“What I said on the phone call with the Ukrainian President is ‘perfectly’ stated,”

President Trump (2019)


Washington Post columnist Marc Thiessen’s recent OpEd, “Russia Can’t Win. But Biden has no Strategy for Victory”, lambasted President Biden for alleged shortcomings in responding to Russia’s unprovoked invasion of the Ukraine and genocide of its people.  He singled out America’s and NATO’s responses to President Zelensky’s plea for massive levels of military hardware as being too little and too late.

While agreeing America’s failure to aggressively help provide MIG-29 fighters, U.S. A-10s Thunderbolts and attack helicopters is a strategic miscalculation, massive levels of military and humanitarian aid continue to flow in an increasing volume.  Yet, some military hardware being requested requires approvals from NATO countries transcending any U.S. president’s ability to control.

Recently, a reporter asked Trump what he’d recommend, to which he inanely suggested, “the United States should put Chinese flogs on our F-22 fighter jets in order to “bomb the s*** out of Russia.”

Notably absent from his commentary is Trump’s July 25th 2019 call with Zelensky, during a period he was withholding millions of dollars in Congressional-authorized military aid to Ukraine, instead asking Zelensky, “'I would like you to do us a favor.”; in the words of a CIA officer, “clearly committing a criminal act by urging a foreign power to investigate a U.S. person for the purposes of advancing his own re-election bid in 2020.”  This unambiguous “quid pro quo” led to Trump’s subsequent impeachment.

Conveniently Thiessen ignores the political damage the former president did with our European allies and NATO allies.  In order to impose meaningful economic and other sanctions on Russia and its leadership, Biden had to rebuild relationships and convince many nervous European allies to actively support proposed sanctions when such penalties on Russia could have potentially adverse impacts on their economies.

While sanctions rarely produce immediate results, their long-term impacts can be devastating to the targeted country … as Russia and its elite are discovering.

Thiessen also cites former special representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker and Reagan national security advisor Richard Allen whose messages propose militarily “defeating Russia” and “We win they lose”.  While catchy sound bites, is Marc Thiessen seriously advocating the United States go to war with Russia; which constitutionally only Congress can authorize?

Whereas, president Biden has wisely avoided a direct military confrontation with Russia and called out Putin for what he is, a brutal “war criminal”, his predecessor who “knew Putin very well, “publicly took the dictator’s word over that of his own intelligence agencies relative to Russian interference in the 2016 elections and continues to laud praise on him.

Political commentators, ambitious politicians, on-air taking heads and even ex-presidents have the right to and luxury of being able criticize a president’s actions or lack thereof and even advocate potentially unwise policies; as they can do so without consequences. 

However, the “buck stops” at the Oval Office as when a president speaks, implements policies or authorizes military or other far-reaching actions, the consequences can be tragic and potentially lethal for tens of millions of both Americans and other people around the world.