Has Joe Biden gone loco over Ukraine? In Warsaw, Biden proclaimed of Russian President Vladimir Putin, “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.” Biden also called Putin a “butcher.”
Then, in a meeting with the Polish president, Biden said the US regards NATO’s Article 5 as a “sacred commitment.” Biden called Warsaw a “sacred place” in the history of Europe and in “humankind’s unending search for freedom.” Biden went on to describe the conflict in Ukraine as “a battle between democracy and autocracy, between liberty and repression, between a rules-based order and one governed by brute force.”
Biden’s choice of historical anecdotes was a bit disingenuous; he cited the Nazi siege of Leningrad as equivalent to the evil in Ukraine, but left out the equally brutal Soviet siege of Berlin. He also slipped in a sophomoric ruble and rubble joke which was more churlish than Churchillian. Biden’s talk about unity raised the question of why he was standing alone on that podium. Where were the French, British and German leaders? And who promotes democracy by calling for a coup, anyway? That the White House later downplayed Biden’s remarks about regime change only underlined how out of touch Joe really is.
Biden also made a multiple-part gaffe when addressing US troops on the Ukrainian border, saying, “And you’re going to see when you’re there, I don’t know if you’ve been there, you’re going to see women, young people, standing in the middle of the damn tank.”
For all his rhetoric in Warsaw, pretty much since Russia invaded Ukraine, Biden has not said more than a word about inflation, the economy, unemployment or gas prices other than they are a price for all Americans to pay for a free Ukraine, Covid people, transpeople, black lives people, Hunter’s laptop, Ketanji Brown Jackson and her nomination hearings, Afghanistan, China except in the Ukrainian context, the Iran nuclear negotiations, unfulfilled promises about canceling student loans, January 6, or much of anything else. Ukraine is a desperate gambit for a president who is getting absolutely clobbered otherwise, now down to a record low of 33 percent approval on the economy.
The dog has been wagged. Again. From a cold start a month ago, when few Americans spent a moment on “whither Ukraine,” we as a nation are buying into the notion that nothing more important could exist. Invoking the term “sacred” twice in one speech, more than the pope on a typical day, and claiming that this is all a battle “between liberty and repression,” Biden is rallying Americans to a new crusade. And once again, as it was in failures strewn across the Middle East, the goal is “regime change.” In other speeches, Biden, with the Kennedy School chorus behind him, has threatened retaliation if Russia uses nuclear or chemical weapons, even in non-NATO Ukraine.
Our new bestest friend in this crusade is being transformed into one of the goodest, a “sacred place” in “humankind’s unending search for freedom.” The real Poland does not exactly have a spotless record searching for freedom. Many Poles enthusiastically supported the Holocaust. Poland is currently ruled by a right-wing government that people were calling Trumpian just a few weeks ago. Poland is buddies with Hungary, which opposes further sanctions and boasts a proudly illiberal prime minister hated by progressives. The European Court of Justice recently cleared the way to cut billions in aid to Poland on the grounds it failed to uphold the rule of law.
Only a month before the invasion, Poland attended a Defend Europe conference seeking to shift attention from Putin to the pan-European issues of immigration and demographic decline. Poland maintains what it calls “LGBT-Free Zones.” So sacred space or not, Poland is no angel. What it is is the latest in a long line of paid vassals for American foreign policy — the new Pakistan — all faults overlooked, the recipient of billions, a depot for the new war.
Biden is claiming the benefits of a wartime president without most of the war, saber-rattling in a very dangerous way as if no lessons have been learned over the last two decades. He is promoting, once again, regime change at America’s whim. But this time not with some scabby little state in the Middle East, but with the world’s largest nation, one armed with nuclear weapons, a still powerful economy, a massive conventional army and diplomatic power from the UN to India to China to Iran.
In laying out the evidence that Biden has truly lost his mind, let’s examine the case for regime change in Russia. Certainly a month ago no one spoke of this: a clue that Russia’s fundamentals are solid enough. Whatever happens in Ukraine is far below the threshold for overturning an otherwise stable government.
Putin has been in power for 22 years, ironically installed in a coup that threw out the more or less pro-Western Boris Yeltsin. Putin has had plenty of time to stock the ranks of the architects of any overthrow — the military and intelligence services — with plenty of loyalists. Reports of arrests in the army or in the intel services come exclusively from non-credible sources, anti-Soviet think tanks and propagandists. As for the oligarchs, how many divisions do they control?
Further suggesting madness is the threat of nuclear war. Biden just drew a new red line, not just at NATO’s border but by claiming he will retaliate if Russia uses nuclear or chemical weapons in Ukraine. It seems almost nostalgic to remember when we feared imminent nuclear war because Trump sent a tweet about Little Rocket Man. Had Trump demanded regime change in Russia, they’d be talking the 25th Amendment on late night with some justification.
The clearest evidence that Biden has absolutely no idea what he is doing is how certain he is to fail. If regime change is the new US foreign policy goal, and it does not happen, then Biden is the loser. Why would a sane man take the short-term gain of looking like a wartime president with the certainty that by the November midterms he will look like a failed president?
The dude might just be loco.
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