Some would say that Ukraine is a problem of Joe Biden’s own making. In a general sense, the President is seen as very weak. His poll numbers are cratering. Most democrats don’t want him to run again. The “Let’s Go Brandon!” craze is an illustration of a movement that would never happen with a strong president. Biden is not seen internationally as having a lot of political capital to spend. Then, there are the foreign policy mistakes.
In a press conference in January, the President said that if Putin executed a minor incursion into Ukraine, minor consequences would be. It effectively was an invitation to the Russian President to go after the regions in Ukraine he craves to shore up his country’s access to deep-water ports. It was the type of verbal gaffe that Biden could get away with when he was a Senator, but a President’s choice of a phrase has real-world consequences.
Then there was the Nord Stream 2 debacle. For some inexplicable reason, Biden paused sanctions on the project, which effectively allowed it to move forward. The pipeline allows Russia to move its natural gas to Europe without going through Ukraine. Let us not get in the weeds about how Biden shuts down American pipelines, ironically increasing our dependence on Russian energy exports. Instead, let us focus on the fact that the action potentially increased Europe’s reliance on Russia for its expanding energy demands.
Indeed, Germany was suspiciously silent on the condemnation of a possible invasion by Russia in the lead-up to the current conflict. It led observers to opine that Germany was more concerned about heating homes in the winter than it was about the sovereignty of Ukraine. That is why some were surprised about Germany’s recent decision to halt Nord Stream 2 because of the incursion into Ukraine.
It may be a decision they regret when they are paying astronomical fuel prices soon, but for the moment, it seems like the US and its partners are united in putting pressure on Putin to stop his aggression in the region. Time will tell if the coalition putting pressure on Putin will hold, but for now, it looks like the parties are willing to endure short-term pain for long-term gain.