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On Wednesday morning, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy asked the United States Congress and President Joe Biden for three things: a no-fly zone over Ukraine, aircraft to fight for Ukraine’s skies, and global leadership.
Five hours later, President Biden, said no, no, and no.
Instead of imposing a no-fly zone or giving Ukraine airpower, President Biden touted support we have already given the besieged country – and signed into law an additional $800 million of military equipment to further arm the Ukrainians who are fighting and dying for their own freedom.
Instead of global leadership, he simply said “America has your back.” Vladimir Putin heard this as “America will remain in the backseat.”
This, unfortunately, fits with the intolerably feeble model on which the Biden administration has been operating. More than two weeks ago, Russia invaded Ukraine with extreme brutal force and vengeance. Since then, the world has seen the evil and ruthless lengths to which Putin is willing to go. Despite this, Western democracies have chosen to take the backseat instead of standing with Zelenskyy and supporting the defense of Ukrainian freedom.
Right now, Russia’s forces are preparing major offenses against Ukrainian cities. As I said Tuesday on “The Faulkner Focus,” Putin has consistently resorted to war crimes, which the West has allowed to happen without consequences. He has killed innocent civilians, and he will not stop doing so until his goal is realized.
Putin’s bombing of the Mariupol maternity hospital is a war crime – the deaths of a pregnant woman and her baby are war crimes. This must not be tolerated by the Western world. Without serious response from the West, Putin will not stop killing innocent civilians, murdering unborn babies, or threatening Ukraine’s people with chemical or nuclear weapons. Putin’s threats will not end until he is confronted with absolute strength and force. And this is not possible without the leadership of the United States.
Our cowardice, confusion, and incompetence on the global stage feeds Putin’s evil and weakens the resolve and morale of the Ukrainians, who believe that democracy is something worth fighting for.
The world’s democracies are cowering. Without any clear leadership, we have been left to clamor over which aircraft and weapons to provide the Ukrainians – and how we can do so in the most timid, feckless way possible. These debates have stagnated the whole process of ending the war.
The reality is that while the West is squabbling over trivial questions, the Ukrainian president and his people are fighting for their lives. Our cowardice, confusion, and incompetence on the global stage feeds Putin’s evil and weakens the resolve and morale of the Ukrainians, who believe that democracy is something worth fighting for. Every day that we are hand-wringing, Ukrainians are dying, and freedom is getting weaker.
American incompetence from the White House to the Pentagon is unacceptable. The Biden administration is the most fearful and pathetic administration in modern American history. President Biden has repeatedly made threats that he has not kept. He has given no reason for Putin – or our allies in Europe – to believe he is serious. We saw this after the Afghanistan retreat, and we see this now as Europe looks at us to provide leadership.
However, America has an enormous capacity to defeat Putin. Decisive American action would result in Putin being driven out of power altogether. Our technology and weapons are superior to that of any other nation. But instead of confronting Putin, we are watching him commit war crimes and unravel democracy altogether.
Each day Putin is allowed to succeed, he will become more ruthless, evil, and emboldened. And no one should think he will stop with Ukraine. Putin wants to reconstitute the Soviet Union. If he’s allowed to do that, he will then seek to continue its mission to spread across the globe.
The world cannot afford to continue to wait. Democracy must confront Putin’s evil, not watch it from the backseat.
For more commentary from Speaker Gingrich, visit Gingrich360.com.