Despite numerous stern warnings and threats of severe economic sanctions from President Joe Biden, Russian President Vladimir Putin has continued to make aggressive and provocative moves with regard to Ukraine.
Interestingly enough, an MSNBC guest argued Tuesday that Putin’s current transgressions are actually the fault of former President Barack Obama’s relative inaction in response to Russian provocations and territorial seizures in 2014, Fox News reported.
Further, that MSNBC guest suggested Chinese President Xi Jinping was watching everything unfold with Russia and Ukraine and contemplating aggressive action against Taiwan, presumably under the belief that, like Obama, Biden would do next to nothing to stop that from occurring.
Obama’s inaction emboldened Putin; Biden’s inaction will do same for Xi
Those assertions came Tuesday from Hagar Chemali, a former national security official who worked under the Bush and Obama administrations and claimed that while Obama’s weakness had emboldened Putin, China’s Xi would likely be similarly emboldened by Biden’s weakness against Russia.
“When he saw a relatively weak response from the Obama administration at the time for something so brazen, for taking territory, I think to him that was a message of ‘okay, great, this is something I can continue to do with little recourse,'” Chemali said of Putin with respect to Obama’s reaction to the 2014 annexation of Crimea.
“The bottom line is, he’s going to see that he can behave this way as a thug and get something out of it,” she continued, still speaking of the Russian president.
Switching gears to how Biden’s limited response to Putin’s aggression — he has vowed to avoid direct military intervention — might be perceived by others around the globe, Chemali said, “My real concern here is not just that he won’t end. It’s the message to the other dictators that are watching around the world, in particular, President Xi.”
“President Xi is watching every minute of this and thinking to himself, ‘okay, I see. This is how this is all going to do down. I’m going to start my playbook to invade Taiwan because I know the U.S. is not going to militarily intervene,'” she added.
Assertion not entirely baseless
Chemali is not entirely alone in her assessment of the current situation and what led to it, as Forbes had reported in 2016 that Obama had, for all intents and purposes, allowed Putin to “get away with” all sorts of egregious violations, such as invading Georgia in 2008, annexing Crimea in 2014, backing separatists in eastern Ukraine, intervening in the Syrian civil war, and interfering with internal political affairs of other nations, among other things.
Even former President Donald Trump, in 2018, according to The Hill, proclaimed with certainty that “President Obama lost Crimea,” and further explained, “Because Putin didn’t respect President Obama. President Obama lost Crimea because President Putin didn’t respect President Obama, didn’t respect our country, and didn’t respect Ukraine.”
As for how that relates to the current situation and communist China’s ambitions to reclaim control over quasi-independent Taiwan, that is actually a two-part affair, the first being, as Chemali noted, Biden’s likely inadequate response to Putin’s moves against Ukraine and how it might embolden Xi to make moves of his own.
The second part would be the mixed messages from the Biden administration over exactly what would happen if China moved on Taiwan, according to ABC News in Oct. 2021. Biden had said that the U.S. would take military action to defend Taiwan, but top staffers and officials quickly walked those remarks back, leaving an open question as to just how far the U.S. would go to help Taiwan if it were attacked by China.