‘Biden’s disastrous foreign policy and energy agenda’ is 'emboldening Putin': Is Gov. Noem right?
- On February 24, 2022, Governor Kristi Noem commented on President Putin’s recent moves on Ukraine critiquing President Biden as “emboldening Russia” due to his “disastrous foreign policy and energy agenda.” She explained that blocking the Keystone XL Pipeline and green lighting the Nord Stream 2 Pipeline gave Putin a stronger “energy hold” on Europe.
- Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, “unleashing airstrikes on cities and military bases and sending in troops and tanks” with condemnation coming from the US, Europe, South Korea, Australia, and other countries.
- Russia has deployed over 150,000 troops near Ukraine’s border in the last few months with claims of maintaining “peace.”
- On January 24, 2022, President Biden and European powers discussed Russia’s troops on Ukraine’s border in an 80-minute video call with “total unanimity with all the European leaders.” In response, the Pentagon put 8,500 US troops on “heightened alert” to deploy if needed.
- Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014 on the basis of Russians and Ukrainians being “one people” and defending the historic parts of Ukraine as Russia. After a peace deal was reached in 2015, large battles were put to a stop, but “frequent skirmishes” continued.
Governor Kristi Noem's assertions about Biden's culpability in the Ukraine invasion are off base as Biden's policies and general attitude toward foreign relations do not indicate that he purposefully allowed or wanted this to happen in any way.
There is no direct connection to any of Biden's decisions, particularly the blockage of the Keystone pipeline and Putin invading and attacking Ukraine. While Russia's pipeline to Germany was previously unsanctioned by the United States, Biden's priority stood with protecting the environment. His first action was to impose sanctions on Russia's Nord 2 Stream gas pipeline, which, although it was later waived, was still a step he originally took.
Biden previously warned that Russia would be held accountable for its actions against Ukraine and has unveiled new sanctions that will be held against Russia if they continue onward. He explained that in choosing to engage in this war, Putin will be to blame when the entire world responds accordingly.
If Biden's agenda emboldened Putin, he would have invaded long ago. Many believe Putin's relationship with Donald Trump was quite extensive despite being hidden quite well. Former President Trump has commented on Putin's actions on a public platform and stated his moves were 'genius' and that the two know each other 'very well.' Putin is not known to play fair and certainly would have leveraged his relationship with Trump if given the opportunity.
Lastly, Russia and Ukraine have had a tumultuous relationship for decades since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, and even more recently, since 2014 with Russia's invasion of Crimea. This conflict has been ongoing, and it was predictable that Russia would plan to invade Ukraine at a certain point. Therefore, this cannot be pinned entirely on Biden as it predates his presidency.
It's not hard to see how South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem is correct regarding President Biden and Vladimir Putin. She blasted Biden for giving Putin 'all the power' by canceling the Keystone XL pipeline. Biden canceled the Keystone XL Pipeline on the first day of his presidency, thereby reducing America's chances at oil independence while increasing Russia's standing as an oil producer and exporter. That stroke of a pen also included an estimated loss of 11,000 direct jobs and another 60,000 indirect jobs in vital support and energy industries America desperately needed to retain, especially after a year of lost work due to the pandemic.
Next, Biden waived sanctions on a company building the Nord Stream 2 pipeline and lifted sanctions on the executive who leads that project and company. That executive, Matthias Warning, is a Putin ally. This, no doubt, further emboldened Putin. Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Biden reversed himself and reimposed sanctions. He should have never lifted the sanctions, and while reinstating them now is the correct thing to do, it only makes him look confused and ineffectual.
His general weakness in foreign policy, including cooling relations with Poland and Ukraine, has undoubtedly encouraged Putin's aggression.
It's not hard to imagine in a few days or weeks after Putin has secured invading Russian troops in place and installed a puppet government in Ukraine, Biden's Munich moment in which he announces 'we have achieved peace for our time.'
Biden's leadership and decision-making are harmful. One needs to look no further than the unmitigated disaster of the Afghanistan pullout as evidence. He has damaged relations with our allies, bolstered authoritarians like Putin, and hamstrung America's ability to be energy independent. That's a trifecta of disaster.