Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates once opined that Joe Biden “has been wrong about every major foreign policy and national security decision over the past four decades.” It sounded like an exaggeration, but the more I have seen of Biden’s decision-making ability since he has been inaugurated the more accurate the quote seems to be. I cannot recall one decision he has made that has benefited the US, not one. Moreover, in a recent blog I challenged my readers to come up with one and so far no one has been able to do so. In my opinion, based on his decisions regarding the Russia-Ukraine War, he has kept his streak alive.

Biden is nothing if not consistent. His style is to fail to anticipate, and then we when he does act or react it is with a weak, halfway measure. For example, everyone knew that Putin was going to invade Ukraine. He told us he would. He has often said he considers Ukraine to be a part of Russia, particularly since there are millions of ethnic Russians living there. Then, he spent months amassing hundreds of thousands of troops along the border. What did Biden think he was going to do?

Biden was passive until the invasion, and then he instituted various financial and economic sanctions. Most observers have characterized them as too little, too late. Ukraine President Volodymy Zelensky, not one to mince words, put it most succinctly: “If [Biden] had started sanctions months ago there would not have been war.” Now, Zelensky wants the US to increase the pressure. He is advocating a boycott of Russian oil and a “no-fly” zone. By the way, the courage and leadership Z has shown throughout has been remarkable. Now, there’s a leader! Reminds me of Washington during the Revolutionary War and Churchill during WWII.

The impact of the current sanctions is debatable depending on whose opinion one reads. But, for sure, they have not and will not deter Putin. He is not going to just throw up his hands and leave Ukraine because some funds have been frozen and the Russian people are suffering. Russia is not the US where public opinion matters to leaders. He has plenty of money, and he does not care about everyday Russians. What he does care about is his legacy, and he wants to be the one who resurrects the former Soviet Union. He will not stop until he is stopped.

So, how do we stop him without an actual physical war. I say we pull out all the stops with respect to sanctions. Hold nothing back.

Not to oversimplify, but let me put it in simple terms that even Kamala Harris could understand. Starting a war is easy. What is difficult is sustaining a war. All wars require two things above all else in order to be sustained – funds and supplies. And, if you don’t have funds you can’t acquire supplies; you can’t pay your troops; you can’t feed them; you can’t operate your weaponry; you can’t fight.

Russia is not a wealthy country. Its GDP is about $1.71 trillion, which comes to less than 10% of the US’s. Its primary product of value is oil. It relies on exporting oil to sustain its economy. It is relying on oil exports to fund the Ukraine War. Without it, it could not continue to fund the war. It could not sustain it. Currently, who are the main importers of Russian oil? The US and NATO countries. Therefore, it stands to reason that the most effective sanction would be to cease buying Russian oil. The US’s oil reserves could easily pick up the slack, but to do so Biden would need to reopen the Keystone Pipeline. So far, he has refused to do it, so the war continues to drag on and on. People continue to die, and still Biden continues to dither and dither and dither. Either he doesn’t get it or he does and is too afraid of offending the small but vocal cadre of far left socialists who are imbedded in his circle of advisors.

Everyone I talk to understands the above concept, even my 14 year-old grandson. Even many liberal Dems have spoken out in favor of it. Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said she would not oppose it. My strong recommendation would be to convince Biden to act. Alternatively, Congress could pass a law authorizing it and if Biden vetoes it, try to override the veto.

Something has to be done. Ukraine is being demolished. Thousands of people, non-combatants, children are dying. Hundreds of thousands have been displaced and have nowhere to go, and to what end?


I understand that Biden wants to avoid a war with Russia. No sane person wants a physical war with shooting and bombing that could escalate into a nuclear war. But, Biden has to realize that Ukraine is just the opening salvo of Putin’s plan. Putin is a disciple of Josef Stalin’s. Stalin’s mantra was to continually push for expansion until he met resistance. If he did not, keep on pushing. If he met resistance he would pull back and wait for another opportunity.

The US and NATO have provided Putin with the perfect storm of opportunity to pursue his goal, but that’s another story for another blog on another day.

Putin will not be appeased. He will not bow to weak, wishy-washy sanctions. Appeasing aggressors has never, ever worked throughout history. It will not work now. He will not stop with Ukraine. He will want the Baltics, Moldovia, or Poland next, all of which are NATO countries. Will NATO invoke Article V?

Joe: grow a pair. Cease importing Russian oil, and re-open the Keystone Pipeline!



It was supposed to be a walkover, a slam dunk, a laydown, David vs Goliath Part II. Russia had amassed some 200,000 troops at the Ukraine border. These troops were supported by a veritable cornucopia of weapons including, among others, planes, tanks and missiles. Most observers assumed they would roll through Ukraine in a matter of days or weeks like the Germans had rolled through Poland in 1939. They would be welcomed by the Ukrainians as liberators; they would capture Kiev in short order; they would assassinate or capture President Volodymyr Zelensky, his family and other key political leaders; they would install a “puppet” government; and the US, NATO, and the rest of the world would protest but otherwise wring their hands and stay on the sidelines. Biden was too timid, NATO was a disorganized “paper tiger” afraid of losing access to Russian oil; and Ukraine was not willing or able to offer much resistance. Ukraine would be another notch in Putin’s belt, another step on his way to restoring the post-WWII Soviet Union. Next stop, the Baltics, then maybe Poland, Romania, and the rest of Eastern Europe.

But, here we are ten days into the invasion, and things have not exactly gone Russia’s way. Surprise! Surprise! The Ukrainians did not welcome the Russians. Quite the opposite. They are fighting them “tooth and nail.” For example, according to multiple media reports:

  1. The Ukrainian government has not fallen and remains as strong as ever. Furthermore, contrary to what other heads of state have done in similar circumstances Zelensky has not fled the country, nor does he intend to. Not only has he stayed but his family and other key officials have as well. This is despite the reports that Russia has deployed some 4,000 mercenaries to assassinate Zelensky, his family, and other key government officials. When offered to be evacuated he defiantly replied “I don’t need a ride; I need more ammunition!” His bravery has been an inspiration to both his countrymen and to the world. Nevertheless the EU reported that in excess of 500,000 refugees have already fled the country and before all is said and done the total could exceed four million.
  2. As I write this Russia has not been able to capture any major cities, nor has it been able to gain control of the airspace despite the fact that it was thought to be one of Ukraine’s major weaknesses. In a show of solidarity weapons are flowing in from various countries.
  3. Many observers have noted that Russia has not yet unleashed its full arsenal of weaponry. Perhaps, it wanted to avoid massive devastation, because it wanted to occupy the country afterwards. There are indications that may change. Douglas Lute, a former US ambassador to NATO, cautioned that Russia has ” a lot… of weapons not employed yet.” Unleashing them would shorten the shooting war, but it would damage Russia further in the world of public opinion.
  4. Various media outlets have disclosed the presence of a Russian army convoy 40 miles long that is converging on Kiev. If it were to arrive intact the potential havoc it could wreak would be devastating.
  5. Since the inception of the invasion Russia has dropped over 100 cruise missiles on Ukraine. That sounds like a lot, but I have to believe there are many more where they came from.
  6. There are reports that they have used cluster bombs on Karkiv. These are so deadly and kill so indiscriminately that their use has been banned by many countries, and some people consider their use to constitute a war crime.
  7. There have been reports of Ukrainians attacking Russian troops and tanks with only Molotov cocktails for weapons. NYT correspondent Valerie Hopkins reported that some of them have even “tried to repel Russian tanks with their bodies” to no avail.
  8. One Ukrainian was shown removing a land mine from a bridge with his bare hands while smoking a cigarette. He was not trained in bomb disposal, and he was not wearing any protective equipment. Brave or foolhardy? Take your pick.
  9. A Ukrainian brewery has stopped brewing beer and commenced using the bottles for Molotov cocktails.
  10. In a somewhat humorous story in Spain, in protest of the invasion, a Ukrainian was arrested for attempting to sink a $27 million yacht belonging to his boss, a Russian oligarch.
  11. It has been reported that the members of the Snake Island garrison are alive and being held in a Russian prison facility. You may recall that a few days ago when a Russian warship demanded their surrender they defiantly replied “Go f**k yourself!” The ship proceeded to destroy the facility, but apparently the people survived.

Meanwhile, the rest of the world has united against Russia to a degree that we have rarely seen.

  1. The US and other countries have imposed very strict sanctions designed to hurt Russia and its people financially, economically and emotionally. For instance, the Russian banks’ assets, and those of various influential oligarchs, have been frozen. Even the Swiss, who have always remained neutral in any conflict, have joined in. It should be noted that so far energy has been exempt from sanctions.
  2. Russia’s banks have been locked out of the S.W.I.FT. financial system, a devastating blow, which effectively precludes them from effecting transactions internationally. Bruno Lemaire, the French Finance Minister, called this the “financial nuclear option.” The various financial sanctions have been effective. The ruble has declined to the point where it is worth one US penny; the Russian stock market “crashed” and trading has been suspended; and there have been “runs” on Russian banks as depositors have been desperately trying to withdraw their money.
  3. The sanctions are having a devastating effect of the Russian people, and it will only get worse. They can’t get their savings; food and other necessities are scarce; and inflation is running wild. I see similarities to post-WWI Germany and present-day Venezuela. How long can they take it? We have already seen protests, which is most unusual in Russia.


One can debate the effectiveness of the sanctions. There has been some impact as I have discussed above, but it would have been better if Biden would have acted sooner and more forcefully. In addition, as I blogged last week Biden should have ceased buying oil from Russia and reopened the Keystone Pipeline. His impulsive and ill-advised decision to shut it down remains one of the most inane decisions of his presidency, and God knows there have been plenty of them. As it stands now, by buying oil from Russia we are, in effect, helping to finance the invasion.

The invasion has not been kind to President Biden, politically. According to a CNN poll released yesterday 58% of those queried disapprove of the manner in which he has been handling it. That percentage is likely to increase as the inflationary impact takes hold on everyday Americans. Unfortunately, as always, the poor and working class people will suffer the most. Let’s hope they remember that in November.

No one knows what is going to happen, and anyone who says they do is either delusional or lying. The possibilities range from outright Russian withdrawal to nuclear war with many possible outcomes in between. Remember, Putin is a disciple of Josef Stalin’s. He is very aggressive, and, at the moment, he senses weakness and vulnerability in the leaders of the US and NATO. His ultimate goal is to resurrect the post-WWII Soviet Union, and he thinks this is the time to do it. The invasion of Ukraine is but one piece of that strategy and should be viewed in that context.