniel Berman is a frequent commentator and lecturer on foreign policy and political affairs, both nationally and internationally. He holds a Ph.D. in International Relations from the London School of Economics. He also writes as Daniel Roman.


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PapaGrouch
2 months ago

Biden has been a destroyer of any success, for any issue, for any country, for his entire political career…exception being for the Biden crime family; and now more than ever before.

Barry Dowell
2 months ago

Bidens politicization of the Russian invasion of Ukraine threatens us all and threatens all of what America has been. He’s nothing but a punk bully!

Sherry
2 months ago

Add into the equation another part of the plan besides money laundering and blaming Russia.

The NYT’s Lara Jakes wrote, “Ukraine has become a testing ground for state-of-the-art weapons and information systems, and new ways to use them, that Western political officials and military commanders predict could shape warfare for generations to come.”

“New advances in technology and training in Ukraine are being closely monitored for the ways they are changing the face of the fight.” These new technological advancements include an information system known as Delta, as well as “remote-controlled boats, anti-drone weapons known as SkyWipers and an updated version of an air-defense system built in Germany that the German military itself has yet to use.”

The article went on to say that the NYT article was re-titled from “Western Allies Look to Ukraine as a Testing Ground for Weapons” to a less revealing title of “For Western Weapons, the Ukraine War Is a Beta Test.”

They stated the west is using Ukraine to test weapons systems for future wars aligns with recent comments by the head of US STRATCOM (US nuclear arsenal) Charles Richard who said at a naval conference earlier this month that the proxy war is a test run for a much bigger conflict that’s on its way.

“This Ukraine crisis that we’re in right now, this is just the warmup. The big one is coming. And it isn’t going to be very long before we’re going to get tested in ways that we haven’t been tested in a long time.”

So while the demoncrats push climate change, they are using weapons of mass destruction and to hell with the Ukrainians and Russians that are suffering. 
If they are preparing for war with China, I’m sure Hunter and “The Big Guy” have already sold the designs for these new weapons to China.
Let’s not forget about the Bio-labs in Ukraine owned by the US.

Moses
2 months ago

The only brilliant thing Obama ever said was never underestimate Joe Biden’s ability to f things up.

Edd
2 months ago

The the tell is the author’s credential bragging. London School of Economics is far left marxist and globalist. Most famous alumni is George Soros. Viewing through that lens, it is a very biased piece that offers little information. One Russian military tactic is to intentionally withdraw to draw in Ukrainian troops. Then bombard the Ukrainians with every tactical location pre-sighted in by Russian artillery. They lost a division this time around. Why no mention of Russia invoking UN Article 51(prevention of genocide) prior to invasion? Biowarfare labs that were taken out with initial missile strikes – you know, where the US went from total denial, to there are biolabs, to we can’t let the Russians get their hands on what’s in them – all within 5 days? Democrat money laundering of tax dollars through FTX cryptocurrency? Azov nazis? I take everything coming out of US, British and Russian media with a huge grain of salt.

Bill on the Hill
2 months ago
Reply to  Edd

Your comment speaks the truth…The current administration is completely out of their league where Ukraine is concerned & I can’t help but wonder what kind of advice & talking points bumbling Biden is being fed by his advisors, i.e. Ron Klains, Biden’s chief of staff & Susan Rice, his director of domestic policy council…
The author of this fantasy story leaves me scratching my head on numerous fronts where the Ukraine, Russia & Europe are concerned…
Meanwhile back at home, I’m considered a ” domestic threat ” by this sitting president because I support DJT & Republican conservative values on the whole… Now I’m labeled a ” Domestic Terrorist ” because I do not support WOKENESS & all the baggage that comes with it…
Great comment btw & the latest FTX scandal should be an eye opener for all Americans to behold when the evidence supports the kickbacks to the Democratic Socialist Party’s coffers through once again, you guessed it, Ukraine…
Best regards,
Bill… :~)

Marshall
2 months ago

So reminds me of Vietnam. Too many rules of engagement so no chance of winning. give them the tools to win and let them go about winning the war on their terms.

Bill on the Hill
2 months ago
Reply to  Marshall

Let them fight their own war, they don’t need America’s help, period.
Imagine what that ( 50 ) billion $ in Ukraine aid could have done for our Southern Border & on that score alone, I rest my case…
Bill… :~)

Adonis
2 months ago

Former Defense Secretary Gates clearly stated one of the most important things about Biden.
I quote “Joe Biden was wrong on every major international issue every time”. This alone explains his judgment. And now add his proficiency in corruption, and the whole disastrous picture emerges.

zoe frost
2 months ago
Reply to  Adonis

Highlighted by the fact that the dolt fraud puppet is owned by ChiComs and Globalist elitists, and not even running the country – Anti-Republic, America LASRT traitor joe takes orders from Commie Traitor Obamie & cabal! The brain defective expletive (existing on massive amount of drugs) slipped and told us several times. FJB and everyone aiding/abetting the pedo fool.

Bill on the Hill
2 months ago
Reply to  zoe frost

A big thumbs up for Adonis & zoe frost…
Bill… :~)

Dave
2 months ago

We’ve got to stop sending money to Ukraine. It’s a Nazi regime and a lot of that money is just finding it’s way back to Biden’s pocket.

zoe frost
2 months ago
Reply to  Dave

Too bad dolts don’t recognize propaganda and STILL think they get news from corrupt MSM, so they don’t have those facts. It’s why they are so ignorantly stupid, and vote stupid. And we KNOW you can’t fix stupid.

Aaf Schafer
2 months ago

When you press foreign governments to pay you millions of dollars and you expect no pay back that is the situation Biden is in. He is beholden to Zelensky and the Ukrainian gang.
FTX kept paying the US aid money to Zelensky who paid it back to Biden who bought the senate with it. None of that money went to the Ukraine yes a bit to Zelensky and his minions. But it all went straight into the DNC war chest along with Soros 140 million. 2 people bought the senate for the dems. Open your eyes people.

Philip Hammersley
2 months ago
Reply to  Aaf Schafer

SWAMP media is doing their best to keep the FTX to Ukraine to Biden links under cover!

patricia A Richard
2 months ago

Is Hunter still on the board of Burisma??

Richard Hennessy
2 months ago

Is there anything that Biden and the Democrats have done that wasn’t determined by political advantage, rather than by the need for good administration and the benefit of US citizens?

Bill on the Hill
2 months ago

To answer your question, of course you already knew the answer, a resounding NOTHING…
Bill… :~)

Dave K
2 months ago

One of the better articles presented by AMAC. Shows both sides of the Democrat coin and the conundrum of that forked tongue.

William C Smith
2 months ago

Like Trump, he has an undisciplined mouth.

CoNMTX
2 months ago

It’s not his mouth that is the problem. It’s what he use to call his “brain” controlling his mouth that is the problem. He needs to be impeached and thrown into a padded room. Then all day he could speak to and shake hands with those invisible people he keeps seeing. Some dead, some alive.

Richard Hennessy
2 months ago

Biden isn’t undisciplined. Like all Democrats, he consistently adheres to the leftist agenda and Democrats support him in lockstep, proving the lie of “moderate” Democrats that don’t exist when actual voting on bills occurs.

anna hubert
2 months ago

From his mouth comes what was poured into the space btrween his ears

DenvilleSr
2 months ago

Joe has always viewed everything through the lens of domestic partisan politics. Praising former Ku Klux Klansmen was OK until it wasn’t any longer. The old Soviet Union needed some of his respect because Republicans were so anti-Communist. He is more concerned about Blue vs. Red than he is about the U.S. vs. external enemies. But now his is President rather than gaff prone Senator or VP. Additionally, given his current mental fitness, he is in over what is left of his head.

Rik
2 months ago

Jackass Joe wants to blame Putin for our high energy prices, he must think Republicans are as dumb as Democrats to not know that the shutdown of the Keystone Pipeline is the main reason our gasoline prices have more than doubled and now expected to rise much higher and heating costs are expected to be at least 30% more this winter! . . . Geez, thanks a lot Comrade President!

Stephen Russell
2 months ago

maybe Biden wants WW3??
Or handlers do

Philip Hammersley
2 months ago

More $$$ for his war materiel maker supporters that they can pass on to DIMMs.

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