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Jake Sullivan's $600 Billion Blunder

The National Security Adviser's tactless approach and skewed views on continuing the Ukraine conflict will almost certainly leave America footing the bill.

National Security advisor Jake Sullivan, Getty Images
National Security advisor Jake Sullivan speaks during the daily press briefing on the situation in Afghanistan at the White House in Washington, DC on August 17, 2021. Photo: ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS via Getty Images

We urge you to watch Jake Sullivan in action to learn how to speak confidently on T.V. with supreme braggadocio and assertiveness. Sullivan is the current National Security Adviser to President Biden, a role in which he is likely the first and last person to talk to the President daily. He leads the White House strategy for the Russia-Ukraine war, among other foreign policy initiatives.

The conflict has already receded from the minds of the American voter. Car lots began taking down giant Ukrainian flags flying two months ago. America's mainstream newspapers have returned to covering domestic issues - the Supreme Court's earth-shattering decisions on the EPA, abortion, and gun rights; the never-ending J6 Committee deliberations; the extraordinary price hikes, the primaries, and the fall of the stock market.

So, what exactly has Sullivan achieved? A skilled debater who once was on Yale's debate team, Sullivan will flawlessly make the case that America is now the global power that it was not under President Trump. The United States is the moral leader of the Free World, protecting the liberal order that has been in existence since World War II. The West is more united now than ever before. Ukraine's E.U. membership was just approved, a process that had languished for at least 14 years. Finland and Sweden have filed applications to join NATO. America will hold Russia accountable, and the sanctions regime is severely hurting Russia.

What Sullivan will not concede is the war's cost or how such a cost can be justified to further his Utopian goals. In reality, Russia now controls all of Ukraine's southeast, a mineral-rich region and a clear land bridge from mainland Russia to Crimea, along the shores of the Sea of Azov. Eight months after Sullivan spearheaded the administration's overdrive effort to get Ukraine to determine a future for itself and join the Western alliance, Russia has prosecuted a grinding war that has killed or wounded hundreds of thousands; propelled a refugee crisis in which more than four and a half million people have been displaced; and brought us close to a global humanitarian disaster with people hungry for food, energy, and fertilizer. Thanks to the war, Europe, the hub of the world's green energy movement, is returning to coal.

Putin has mercilessly destroyed Ukraine's infrastructure, not sparing even residential buildings, malls, or places of worship. This week, in Lugano, the quaint Swiss lake town bordering Italy, the world's leaders at the Ukraine Recovery Conference calculated that it would take $750 billion to help rebuild Ukraine. Two months ago, in April, the World Bank's estimate to rebuild Ukraine was $70 billion. Given America's penchant for paying others' bills, Sullivan and the remainder of his J.V. foreign policy team of Blinken, Victoria Nuland, and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austen have driven the United States to assume at least 80% of that burden, as has historically been the case. That's a whopping $600 billion.

Why didn't Sullivan, who once served as a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, advocate for talks to end the war before a single shot was fired?

Like his boss, Sullivan has been wrong on every foreign policy decision he has architected. In February 2013, as then-Vice President Biden's top security aide, he became the Obama administration's point man for Libya, Syria, and Myanmar. The needle has not moved towards improvement in any of the three countries.

Libya never recovered from NATO's actions to remove its leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Human Rights Watch says Libya has continued to experience mass displacement, dangers caused by newly-laid landmines, and the destruction of critical infrastructure, including healthcare and schools. Foreign fighters are everywhere, pushing Libyans to flee when Europe is in no position to accept more refugees.

Syria embraced Russia as its savior, and America lost its regional influence. The Syrian dictator is still in power in Damascus. In fact, Russia perfected many of its Ukraine war tactics in Syria.

Myanmar underwent a coup in 2021 and continues the wholesale displacement of Rohingya Muslims and other minority groups, which began in 2017. The United Nations has warned of a deepening humanitarian crisis in Myanmar, with "an intensification of violence and a rapid rise in poverty." The report came out earlier this year, long before the Ukraine war sent prices of essential commodities soaring.

Sullivan is an extreme example of administration hubris. He doesn't mince words when lecturing foreign officials whose assistance he seeks. His concerns are invariably mixed with warnings. When he met with Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi in Rome in March, he threatened and cajoled Beijing with isolation and penalties if it helped Moscow. Three months later, President Xi Jinping called President Putin to extend China's support to Russia on security.

China continues to buy discounted oil to propel Russia's revenues. The Ruble is trading 35% higher against the dollar than before the war. The Euro is falling so fast that it might shortly reach 1:1 parity with the dollar, a trading value it last had twenty years ago. The Japanese yen has sunk to record lows.

Under Sullivan's leadership, our Standing In The World Index has taken a beating in the past year. The data speaks for itself.  It paints a picture of deep skepticism at best and ineptitude at worst.

IBD/TIPP Poll U.S. Standing in the World Index

That an unelected official, whose role does not require confirmation by the United States Senate, has such an undue influence on America's standing in the world is scary. Sullivan may have united the West, but he has also pushed America to another Cold War with Russia, China, and many countries of the Global South electing to go to the other side or practice realpolitik non-alignment. Meanwhile, the $600 billion bill, about to grow even larger, will shortly hit American taxpayers.


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