President Joe Biden’s presidency seems to be focusing on “accommodating” Russia in its aggressive posture with Ukraine. The president said on Wednesday that he is working to address Russia’s “concerns” about NATO. He also said that he is trying to find “any accommodations” he can for them to keep from having conflict.
President Biden said that he was very straightforward with Putin in a meeting they had together. He said that he was polite, but he made it very clear that if Putin invades Ukraine, there will be severe consequences.
American officials have looked at an extensive set of possible sanctions on Russia. These included sanctions on members of Putin’s inner circle and the country’s energy sector. The President has been coordinating with allies in Europe on a joint sanctions effort. These countries are tied more closely to Russia economically.
Biden then said that he hoped by the end of this week there would be meetings at a higher level. He is hoping for at least four of America’s allies to come together with Russia to talk about the concerns they have with NATO. All the players involved in the discussion would then try to work out any accommodations that could lower the aggressiveness on Russia’s eastern front.
Then Biden made it clear that he would not put U.S. troops on the ground in Ukraine to stop a Russian invasion of the country. The president said loud and clear, “That is not on the table.”
President Biden described a moral obligation and a legal obligation to America’s NATO Allies. If they become under attack under Article Five, Biden said that America has a sacred obligation.
But he added, “That obligation does not extend to NATO — I mean, to Ukraine. But it would depend upon what the rest of the NATO countries are willing to do as well. But the idea the United States is going to unilaterally use force to confront Russia from invading Ukraine is not — in the cards right now. But what will happen is: There will be severe consequences.”
In the midst of such weak language from the president, Russia is preparing to launch a huge invasion into Ukraine. Some indicate that it could happen in the upcoming weeks and Russia would be using 175,000 troops, armor, and artillery. Experts are indicating that Putin is ready to take advantage of “weakness” from President Biden.
The Washington Post reported that the Kremlin has been moving troops close to the border with Ukraine. They have also been demanding that Washington give a guarantee that Ukraine will not join NATO. Russia does not want the allies of America to begin any military activities around Ukrainian territory.
Ukraine has been seeking membership in NATO for several years but is not in the final stages of entering the alliance. President Biden has said previously the country must first do more to wipe out corruption before joining.
But again, Russia is moving towards building up as many as 175,000 troops on the ground near the border which is creating great uncertainly for Ukraine and her allies.
Putin has said over and over again that Ukraine is culturally and historically part of Russia. Ukraine’s history is complicated but for Putin and other Russians it is clear, Russia should by rights include Ukraine.
So Putin is free to move forward with just the warnings of sanctions coming from the White House. Clearly, Biden has taken a tougher stance off of the table.
It is unclear why we would play our military hand so early in this process.