ANALYSIS – With tensions escalating, the Pentagon is reportedly preparing options for evacuating U.S. citizens from Ukraine in an emergency if Russia invades. The world recently witnessed the chaotic and deadly evacuation of Americans and Afghans following Joe Biden’s disastrous retreat from Afghanistan.
Having to execute another major noncombatant evacuation operation (NEO) from a possible war zone in less than six months will certainly not help Team Biden’s already crashing poll numbers, or faith in America under his feckless leadership.
Victoria Nuland, the undersecretary of state for political affairs, said Tuesday that between 10 to 15,000 Americans are currently in Ukraine. However, in Afghanistan Team Biden badly miscalculated the numbers of Americans left behind there. Let’s hope they have the right numbers this time, but I’m far from confident.
Meanwhile, CNN reports that:
The contingency planning is being led by the Pentagon, the sources said, and comes as the administration briefs Congress on how the US is preparing. In a “gloomy” briefing to senators by senior State Department official Victoria Nuland on Monday night, Nuland outlined the tough sanctions package being prepared by the administration in response to a potential Russian attack, but acknowledged that the US’ options to deter an invasion are fairly limited, a person familiar with the briefing said.
It is still unclear whether Russian President Vladimir Putin has made the decision to invade, US officials stressed. But he has amassed enough forces, equipment and supplies near Ukraine’s borders that he could move to attack on very short notice.
While the Pentagon would plan and lead any evacuation, the State Department would be responsible for deciding whether an evacuation operation is necessary.
Sources claim some planning is already underway by the State Department’s bureau for diplomatic security for either an authorized or ordered departure of diplomats from the country should the situation demand.
CNN also notes that:
The administration does not currently see a need for evacuations, the sources stressed – airlines are still operating from Ukraine’s international airports and land borders to Ukraine’s western neighbors are open. The discussions are part of planning in the event the security situation severely deteriorates, multiple officials involved in the planning emphasized.
However, Team Biden repeatedly denied emergency evacuations were needed from Afghanistan until it was obvious that it was needed, and also too late.
Several sources noted that the flurry of planning comes on the heels of the massive US evacuation from Afghanistan, which lawmakers criticized as poorly planned after images surfaced showing chaos at the Kabul airport.
The US does not want to be caught “flat-footed” in the event of an unexpected invasion, said one source familiar with the matter.
This might be a good place to interject with the comments I made in ADN regarding Afghanistan in August:
As someone who has both served in various U.S. embassies as a military attaché and trained in embassy evacuation and reinforcement operations in the Marines, I too can attest this is in fact about to become an emergency non-combatant evacuation operation, or NEO.
NEO is the military term for removing civilians and nonessential military personnel from a dangerous crisis zone. The term is politically charged, and Team Biden is desperately trying to avoid using it.
Unfortunately for them, reality is harder to avoid.
Let’s hope these words don’t become equally prophetic now for Ukraine. ADN