John Bolton Says Biden’s Policy Only Assures Ukraine’s Slow Demise
Well known uber-Hawk and former National Security Advisor John Bolton has blasted the Biden White House’s Ukraine policy, describing it as but an approach assuring Ukraine’ slow demise.
Despite the well over $100 billion in aid committed, and the seeming endless weapons being taken from Pentagon stockpiles, Bolton’s chief complaint naturally is that it’s not enough. “Ukraine’s offensive failures and Russia’s defensive successes share a common cause: the slow, faltering, non-strategic supply of military assistance by the West,” Bolton wrote in a Sunday op-ed in The Wall Street Journal.
He acknowledged that the long awaited counteroffensive “isn’t making the headway some proponents had forecast,” and that this must serve as a “wake-up” call for the US administration.
Bolton lamented that the real problem is that Washington is not going all in. Instead, he argued that the “inability to achieve major advances is the natural result of a US strategy aimed only at staving off Russian conquest.” He is urging President Biden to immediately begin “vigorously working toward Ukrainian victory.”
As it stands, significant delays have pushed back the expected arrival of F-16s in Ukraine until at least next summer, following prior premature reporting that they were to arrive by year’s end. The Washington Post observed that merely six Ukrainian pilots are in the training program.
Bolton addressed this lagging advanced weapons pipeline in his op-ed:
“The serial debates over whether to supply this or that weapons system, the perpetual fear that Russia will escalate to war against the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and occasional Kremlin nuclear saber-rattling have instilled a paralyzing caution in Western capitals. Although the UK under Boris Johnson wasn’t deterred, NATO has seemed unwilling to fulfill its commitment to restore Ukraine’s full sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
Bolton seems to actually shrug his shoulders at the prospect of escalation into catastrophic nuclear war: “This hesitancy is a product of successful deterrence by the Kremlin, not American strategic necessity,” he wrote. “Far from being inevitable, the Ukrainians’ inability to achieve major advances is the natural result of a U.S. strategy aimed only at staving off Russian conquest.”
He also took the opportunity to argue for more sanctions, and to escalate the economic war on Moscow: “The West – particularly Washington – also needs to rethink sanctions policy radically. Theories about price caps on Russian oil have failed, and Western sanctions generally remain piecemeal and seriously underenforced,” according to the scathing op-ed.
“These defects aren’t confined to the Ukraine conflict and should prompt NATO institutionally to review how it conducts enforcement,” he added. “Proclaiming sanctions is great PR, but enforcement is hard, tedious and necessarily done clandestinely where possible. The US and its allies need a massive overhaul and upgrade of our sanction-enforcement instruments, procedures and personnel.”
NYT, March 2022: US “seeks to help Ukraine lock Russia in a quagmire.”
WSJ, Aug. 2023: “A nagging concern in Kyiv and Western capitals is that politicians and voters may come to see the war as a quagmire.”
Proxy warriors worry that people will understand their proxy war aims. pic.twitter.com/tNn6TQFgQh
— Aaron Maté (@aaronjmate) August 14, 2023
But it remains that multiple polls have shown the American public is slowly turning against US involvement in the conflict. Likely this is what has motivated hawks like Bolton to grow louder in their insistence on broadening the war. For Bolton in particular, it seems there’s never been a war he hasn’t wanted to escalate and expand.