DANIEL VAUGHAN: Vladimir Putin Declares Victory In Ukraine While China Watches

 February 19, 2024

With the Kremlin, the timing of anything they do is almost as important as the act itself. The assassination of Putin's domestic challenger, Alexei Navalny, occurred against a backdrop of Ukraine losing the war, Tucker Carlson's interview, and the Munich Security Conference, where Western leaders met to discuss how to achieve victory against Russian aggression.

Vladimir Putin is sending a direct message to the Munich Security Conference, his people, and the West. He wants everyone to know he's won the war and can't be touched. The only hope for the West is if Putin drops dead.

The message hasn't been subtle. Reporting says Putin planned the hit against Navalny in prison down to the second. Russian police have arrested any of Navalny's supporters mourning his death. Meanwhile, the Kremlin has launched a diatribe against the West, claiming it will fire nuclear missiles on London, Washington D.C., Berlin, and more if it is forced to give up any land in Ukraine.

Vladimir Putin is a man who believes he's stared the West in the face and won not only that fight but his prize of retaking Ukraine. And by all indications, he's right.

On Sunday, CNN anchor Jake Tapper got into an absurd fight with Senator Tim Scott over Ukraine. Scott claimed that Biden had dragged his feet in Ukraine, leading us to the moment we're in now. Tapper blasted back and claimed Congressional Republicans had blood on their hands for Ukraine.

Per usual, Tapper is living in a reality of his own making. Don't take my word for it. Let's go to the Munich Security Conference. White House and Congressional leaders there used the event to push for more Ukraine aid, with some calling it critical.

There's no doubt Ukraine needs the aid. They won't survive without it. But it's also not clear they'll survive with it. Politico reports, "Many politicians and officials used the moment to press that Ukraine would lose the war without the $60 billion more in U.S. military aid currently awaiting a vote in the House. But they also sounded far from certain about what a victory might look like for Ukraine even with that boost."

Politico continued, "The plan now, as detailed or lamented in interviews with eight U.S. lawmakers and five foreign officials, is to just keep the Ukrainian military from collapsing. ... Many sidestepped the question of what a Ukrainian victory would look like, or when it might happen."

There's no strategy. We know what the Russians will do. One of the Ukrainian leaders said Ukraine "had to mobilize 500,000 more troops to keep pace with a larger, still-stronger Russian force that appears willing to take massive casualties to gain just a few yards of ground."

Vladimir Putin's explicit aim is to strangle Ukraine to death with superior numbers. He doesn't care about casualties or cost like the West or Ukraine does. And when he achieves that end, he'll plunge Ukraine into the dark ages.

Senator Scott is exactly right. We're at this moment because Biden dragged his feet. It wasn't always like this. Ukraine delivered a series of highly effective blows in the summer of 2022. That was the moment for Biden to drive a hard bargain at Putin and force a closure of the war.

Instead, we got think tank fever dreams of Ukrainians overthrowing the Russian government. At no point was this a realistic view. But instead of playing the advantage, Biden and U.S. leaders decided to see how much further they could take this.

Biden was like a drunk at a blackjack table who got lucky and scored early. Instead of walking away from the table, he's lost everything and frantically believes one more round will turn his luck. He's hoping for a miracle; there's no strategy here. Vladimir Putin thinks he's won this war. The past two weeks' events are the Russian leader's way of chest pounding at the United States and Europe.

That's why we're reading reports of European leaders laying out strategy for an America in retreat. They can no longer trust us to bring security to the world. On the surface, they'll claim this is all Trump's fault. In reality, it's because Joe Biden has lost a crucial war and the ability of the United States to defeat adversaries. The war started on Biden's watch, and Biden crafted the U.S. response. We're at this point because of Biden's actions. Blaming Trump or Congress at this stage is ignoring the forest for a few trees.

Two weeks ago, I wrote that Ukraine was losing a war. We're now watching Vladimir Putin confirm this reality with his conduct. Putin is beating his chest, daring Biden to come to the negotiating table. He wants to humiliate the President and the United States.

Vladimir Putin is thumping his chest to help boost his counterparts in Beijing. For years, western leaders have believed China wanted to attack Taiwan but wouldn't because it would be too difficult. Those same experts said similar things about Ukraine.

Vladimir Putin believes he's proved them wrong. And unless he drops dead, he's likely correct. That leaves China as the next country to act. Whatever their plans, Vladimir Putin has likely accelerated them. Because if the United States contests Taiwan with the same effort it did in Ukraine, China will be able to win.

The world is a much more dangerous under Joe Biden's leadership. No amount of foreign aid can change that one fact.

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