Magazine June 1, 2021, Issue

How Biden Can Turn the Tables on Putin

U.S. secretary of state Antony J. Blinken and Ukrainian prime minister Denys Shmyhal in Kyiv, May 6 (Yevhen Liubimov/ Ukrinform/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
He aggresses in a gray zone between NATO and Russia, so let’s remove it

The Biden administration billed Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s May 6 visit to Kyiv as showing support for Ukraine’s struggle against Russian aggression. Instead, Blinken served up only rhetorical pablum, retreating from what senior Trump officials (although not Trump himself) did to back Ukraine and re­turning to Obama-era blandishments. Vladimir Putin must be delighted.

Inexplicably, moreover, Blinken equated Russia’s belligerence with Ukraine’s admittedly substantial corruption problems, stating that there is “aggression from outside . . . and, in effect, aggression from within.” This moral equivalence is nonsensical. For both Washington and Kyiv, corruption is hardly as strategically important as Moscow’s threat. Ukrainian president …

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This article appears as “Between Russia and NATO” in the June 1, 2021, print edition of National Review.

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John R. Bolton is a former national-security adviser to President Trump and a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

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