Some days ago, RedState reported on a proposed deal that would have sent NATO-owned fighter jets (mostly Polish MiG-29s) to Ukraine. That deal fell through, with several factors at play, including logistical and training concerns.
But apparently, Poland (and perhaps the other nations involved) was still ready to follow through until it ran into another obstacle: Joe Biden.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky participated in a Zoom call with US Senate members on Saturday morning, and one of the topics of discussion was the transfer of the NATO fighters. What was revealed is that it wasn’t apprehension from the Poles that scuttled the deal. Instead, it was opposition from the United States.
My source says the problem is there are no clear parameters for what is an act of war, what triggers article 5 – saying "it’s frustrating because it is all irrelevant with Putin – he wasn’t provoked to go across the border, he didn’t get provoked to blow up pediatric hospitals”
— Jacqui Heinrich (@JacquiHeinrich) March 5, 2022
I’m not sure what confusion there actually is over what triggers NATO’s Article 5. Technically, nothing actually triggers it. Rather, it’s something that is invoked by a member nation as the result of a direct, hostile attack. If Germany suffers a cyberattack, for example, it would be a judgment call on their part whether to invoke Article 5. Certainly, a Russian incursion into a NATO country would qualify, though.
Regardless, despite all the tough-guy rhetoric and claims of credit for “uniting” our allies against Putin, it is once again Joe Biden who is standing in the way. Earlier in the week, the White House signaled it would oppose a bipartisan Senate plan to sanction Russia’s oil and gas industry. Now, we learn that Biden is also opposed to sending substantial lethal aid to the Ukrainians.
That’s not to say that the president’s move isn’t completely indefensible. Trying to keep the current conflict isolated in Ukraine is a worthy goal. The last thing the world needs is another world war, and if Russia is provoked into an act that would lead to the invocation of Article 5, that’s exactly what would happen.
Still, I’m not sure Biden’s cautious tip-toeing is really doing much. We are already sending anti-aircraft launchers, anti-tank weapons, and other lethal materials to Ukraine. I’m not sure that allowing some NATO nations to send fighter jets represents any more of an escalation at this point. In the end, Putin is not going to militarily lash out against any NATO countries when his current mobilized forces are struggling with the Ukrainians. Russia would need to build up a far larger mass of men and materials over the next several months to even entertain doing such a thing.
Given that, I’d say this is more an example of Biden being feckless in his attempts to appease the Russians than it is a savvy diplomatic move to stave off a wider war. That’s not exactly surprising, though.
Join the conversation as a VIP Member