Biden and Russia: This Does Not Constitute ‘Standing Up to Putin’

U.S. President Joe Biden and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin shake hands as they arrive for the U.S.-Russia summit at Villa La Grange in Geneva, Switzerland, June 16, 2021. (Sputnik/Sergey Bobylev/Reuters)

If reports are accurate that the Biden administration “will press Ukraine to formally cede a measure of autonomy to eastern Ukrainian lands now controlled by Russia-backed separatists who rose up against Kyiv in 2014” and declare that Ukraine is not going to join NATO for the next decade, in order to avoid a war with Russia, it will be another terrific example of how I should never give the Biden administration any credit for anything.

In yesterday’s Morning Jolt, I wrote, “let us pause and credit the administration for spending a good portion of yesterday attempting to send a clear message to Vladimir Putin and galvanize U.S. allies in order to deter further Russian aggression against Ukraine.” After a long stretch of the Biden administration seeming to ignore Russia, Biden and his national-security adviser Jake Sullivan publicly said they had communicated to Putin, “things we did not do in 2014 [when Russia invaded Crimea] we are prepared to do now.”

Apparently… nevermind. If the recent report from the AP is accurate, Biden is willing to reward Putin with Ukrainian territory in order to avoid a conflict, ignoring the fact that he’s just set up an incentive system for further aggression.

In yesterday’s Morning Jolt, I also wrote, “for most of Biden’s presidency so far, he and his top officials have talked a good game about standing up to Vladimir Putin and then inched away from any actual conflict.” It looks like old habits die hard.

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