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In Continuation of Obama Legacy, Biden Presides Over Russian Invasion of Ukraine

Trump right again: 'Putin is playing Biden like a drum.'

• February 24, 2022 1:20 pm

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President Joe Biden on Thursday presided over the invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces. The failure to deter Vladimir Putin's aggression marks a continuation of Barack Obama's failed foreign policy and legacy of American weakness. It is a decisive break from Donald Trump's successful policy of powerful American strength.

Putin announced a "special military operation" in Ukraine at around 10 p.m. Eastern Time, well past Biden's bedtime. Military operations were already underway. It is the second time in eight years that Russia has invaded Ukraine on a Democratic president's watch. This violation of Ukrainian sovereignty was even more blatant than the incursion that occurred under Obama in early 2014, when unmarked Russian forces entered Ukraine and facilitated the annexation of Crimea.

Obama's response to Russia's actions was one of extraordinary weakness. "Over the last several days, we've continued to be deeply concerned by events in Ukraine," the failed president told reporters in March 2014. "Russia must know that further escalation will only isolate it further from the international community." Putin was not deterred.

Years earlier, Obama had delighted journalists by mocking Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney for naming Russia as America's top geopolitical foe. "The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back," Obama zinged. The American press went wild, applauding the president's sick burn. The New York Times editorial board called Romney's comments "reckless and unworthy of a major presidential contender."

A month later, Obama issued his infamous warning to President Bashar al-Assad during the Syrian civil war. The use of chemical weapons against the Syrian population, Obama said, was a "red line" that would elicit a forceful American response. Assad was not deterred, either. With Putin's help, the Syrian army deployed sarin gas against civilians on multiple occasions. Obama responded by insisting that he "didn't set a red line" regarding the use of chemical weapons.

Biden's response to Putin's latest aggression in Ukraine has been similarly weak. Last month, for example, he suggested during a rambling press conference the United States might acquiesce to a "minor incursion" into Ukrainian territory. Because he is a Democrat, the president's bumbling was mistaken for strategic genius by America's journalists. Just nine days ago, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman argued that Putin might decide not to invade Ukraine because Biden "has matched every Putin chess move with an effective counter of his own." Reality was not deterred.

Trump, for his part, accurately assessed the situation in a statement that was as formidable as it was brief. "Putin is playing Biden like a drum," the former American strongman said. "It is not a pretty thing to watch!"