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Biden’s Ukraine War Policy: Guns Yes, Troops No, Does It Work? – Politics

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Red lines are a double-edged sword. Anyone who throws them should punish them for exceeding them. If that doesn’t happen, credibility is lost. Barack Obama had to experience this during the Syrian war, when the US did not intervene militarily even after the Assad regime was shown to be using poison gas, which Obama had previously described as the red line.

His then Vice President Joe Biden, who is now in charge of the White House, avoids drawing clear lines. At least avoid that when it comes to Ukraine. Because that is east of NATO’s borders, within which the defense alliance would be obliged to intervene militarily.

[Alle aktuellen Nachrichten zum russischen Angriff auf die Ukraine bekommen Sie mit der Tagesspiegel-App live auf ihr Handy. Hier für Apple- und Android-Geräte herunterladen]

It would look different if Russian troops attacked Poland or the Baltic States. Then the duty of assistance would come into force. NATO members themselves drew this red line.

It is not yet, and this single word shows the drama of the last days. Therefore, the United States is trying to refrain from anything that looks like active entry into the war. They are only strengthening, at least officially, Ukraine’s defense capabilities in the uneven fight and trying to weaken Russia’s influence through strong economic sanctions.

[Jeden Donnerstag die wichtigsten Entwicklungen aus Amerika direkt ins Postfach – mit dem Newsletter „Washington Weekly“ unserer USA-Korrespondentin Juliane Schäuble. Hier geht es zur kostenlosen Anmeldung.]

Arms embargoes and deliveries yes, US troops on Ukrainian soil no, is the motto. This also applies to the introduction of a no-fly zone to protect civilians, which Kiev desperately demands. Since this would have to be enforced militarily, it could also be counted as entering the war.

Biden once called Putin a “murderer”

Biden, who once bluntly called Vladimir Putin a “murderer,” has appropriated the warning of a third world war to be avoided. He knows his citizens have his back on this issue: Although the vast majority of Americans now refer to Ukrainians as “friends,” only a minority supports the deployment of US troops to Ukraine.

After long and costly deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, very few Americans are thirsty for a new war. Biden had promised them to end “endless wars” and bring the troops home.

fear of nuclear war

Washington does not want a direct confrontation with the Russian military that could lead to nuclear war. Even if Putin were to use weapons of mass destruction in Ukraine, the White House is not committing to red lines.

When Biden spokeswoman Jen Psaki warned Thursday that Russia could soon use biological or chemical weapons, she said such a move would come with “a heavy price.” But nothing has changed in the president’s attitude not to send US soldiers to Ukraine. Psaki left it open if this could happen in the future and under what conditions.

More about the war in Ukraine on Tagesspiegel Plus:

Because suddenly everything seems possible. Even the most confident pundits avoid answering the question of whether the Kremlin chief still recognizes borders: geographical and moral. There is much to suggest that this is exactly what Putin intended, he is calculating with the fears of Western societies.

However, Biden has no choice: he must confront the aggressor without escalating himself. And he has to react when the simply unimaginable becomes reality. It doesn’t matter if he has previously drawn a red line or not.


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