September 20, 2022

Biden’s Team Saved Ukraine by Learning from Its Mistakes

Much can still go wrong with the Ukraine war, but so far, President Joe Biden’s defense and national security teams have outperformed any administration since President George H.W. Bush, National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft, Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney and Joint Chiefs Chairman Colin Powell responded to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990. With one significant caveat. Team Biden hasn’t learned one of the most important lessons of that earlier administration: The primary role for the US in foreign affairs is to maintain international rules and norms, not to lead a fight for global democracy.

The weaker the Russian position becomes, the more likely it could still resort to extreme measures.

In the 21st century, national-security crises are bewilderingly complex, with cyber, energy and financial factors interwoven with traditional military and intelligence operations. Teamwork, interagency coordination, and bureaucratic and subject-matter expertise become factors all their own, equal in importance to the overall geopolitical strategy. The Biden team may not have a figure like foreign-policy legends Henry Kissinger or Zbigniew Brzezinski, but the administration, led by National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, has compensated with sheer execution.

Read the full article and more from Bloomberg.

  • Commentary
    • War on the Rocks
    • February 19, 2024
    Worrywurst at the Munich Security Conference

    On one matter, everyone — Europeans, Ukrainians, Americans, and delegates from other regions — concurred: What America does, or fails to do, will be vital....

    By Richard Fontaine

  • Commentary
    • Foreign Policy
    • February 19, 2024
    How Ukraine Can Help Itself

    The challenge is not how to innovate but how to scale up production, given skilled labor shortages, supply chain bottlenecks, corruption, and Russian attacks....

    By Franz-Stefan Gady

  • Podcast
    • February 16, 2024
    Hal Brands on the Looming Threat of Global Conflict

    During the past two years, the world has seen the eruption of two major conflicts in two different regions. In Europe, Russia has launched a war of aggression against Ukraine ...

    By Andrea Kendall-Taylor, Jim Townsend & Hal Brands

  • Podcast
    • February 9, 2024
    Russia's Election and Putin's Power

    In March of 2024, Russia will hold a presidential election. While Vladimir Putin is nearly certain to win another term in office given the Kremlin’s efforts to control the out...

    By Andrea Kendall-Taylor, Jim Townsend, Graeme Robertson & Sam Greene

View All Reports View All Articles & Multimedia