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The Brief: Biden’s Bungling Of Ukraine

Peter Schweizer and Eric Eggers of the Government Accountability Institute join Gregg to discuss how Biden enabled Russia’s war on Ukraine

Photo by JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP via Getty Images

At the very moment that Russian missiles were raining down on Ukraine, Joe Biden stood before Congress and seemed to declare victory over Vladimir Putin and his evil empire.

It was a surreal contrast that was difficult to wrap your head around.  But no amount of mental gymnastics or rhetorical rubbish could hide the fact that innocent people were dying as Biden dithered.

His big announcement during his State of the Union address was to close U.S. airspace to Russian aircraft.  What?  Putin isn’t dropping bombs on Wichita.  He’s blowing up Kyiv and Kharkiv.  The port city of Odessa is under siege, not Odessa in Texas.

Ukraine has been begging the U.S. for more arms and ammunition.  But Biden sent precious few.  He thinks his belated financial sanctions and harsh verbal condemnation of Russia will bring Putin to his knees.  It won’t.

Promises and platitudes don’t win wars, weapons do.  The Ukrainians need bullets, not words.  Grandmothers hurling homemade Molotov cocktails are not terribly effective against Russian tanks.  More Javelin anti-tank weapons would help.  More Stinger anti-aircraft missiles would be a plus.

Last Saturday, Biden finally approved an additional $350 million in military aid to Ukraine.  By the time it winds its way through bureaucracy and eventually arrives, the war may be over.  It’s a paltry amount, but the aid should have been sent weeks or months ago.  Even if courageous Ukrainians manage to stall the Russian onslaught, the weapons Biden is offering will not be nearly enough.

When he ran for president, Biden bragged that he was the only man who could stop Putin’s murderous regime from bullying Eastern Europe and invading Ukraine.  He promised that democracy would be safe in his hands because he was the only person who had gone “toe to toe with Putin.”

Like so much in Joe Biden’s life, it was all a charade.  The guy who’s been famously wrong about every major foreign policy decision for the last four decades has kept his perfect record intact.

Make no mistake, Putin is to blame for Russia’s unprovoked attack on a sovereign nation and the murder of its citizens who yearn for nothing more than their freedom from the bonds of Russian domination.

But Biden’s perceived weakness opened the door for Putin to walk right through.

Not since a young Joe Biden squared off against “Corn Pop” has our president faced such a cunning and implacable foe in Vladimir Putin.

To hear Biden tell it, “Corn Pop was a bad dude.”  But fearless Joe wasn’t scared.  He stood his ground and bested his enemy with wit and courage —oh, and a 6-foot chain.  The legend of Corn Pop was born.

The improbable tale was one of the many goofy anecdotes Biden loved to peddle on the campaign trail.  Joe, the tough guy lifeguard, confronting a fierce gang member circa 1962.  In annals of farcical puffery, it belongs in the Smithsonian.

We are supposed to believe that a gang banger was named after a Kellogg’s sugar-sweet cereal?  Was Joe really armed with a box of Lucky Charms?

Like so many of his far-fetched fables, Biden was trying to convince voters that he had the fortitude and steely resolve to lead America in a turbulent world where treacherous adversaries like Putin can pose an existential threat.

In Joe’s mind, Mad Vlad is nothing more than a modern day “Corn Pop” —a gangster with menacing intentions.  Instead of brandishing a razor blade (as Mr. Pop is alleged to have done), Russia’s murderous megalomaniac is now threatening nukes.

Not to worry.  Indomitable Joe is vastly experienced in such matters, whether it be blades or nukes.  The Russian tyrant will back down because Biden proved he has the mettle to deal with the “Corn Pops” of the world.

Except Putin hasn’t backed down.  His deadly invasion of Ukraine continues unabated.  He hasn’t yielded an inch.  His crimes against humanity and war atrocities show little sign of slowing down as he forwards his armed forces to decapitate Kyiv’s government and subjugate its people.

This makes a mockery of Biden’s other asinine brag during the 2020 campaign that once he took up residency in the White House…Putin would no longer bully Eastern Europe.  Gullible voters swallowed Joe’s bluster and bombast.

“Putin knows that if I am president his days of tyranny and trying to intimidate the United States and those in eastern Europe are over,” boasted Biden in October of 2019.  He added, “I’m going to stand up to him.  He’s a bully.”

Reality has turned out to be quite different.  Biden’s recognized weakness invited Russia’s violent assault on Ukraine.  Strength deters aggression, but fragility begets war.  Instead of restoring world order as he promised, Biden’s incompetence helped to produce global chaos.

Maybe once upon a time a guy called “Corn Pop” took Joe seriously —assuming he ever existed.  But it’s clear that a real and far more dangerous thug by the name of Vladimir Putin regards Joe as a terminally feeble and inept leader.  No amount of transparent puffery has deterred him.

The unabashed truth is that Joe Biden has always been something of a fraud —a politician who shamelessly conjured up stories of bravado to craft a false image for self-aggrandizement.

It’s not an uncommon affliction in Washington.  Liars are a dime a dozen.  You can spot one on almost any street corner.  The halls of Congress are filled with them.

But Biden has elevated fakery to an art form.  He’s been prone to crow about anything and everything.  His lies, both large and small, are obsessive, as the New York Post observed.

Beyond his chronic plagiarism, Joe claimed to have received an advanced degree he never earned.  He can’t stop chatting about the fabricated Amtrak story that was debunked long ago.  He boasted that he drove an 18-wheeler, visited a well-known synagogue, was arrested during a civil rights march, and was offered a job at a lumber company.

There’s not a scrap of evidence that any of it is true.  He recently said he was a lifeguard at a lake that doesn’t exist.

One of Biden’s more outrageous whoppers was his claim that he met with the late Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir during the Six-Day War in 1967.  Never happened.  He further claimed that she asked him to be a liaison with the Egyptians.  It was pure malarky —to use one of Joe’s favorite words.

I could spend the entire podcast recounting Biden’s prodigious canards.  The Covid-19 pandemic, vaccines, inflation, the economy, Afghanistan, our southern border crisis, and so many others.  Even CNN chronicled Biden’s deceptions.  His dishonesty is exceeded only by his endless gaffes.

But in selling his lies, Joe’s constant theme has been how tough he is.  Of his political opponent Donald Trump, Biden once said, “If we were in high school, I’d take him behind the gym and beat the hell out of him.”  We were supposed to be impressed by his schoolyard taunt.

In the run-up to the election Biden Tweeted, “Vladimir Putin doesn’t want me to be President. He doesn’t want me to be our nominee.  If you’re wondering why, it’s because I’m the only person in this field who’s ever gone toe-to-toe with him.”

Biden never explained what he meant by “toe to toe.”  Maybe it had something to do with the $3.5 million in Russian money deposited in Hunter Biden’s bank account.  That must be Joe’s idea of playing “footsies” with Vlad.

It’s obvious that Putin was never impressed by Biden.  As I explained in my last podcast, the Russian dictator took the measure of our president’s frivolousness when he fled Afghanistan last August in a bungled withdrawal that cost the lives of thirteen American heroes.  Biden engineered what can only be described an historic foreign policy disgrace.

When he bugged out in his hasty retreat, Biden left American citizens behind and abandoned our Afghan allies.  He gifted to the Taliban tens of millions of dollars’ worth of aircraft, armored vehicles, and sophisticated weapons systems.  Biden’s weakness squandered both U.S. power and credibility.

After Biden’s blunders in Afghanistan, Putin began amassing his military at Ukraine’s border.  No coincidence.  The staging for his full-scale war began in earnest.  Joe’s abysmal failure in Afghanistan set the table for another failure in Ukraine.

The scenario that eventually played out there is the exact opposite of what Biden predicted and promised.  In a 2019 campaign speech he warned, “Imagine what he (Trump) can do in another year.  Imagine what can happen to Ukraine.”

But nothing happened to Ukraine on Trump’s watch.  Putin did not invade during the four years that Trump occupied the White House.  That was not happenstance.  The Kremlin strongman knew that such an aggressive move would never be tolerated.  He feared trifling with Trump whom he perceived as a strong-willed leader.

When Biden took office in early 2021, he wasted little time pleasing and appeasing Putin.  He dropped Trump’s sanctions against Vlad’s Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline, thereby increasing Putin’s power over European nations that were dependent on Russia for their energy needs.

At the same time, Biden shutdown our own Keystone XL pipeline, heaped onerous regulations on our energy industry, and cancelled new oil and gas leases on federal land.  With the stroke of a pen, Joe transformed America from energy independent and a net exporter of oil…to a nation that is now energy reliant on foreign sources.

Prices at the pumps skyrocketed as Americans had to dig deeper into their pockets to fill up their tanks.  Higher gas prices also dramatically increased transportation costs for nearly all products of commerce throughout our nation.  That expense tripled and was promptly passed on to U.S. consumers in the form of higher prices.

Widespread inflation has hit Americans hard in their wallets just as they were struggling to recover from the devastating effects of the misbegotten pandemic restrictions.  As Biden made the U.S. weaker, he helped Putin make Russia stronger.

Biden’s logic in all of this was shockingly warped.  He cited global warming as the reason for cancelling our pipeline.  It would have a negative environmental impact, he claimed.  If that is true, why did he give the green light to Putin’s pipeline?  It makes no sense.  But it’s worse than that.

America is now emitting much more carbon dioxide into the environment without a pipeline than with it.  The reason is simple.  Keystone was designed to operate entirely on renewable energy.  Without it, we are forced to utilize trucks and trains to transport hundreds of thousands of barrels of crude oil per day.  This spews enormous amounts of carbon into the atmosphere by burning dirty diesel fuel.

Killing the Keystone project did not kill America’s demand for energy.  Oil must be transported with or without the pipeline.

Neither Biden nor his climate activist partners have ever been able to grasp this fundamental concept.  Their ill-conceived environmental agenda managed to exacerbate greenhouse gas pollution, not improve it.  It was buffoonery on steroids.

This is what happens when debate over climate change solutions is fueled by political hysteria instead of facts, science, and technology.

And now, with our energy independence gone thanks to Biden, we are forced to import huge supplies of oil from overseas, including Russia.  That’s the most insane aspect of all.  The U.S. is actually helping to fund Russia’s murderous war on Ukraine.

How?  We buy more than 600,000 barrels of their crude oil per day.  That means tens of millions of American dollars pour into Russia’s government coffers on a daily basis.  Since oil revenue supports their economy and finances the Russian military…Biden is helping Putin slaughter the very Ukrainians he claims to be helping.

If Joe had a backbone, he’d ban all Russian oil imports.  But he won’t do that because he backed America into a dire economic corner with his reckless executive orders and regulations that diminished our own thriving energy industry.

Biden promised that he would stand up to Putin.  Instead, he did the opposite.  He enabled and emboldened a blood-thirsty tyrant.  He mishandled and misjudged Putin as only a feeble and feckless leader can.

History will no doubt conclude that the lawless and horrifying invasion in Ukraine is a humiliating defeat for Joe Biden.  He promised to prevent Putin from launching a war on Ukraine.  He failed miserably.  In a moment that demanded strong leadership, Biden seemed bewildered and lethargic.  His feint during the State of the Union fooled no one.

Without a shred of regret, tremulous Joe has now reversed himself and reimposed Trump’s sanctions on Russia’s pipeline.  He waited too long before imposing economic penalties, and he over-calculated their deterrent effect.

Putin knew the sanctions would happen.  He spent years stockpiling enormous currency reserves and devising ways to evade the impact of sanctions by replacing Western imports.

The Russian people will certainly feel the sting of sanctions.  But so will Americans as they pay the heavy price for global energy disruptions and the spiraling cost of imported oil and refined gasoline.  The crisis will persist as Biden fumbles and stumbles.

If Joe was smart —and he is decidedly not— he would move immediately to reinvigorate America’s domestic energy production and reset our course back toward independence.  But he won’t do it.  Not a word about that in his meandering State of the Union address.

More than anything, Biden fears the criticism of vindictive progressives who have hijacked his agenda and presidency.  The recrimination happened anyway.  After his speech, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who serves as Grand Poobah of “The Squad” blasted Biden for not being green enough.

In his speech, Biden delivered lofty words of support for Ukraine.  But his anemic actions on the country’s behalf speak volumes.  Innocent civilians are caught in an iron grip of human suffering and death.  Yes, Putin is the principal villain.  That’s a given.  But our American president is not blameless.  His deficiencies and frailties played a direct role.

Do you want to see a real leader in action?  Take a close look at Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky.  Biden offered to evacuate him.  After all, that’s what Joe would do —retreat.  Zelensky’s heroic response will long be remembered, “The fight is here; I need ammunition, not a ride.”

Zelensky is a profile in courage —the anti-Biden.  Unshaven and dressed in green fatigues, Ukraine’s tireless leader stands shoulder to shoulder with his troops and everyday citizens as they fight for their freedom and their lives.  He refuses to flee, even though Putin has sent more than 400 specially trained mercenaries into Ukraine to murder him.

Zelensky’s public pleas for help are credited with moving Western nations to provide urgent aid and weaponry.  On Tuesday, in a highly emotional and unscripted speech via video to the European Parliament, he spoke sincerely from the heart.  There wasn’t a dry eye in the house as he received a lengthy standing ovation at the conclusion of his request for his country to be admitted to the EU.

That is the hallmark of a strong leader.  A person who can speak with both passion and conviction without reliance on a teleprompter or reading the words written for him by others.  It is something Joe is incapable of doing.  Zelensky makes Biden look very small by comparison.

In cities and streets across their besieged nation, Ukrainians have demonstrated uncommon valor in the face of adversity.  They have shown the kind of bravery, strength and resolve that Joe pretended to have, but didn’t.  With his silly “Corn Pop” stories, Biden posed as something he was not.

Who knows?  Maybe “Corn Pop” was the real deal.  But Joe Biden has proven to be a charlatan —a pugilistic poseur.

Or as Holden Caulfield would say, “a complete phony.”