After chatting up French President Emmanuel Macron during his pitstop in Washington, U.S. President Joe Biden expressed a willingness to meet with Vladimir Putin to talk about Ukraine.
Really? To accomplish what, Mr. President? What's the plan?
Throughout his presidency, Biden has demonstrated a penchant for confusing process (talking, taking meetings, etc.) with progress. Sadly, there appears to be no discernable strategy behind these activities.
Almost every one of his foreign policy initiatives—from bugging out of Afghanistan, to offering Tehran a trillion-dollar signing bonus to re-up the failed Iran nuclear deal, to agreeing to pay billions annually in climate change "reparations"—looks more like busy work than deliberate step-by-step action to strengthen America’s place in the world.
This is a White House that labored for two years to articulate a National Security Strategy, which turned out to be little more than a self-laudatory report card.
The highlight of this "strategy" was a promise to be tough on China. A week later, after meeting Chinese President Xi, Biden declared that we just all need to get along. The "strategy," it seems, was lost in the translation.
All that is context for Biden's proposal to talk with Putin about ending his assault on Ukraine.
Most conservatives support the Ukrainian cause. But from the start of the war, we have been asking Washington: "What's the plan?" Biden's answer seems to be: "I don't know; let's ask Putin."
We may be headed for the worst-case scenario, in which Biden just lazily endorses a German/French plan, backed by Beijing, with Europe as the chief negotiator and China occupying a prominent seat at the table. This approach would most likely result in forcing Ukraine to accept a deal that gives Putin much of what he is losing on the battlefield. Such an outcome would just set the stage for yet another Putin aggression.
What’s needed is a real strategy for dealing with Putin. Such a strategy would call for delivering military aid as fast as possible to seal Putin's defeat on the battlefield.
It would also call for working with the Republicans in Congress to develop a post-war aid package—one that would help rebuild Ukraine, include rigorous accountability mechanisms to assure the assistance is spent wisely and not syphoned off by kleptocrats, and cut China out of the rebuilding process. Neither the U.S. nor Ukraine can afford to shovel foreign aid into a corrupt, bottomless hole.
So far, President Biden has shown no interest in acting strategically. But if one hopes to lead the free world, it is not enough to simply talk with heads of state. There needs to be an actual, realistic plan, and the determination to follow through.
This piece originally appeared in Fox News