Many Americans regard Joe Biden’s performance as president to be poor, as noted by his approval/disapproval ratings. While most point to his record on inflation, immigration, crime, and the overall economy to be the lows of presidency, what should be is his poor handling of the Russo-Ukrainian War.
In a recent CNN poll, 55% of Americans believe that Congress should not give any additional funding to Ukraine. The ones who do favor more aid to Ukraine want to see more of it through intelligence instead of weaponry. It is not hard to understand why when looking at how disastrous the results have been for Biden.
Since the outbreak of the war, the United States has publicly condemned Russia’s invasion, placed sanctions on their government, and have given Ukraine an abundance of assistance. In 2022 alone, the United States reportedly gave them $113 billion in aid. Despite this massive amount, the war remains unwinnable for Ukraine.
The sanctions themselves have not had the effect that the United States and other NATO members wanted to see. They specifically targeted oil and gas, two key industries for the Russian economy. While Ukraine’s economic output decreased by 29%, Russia’s economy has only dipped by 2%.
Russia has successfully worked around the sanctions. Since they need computer chips and other components, they began importing more dual-use products that could have “both commercial and military applications than it was before the war.” This includes semiconductors that are vital for many of their weapon systems. While there are still obstacles in the way, products still end up in the hands of Russia, according to Yahoo Finance.
Iran has also come to Russia’s aid by giving them Western military equipment from Iraq and other places. There were even talks of building a sanction-busting rail line around the Caspian Sea that would allow Russia to get products from India.
European businesses, like ones from Germany, get around the sanctions through the use of third countries. This includes jewelry, perfumes, semi-conductors, quantum computers, machinery, and transportation equipment according to Al Jazeera.
While direct exports have plummeted to nothing, German exports to places like Armenia have increased. Germans export diesel trucks to Armenia, which are then shipped to Russia to use in the battlefield. Lithuania also maneuvered around the sanctions by exporting vehicles to Belarus, which then get exported to Russia.
“Have our sanctions meaningfully curtailed Russia’s ability to wage war? No!,” said Robin Brooks of the Institute for International Finance. “Our financial sanctions did not prevent Putin getting all his cash in return for energy exports.”
The issue with the sanctions rely on the fact that they are careful to not force Russia’s oil off the market. Doing so would raise global energy costs and undermine support for sanctions. The price cap on Russian oil purchases by several large nations is $60 per barrel. However, Russia is still selling tons of oil to China and India, two countries that are not taking part in the sanctions.
The sanctions also do not target Vladimir Putin directly since doing so is a sign of wanting to oust Putin from power, subsequently making him more reckless. Provoking Putin, who has a large arsenal of nuclear and other weapons, is a terrible idea since that could have deadly effects on not just Ukraine but potentially Western Europe and the United States.
But an even more dangerous aspect of Biden’s mishandling of the war is direct aid to a country which cannot win.
Russia, with its large military, has smashed into Ukraine, particularly in Khiev and Bakhmut. The battle in Bakhmut saw many of Ukraine’s well-trained soldiers lost in the battle, leading them to rely on conscripts with little or no training.
Even in the battle for Bakhmut, Ukraine was using untrained men. According to David DeCamp, eleven of the sixteen men in a group of draftees who spoke to The Wall Street Journal were captured or killed. These men were described as “mostly poor men in villages in the northeastern Kharkiv region, many of the unemployed, doing odd jobs as handymen or shift work at factories in the regional capital.”
While the use of NATO weapons and conscripts (along with the trained army) made defending Bakhmut possible, the weaponry had to be increased from short-range Javelin and Stinger missiles to medium-range HIMARS and Patriot missile batteries, to heavy weapons such as Abrams tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles. All this has accomplished is angering Russia and leading to them believing they are at war with NATO, according to Modern Diplomacy.
This, along with the sanctions, has also deceived Ukraine that they can win this war. The deception goes even farther with Ukraine’s entrance into NATO, which has been in discussion since the war broke out last year.
Expanding NATO to include Ukraine (and other countries like Georgia) has been tried since the Soviet Union fell in 1991. After its dissolution, hawks in Congress believed they could continually expand the military alliance since Russia (particularly when Putin assumed power in 2000) would never go to war with NATO.
But for Russia, NATO expansion into Ukraine and Georgia is viewed as a threat to their national security due to its long border with Ukraine and Georgia’s strategic position along the Black Sea. While diplomats have long understood this, politicians have not.
Behind the scenes, Biden put NATO enlargement into low gear at the recent NATO Summit in Vilnius. In public, Biden continued to promise Ukraine’s entrance into Ukraine. Failure to do so would make Biden appear weak to political foes.
The best-case scenario for Ukraine is to negotiate peace with Russia to end the war and limit their losses. And there have been talks about peace between the two about ending the war.
In April 2022, Russian and Ukrainian negotiators appeared to have “tentatively agreed on the outlines of a negotiated interim settlement.” The terms of settlement would have been for Russia to withdraw to the positions it held prior to February 24 while Ukraine would not seek NATO membership.
However, the plans were thwarted by NATO. Then-British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told Ukraine not to negotiate through taking an “aggressive line.” Then-Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennet attempted to negotiate peace during the same time as well. But he too was blocked by Western leaders from the UK, U.S., and other NATO members. He claimed, “They blocked it, and I thought they were wrong.”
When peace plans were on the table earlier this year, Joe Biden again blocked them. His national security spokesman, John Kirby, claimed that, “We don’t support calls for a ceasefire right now. We certainly don’t support calls for a ceasefire that would be called for by the PRC in a meeting in Moscow that would simply benefit Russia.”
Biden and NATO are in it to win an unwinnable war. They do not care about peace or the lives of the innocent Ukrainians or risking nuclear war, they are in it to win it. Even leaked Pentagon papers revealed this to be the truth.
While many point to the economy and border crisis as Biden’s weakest policies, his failed sanctions and dragging an unwinnable war out should be considered the cherry on top of this disastrous presidency.