President Joe Biden used to be tiptoeing toward a nuclear war as he effectively declared war on Russia by sending billions of dollars of military hardware to Ukraine, training Ukrainian fighters, and not giving a damn if all of this leads to a direct confrontation between Russian and American forces. Now he’s lunging toward a nuclear confrontation as the war in Ukraine continues to spiral out of control, Putin becomes more likely to use nuclear weapons to save face and Biden is creating a parallel foreign policy disaster with China.
Can America fight a two-front nuclear war? Can we win a third world war as some crackpot residents of Congress from both sides of the aisle seem to think? No, it's all madness. Sheer madness and utter folly.
The Biden administration’s response to Russia’s war in Ukraine and its increasingly erratic assessment of China are the twin pillars of military and foreign policy folly. Unfortunately, much of the elected representatives of the Republican Party are all in with the president, as are the mainstream media and even to suggest that this situation is volatile and potentially catastrophic somehow means you are in league with Russia and in bed with America’s Cold War enemy.
Why did rational politicians understand that nuclear war was not a military option throughout the Cold War but there is an increasing bipartisan resolve to win the Third World War? We understood that Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) might have been a cold and morbid construct, but it reminded us daily that no one was going to win on the atomic battlefield and that there would only be the vanquished and the dead when it was all over and we were all over.
This was why President John Kennedy did not immediately order an airstrike on Cuba when those U-2 spy planes discovered nuclear missiles on the communist island. He thought about matters. Weighed responses. He consulted with the joint chiefs of staff and his brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy. He used back-channel diplomacy instead of just in-your-face rhetoric. He eventually agreed to remove American missiles in Turkey that targeted the Soviet Union if Russia would remove their offensive weapons from Cuba.
Yet there is a virtual bipartisan agreement that America should be funding Ukraine in its war with Russia; that Ukraine and everybody else in Europe should join NATO and that we should continue to intervene in this European war for “as long as it takes” according to the demented man in the White House. Has Biden even contemplated what “as long as it takes” means? Has he thought for a moment that the U.S. has talked of fighting interminable wars in the past only to eventually forsake these Godforsaken struggles after spending a large part of the treasury?
But Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war does not directly endanger the U.S. or affect American interests. Putin has not invaded Mexico or Honduras but a border state that continues to seethe with ethnic tensions, political disagreement and its desire to join NATO.
Yet too many American lawmakers think becoming a military ally of Ukraine and essentially declaring war on Russia is nothing to worry about. Republicans, as well as Democrats, don’t think Biden has gone far enough, fast enough.
"He could have sold the Ukrainians surface-to-air missiles a long time ago… and he didn't," Rep. Fred Keller, R-Pa., said of Biden and Ukraine. "Ukraine needs to have the ability to defend themselves."
Yes, and he could have enforced a no-fly zone a long time ago as well and Biden still could.
And if we did send those missiles, we would have no assurance that they would even be used by the Ukrainian military and not sold on the international arms market for cash. Let us stop pretending that Ukraine is a democratic state like every other and not just as corrupt, just as unmindful of ethics as the Russians are.
The frightening thing about giving the Ukrainians surface-to-air missiles is that Russia could easily interpret – easily understand! – this to be a provocative act of war by the United States and the longer this war goes on for Putin, the more Russian soldiers he loses in this fight, the more he sees the United States as foiling his designs, the more likely is the Russian strongman to use nuclear weapons in at least a tactical form. And with virtually every other country in Europe belonging to NATO, it won’t take much to put the burning match to the gasoline-soaked rags that have been strewn across the continent.
NATO was one of the best ideas and the most efficacious collective defense organizations ever conceived. But it should have died with the Cold War as we sought to build bridges, not no-fly zones with Russia. That was the plan when President George H.W. Bush oversaw the end of the Cold War and envisioned a new Europe that wasn’t a tinder keg of military conflict.
Even United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said this week that the world is “one miscalculation” away from a nuclear war. I don’t often quote a UN official with positive affirmation. But he is making sense here.
So while Biden remains assiduously obsessed with the sanctity of the Ukrainian border, just as he steadfastly refuses to acknowledge that the United States has ceased to have a border with Mexico, his China policy is not just erratic but schizophrenic.
As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan illustrates, there are three China policies in the Biden administration: Biden’s, Pelosi’s and the Department of Defense’s. It all combined to produce a Keystone Cops-like scene with no one knowing just what the hell this administration wants to tell China except that we are confused, we are very confused. While Biden sells oil from the nation’s strategic reserve to China, he did not even communicate with Pelosi about her intentions in flying to Taiwan and creating her own private version of superpower brinkmanship.
China is clearly the most visceral threat to the United States. While Russia’s shelf date has come and gone, China continues to tell America that it has become a decadent nation obsessed with transgender theology, addicted to fentanyl, awash in urban crime, invaded by illegal immigrants, and attuned to infantile social media sites that the Chinese fund.
China is without question ecstatic about Biden’s commitment to green energy. China produces most of the solar panels and windmills even as it continues to increase its coal consumption, and produces a preponderance of greenhouse gasses that will never disturb its environmental conscience.
It doesn’t end with green energy paraphernalia, it only begins. Perhaps China doesn’t produce 90% of America’s pharmaceuticals but it provides the materials for 80% of them and also has a stranglehold on antibiotics. China makes your iPhone, virtually everything on the shelves of “Toys ‘R Us” and the clothes on your back.
It is also a formidable nuclear and conventional power. Does the United States with its army of 1.4 million think it can duke it out with China’s army of 2.8 million soldiers that could easily increase by ten-fold if it called up even a fraction of its reserves?
In terms of raw power, the U.S. may have better military equipment and a larger range of nuclear options but where does that lead us but to nuclear war – this time in Southeast Asia and not Europe?
The United States has become so impoverished as an economic power that it is forced to rely on sheer military might to keep the Chinese menace in check.
That is the result of decades of incompetent, myopic, and self-serving trade policy from both Democratic and Republican presidents. It is the result of both Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate allowing jobs and manufacturing to drift overseas to China.
That’s what made President Donald Trump not only different but someone who was trying to make a difference. He knew America could not defeat China in a conventional or nuclear war. We would all lose and emerge in a new Stone Age. So he identified the problem, got tough with China with tariffs and fair trade, and dealt with the aging Chinese leadership like it was a malcontent construction union from New York City that Trump used to have to deal with.
It was America First in terms of making the essential products in America. America First never meant isolationism to Trump. Trump was all over the world as president, facing down North Korea, telling NATO to stop expanding endlessly while its existing members weren’t even meeting their military bottom line of defense spending which was 2% of the GDP. He took out Iranian terrorists and bombed Syria.
Yet he took relationships with nuclear powers seriously and didn’t think you can just hope matters work themselves out and offenses will not result in a catastrophic misunderstanding.
We’ve been here before. In this very month of August in 1914, the First World War began when diplomatic niceties ended the Great Powers forged the cataclysm of the Twentieth Century because the military option of resolving disputes seemed like the only option. It was just easier that way.
In way less than two years, Joe Biden has taken an America that was energy independent and had forgotten what inflation was to an economic basket case that can only spend trillions of dollars to fund Democratic fancies. America cannot even provide its own baby formula and administration half-wits like Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg think that electric cars are free and don’t require fossil fuels to produce their power and won’t send the average American’s utility bill through the roof. Never mind that they are bad for the environment, expensive, and increasingly scarce.
The desultory and disastrous Biden administration makes you nostalgic for the President Dwight Eisenhower years when America was great not just because it had the best military in the world but because capitalism thrived within its borders and produced the goods the world needed. It makes you long for that shining eight years of President Ronald Reagan when America was defined first by its liberty and economic freedom and then by the military wherewithal to preserve it.
If we are already in Hell, Biden is taking us on a journey beyond its terrifying and arid parameters into utter self-destruction.