Putin May be Emboldened by Biden’s ‘Risk Averse’ Approach to Ukraine Invasion: ABC News

Photo by The Presidential Press and Information Office via Kremlin.ru

ANALYSIS – It is telling when even establishment news venues are criticizing Joe Biden’s foreign policy in time of war.  It also says a lot about how this war has taken some odd partisan turns, with most Democrats seemingly in favor of tougher action against Russia, and some Republicans pushing for a more measured response.

In this case I’m with those pushing Biden to do more.

*Message to wavering, soft, or pro-Putin Republicans: how the U.S., and the West, acts now will decide how all our enemies, especially communist China, act in the near future.

In the case of ABC News, it pushed Biden and NATO to take a ‘more direct role’ in fighting Russia in Ukraine.

The day prior to President Biden arriving in Europe for an emergency NATO summit on the Russian invasion of Ukraine, ABC News ran a story citing numerous national security experts saying Biden’s “risk-averse approach to Russia could create greater dangers.”

It added that these experts believe that: “an “emboldened” Putin might be more dangerous than added NATO support.” ABC News continued:

Despite calls from Ukraine to do more to help stave off Russia’s ruthless invasion, Biden has taken a cautious approach — wary of escalating the conflict by drawing in U.S. forces as part of a more direct NATO response. But after nearly a month of fighting, some foreign policy and national security experts ABC News spoke to say it may be time for the alliance to take on a more direct role.

Biden has obsessively insisted that U.S. troops fighting Russians in Ukraine would lead to World War 3. Biden even took the dangerous step of publicly promising Russian leader Vlad the Invader Putin that he would absolutely not send U.S. troops to Ukraine, breaking the long-established rule to never tell adversaries what’s off the table.

These ABC News experts (mostly one expert) argue otherwise.

So, what are the arguments?

Barry Pavel, a former National Security Council senior official during both the Bush and Obama administrations, now the director of the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council, says that having a more direct U.S. and NATO involvement in defending Ukraine leading to a third world war, is far from inevitable.

ABC News refers to him when it writes:

“There have been other cases where U.S. and Russian forces have unfortunately come into friction and World War III didn’t start,” Pavel said, characterizing the strategy as simplistic. “There are hundreds of options that could be done between what NATO is doing now and risking World War III.”

The greater threat, warns Pavel, might be in leaving Putin unchecked.

“If he is emboldened by success in Ukraine, then he will be more aggressive in his efforts to nibble and to move into areas of perceived weakness in NATO members,” he said. “If he achieves his goal, you’ll have Russian forces on the borders of seven NATO members, including nuclear forces in Belarus, and so he’ll use that new posture to really heighten European insecurity to a great degree.”

And it isn’t Biden’s — or NATO’s — choice alone. Moscow could also escalate the conflict by striking a NATO member, either intentionally or accidentally, triggering a sweeping response.

So, what does Pavel suggest?

ABC News writes:

“In terms of the weapons pipeline, we should be doing much more. We can’t let the Ukrainians fly aircraft in their own defense? Forget these ridiculous restrictions on what equipment we can provide a sovereign country who asks for it to defend themselves against an invading force” he said, referencing the U.S. and other allies’ hesitancy to hand over fighter jets to Ukraine for fear of Russian retaliation.

But that’s not all. Pavel argues that NATO should also be sending much more anti-aircraft and anti-ship weaponry, as well as providing enhanced intelligence support and humanitarian aid on the ground, to strongly bolster Ukraine’s resistance.

These are actually very reasonable and solid recommendations that all Americans should be able to get behind. While we should be careful of escalating the conflict to a point of no return – yes, Putin’s nuclear weapons are a serious concern – we also can’t allow Putin’s blustering and posturing to determine our actions.

This crisis also isn’t just about Russia, Ukraine, and NATO – this is also about deterring other rogue regimes, such as Iran and North Korea — but especially communist China — from doing the same thing.

The world already witnessed feckless Biden’s weakness in Afghanistan. They can’t see it again in Ukraine.

How the U.S. and the West act now in the face of this naked aggression in Ukraine will determine the course of future aggression and conflict for years. ADN

Paul Crespo is the Managing Editor of American Defense News. A defense and national security expert, he served as a Marine Corps officer and as a military attaché with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) at US embassies worldwide. Paul holds degrees from Georgetown, London, and Cambridge Universities. He is also CEO of SPECTRE Global Risk, a security advisory firm, and President of the Center for American Defense Studies, a national security think tank. - paulcrespo.substack.com - PAULCRESPO.COM

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