President Biden’s leadership is being tested by the brewing crisis caused by Russian aggression toward Ukraine.
The stakes are high for Biden, particularly given the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan that prompted widespread criticism and left allies questioning U.S. leadership.
Political observers say that the unfolding situation represents an opportunity for Biden to demonstrate American leadership and draw a contrast with former President Trump’s handling of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Observers say this particular foreign policy scenario is different from the Afghanistan withdrawal that many see as a pivotal, negative point in Biden’s approval ratings as president.
“I think the situation in Russia/Ukraine is quite different politically than Afghanistan,” said Richard Fontaine, the CEO of the Center for a New American Security who served as a foreign policy adviser to the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). “The worst-case scenario is a full-scale invasion of Ukraine and if it happens, it will be despite the administration's efforts to avert it. If Putin is determined to go forward, no one is going to stop him.
“That, I think, is different than Afghanistan, where at issue was a U.S. policy of withdrawal implemented by the United States — and over objections from some of our allies.”
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