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Niall Ferguson: “Biden is the idiot.”

Historian Niall Ferguson, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford, speaking on Bari Weiss podcast on “Russia’s War on Ukraine: A Roundtable“:

In Russian literature, there is a great novel: Dostoevsky’s The Idiot.

Biden is the idiot.

The reason this happened is because the Biden administration slowed down deliveries of armaments to Ukraine, lifted the sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that was supposed to bypass Ukraine, signaled to Russia that the U.S. would not support Ukraine militarily, and therefore made it clear to Putin that he had an opportunity to take military action with only sanctions to fear.

The administration’s strategy was to threaten the worst sanctions—as if sanctions were going to deter Putin. Then they tried something even crazier, which was to say, “You’re going to invade, and we know the date”—as if that was somehow going to stop him from invading. And the worst thing they tried was to get the Chinese to dissuade him from invading, when the Chinese had given him the green light on the condition that he didn’t go until after the Beijing Olympics.

This has been a debacle that has allowed a massive war to break out, one that could have been prevented had there not been such clear signs of weakness.

(Joe Biden apologist, Francis Fukuyama, disagrees.)

Ferguson later adds:

The problem is that we created the possibility of Ukraine’s joining NATO and joining the European Union. But our actual attitude was like that New Yorker cartoon of the guy on the phone who says, “No, I can’t do Thursday. How about never?” We never seriously meant for them to join NATO or the EU. We didn’t supply nearly enough armaments for them to deter Russia from attacking. And as a consequence, we have a massive geopolitical crisis that could have been avoided. Telling people that you saw it coming is not an act of strategic genius. It’s an act of strategic feebleness.

The consequences of this are far-reaching indeed. First of all, in the administration’s anxiety to avoid even higher inflation, they’re desperately trying to resuscitate the Iran nuclear deal and get Iranian oil back onto the world market in the process, making all kinds of concessions that I think will come back to haunt them. Meanwhile, in China, Xi Jinping is watching this fiasco and saying to himself, “Well, if the most I have to fear is the threat of sanctions, then if I decide to take control of Taiwan, I’m in good shape.” And when Putin took out his little nuclear saber and rattled it, we were immediately deterred. The Europeans were so terrified that they immediately canceled the plan to make fighter jets available to the Ukrainians, which they had offered in the early days after the invasion.

Listen to the podcast.

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As an aside:

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