The American Conservative: “Biden has proven that his Ukrainian strategy, or lack thereof, only leads to an escalation of conflict”

10:07 06.07.2024 •

Photo: The White House

Numerous experts and politicians fear that the decision might escalate the conflict and be counterproductive to U.S. interests.

Following reports that the Biden administration is seeking to allow U.S. military contractors to deploy to Ukraine, ostensibly for the purpose of servicing American-made equipment, backlash has been brewing among foreign policy realists, both politicians and experts.

Will Ruger, the President of the American Institute of Economic Research and Trump nominee for ambassador to Afghanistan in 2020, highlighted the dangerous position that American contractors might be placed in by this policy change.

“The idea of having American contractors in harm’s way would create the possibility of inadvertent or intentional targeting that results in casualties to our countrymen; such casualties could put pressure on the administration to sink deeper into the war,” Ruger told The American Conservative.

Zachary Paikan, the Deputy Director of the Better Order Project at the Quincy Institute, who has written about the risks of such the proposed policy in the past, told TAC that the Biden administration’s move will not necessarily change Moscow’s perception of U.S. involvement in Ukraine. Rather, it will reinforce the dominant perception in Moscow which views “this war not as a Russo-Ukrainian conflict but as a direct conflict with NATO occurring on Ukrainian soil.”

Paikan added that the “degree of Western involvement and risk-taking has increased throughout the conflict.”

“Russia has been careful to calibrate its responses so far,” he cautioned. “Just because we haven’t seen substantial horizontal [geographical] or vertical [intensity of the conflict] escalation so far doesn’t mean we can extrapolate this trend indefinitely into the future.”

Elaborating on the risks of escalation from either this policy or another, Paikan said, “At some point, a genuine red line may be crossed, even if inadvertently. I don’t think we’re quite there yet, but it’s better to err on the side of caution — I don’t think this war can go on indefinitely at the current threshold of violence and restricted to the current geographic scope.”

Joe Kent, a Republican candidate for Washington’s competitive Third Congressional District, zeroed in on the issue. “The Biden administration publicly considering deploying U.S. contractors to Ukraine is escalatory and reckless,” Kent told TAC. “The introduction of ‘contractors’ and/or ‘advisors’ is how Vietnam and other disasters have begun.”

Kent added that “regardless of what parameters are put on U.S. contractors they would rightly be viewed as combatants by Russia, putting Americans in direct combat with Russia,” which “would be war” between Russia and America.

Kent also connected the issue of escalation in Ukraine and the potential for nuclear war to the political stakes of the November election. “Only one political faction and only one leader is talking about ending global conflict and nuclear war, and that is President Trump,” he argued. “Biden has proven that his strategy, or lack thereof, only leads to an escalation of conflict.”


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