Secretary of State Antony Blinken deflected Sunday when confronted over why Vladimir Putin would choose to invade Ukraine under President Biden instead of President Trump; “ask him.”
Blinken appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and was confronted by host Chuck Todd on a reality that breaks the narrative that somehow Trump was allied with Putin.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken on why Vladimir Putin did not escalate during the Trump administration: "Ask him" pic.twitter.com/BnXwm23opa
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) February 20, 2022
In referring to the Trump administration, Todd asked Blinken, “Why do you think [Putin] didn’t act then?”
“I hope you get a chance to ask him,” Blinken responded with a clipped laugh before stuttering to a fuller response.
This deflection is not an isolated incident as the nation’s top diplomat has been making appearances to say little of substance while suggesting only Putin can explain what is going on in Eastern Europe. Wednesday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Blinken again told pundits to “ask him.”
When asked what benefit Putin has to gain from a Ukrainian invasion, Blinken again laughed before suggesting that Putin’s spoken objectives contradict his actions. “It’s an excellent question,” Blinken deflected, “one best asked of him because what he’s doing and what he’s threatening actually counters Russia’s stated interest.”
These muddled responses have signaled to some that Biden’s foreign policy is a return to President Barack Obama’s posturing of “hashtag diplomacy.” As he has made the rounds raising questions as to what the State Department actually does or doesn’t know, he released a tweet as though that would deter Putin.
I #StandWithUkraine. @StateDept stands with Ukraine. The United States stands with Ukraine. https://t.co/7Vj0amAf22
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) January 22, 2022
This echoed a similar State Department message featuring future White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki that was sent out in 2014 after Russia had annexed Crimea.
To echo @BarackObama today-proud to stand #UnitedForUkraine World should stand together with one voice pic.twitter.com/VeMt578UdY
— Ned Price (@StateDeptSpox) March 26, 2014
Both instances were received as demonstrations of weak foreign policy and indicate a true response to Todd’s original question to Blinken. A former Trump official even pointed to this as the, “Leading indicator of negotiations breaking down…sadly.”
Leading indicator of negotiations breaking down is the hashtag diplomacy, sadly. https://t.co/Ya9vz3JWVO
— Adam Korzeniewski 🇺🇸 (@RealAdamK) January 22, 2022
Adam Korzeniewski may be closer to the mark than expected after Blinken made another Sunday show appearance on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
Host Margaret Brennan indicated that she had spoken with a Russian ambassador about the annex of Crimea in 2014 and asked Blinken, “will the U.S. in any way consider recognizing that, ceding that territory, or any territories in the east of Ukraine as a diplomatic way out to avoid a larger war?”
.@SecBlinken says “no” when asked by @margbrennan if the U.S. might recognize Crimea and Eastern Ukraine territories as part of Russia as a diplomatic avenue to avoid war. pic.twitter.com/eLVKxXEDv3
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) February 20, 2022
“No,” Blinken stated flatly.
This is not only a demonstration of negotiations breaking down, but it is a confirmation that the secretary of state was deliberately misleading in earlier interviews. He does, in fact, understand what it is that Putin would stand to gain from an invasion of Ukraine.
However, the State Department and the Biden administration appear more interested in making sure the image of diplomacy is perceived without actually taking the necessary steps to meaningfully deter Putin.
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