DANIEL VAUGHAN: Putin plays Biden’s weakness like a fiddle

We get the term déjà vu from the French philosopher Émile Boirac, who coined the term in 1876 to describe a sensation where you feel like you’ve experienced or sensed something before, happening again.

I’m experiencing déjà vu with President Joe Biden because once again, the U.S. State Department is sending out evacuation notices, and once again, Americans are told the United States government may not protect them.

The United States Embassy in Ukraine is issuing these warnings from Kyiv. Over the weekend, the US Department of State “authorized the voluntary departure (‘authorized departure’) of US government employees and ordered the departure of family members (‘ordered departure’) of US government employees at the US Embassy in Kyiv, effective immediately.”

It also issued a travel warning for all Americans, telling them not to travel to Ukraine.

Jennifer Griffin, the national security correspondent for Fox News, reported that a State Department call told journalists and Americans, “Given that the President has said military action by Russia could come at any time. The US government will not be in a position to evacuate US citizens. So US citizens, currently present in Ukraine should plan accordingly.”

The instructions were to arrange private commercial flights; in short, you’re on your own.

It’s not an exact déjà vu experience, but as Mark Twain suggested, history may not repeat, but it does rhyme. The Biden administration is again faced with an evacuation crisis in a foreign country, with US troops stationed across eastern Europe.

And once again, American citizens are being told the White House does not guarantee their safety — the promise of American citizenship rings more hollow with each passing day.

Jennifer Griffin further added, “Notable timing that Russia’s purported military exercises in Belarus, which many see as dress rehearsal for invasion of Ukraine from north, end Feb. 20, same day Beijing Olympics end. Putin invaded Crimea just after Sochi Olympics in 2014.”

The Atlantic Council’s analysis of Russia and Putin’s viable options agree with this kind of analysis and timing. Additionally, United Kingdom intelligence reports that they have strong evidence Russia is seeking to replace the government in Ukraine with a pro-Russian set of politicians.

The ramp-up in both Russian intentions and military activity comes less than a week after Joe Biden’s off-hand remarks about “minor incursions” into Ukraine by Russia. The White House tried to clean up those remarks and dress them up as something different.

Still, the White House and Ukraine didn’t talk after those remarks, and Ukrainian ministers were stunned in early reports.

Once again, US credibility is on the line, not just for an ally in Europe — but to American citizens. Biden abandoned Americans to the mercies of Taliban terrorists (and the other terrorist organizations that hide under that umbrella). In Ukraine, Biden is threatening the same actions, except it is Russia.

None of this is occurring in a vacuum. Oil prices are surging further, heading potentially towards $100 a barrel. That kind of increase pushes inflation higher and impacts supply chains. The US food supply chain is also severely hampered by that and multiple other obstacles, creating new daily pain points for Americans of all economic levels.

Russia’s actions will support even higher oil prices, increase instability in markets, and make Biden’s weakness even weaker with things being the way they are. President Vladimir Putin has found a perfect storm to help him seize a chunk of global power from the United States. Nothing in Biden’s actions or demeanor changes how Putin can or should play his cards.

The European energy crisis exacerbates things, which is so bad in places like Germany that those countries are siding with Russia, seeking relief. The seeds of the Biden energy policy have taken root, impacted US foreign policy, and weakened us domestically and abroad.

The broad factors at play with Ukraine are much more expansive and deal with more geopolitical powers than Afghanistan. When Biden was pushing through his poorly planned and executed Afghanistan withdrawal, the immediate impacts were localized there, with exceptions to US credibility.

With Ukraine, the factors are broader and involve more parties. Biden is trying to sound harsh by declaring that he will send more troops into Eastern Europe. But the United States already maintains a troop presence in Eastern Europe and is sending arms into Ukraine. Biden is announcing ideas of existing things and pretending it is an answer.

Putin will only answer to a sign of US strength. There are ways to reflect that, but there’s little they can do until Biden is willing to let go of his backward energy policy and seek to punish the oligarchs in Russia.

We’re yet again in another situation where the incompetence and weakness of the Biden administration have placed American citizens, allies, and prestige in danger abroad. In Afghanistan, Americans died due to that incompetence, and many are still in danger today.

I hope we have a better resolution to Ukraine, but Congress needs to prepare for the worst.