After Sanctions on Russia Fail, Biden Lies About Why He Imposed Them

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

After over fifty years in public life, Old Joe Biden has a well-deserved reputation for dishonesty, and he added to it Thursday while trying to save face after Vladimir Putin ignored his sanctions threats and invaded Ukraine. The sanctions, you see, were intended to stop Putin in his tracks. When they failed to do so before the eyes of a watching world, Biden did not, of course, admit that he had miscalculated or underestimated Putin. Instead, he simply changed his story, with all the insouciance he displayed as a young Syracuse University College of Law student plagiarizing a law review article. He must think no one is paying attention.


Biden emphasized Thursday that the sanctions were not meant to stop Putin from invading Ukraine or to get him to call off the invasion. “No one expected the sanctions to prevent anything from happening,” he claimed. “This could take time and we have to show resolve so he knows what’s coming and so the people of Russia know what he’s brought on them, this is what this is all about. This is going to take time, it’s not going to occur … he’s gonna say ‘Oh my God, these sanctions are coming, I’m gonna stand down.’”

Well, all right, Joe, but why does no one on your team seem to know this? That noted lodestar of foreign policy expertise, Kamala Harris, contradicted you on Sunday when she said,

“The purpose of the sanctions has always been and continues to be deterrence.” She asserted that this was a “shared perspective among our allies. And the Allied relationship is such that we have agreed that the deterrence effect of these sanctions is still a meaningful one, especially because … we still sincerely hope that there is a diplomatic path out of this moment. And within the context then of the fact that that window is still open although it is absolutely narrowing — but within the context of a diplomatic path still being open, the deterrence effect, we believe, has merit.” Well, great, but either it does or it doesn’t, and why don’t the putative president and vice president have their story straight?

Harris wasn’t alone among the Bidenites in saying that the sanctions would deter Putin from striking Ukraine. On Feb. 11 — you know, way before Canada became a dictatorship for a week and Putin decided that Biden’s handlers were so weak that he could essentially do whatever he wanted — National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan attributed a belief in the deterrent power of sanctions to Biden himself: “The President believes that sanctions are intended to deter. And in order for them to work — to deter, they have to be set up in a way where if Putin moves, then the costs are imposed. We believe that that is the right logic, both on its own merits, but equally importantly, we believe that the most important fundamental for anything that unfolds in this crisis, whether through diplomacy or as a result of military action, is that the West be strong, be united, and be determined to operate with common purpose.”


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An unnamed senior Biden administration official repeated this as recently as Tuesday, saying of the sanctions, “They’re not an end to themselves. Sanctions are meant to serve a higher purpose, which is to deter and prevent. So, we want to prevent a large-scale invasion of Ukraine that involves the seizure of major cities, including Kyiv. We want to prevent large-scale human suffering, possibly tens of thousands of lives that could be lost in a full-scale conflict. And we want to prevent Putin from installing a puppet government that bends to his wishes and denies Ukraine the freedom to set its own course and choose its own destiny. That’s what this is all about.” “This” referred to the application of sanctions.

On Wednesday, Jen Psaki explained that the sanctions had two purposes: “One is implementing serious costs for the actions that have already been taken — so, the actions in the Donbas. Second, yes, deterrence is part of our objective. If he goes further, we will go further. We have a range of tools at our disposal. I mentioned some of the potential financial … steps we could take that could impact financial institutions. That is very significant and could have a very significant impact, but we have far more options beyond that, including export controls.”

So do the sanctions deter, or don’t they?

Clearly, they don’t, or the Russian army wouldn’t be at Kyiv. In response to yet another indication that he is an abject failure as president, or his handlers are, Biden simply lies again. It’s the hallmark of his disastrous presidency.



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