Joe Biden has said over and over again that Vladimir Putin intends to invade Ukraine and that if he does, the U.S. will hit him with crushing sanctions that he will feel.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin appeared on “This Week” with Martha Raddatz, and while he said he thought that the invasion was coming — and he didn't think Putin was bluffing because he had assembled everything he would need for an invasion — Austin called into question how much effect the sanctions contemplated would have on Putin himself.
The sanctions that we talked about, you know, we're very serious about, and these are sanctions that will have effects that Mr. Putin has not realized before.
You know, the sad part about this, Martha, is that it may not affect Mr. Putin to the degree that it's going to affect the average Russian. And, you know, the decisions that he's making now will bring about a lot of pain and suffering on his comrades in Russia.
Translation? They know – even now – that, despite what Biden has been saying, the sanctions they're contemplating aren't going to affect him personally as much as the average Russian. So, why the heck should he care? He doesn't care if it hurts the average Russian, only if it affects him. As we previously reported, he allegedly had taken the toughest sanctions off the table.
On top of that, such sanctions could affect others in the world, as Raddatz observed, including Americans.
Americans could feel the impact of those sanctions, too. Russia is the third largest oil producer in the world. Any disruptions to the global oil market could create shortages in Europe and increase gas prices in the U.S.
Indeed, because under Biden, he's so harmed our energy independence and increased substantially the oil we are buying from Russia. Why are we buying it from Russia, when we have our own? The crazy liberal policies of Joe Biden and the left — thus making us beholden to those with whom we have a hostile relationship. It makes absolutely no sense. And if they hit Russian oil with sanctions now, it will impact us as well.
At the Munich Security Conference, the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky — who has also questioned the inevitability of a further invasion and previously called for pre-emptive sanctions — ripped the weak response of the Biden Administration, yet again, for refusing to resort to pre-emptive sanctions.
Zelensky, too, urged Western leaders to spend less time warning Kyiv about the number of Russian troops on Ukraine's doorstep, and to instead break their “silence” about how their nations planned to respond. Speaking to CNN in Munich, Zelensky called on the United States and Europe to articulate what sanctions they would impose on Russia, to serve as a deterrent.
“We don't need your sanctions after the bombardment will happen and after our country will be fired at, or after we will have no borders and after we will have no economy or part of our country will be occupied,” Zelensky said. “Why would we need those sanctions then?”
Also on Sunday, former U.S. Ambassador to NATO Douglas Lute called into question the Biden Administration's claim about the invasion being “inevitable.”
Former U.S. Ambassador to NATO @LuteDoug tells @MarthaRaddatz that he doesn’t believe a Russian invasion of Ukraine is “inevitable." https://t.co/F2iIyelnZ6 pic.twitter.com/72CxYmYx8i— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) February 20, 2022
Lute said there were a lot of other options that Putin might employ apart from invasion and those were far more likely, that it was not “inevitable” — despite all the action and the massive number of troops perched on the border.