You can tell that the Biden administration is getting serious. They have unleashed their ultimate weapon, cackle diplomacy. The warhead is nicknamed Harris, and it is now in Poland cackling away, endeavouring to assemble the high-level Pierogis before Russia flattens Kiev or Putin decides to go nuclear – and by ‘go nuclear’, alas, I mean ‘go nuclear’.
Some observers say that sending Kamala Harris on this mission will give her a chance to ‘burnish’ her foreign policy credentials. Cynical folks – and I would include myself in that group – think it is just another emission of fog by America’s first certifiably senile administration.
‘Ukraine is a country in Europe’, Harris recently explained to universal hilarity, ‘it exists next to another country called Russia. Russia is a bigger country. Russia is a powerful country. Russia decided to invade a smaller country called Ukraine. So, basically, that’s wrong, and it goes against everything that we stand for’.
Did I mention that the hilarity was laced with feelings of appalled panic? This, after all, was the vice president of the United States.
The messaging about Russia has not been particularly consistent. We all hate Putin: that message was clear enough. And we are all supposed to fawn over Zelensky. But we’re not supposed to mention the links between Ukraine and the Bidens or its government’s efforts to undermine Donald Trump.
I am not sure what to do with the other contradictions, mixed messages and amateur cock-ups that have defined the response to Putin’s invasion of its southern neighbor. Last week, Poland suggested that it might send 28 Soviet-era MiG-29 jets to Germany, from where they could be flown to Ukraine. Ukrainian pilots knew how to fly the planes, so they could be used against the Russians in short order. Poland’s condition was that the US send it F-16s to replace the the MiGs.
Over the weekend, Antony Blinkin’ Blinken, the US Secretary of State, described the deal in positive terms, but then the Pentagon, where there are apparently still, despite Lloyd Austin’s purge, some level-headed blokes around, nixed the plan. We appreciate the offer, blah, blah, blah, said a Pentagon spokesman, but the idea of sending fighter jets from a Nato ally to Ukraine to be used against Russia is not “tenable’.
Indeed. Essentially, the western world has declared financial war against Russia. The actions might well bring Russia to its knees. Or maybe it will merely back Russia into a corner. There is a difference. Time, and not a lot of time, will reveal whether this was the smart thing to do.
Meanwhile, we can all have fun watching Kamala Harris bring her own brand of zany to the trough of high-level international diplomacy. I plan to report in or her progress for as long as she is traipsing about in eastern Europe. I suspect we’ll all need a few laughs. She is sure to supply them.
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This article was originally published in The Spectator's World edition