Biden’s brinksmanship with Russia after his botched messaging to Vladimir Putin that all-but-invited him to carry out a “minor incursion” into Ukraine may have disastrous consequences for Americans stuck in the vulnerable Eastern European nation should it be invaded.
State Dept: “We've authorised the departure of some US government employees, but we have ordered the departure of all family members of US government employees at our Embassy in Kiev. The State Department has also elevated our travel advisory for Ukraine to level four.”
— Jennifer Griffin (@JenGriffinFNC) January 24, 2022
“From State Dept call: ‘Given that the President has said military action by Russia could come at any time. The US government will not be in a position to evacuate US citizens. So US citizens, currently present in Ukraine should plan accordingly.’ Arrange commercial flights,” Jennifer Griffin reported.
“We’ve authorised the departure of some US government employees, but we have ordered the departure of all family members of US government employees at our Embassy in Kiev,” Griffin continued. “The State Department has also elevated our travel advisory for Ukraine to level four.”
The State Department’s warning is an echo of Biden’s disastrous Afghanistan evacuation, which led to hundreds of Americans being put in harm’s way, dozens stranded behind enemy lines, and millions in military equipment falling into the hands of a terrorist state. Months after Biden pulled American troops out after promising to get everyone who wanted to leave out safely, there were still U.S. citizens left behind in Afghanistan.
The escalation with Russia comes as Biden is considering deploying several thousand troops, as well as aircraft and warships, to NATO allies in the Baltics and Eastern Europe, according to the New York Times.
“President Biden is considering deploying several thousand U.S. troops, as well as warships and aircraft, to NATO allies in the Baltics and Eastern Europe, an expansion of American military involvement amid mounting fears of a Russian incursion into Ukraine, according to administration officials,” the Times reported.
“The move would signal a major pivot for the Biden administration, which up until recently was taking a restrained stance on Ukraine, out of fear of provoking Russia into invading,” the Times continued. “But as President Vladimir V. Putin has ramped up his threatening actions toward Ukraine, and talks between American and Russian officials have failed to discourage him, the administration is now moving away from its do-not-provoke strategy.”
“In a meeting on Saturday at Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland, senior Pentagon officials presented Mr. Biden with several options that would shift American military assets much closer to Mr. Putin’s doorstep, the administration officials said,” the report added. “The options include sending 1,000 to 5,000 troops to Eastern European countries, with the potential to increase that number tenfold if things deteriorate.”
The Biden administration was in full damage control on Thursday after a disastrous press conference when the president appeared to invite a “minor incursion” into Ukraine by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“It’s one thing if it’s a minor incursion and then we end up having a fight about what to do and not do, et cetera,” Biden said. “But if they actually do what they’re capable of doing with the force they’ve massed on the border, it is going to be a disaster for Russia if they further invade Ukraine.”
On Thursday, sought to clarify remarks about what he meant by a “minor incursion” from Russia into Ukraine. The remarks “appeared to undermine weeks of intense U.S.-led diplomacy aimed at stopping an invasion of the former Soviet republic,” the Washington Post reported.
“Officials in Kyiv reacted angrily to Biden’s comments at a news conference Wednesday in which he appeared to wobble on backing Ukraine if it were attacked by its larger neighbor,’ WaPo continued. “An array of U.S. lawmakers and world leaders also expressed dismay at Biden’s comments, with some saying the president appeared to offer his Russian counterpart a green light to launch a limited invasion.”
On Thursday, Biden attempted to be “absolutely clear with President Putin. He has no misunderstanding. If any — any — assembled Russian units move across the Ukrainian border, that is an invasion … It would be met with severe and coordinated economic response.” Watch:
“Let me start by first saying a few words about Russia and Ukraine,” he remarked. “I’ve been absolutely clear with President Putin. He has no misunderstanding.”
“If any — any — assembled Russian units move across Ukrainian border, that is an invasion. But it will be met with severe and coordinated economic response that I’ve discussed in detail with our allies, as well as laid out very clearly for President Putin,” he added. “But there is no doubt — let there be no doubt at all that if Putin makes this choice Russia will pay a heavy price.”
However, Biden’s attempt at cleaning up the diplomatic debacle grew increasingly odd.
“That’s also not the only scenario we need to be prepared for,” he said. “Russia has a long history of using measures other than overt military action to carry out aggression, and paramilitary tactics, so-called gray zone attacks and actions by Russian soldiers not wearing Russian uniforms. Remember when they moved into the Donbass with the Little Green Men? They were dealing with those who were Russian sympathizers and say that Russia — nobody in there. Well, that includes Little Green Men and uniforms as well as cyber attack. We have to be ready to respond to these as well in a decisive and united way with a range of tools at our disposal. The Ukrainian foreign minister said this morning that he’s confident of our support and resolve and he has a right to be.”
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson blasted Biden’s bumbling remarks by pointing out that “any kind of incursion into Ukraine, on any scale whatever, would be a disaster, not just for Ukraine, but for Russia.” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called for “Russia not to use military force against Ukraine,” pointing to the Biden remark as not being an open invitation to invade.
Meanwhile, Volodymyr Zelensky, the president Ukraine, responded that even a “minor” incursion into the country would be devastating.
“We want to remind the great powers that there are no minor incursions and small nations,” said in Kyiv. “Just as there are no minor casualties and little grief from the loss of loved ones.” Foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba said a “minor invasion” would be like being “half-aggressive,” which is an illogical distinction.
Donald Trump, who conducted a successful foreign policy during his four years in office by starting no unnecessary foreign wars, remarked on the Biden presser.
“Well, progress in destroying our country, yes. I think that has been tremendous,” Trump said. “He also said something that I assume was a mistake, but he said he expects Putin to go in. He said, ‘I expect him to go in,’ to go into Ukraine. And I thought that was a very unusual answer. I don’t know if he knew what he was saying because he was — he said that as part of another question and he was a little confused.”
“The whole thing was just so horrible, but you look at the border with millions of people coming in, you look at inflation, you look at no more energy independence, no, we have a much different country than we had a year ago,” he added.
Biden indeed appears intent on escalating military confrontation with Russia. The only question now is if his foreign policy blunders will result in more American citizens being put in harm’s way.
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