In this installment of their weekly Sunday Six conversation, PF Whalen and Parker Beauregard of The Blue State Conservative discuss six conclusions they can draw from the continuing crisis in Ukraine with Russia’s military buildup.
#6: The Russia Hoax narrative that President Trump was somehow beholden to Putin due to some nefarious side deals has been thoroughly destroyed.
PF: The left’s storyline on Trump and Russia never held water, which is why so many of us were frustrated by the whole affair. From the beginning, there was zero evidence to support the Russia Hoax, despite claims by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and the hopes and wishes of the mainstream media. President Trump applied far more pressure on Putin and Russia via various sanctions than the Obama Administration, and now we have the Biden Administration practically inviting Putin to launch a “minor incursion” into their neighbor’s sovereign land.
The left told us that Trump was a “Russian cat’s paw,” and once in office Trump was going to allow Putin to do whatever he wanted. But that never happened because it was never true. Vladimir Putin had four years with Trump in office to try and pull the type of stunt he’s currently pulling in Ukraine, but he didn’t. Putin was, in fact, relatively well-behaved during Trump’s presidency. But with Biden in office, Putin started to amass troops along the border less than three months after the inauguration. Putin correctly recognized that there’s a new sheriff in town, and there’s no reason for him to fear that sheriff.
The fact is, Trump set the tone early with not just Putin, but all his international adversaries. The most efficient method of avoiding situations like we currently see in Ukraine is through deterrence, and that’s what Trump achieved. Less than fifteen months into his term, Trump launched a strike against Syria while Putin had forces on the ground. Trump’s message was clear: Don’t mess with me; and Putin didn’t. But with Biden (and Obama before him when he allowed Putin to seize Crimea) there is no deterrence because there is no credibility. Vladimir Putin thinks Biden is weak, and he’s right. And for that reason, he’s not deterred from being as aggressive as he wants.
#5: Borders matter.
Parker: How’s that for a pithy intro? The entire Ukraine storyline proves one of two things: Either national sovereignty is desirable or borders are merely geographical tools used to achieve political ends. One or both could be true, and ultimately it shows the gross insincerity when it comes to our own southern border.
Let’s say that the left actually believes national sovereignty is a good thing and that this belief motivates their protection of Kiev. The immediate comparison should then absolutely be applied to our own southern border. If borders, and border incursions, matter, then where is the alarm over the influx of millions of invaders? Part of me actually thinks the warhawks and warmongers truly distinguish between the Russian invasion and the immigrant invasion, which makes them idiots nonpareil. Do they think these only take place with tanks and rockets?
Let’s say, though, that the more likely case, as I tend to believe, is that the Russia/Ukraine hullabaloo is simple gamesmanship. It could certainly be a proxy for a battle with Putin himself. The Democrats and their Establishment Republican allies desire expensive, dragged-out wars because it pays off lobbyists within the military industrial complex and keeps the focus off other issues. War with Russia! Look here! It’s the oldest sleight of hand in the books.
Like I said, though, borders matter, either directly or indirectly. In the first scenario, they simply matter, and in the second scenario, they are still pretended to matter. I honestly don’t care which one it is – can we just apply that thinking to our wide-open door to Mexico?
#4: Russia’s actions on the Ukraine border are a direct result of last summer’s disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan.
PF: In late December we made predictions about events to come in 2022, and one of them was this: “More serious consequences of the Afghanistan pullout fiasco will emerge.” And that’s exactly what we’re seeing with the Russia-Ukraine conflict today.
The current situation in Ukraine wouldn’t be nearly as dire if President Biden hadn’t overseen one of America’s worst military and foreign policy blunders in Afghanistan in August. The current Ukraine crisis doesn’t happen without the Afghanistan fiasco. Yes, Putin was beginning to stage troops along the Ukraine border within weeks of Biden taking office, but Putin escalated those efforts once he saw Biden’s thorough botchery of Afghanistan. Even if you agree with Biden’s decision to withdraw from Afghanistan – a sentiment many of our readers probably share, but one which I absolutely do not – Biden’s execution of the pullout was catastrophic by almost any measure. Even hardcore leftists like CNN had to admit that reality. And it was that incompetence that undoubtedly emboldened Vladimir Putin to take the stance he’s currently taking.
Joe Biden may be Commander-in-Chief of the most powerful military in the world, but Biden has no balls. And Putin knows it. Biden’s impotence was on full display in August when every aspect of the Afghan withdrawal failed. Thirteen Americans and thousands of Afghans were killed, including many who were American allies. Biden turned and ran and left behind billions of dollars’ worth of military equipment in the process. Vladimir Putin was licking his chops because he knew that with Biden’s feebleness, he’d be able to have his way with Ukraine, and here we are.
#3: The only thing the political left cares about is power.
Parker: I used to fall into the common line of thinking that the left wouldn’t have any standards if it didn’t have double standards. More recently, though, I was introduced to some new analysis that their motives and actions are not hypocritical at all. They think, say, and do what they need to in order to accumulate power. That’s it. If saying A advances an agenda in the moment, then they say A. And if they need to say Not A the next moment, then they do so as easily as one might drink water.
So, while it might seem flagrantly absurd to notice how President Trump was impeached over a leaked transcript from the wall-worthy Alexander Vindman regarding a phone call with Ukrainian president Zelensky but Joe Biden not only gets a pass on his ineptitude, it’s not at all hypocritical. It is simply business. CNN erases reporting and footage? The White House is silent about the call? Nothing to see here, folks.
As with borders and phone calls, everything the political left does is purposeful. Our border crisis exists because Big Ag demands cheap labor and Democrats demand imported voters. The Ukrainian border matters because Big Business demands a payday for weapons and technology development. The leaked Trump transcript existed because Democrats needed any empty excuse to impeach him. The radio silence over the Biden transcript exists because the media and White House play for the same team. Got it?
#2: While the entire Biden presidency has been a calamity, the most devastating aspect of the administration has got to be their foreign policy efforts.
PF: For me, my biggest worry once it became clear that Biden was going to be our 46th president was the damage he would cause with America’s foreign affairs, and unfortunately that level of damage has exceeded my fears. Our economy is a mess thanks to Bidenflation and his freewheeling spending. We’ve had more COVID deaths under Biden than we did under Trump, even though Biden promised to “shut down” the virus. And we see our civil liberties being infringed upon by the Biden Administration almost daily. But none of Biden’s domestic mishandlings can’t compare to his utter ineptitude with foreign policy.
In addition to what seems to be an imminent Russia-Ukraine war, one which Biden himself now recognizes will “change the world,” there are other, gravely serious situations around the world which the president is completely mismanaging.
We have North Korea launching missiles and showing their teeth evermore frequently as they sense Biden’s softness. China is becoming increasingly militant towards Taiwan, as Chinese President Xi Jinping watches Putin test Biden in Ukraine. There are indications that Biden is preparing to step aside and allow Iran to attain nuclear capabilities. And there’s no telling from where the next international challenge that Biden will mishandle will come. Biden’s foreign policy failures have been epic, and he’s only been in office for a year.
Biden’s stumbling comes in stark contrast to his much maligned but highly successful predecessor. Trump got results. Putin, as mentioned, stayed in line for Trump’s four years. Trump achieved four separate Israeli peace deals, a stunning accomplishment. Under Trump, China was somewhat antagonistic, as was North Korea, but not nearly as confrontational as they are right now. And Trump set the stage for deterrence with not only the aforementioned Syria strike, but with the killing of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani. Foreign leaders may not have liked Trump but they respected him. They feared him. But with Biden, there is no such fear and respect.
#1: We are at a crossroads in determining America’s future role in international disputes.
Parker: I don’t know if agnosticism is the right description, but I don’t know how else to explain my internal tug-of-war over foreign affairs. You cited our Afghanistan withdrawal as being a precursor to Putin’s indifference toward a Biden response. I agree that we sent a loud message to bad guys with that pullout. We didn’t need to do that. The same could also be said of our silence over the Hong Kong freedom protests just a few years ago as well. When America stays quiet or removes itself from diplomatic involvement, the net result is an increase in hostility.
The question is not, though: Is that good or bad? It’s obviously a loss for the people of whatever region are conquered and subjugated. I am beginning to wonder if the better question is: Is it good or bad for America? While we have played, and can continue to play, a vital role in shaping peace and freedom around the world, it is not without a heavy cost. The foremost cost is American blood. Our soldiers have died in the past few decades for…what exactly? It is no small thing to make the ultimate sacrifice so that others may be free; I am not saying it is for nothing. I am wondering how long we will ask those sacrifices to be made. And too often those gains seem only temporary.
A secondary cost is the actual cost. We have spent trillions of dollars of American wealth, stolen from the middle class in essence through taxation and inflation, for…again, what exactly? A third cost is absolutely the destruction wrought by our own forces. Not every act of American involvement is in the interest of locals; it is often just as much in the interest of American enterprise. Governments from Central America, to Asia, to the Middle East, and with Ukraine specifically, to Europe, have found themselves embroiled in events far beyond their desires or capabilities.
What does the future hold for American participation in every struggle for freedom, peace, and sovereignty? Must we always show up wherever there is conflict? Perhaps my own asking of the question suggests I lean toward isolationism more than ever before, and that might be true. Is it America’s sole job to provide for the world? Arguments have been made that because we can, we have a moral obligation to do. Equally valid arguments have been made that a nation’s interests begin and end at the domestic front. No American generation has ever grown up where interventionism wasn’t the norm, and so there is a conditioned response that we owe it to the world to save them from tyranny. But do we? We have enough tyranny at home, all of a sudden. There will be no problem-solving today, but we must begin to have this conversation.
Featured photo by Kwwhit5531, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons
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