History Forces Biden’s Hand – WSJ | #cybersecurity | #cyberattack | #cybersecurity | #infosecurity | #hacker

Ukrainian gambit continues to dominate world news and reap extraordinary rewards at minimal cost to him. Mr. Putin has three linked goals: to restore as much of the old Soviet empire as possible, to break the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and to disrupt the European Union. The diplomatic demands, propaganda campaigns, cyberattacks and military maneuvers he has unleashed have brought him significantly closer to his principal goals. Instead of responding effectively, Mr. Putin’s Western opponents have lurched deeper into division and incoherence.

Not since the 1940s has the West been this disunited. Germany refuses to allow NATO allies to ship German-made weapons to Ukraine. France chooses the Western alliance’s most critical hour since the 1961 Berlin Crisis to call for a fundamental rethinking of Western political structures and relations. Britain goes all-in on arming Ukraine. The European disarray reflects the West’s fundamental weakness: Washington hasn’t been able yet to forge a consensus that enables the West to pursue a common objective.

By this disarray we can evaluate President Biden’s “Be Nice to Europe” policy, which aimed to “park Russia” and build the trans-Atlantic alliance back better. It has done neither. Russia is on the march, and Germany and France are undercutting American diplomacy and charting their courses almost as if the Biden administration did not exist.

If the West is divided and incoherent in retreat, its adversaries are advancing together. China is having even more fun than Russia. At zero cost to Beijing, the “pivot to Asia” has been postponed again. Washington is talking about NATO, not the Quad; Kyiv, not Taipei; missiles in Europe, not trade deals with Asia. China applauds Russia’s moves in Kazakhstan as it surges naval forces into the Pacific well past Taiwan. North Korea steps up its weapons-testing program. Iran continues to toy with the Biden team in the slow-moving nuclear negotiations as its hard-line president visits Mr. Putin and hails a new and deeper economic relationship with China.

Not since Jimmy Carter’s presidency has the U.S. faced a concatenation of crises and setbacks on this scale. Mr. Carter, shocked by both the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the volcanic anti-Americanism from postrevolutionary Iran, turned away from his more liberal and pacific counselors in the State Department to embrace the tough-minded counsel of his national security adviser,

Zbigniew Brzezinski.

As Mr. Carter’s defenders rightly point out, these changes helped pave the way for the revival of American power and prestige during the Reagan years. Unless Mr. Biden plans to subject himself and the nation to three more years of retreats and humiliating foreign-policy failures, he has to change course.

Recent days have brought evidence that the White House understands the need to move beyond a purely economic response to Russian pressure. The weekend announcement that any Russian invasion of Ukraine could bring thousands of American troops into the Baltic states was a significant step. Suggestions that this might begin a larger program of shifting NATO forces to meet a growing threat from the east are also welcome.

This will be only the beginning. The Ukraine crisis has not yet peaked, China and Russia aren’t going anywhere, and they won’t cease probing America’s global position for weaknesses. The Biden administration will be defined, like it or not, by how effectively it responds to challenges it once hoped to avoid.

Meeting these challenges is not simply a matter of moving a few troops a few miles farther east. Military budgets will have to grow as the U.S. increases its capacity against both Russia and China. The fantasies of withdrawing from some regions to focus on others will have to be set aside; Europe, the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America all require more American and allied focus and attention, even as we continue to gear up in the Indo-Pacific. The U.S. will have to spend less time inspecting the moral shortcomings of potential allies and more time thinking about how it can deepen its relationships with them. There will be diplomatic crises and war scares.

“It would be the irony of fate,” said

Woodrow Wilson

on the eve of his inauguration, “if my administration had to deal chiefly with foreign affairs.” In a 1943 press conference,

Franklin Roosevelt

ruefully acknowledged that “old Doctor New Deal” had to make way for “Doctor Win-the-War.”

Harry Truman

didn’t want to lead a divided America into the Cold War, but Stalin gave him no choice.

Mr. Biden has no more choice than his predecessors did. History is again knocking on the White House door. The world will be watching to see how the president handles his unwelcome guest.

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