The co-hosts of “The Five” discussed President Biden‘s virtual meeting Tuesday with Russian President Vladimir Putin amid rising military tension with Ukraine and wondered whether another foreign policy failure is imminent under the commander in chief’s watch.
“After the utter disaster in Afghanistan, President Biden could soon be facing another foreign policy crisis,” Katie Pavlich said.
During the meeting, Biden expressed “deep concerns” over Russia amassing troops by the Ukrainian border and said sanctions as well as “other measures” were on the table “in the event of military escalation,” the White House said.
In October, Russia warned that if Ukraine joined NATO it would be an “extremely dangerous step” that would “force” the country into action.
“We will insist on working out specific agreements that would exclude any further NATO moves eastward and the deployment of weapons systems that threaten us in close vicinity to Russian territory,” Putin said.
Dana Perino said Putin is very “patient” and is ratcheting up tensions in order to keep Ukraine out of NATO, which is an intergovernmental military alliance that includes the U.S. and 28 European countries, among others.
“What Putin really wants is Ukraine back, but he might settle with not getting Ukraine into NATO,” she argued. “Then you have to ask … well then what else is left?”
The issue of the White House’s leverage is compounded by the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that is being built from Russia to Europe via the Baltic Sea, according to Perino.
U.S. officials warned Congress that a Russian invasion of Ukraine could compromise the pipeline, according to a Reuters report. In the event of an invasion, according to the report, U.S. officials have “an understanding with Germany about shutting down the … pipeline.”
Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security adviser, told reporters the White House was willing to use the pipeline, which is owned by a Russian company called Gazprom, as leverage.
“If Vladimir Putin wants to see gas flow through that pipeline, he may not want to take the risk of invading Ukraine,” Sullivan said.
Perino commented that the pipeline was being built for years and was not simply “a toy” the administration could “take away.” The only “real deterrence” for Moscow’s expansionist interest in Ukraine is “a show of force,” she said.
“I don’t think Biden is going to do that,” Perino concluded. “Putin holds all the cards and all the leverage.”