The Biden-Schumer Plan To Kill More Ukrainians

President Joe Biden is refusing to fold a losing hand as he bets with Ukrainian lives and U.S. taxpayer money. Biden and Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer propose to squander the lives of tens of thousands more Ukrainians and $61 billions of federal funds to keep Biden’s disastrous foreign policy failure hidden from view until after the November election.

The $61 billion will make no difference on the battlefield except to prolong the war, the tens of thousands of deaths, and the physical destruction of Ukraine. It will not “save” Ukraine. Ukraine’s security can only be achieved at the negotiating table, not by some fantasized military triumph over Russia.

$61 billion is not nothing. This worse-than-useless outlay would exceed the combined budgets of the U.S. Department of Labor, Environmental Protection Agency, National Science Foundation, and the Women, Infant, and Children nutrition program.

Almost exactly 10 years ago this month, Biden did much to put Ukraine on the path to disaster. This is well known to those who have looked carefully at the facts but is kept hidden from view by the White House, the Senate Democrats, and the mainstream media that back Biden. I have previously provided a detailed chronology, with hyperlinks, here.

In 1990, President George H. W. Bush, Sr. and his German counterpart Chancellor Helmut Kohl promised Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev that NATO would not expand eastward if the Soviet Union accepted German reunification. When the Soviet Union disbanded in December 1991, with Russia as the successor state, American leaders decided to renege.

President Bill Clinton began NATO expansion over the vociferous opposition of top diplomats like George Kennan and the opposition of his own Secretary of Defense, William Perry. In 1997 Zbigniew Brzezinski upped the ante, with a plan for NATO to expand all the way to Ukraine. He famously wrote that without Ukraine, Russia would cease to be a great power.

Russian leaders have repeatedly made clear that NATO expansion to Ukraine is understandably the reddest of Russian redlines. In 2007, President Vladmir Putin stated that NATO enlargement to that date was a cheat on the 1990 promise, and that it must go no further. Despite these clear warnings, including by his own diplomats, George W. Bush Jr. committed in 2008 to expand NATO to Ukraine and Georgia in order to surround Russia in the Black Sea.

William Burns, now CIA director, and then the U.S. Ambassador to Russia, wrote a famous memo entitled “Nyet means Nyet,” explaining that Russia’s opposition to NATO enlargement was across Russia’s political spectrum. Most Ukrainians themselves were also firmly against the plan, favoring neutrality over NATO membership. The Ukrainian Rada declared Ukraine’s state sovereignty in 1990 on the basis of becoming “a permanently neutral state.” In 2009, the people of Ukraine elected Viktor Yanukovych, who ran on a platform of neutrality.

In early 2014, the U.S. decided to help bring down Yanukovych in a coup. This was standard U.S. deep-state operating procedure, one used on dozens of occasions around the world. The CIA, National Endowment for Democracy, USAID, and NGOs like the Open Society Foundation went to work in Ukraine. The point person was Victoria Nuland, who was first Richard Cheney’s principal deputy foreign policy advisor, then George Bush Jr.’s ambassador to NATO, then Hillary Clinton’s spokesperson, and by 2014 Assistant Secretary of State.

This time, the Russians caught the conspiracy on tape, in an intercepted call between Nuland and U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt (now Assistant Secretary of State). Nuland explains to Pyatt that Vice President Joe Biden will help choose and cement the post-coup government. The 2014 Ukraine team, including Biden, Nuland, Jake Sullivan (then and now Biden’s national security advisor), Geoffrey Pyatt, and Antony Blinken (then the deputy national security advisor), remains the Ukraine team today.

It is a team of bunglers. They thought that Yanukovych’s overthrow would quickly usher in NATO expansion. Instead, ethnic Russians in Ukraine virulently rejected the Russophobic post-coup government that was installed by Nuland, and called for autonomy of the ethnically Russian regions. In a referendum, Crimea voted overwhelmingly to join Russia.

Obama, Biden, and their team armed the post-coup government to attack the ethnically Russian regions, thinking this would be the end of it. Yet the regions resisted. Ukraine and the breakaway regions signed the Minsk Agreements to bring an end to the fighting and give constitutional autonomy to the ethnically Russian Donbas. The Minsk II agreement was backed by the UN Security Council, but the U.S. privately agreed with the Ukrainian government that it was okay to ignore it.

In 2021, after 7 years of fighting and more than 14,000 deaths in the Donbas, Putin called on newly elected President Biden to stop NATO enlargement and engage in negotiations with Russia over mutual security arrangements. Biden rejected Putin’s call to end the gambit of NATO enlargement to Ukraine.

In February 2022, Putin launched the Special Military Operation (SMO) invasion to push Ukraine to the negotiating table. Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky immediately called for negotiations based on Ukraine’s neutrality. Within a month, a framework agreement to end the fighting was reached between Ukraine and Russia, based on Ukraine’s neutrality and an end to NATO’s enlargement to Ukraine. Biden stepped in to stop the deal, with the U.S. informing Zelensky that the U.S. would not support neutrality.

Biden and team had still more failed tricks up their sleeve. They firmly believed that U.S. financial sanctions—freezing Russia’s assets and cutting it out of the SWIFT banking system—would cripple the Russian economy and cause Putin to relent. In fact, they expected that the ensuing economic crisis would topple him. Of course, nothing of the sort happened.

Then they expected that NATO weaponry would trounce Russia on the battlefield. That too did not happen. Then they expected that Ukraine’s “counter-offensive” in the summer of 2023, backed by Pentagon and CIA planners, would defeat Russia. Instead, Ukraine lost hundreds of thousands of soldiers dead and wounded—its military hardware destroyed.

The entire war, including the loss of Ukrainian territory, the hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian casualties, and the utter waste of more than $100 billion of U.S. taxpayer money to date, could easily have been avoided.

Now, Biden and Schumer want to throw more Ukrainian lives and more tens of billions of dollars at this glaring failure. They want to do this in a rushed vote, without any Congressional let alone public oversight, without hearings, and without any strategy. The fact is they want to save Biden from the embarrassment of a decade of puerile and failed plotting, at least until the November election.

There remains one answer for Ukraine’s security: diplomacy and neutrality. That solution doesn’t cost lives or money. It was Ukraine’s choice before the 2014 coup and again in 2022 until stopped by Biden. It is the path that Biden and the Senate Democrats still refuse to take.

Reprinted from CommonDreams.

Jeffrey D. Sachs is a University Professor and Director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University, where he directed The Earth Institute from 2002 until 2016. He is also President of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network and a commissioner of the UN Broadband Commission for Development. He has been advisor to three United Nations Secretaries-General, and currently serves as an SDG Advocate under Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. Sachs is the author, most recently, of A New Foreign Policy: Beyond American Exceptionalism (2020). Other books include: Building the New American Economy: Smart, Fair, and Sustainable (2017), and The Age of Sustainable Development, (2015) with Ban Ki-moon.