What’s worse, setting out a red line and then ignoring it, the way that the Obama-Biden administration did, or announcing at the outset that you don’t have any red lines, the way that the Biden-Harris administration just did?
Austin Rejects ‘Red Lines’ for Taiwan, Ukraine – Defense One
Okay. So why bother issuing threats?
“Our goal in both cases …is to lead with diplomacy, and address these issues in a way that we don’t get into conflict,” Austin told Defense One during his Outlook 2022 interview.
It’s not Austin’s job to “lead with diplomacy”. He’s the Secretary of Defense. It’s his job to consider military options. It’s Blinken’s job or Biden’s job to talk about diplomacy. When the SOD talks about leading with diplomacy, it announces the military won’t even be an issue.
“I think in situations like this, I think conveying red lines only exacerbates the problem. I think we need to focus on finding ways to de-escalate and reduce tensions,” Austin said.
Again, not the job of the military.
That’s fine if your administration isn’t actually veering randomly between talking tough and running for the exit.
The Biden administration is exploring options for a potential evacuation of US citizens from Ukraine if Russia were to invade the country and create a dire security situation, half a dozen sources tell CNN.
On the bright side, they’re at least planning to evacuate Americans before the invasion. Consider that an elementary lesson learned from Afghanistan that no functioning administration should have had to learn. Unfortunately considering past performance, I don’t think the odds of this evacuation going well are good.
Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin will speak on Tuesday about Ukraine, where the U.S. president is expected to warn of dire economic consequences if Russia launches a sequel to its 2014 invasion. Russia has deployed “battalion tactical groups around Ukraine in multiple different geographies around those borders to the south, the west, and to the northeast as well,” which is a concerning echo of Moscow’s buildup before it annexed Crimea, a senior U.S. official told reporters on Monday.
The official suggested that if an invasion occurs, more U.S. troops in Europe may follow to reassure allies.
To reassure allies of what? That we’ll lead with diplomacy and evacuate our citizens? This is wildly unserious behavior.
“The need to reinforce the confidence and reassurance of our NATO allies and our eastern flank allies would be real, and the United States would be prepared to provide that kind of reassurance,” the official said.
So are NATO members our red line? Is there a red line? Poland? The Czechs? Vienna? Berlin? More leading with diplomacy, I assume.
This diplomatic-led approach is an early inkling of the Pentagon and White House policy of “integrated deterrence,” which Austin said will be a cornerstone of the upcoming National Defense Strategy. The strategy is expected to explicitly turn away from military-first pressure and in favor of diplomatic, economic and international pressure, backed by the military.
“Integrated deterrence” means no deterrence. I’m sure the Chinese and Russians are happy to know that.
Pressed on whether there was any advantage to communicating a “red line” to avoid miscalculation by Russian forces, Austin said he would leave it to the Ukrainian government to call out Russia.
“I don’t think it’s helpful for us to draw a line in the sand at this point,” Austin said.
Or you know, ever.
We aren’t likely to go to war over Taiwan or the Ukraine. But the Biden administration is communicating helplessness while trying to talk tough. That’s a really bad combination that history shows is much more likely to get us into a war.