By all accounts, Russia is not winning in Ukraine. It has suffered significant losses. Last week, NATO estimated that Russia had lost 7,000 to 15,000 Russian soldiers in the four weeks of the war in Ukraine. For context, Russia lost about 15,000 troops over ten years in Afghanistan. Russia also lost seven of its top generals in Ukraine.
Moscow is signaling that it is scaling back its mission. On Friday, Sergei Rudskoi, the Russian armed forces deputy chief, changed the rhetoric. He said Russia had weakened Ukraine's military, and now the Kremlin would focus its core efforts on achieving the main goal, the liberation of the Donbas. The whole world, including Biden, noted it.
Russia is perhaps looking for a way to retreat without losing face. And President Biden must offer a way out to end the conflict. Recall the advice given by Sun Tzu, the famous military general, and strategist: Build your opponent a golden bridge to retreat across.
Instead, he is indulging in name-calling with the potential to escalate tensions.
Before his European travel at the White House, the President had called President Putin a "war criminal." President Biden said it again on Friday in Poland. "The single most important thing that we can do from the outset is to keep the democracies united in our opposition and our effort to curtail the devastation that is occurring at the hands of a man who I quite frankly think is a war criminal," he said.
On Saturday, in Warsaw, President Biden responded to a reporter's question after visiting Ukrainian refugees. "He's a butcher," the President said of the Russian President.
President Biden also said, during a speech in Warsaw, "For God's sake, this man cannot remain in power."
It was a prepared speech, not the usual Biden gaffe, leaving many gobsmacked. It is not clear if President Biden was calling for a regime change or if that is the policy of the U.S. and NATO.
The White House had to walk back his remark. The White House issued a statement on Saturday. "The President's point was that Putin cannot be allowed to exercise power over his neighbors or the region." "He was not discussing Putin's power in Russia, or regime change."
What the President says may be true. But to what end and is it appropriate for the leader of the free world? President Biden lacks understanding of Vladimir Putin. He is not CornPop, (the leader of a Delaware gang called "the Romans.”)
As Putin was amassing 100,000 troops on the borders of Ukraine, Vice Adm. Kay-Achim Schönbach, the former German navy chief, speaking at a function in India, stated his thoughts on the matter. He said it was unlikely that the Russian leader wanted Ukraine for the land alone, and that, "President Putin is probably putting pressure because he can do it and he splits EU opinion." Stating his personal opinion, Schönbach also said, "He (Putin) wants high-level respect, and my God giving some respect is low cost, even no cost. If I was asked, it is easy to give him the respect he really demands and probably also deserves."
In a 2021 TIPP Poll, one-half (48%) were not confident in President Biden as the commander-in-chief.
President Biden's words in recent days remind us of what he did on the anniversary of the January 6 riots. He had a historic opportunity to unite and heal the country, but he blew it. He delivered a dark speech from the White House, in which he pointed the finger at President Trump for the events of last January, without mentioning his name.
President Biden must not lose sight of the key goal: to deescalate and prevent a third world war. The leader of the free world must not inflame the situation.
Mr. President, it’s time for some magnanimity. The enemy is on the retreat. You must build a golden bridge for him to withdraw.
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