President Joe Biden has reached a crossroads with Vice President Kamala Harris, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and many other high profile officials.
The president claimed sanctions against Russia were not meant to deter Putin. Yet, Harris and Blinken said in the recent past that sanctions were supposed to deter Russia.
Biden Tried to Hide His Failures with False Messaging
Christina Ruffini, a CBS reporter, grilled Biden, saying the US strategy to deter Putin did not work. Responding to this, Biden stated he never said that sanctions deter.
The reporter continued, asking whether or not America’s strategy against Russia would deter Putin. Biden lost his temper here and accused the reporter of playing a game with him.
As he started beating around the bush, Biden claimed the United States would maintain its existing strategy for the rest of the year.
In addition to this, he also noted NATO allies must stay united if they want to stop Russia from further aggression.
Biden Says ‘Sanctions Never Deter’ Despite Insistence From His Own Administration To The Contrary https://t.co/eUTskFvn6P
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) March 24, 2022
Right after Biden’s address, Republican Senator Rob Portman told Fox News sanctions do deter; however, they need to be structured to be useful against a strong adversary.
The senator continued, saying Biden should have taken a tougher stance against Russia before the invasion if he really wanted to stop it.
Biden’s comments were also contradictory to what Kamala Harris and Antony Blinken said recently. In February, a reporter asked Harris whether she believed that sanctions would deter Russia.
On this, the vice president noted she “strongly believes” these sanctions will have a “meaningful” impact in stopping Russia from the invasion. Similarly, Harris also stated the purpose of sanctions is always deterrence.
When Russia was amassing troops at the Ukraine border, Blinken appeared in a CNN interview, stating the purpose of sanctions was to deter Russia from invading Ukraine.
Biden’s Message is Against His Own White House
Not only this, but the White House press secretary had similar views about the efficacy of sanctions in stopping Putin.
Last month, Psaki called sanctions a “powerful tool” to deter Putin. She explicitly mentioned the intention of the administration is to induce a “deterrent effect” with the help of sanctions.
In the very same briefing, deputy national security adviser for International Economics Daleep Kumar claimed the same.
Voices along similar lines were echoed in the Pentagon as well when the press secretary of the Pentagon, John Kirby, mentioned sanctions are supposed to have a deterrent effect.
The national security adviser of Biden, Jake Sullivan, said last month the “president believed” sanctions would deter Putin. He added the right way to make sanctions work is to ensure Putin feels the damage when he sees sanctions in action.
Joe Biden, March 24: "Sanctions never deter."
Jake Sullivan, Feb. 11: "The president believes sanctions are intended to deter."
— John Cooper (@thejcoop) March 24, 2022
In any international framework, sanctions are considered as a tool of war used against a hostile adversary to deter them when military action does not seem appropriate.