Biden prolongs Ukraine crisis to avoid admitting failure – US lawmaker

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Senator Ron Johnson has argued that Washington’s foundering proxy war is only making Russia stronger

US President Joe Biden is dragging out an “obviously” lost cause in Ukraine because his administration will not admit to its policy failures in trying to weaken Russia, Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) has claimed.

“At some point in time, you have to recognize reality and you have to base your decisions on reality,” Johnson said on Thursday in an interview with podcast host Glenn Greenwald. “But the Biden administration is not willing to do that, the generals aren’t willing to do that, because they’d have to admit they’ve been wrong all along.”

Johnson was the only US lawmaker to attend the inauguration of Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky in May 2019. He said Zelensky wanted to make peace with Russia then, realizing that Kiev had no chance of retaking Crimea, and sought to resolve the conflict shortly after Moscow launched its military offensive in February 2022.

“I would like to have been a fly on the wall in Istanbul, when they apparently were negotiating a peace agreement and the Biden administration air-dropped [then-UK Prime Minister] Boris Johnson in there to blow that thing up,” Johnson said. “This was a few weeks after the war started. It’s a tragic, tragic turn of history there.”

The third-term lawmaker, who formerly chaired the Senate Homeland Security Committee, said the US government has failed to reflect on its foreign policy failures. For example, he argued, fomenting the overthrow of Ukraine’s elected government in 2014 helped lead to the country’s destruction. He said Americans have been “grossly misserved” by their government’s long history of foreign entanglements and regime-change operations.

“The military-industrial complex drives so much of what we’re experiencing here today, the endless wars,” Johnson said. “I can’t tell you how many governments we have, through covert action, we’ve overturned. What’s been the net result of that?”

It’s nonsensical for the US government to stand by its stated goal of helping Ukraine to defeat Russian forces, Johnson said. He added, “Part of the problem is that one of the war aims now has shifted. It’s not necessarily to liberate Ukraine but to utilize the Ukrainian people to fight a proxy war with Russia and degrade their military capability.”

Johnson said the proxy-war strategy had failed: “With oil prices higher, with the sanctions not working to cripple the Russian economy, I think they’re just probably building up their military-industrial base, and if anything, they’re getting stronger and smarter militarily.”

Republican lawmakers have held up approval of Biden’s request for over $60 billion in additional Ukraine funding since last fall, but party leaders are reportedly preparing to pass an aid bill in the coming days. Biden is seeking reelection later this year.

“It’s just a fantasy, it’s just denying reality, to think that pumping more money, fueling the fire of that bloody stalemate, is going to break this thing open and show that Ukraine can be victorious,” Johnson said.

“That’s just not going to happen, so it’s better to recognize reality and realize the only way the bloodshed ends is if we sit down and negotiate with [Russian President] Vladimir Putin.”

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