Ukraine is Europe’s problem. Why is Biden focusing on this fight?: GEN KEITH KELLOGG

Afghanistan in 2021 and Ukraine in 2022 stand out for their profound shock and the strategic significance of President Biden’s failure in both contexts.

Both are flashpoints for understanding what is quickly coming together to be President Biden’s “America Last” foreign policy.

In the field of national security, perhaps more than in any other field, the impact of a single decision by an American president can be immediately felt and alter the very nature of a political challenge, if not the geopolitical dynamics wider, following Afghanistan and Ukraine. crises might bring.

In such contexts, a president’s judgment and instinct are called upon, and the quality of his advisers matters most.

Biden and his advisers let us down in Afghanistan and seem to be heading in the same direction in Ukraine, as Putin’s Russia continues to muster military forces for a possible invasion.

Unfortunately, the view of the current administration couldn’t be more different than when President Trump was in the White House. Our America First plan didn’t mean “America Alone,” but it did mean that we would take a global view of what was good for America first, and then how our actions affected the rest of the world.

President Trump had the perfect experience to organize our actions, having none of the baggage of a Washington politician and the necessary experience in managing the risks, profits and losses that his background in business offers.

Biden and his advisers let us down in Afghanistan and seem to be heading in the same direction in Ukraine. (Above) Biden at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on Friday, Jan. 28, 2022. The president is escorted by Col. William McDonald, vice commander of the 89th Airlift Wing.

As far as Ukraine is concerned, there is no clear path to success, and certainly not through the direct use of American power.

As far as Ukraine is concerned, there is no clear path to success, and certainly not through the direct use of American power.

He saw that other nations were profiting from America’s decline and that American families were the ones paying the bill.

President Trump, and we who helped him carry out his foreign policy agenda, determined that there should be no commitment of American lives or tax dollars without a clearly articulated benefit to the American people. .

It stems from a deep appreciation of the exceptionality of America and Americans and, therefore, the importance of protecting and investing in what we hold dear.

This is the exact opposite of what we are witnessing and experiencing today.

Along with a persistent awareness of the dangers of strategic overreach, the Trump administration’s America First foreign policy has elevated the nation-state to a key player in geopolitics and focused all foreign policy decisions around the top priority of protecting our nation’s citizens.

Where overwhelming and necessary force was deemed necessary, disciplined power was used. There had to be a clear path to victory when conflict was necessary.

As far as Ukraine is concerned, there is no clear path to success, and certainly not through the direct use of American power.

Ukraine is above all a European problem to be solved.

But the Europeans fail.

Economically, they have come to depend on Russia for 35% of their natural gas.

Perhaps the most emblematic data point of Europe’s failure is Germany’s failure to allow the UK to use its airspace to deliver deadly military aid to Ukraine.

On the other hand, the United States has shipped over $2.5 billion in arms and aid to Ukraine since 2014, which really started under President Trump.

President Trump, and we who helped him carry out his foreign policy agenda, determined that there should be no commitment of American lives or tax dollars without a clearly articulated benefit to the American people. .  (Above) Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg speaks during a press briefing in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House on September 22, 2020.

President Trump, and we who helped him carry out his foreign policy agenda, determined that there should be no commitment of American lives or tax dollars without a clearly articulated benefit to the American people. . (Above) Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg speaks during a press briefing in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House on September 22, 2020.

Over the past 8 years, there has been no resolution on the Donbass issue in Ukraine.

Putin is now determining whether the Russian military will solve the problem.

For Russia, the Ukraine issue is deeper and more personal. For Russia, it is about their security.

Lacking the buffer of former Warsaw Pact states, Russia considers any further eastward expansion of NATO a threat to its security.

Putin intends to stop this expansion, which becomes his red line with Ukraine, NATO and, ultimately, the United States. We observe Putin’s clear understanding of what Ukraine means to him politically and strategically and his unwavering commitment to seizing an opening to pursue his agenda.

Unlike President Biden, Putin thinks strategically and has two immediate goals.

Resolve the Ukrainian impasse to its advantage and break the NATO/Europe alliance with the United States.

It can achieve the first goal unilaterally by invading the country, and the second by dragging out engagement with the United States over Ukraine and derailing those negotiations. We are already seeing discrepancies between how some European countries see a resolution on Ukraine and how we perceive it.

The current stalemate could be avoided with a certain “diplomatic finesse”.

Russia should have been told that Ukraine is a sovereign nation, but there is no intention of it joining NATO due to government corruption. We could have persuaded other NATO members to do the same to strengthen themselves.

Ukraine remains in the top third of corrupt governments in the world. In Europe, only Russia is more corrupt.

Instead of getting bogged down in a non-NATO European issue, we should have continued the intellectual and strategic movement recognizing China as the pre-eminent emerging threat to America.  (Above) Chinese President Xi Jinping is seen at a performance ahead of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China in Beijing on Monday, June 28, 2021

Instead of getting bogged down in a non-NATO European issue, we should have continued the intellectual and strategic movement recognizing China as the pre-eminent emerging threat to America. (Above) Chinese President Xi Jinping is seen at a performance ahead of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China in Beijing on Monday, June 28, 2021

In its current state, Ukraine is not eligible for admission. Each NATO country must agree to add a new member to the defensive alliance, and it takes two-thirds of the US Senate for the US to agree as well. The issue could have been taken off the table in the short term.

Instead of getting bogged down in a non-NATO European issue, we should have continued the intellectual and strategic movement recognizing China as the pre-eminent emerging threat to America.

Perhaps the most troubling aspect of Putin’s efforts is how effectively he drags Biden deeper into Russia’s priorities and away from the core national security issue that matters most to Americans and should be the Biden’s top priority: the growing and increasingly emboldened threat from China.

In early February, China will host the 2022 Winter Olympics, likely when Russia’s plans with Ukraine materialize.

China will no doubt use this international forum to tout its ambitions, and American institutions, whether corporate boards, Hollywood, universities or professional sports, will be the ones to respond. at the Beijing auction.

There is perhaps no more vivid picture of the Chinese threat to America and no more stark contrast than when it happens, as Biden and his team are focused entirely on the European issue of Ukraine. .

Lt. Gen. (Retired) Keith Kellogg is Co-Chair of the Center for American Security at America First Policy Institute. He served as acting national security adviser to President Trump and national security adviser to Vice President Pence. He is the author of War By Other Means: A General in the Trump White House (Regnery Publishing, 2021).

Mary I. Bruner