The U.S. is the undisputed leader of the Free World. During World War I, U.S. involvement was crucial for ending the conflict on terms favorable to the Allies. In World War II, U.S. intervention was instrumental in defeating Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. During the Cold War, the U.S. vision of liberal democracy triumphed over the Soviet Union’s communist experiment.
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Carrying on the tradition of U.S. leadership, President Biden has led the Free World from the front since Russia invaded Ukraine. To be clear: U.S. support for Ukraine is President Biden’s most important foreign policy and his most successful.
From a moral perspective, U.S. support to Ukraine is the right thing to do.
Sovereignty and territorial integrity are the fundamental principles of the rules-based international order.
A powerful state cannot invade its smaller neighbor to kill its citizens and annex its territory.
Russia’s destruction of Ukraine’s physical infrastructure is unimaginable. Cities like Mariupol, Volnovahka, Bakhmut, and Soledar have become objectively uninhabitable. The human suffering inflicted on Ukrainians by Russia is even worse.
The psychological trauma to Ukraine’s population will take generations to heal.
For those who don’t care about the moral necessity of helping Ukrainians defend themselves against Russian aggression, support to Ukraine also accomplishes U.S. national security objectives.
Russia has posed a consistent threat to the U.S. since the end of World War II. The U.S. has invested trillions of dollars in dealing with Russia over the last eight decades and continues to spend hundreds of billions of dollars per year.
Now, Ukraine is decimating Russia’s army for roughly 5% of the U.S.’ annual military budget. This weakens Russia’s ability to wage a conventional war against the U.S. at a bargain price without sacrificing a single American soldier.
Joe Biden, The Uniter
President Biden’s leadership has united the Free World against Russia’s aggression.
The European Union has imposed nine sanctions packages against Russia.
Germany has made the difficult albeit necessary decision to become a military power.
Finland (neutral since the end of World War II) and Sweden (neutral since the Napoleonic Wars in the early 19th century) have applied to join NATO.
Japan has reinterpreted Article 9 of its constitution to develop its offensive capabilities and revamped its national security strategy to deal with the threats posed by China, North Korea, and Russia.
The Free World has awakened to the reality that a great power conflict is possible in the 21st century.
President Biden’s leadership also sends a powerful message to revisionists around the world: autocrats will not be the architects of international relations in the 21st century.
The Free World’s resolve complicates the People’s Liberation Army’s calculations and delays China’s forced reunification with Taiwan.
Unwavering support for non-allied Ukraine signals to Kim Jong-un that the U.S. will defend its allies in Korea and Japan.
It also prevents President Vucic’s threatened incursions into Kosovo from materializing, reduces the likelihood of President Dodik launching a civil war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and ensures that President Erdogan’s purported invasion of Greece remains rhetorical.
As Winston Churchill famously observed: “You could always count on America to do the right thing – after it has exhausted all the alternatives.” In 2008, President Bush failed to respond to Russia’s invasion of Georgia. The European Union followed by awarding Russia with Nord Stream 1. In 2014, President Obama failed to respond when Russia launched its proxy war against Ukraine and annexed Ukrainian Crimea. The European Union followed by awarding Russia with Nord Stream 2. The policy of appeasement reached its apex in 2018, when President Trump undermined U.S. intelligence agencies, downplayed Russian interference in the 2016 election and failed to hold Russia accountable at his meeting with Putin in Helsinki.
For a long time, a lack of U.S. leadership in the face of Russian imperialism signaled to the Free World that business with Russia should continue as usual. This was perceived by Russia as the Free World’s collective weakness. It emboldened Putin to take bigger and bigger risks until we got to where we are today. While the Free World pays the price of this appeasement in military equipment and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine, Ukrainians pay the cost in lives destroyed.
Despite the failures of his predecessors, President Biden has demonstrated leadership in the face of Russian imperialism, ended the appeasement of Putin, and carved a new path for the Free World to follow.
History will be kind to President Joe Biden for this.
George Monastiriakos is a lawyer licensing candidate and political science and history graduate who writes about politics and global affairs.