Biden lets the cat out of the bag

20 January 2022, 06:45 PM

Zelensky yesterday was trying to calm the nation advising that war is not going to happen as he is working flat out on diplomacy. His message of calm and reassurance was totally understandable – and in the national interest, given the threat. 

But you can understand now why Ukrainians are upset, as Biden then let the cat out of the bag by suggesting he thinks “Putin will move in” on Ukraine.

Even worse, he then revealed to everyone, but more particularly Putin, disunity in NATO over sanctions and whether a minor incursion rather than an invasion would rally allies to agree to sanctions.

Video of day

This reminds me a bit of (Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei) Rybakov’s comment yesterday at Valdai (Discussion Club) that there would not be a “large scale” war in Europe. If you are Russian, you may define large scale as when the Soviet Union lost 20 million subjects in and around the Second World War – nearly half of them in Belarus and Ukraine, and half of them killed by their own side, Stalin.

Desperate efforts by the White House press office to clarify after the event, that any breach of Ukraine’s borders would constitute an invasion and trigger devastating sanctions, could not really make up for the damage done.

If Putin was not going in, he likely is now. But I have to say that Biden was just saying what D.C. contacts have been telling me since November – that on balance, Putin is likely to invade. The stars are just aligning for him.

It’s good that a POTUS tells the truth – I think we saw the opposite most of the time under Trump. But sometimes the greater good means being somewhat selective with the truth when it serves the end goal. This was one of those occasions, Joe.

And Biden’s team had been doing a stellar job in recent weeks in presenting a united NATO front to Putin. That effort has been significantly put back now because of the gaffes made by the boss last night. Let’s hope they can recover from here.

But as it stands, the war risks have now been starkly revealed, and Europe is entering a really worrying time. As various people have highlighted, Europe faces the biggest risk of major conflict since the Balkan wars in the mid-1990s, and the biggest risk of Russia-NATO clashes since the end of the Cold War.

Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Google News

Ukraine Today
Fresh daily newsletter covering the top headlines and developments in Ukraine
Daily at 9am EST
Show more news