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Fox News Op-Ed: Biden's inaction on Ukraine making world more dangerous

Fox News Op-Ed: Biden's inaction on Ukraine making world more dangerous
By, Rep. Mike Waltz and Sen. Marsha Blackburn
December 13, 2021 7:30 AM

Alarming developments that include the United States’ chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan, the lifting of U.S. sanctions on the Russian-backed NordStream II pipeline, and a lack of American support for Cuban and Venezuelan pro-democracy activists have given autocrats newfound confidence to test Western patience. 

Our partners in Kiev are staring down the barrels of 100,000 Russian rifles. The recent amassing of even more Russian troops, tanks and artillery along the Russia-Ukraine border proves that now it is Moscow taking its turn at testing American leadership and resolve.

Vladimir Putin smells weakness in the White House and is taking measurements for a new Iron Curtain.

It’s nothing we haven’t seen before. In 2014, Russia launched a military campaign to seize the Crimean Peninsula.  Despite then-Ukrainian President Poroshenko’s pleas for military assistance, the Obama-Biden administration opted to send just $46 million in non-lethal security assistance, tantamount to sending a fly-swatter to ward off the Russian bear.

Now, those same foreign policy advisers are back, fly-swatters and strongly worded talking points in hand, ready to re-negotiate territorial sovereignty in Eastern Europe.

Make no mistake: Putin has made this latest, belligerent calculation based on the poor judgment coming from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Over the last year, our adversaries around the world have watched the Biden-Harris administration stumble from one blunder to the next. 

Ukraine is in danger of becoming the next domino to fall. In 2014, the Obama-Biden administration failed to stand up to Putin in any tangible way; in 2021, the Biden-Harris administration is following the same script.

Putin is on the brink of launching the largest land invasion in Europe since World War II because he knows he can get away with it.

In short, Putin is on the brink of launching the largest land invasion in Europe since World War II because he knows he can get away with it.

Consider the ramifications should the U.S. and our NATO allies concede to Russian aggression in Europe.  Should Ukraine fall to Russian control, what’s to stop Putin from making incursions into Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia or Georgia?

The prospect is far too tempting for Moscow to abandon. As Russia makes headway toward Western Europe, it brings along powerful economic influence.

Capitulation to the now-complete NordStream II pipeline has already given Russia a firm grasp over European energy supplies. According to the Congressional Research Service, Russian gas accounted for approximately 48% of EU natural gas imports in 2021.

Should German regulatory bodies grant final approval, NordStream II is expected to double the total capacity of Russian gas exports, giving even more economic leverage to the Kremlin. Ukraine, on the other hand, will lose an estimated $3 billion a year in transit fees, and become collateral damage in the wake of Moscow’s weaponization of energy in Europe.

If there’s one thing we’ve learned from our own history of dealing with Moscow, it’s that autocrats and thugs are deterred by strength and emboldened by weakness. The U.S. must have the courage to directly confront our adversaries, and stand up for freedom in the face of authoritarian aggression. We must not allow Ukraine to become a casualty of Putin’s crusade to re-establish the Soviet Empire.

Instead of fly-swatters, the Biden-Harris administration must send Ukraine bear traps in the form of lethal military assistance.  We should offer defensive weapons systems in addition to the anti-tank Javelin missiles already on the way.

Additionally, we should bolster information operations in the region, leverage our cyber capabilities, and share what intelligence we can with Kiev faster than in previous crises. The administration also must stand firm and reimpose meaningful sanctions on NordStream II.

We must also provide incentives to our European allies and partners that include reliable, clean energy supplies from the U.S. and additional military aid to bolster defenses against Russian prowling.

Inaction will welcome serious consequences. If Biden does nothing, the world will note that within a matter of months, the United States abandoned our friends in Afghanistan and Ukraine, leaving them to fend for themselves against terrorists and tyrants. 

The Chinese Communist Party and the people of Taiwan are watching. Kim Jong Un and the South Korean people are watching. The ayatollah and the Israelis are watching.  

Now is not the time for the Biden-Harris administration to flinch in the face of Putin’s ambitions.

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