One of the greatest tragedies as Russia continues its illegal assault on Ukraine and as Ukrainians continue to die is that it should never have happened. The US and NATO knew what had to be done, but no one did it.
Many of the things that the US knew have been widely discussed – though not in the mainstream media – like the broken promise that NATO would not expand east that so threatened Russian security.
But there are a number of other things that the US – and particularly Biden – knew that have been more secret and less discussed.
Victoria Nuland and the Ukrainian Coup
When Joe Biden appointed Victoria Nuland as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, he knew that she had no respect for democracy nor state sovereignty and that she had been the leader of the US role in the 2014 coup that took out a democratically elected government in Ukraine and replaced it with one more favorable to moving from the Russian sphere into the Western one.
As Obama’s vice president, Biden knew that Nuland had run the Obama state department’s Ukraine policy; yet he appointed her to essentially the same powerful position in his state department. He knew what Nuland’s policy priorities were. His selection of Nuland endorsed those policies.
Joe Biden and the Ukrainian Coup
Though Biden likes to insist that the Russian invasion of Ukraine was born immaculately out of Russian desires innocent of any US provocations, he knows that the provocative regime change of 2014 was an illegal US supported coup that seriously threatened Russian security concerns at its very border by pulling Ukraine into the European Union and NATO sphere.
He knows because he was not an innocent bystander in the Obama administration, and Victoria Nuland was not secretly going rogue in her Ukraine operation. Nuland had Biden’s approval. In the intercepted call between Nuland and American ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt that so clearly demonstrated the US role in the coup, Nuland implicates Biden. When Pyatt says that the West needing to “midwife this thing,” a metaphorical admission of America’s role in leading the coup, Nuland clearly says that then Vice President Biden, himself, would be willing to do the midwifery.
That midwifery was the catalyst for the current Ukraine crisis, and Biden was the midwife: hardly unprovoked and hardly unknown to Biden.
Biden and the Dangerous Folly of NATO Encroachment
Though Biden disingenuously tells the world that NATO is a defensive alliance that poses no threat to Russia, he is perjuring himself as revealed by his own incriminating testimony. Biden is not only cognizant of the warnings against NATO expansion issued earlier in their careers by Robert Gates, who was Secretary of Defense when he was vice president, and William Burns, who is his director of the CIA. Biden must also remember his own warnings against NATO expansion.
As the senior democrat on the foreign relations committee in 1997, Biden offered this assessment in a speech: "I think the one place that the greatest consternation would be caused in the short term . . . would be to admit the Baltic States now in terms of NATO-Russian, US-Russian relations. And if there was ever anything that was going to tip the balance . . . in terms of a vigorous and hostile reaction in Russia – I don’t mean military – it would be that."
So, Biden knew – and warned – that NATO encroachment was a very dangerous provocation. Yet, his administration was unyielding on the right to keep the door open for Ukraine to enter NATO.
But Biden also knew that the encroachment on Russia’s borders was not only the overt admission of Eastern European states, creeping right up to Georgia and Ukraine. He also knew of the clandestine encroachment of US and NATO troops right up to Russia’s borders.
The US and NATO have not only surrounded Russia with antiballistic missiles and the most threatening weapons. The US has nuclear weapons in Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Turkey. And they have a military base in Poland just 100 miles from Russia.
The US and its allies have also had troops right in Ukraine, training the Ukraine military. Prior to the war more than 150 US troops were in Ukraine in the role of "military advisors." Canada had about 200 troops in Ukraine to support and train Ukraine forces. Several other NATO countries, including the UK, also had troops in Ukraine.
But, the CIA also secretly trained Ukrainian special operations forces in the US. And, even more provocatively, there is now reporting that the US had CIA paramilitaries in the Donbas, pushing NATO intervention right to the very border of Russia. And Biden long knew of this clandestine operation too because it was started by the Obama administration in 2015. It continued through the Trump administration and was kept alive by Biden until just before the Russian invasion when they were pulled out.
According to over half a dozen former US officials, a small number of experienced, mature, highly trained CIA paramilitaries ran the operation. They quickly realized that the pro-Ukrainian forces in the Donbas were being overwhelmed by the superior, high tech capabilities of Russia and the separatist forces in the Donbas who had been seeking autonomy since their elected president had been removed in the coup. They quickly leveled the field by improving their communications and their ability to remain undetected on the battlefield, teaching sniper techniques and showing them how to operate US Javelin anti-tank missiles and other advanced equipment.
Putin’s Red Line
Biden knew that Putin had long drawn a very bold red line on NATO expansion into Georgia or Ukraine. As recently as December, Putin had very publicly sought "reliable and long-term security guarantees" in writing that "would exclude any further NATO moves eastward and the deployment of weapons systems that threaten us in close vicinity to Russian territory." The line was Ukraine.
Biden knew that. He knew that the US supported coup had brought NATO to that red line. Yet he made important appointments that approved of that policy approach and preserved it. He knew, and warned, of the dangerous provocation of expanding NATO further east but kept the door open for Ukraine. He knew, not only that US and NATO weapons were increasingly surrounding Russia and that US and NATO troops were in Ukraine, but even that the CIA was clandestinely in the Donbas waging a proxy war and walking a tightrope right on Russia’s border.
Biden knew all that. He knew all that was provocative to Russia. He even knew, and had warned, that that was the one thing that would "tip the balance." He knew what he had to do to prevent the illegal Russian invasion. And he knowingly did none of it.
Ted Snider has a graduate degree in philosophy and writes on analyzing patterns in US foreign policy and history.