Who’s Provoking Whom? | National Review

An Administration Comfortable with Multilateral Diplomacy and Little Else | National Review

U.S. President Joe Biden and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin shake hands during the U.S.-Russia summit at Villa La Grange in Geneva, Switzerland, June 16, 2021. (Denis Balibouse/Reuters)

A detail in a CNN report this morning:

But so far the Biden administration has opted not to help provide those heavier, Soviet-made weapons systems. US officials continue to grapple with concerns about how Russia might respond if certain weapons transfers are approved. Officials have also raised questions about how useful MiG fighters would be, and whether they are worth the risk.

Russia has invaded Ukraine, deployed thermobaric weapons, shelled cities, fired missiles into apartment buildings, destroyed hospitals and attacked at least 24 medical centers, attacked evacuating civilians, and killed children. But we have to watch what we do, lest we provoke them.

Once again, the U.S. limits its own actions to avoid escalating a conflict that Vladimir Putin and Russian forces are hell-bent on escalating higher and higher.

This is akin to unilateral disarmament. Putin contends that Ukraine is not a real country, that it is run by drug-addicted neo-Nazis, that he’s liberating the Ukrainians by indiscriminately bombing their cities, that the Ukrainians are committing “genocide,” and that the West “forced” him to invade in what is not a “war,” but a “special military action.” The Kremlin has already declared that the U.S. imposition of sanctions amounts to a declaration of “economic war.” Putin doesn’t really need a good reason to take any particular action; if he doesn’t have one, he will just make one up.

Short of absolute capitulation, Putin will declare that just about any U.S. action supporting Ukraine is a provocation.

If the Biden administration wants to argue that a particular policy decision is not in U.S. interests or won’t make a significant difference in the war, fine. But please, spare us any argument that the U.S. shouldn’t take a particular policy action because it might anger or provoke Putin.

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About the Author

Tony Beasley
Tony Beasley writes for the Local News, US and the World Section of ANH.