Anybody notice how often Joe Biden has empowered Putin?

Vladimir Putin of Russia, battered and diminished by the Trump years, is now in the catbird seat.

Joe Biden is the reason why.  In the midst of his incompetence, bad judgment, and quite possibly corrupt tradeoffs, he's enacted a string of bad decisions to empower the Russian autocrat.  Quite unlike President Trump, who was accused by a mendacious and maddened left of being "Putin's puppet," Joe Biden is the real thing.  This is pretty ironic, really: for a man who wrote the gushing book blurb to the most negative portrayal of Putin I've ever read, Fiona Hill's Mr. Putin, which I wrote about here, Biden's decisions to empower Putin are very strange indeed.  We often talk about China as being empowered and emboldened by Biden, but the less noted Putin empowerment from Biden is clearly stronger.

Biden's latest is a jaw-dropper: in the wake of his disastrous pullout from Afghanistan, he's now begging Putin for access to Russian bases from which to surveil for terror activity.

According to the Wall Street Journal:

Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, raised the subject at the request of President Biden's National Security Council staff in his meeting last Wednesday with Russian Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov, the U.S. officials said.

Gen. Gerasimov was noncommittal during the Helsinki meeting, the U.S. officials said. A Kremlin spokesman declined to comment.

The previously unreported exchange comes as the Biden administration is searching for ways to strengthen its capability to monitor and respond to potential terrorist dangers in Afghanistan now that U.S. forces have left the country.

So he threw away our Bagram Airfield base in Afghanistan, abandoning it in the dead of night without even telling the allies, let alone the Afghan army, forcing the U.S. to conduct its last dangerous evacuations from Kabul airport, which led to 13 dead service members in a terror attack.  Now he notices that the U.S. doesn't know anything about Afghanistan anymore, even as the entire alphabet soup of terrorist organizations — ISIS, ISIS-K, al-Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Toiba, Taliban Pakistan, the Haqqani Network, the whole ugly lot plus likely more as "foreign fighters" — roll in with the Taliban takeover and consolidation of power.  He hasn't been able to get the permission of the Central Asian states, such as Kazakhstan or Tajikistan, to cooperate.  Most of them take their marching orders from their old colonial master back in Moscow.  Now the plan is to persuade Putin to allow U.S. troops to surveil from Russia.  Apparently, there was no planning at all, and now the Bidenites are seeking help on the fly.

Anybody want to take a gander at what kind of deal Putin will drive for any access for U.S. troops or intelligence personnel to operate on Russian territory?  It's come to that — play on Putin's terms for base access and know what the Taliban and its terrorist buddies are doing, or else no base access and wait and find out. 

The Journal notes that Biden's pathetic call to help from Putin comes as the U.S. has Russia under considerable sanctions for its Ukraine invasion, sanctions that bother the Russian oligarchs, but the country has not budged.

While the U.S. and Russia share concerns about the threat of terrorism, the idea of working with Russia on counterterrorism is fraught with challenges, particularly politically. Congress enacted legislation several years ago that precludes close cooperation between the U.S. and Russia militaries as long as Russian troops are in Ukraine, unless the secretary of defense issues a special waiver.

If surveilling Afghanistan from afar instead of in-country is that important, the U.S. will likely have no choice but to bend to Putin's terms and drop sanctions.  A waiver is a joke, and it's likely that Putin won't stand for it.  Once the sanctions are off, Biden needs to assume that Putin keeps his agreement and does not change his mind.  Checkmate, Plugs.

It's just as bad on the energy front.  While President Trump had Putin on the ropes with his policy to promote domestic energy production and U.S. energy self-sufficiency, Biden has shut down domestic production and driven even the U.S. toward energy imports from petrotyrants.  He killed the Keystone XL pipeline for America while giving the green light to Russia's Nord Stream 2 pipeline to Germany.  That's apparently good news for Germany but even better news for Russia.  Our close allies in Europe shut their own coal, natural gas, fracking, oil, and nuclear industries down, only to find themselves freezing cold and out of energy.  They can now either freeze and go without crops (which require fossil fuel–derived fertilizer), or they can embrace the Russian bear and all its abundant oil and natural gas production, with that handy Nord Stream 2 pipeline. 

The Wall Street Journal's Allysia Finley reports that Putin is already feeling his oats on that pipeline empowerment from Biden:

Russia is exploiting Europe's energy difficulties by reducing gas deliveries, perhaps to pressure Germany to complete certification of its Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which bypasses Ukraine. Russia's Gazprom has booked only a third of the available transportation capacity through its Yamal pipeline for October and no additional deliveries via its Ukraine pipeline. Europe has become ever more dependent on Russia — the world's second largest gas producer, after the U.S. — for energy because the U.K. and Germany have banned hydraulic fracturing, letting their rich gas shale resources go to waste.

Way to go, Joe.  The Nord Stream 2 pipeline isn't even up and running yet, and already Putin is slipping into his petrotyrant mode, forcing Europe to deal with him on Russia's terms.

How else has Joe Biden empowered Putin?

Well, don't forget the hacker target list.  Joe Biden gave Putin at a recent summit a "please don't throw me in the briar patch" list of targets he really, really, really doesn't want Russia's state-linked hackers to hit. 

That's convenient for them.  Now they know where they can do the most harm.  I wrote about that here.

Lastly, Biden's electoral fraud and his unwillingness to admit any possibility of fraud, despite a mountain of evidence, has been a bonanza for Putin, too.  Halting ballot counts in the middle of the night, shifting their trending direction, ending ballot security, killing off observer transparency, and a whole host of other shenanigans are "legal" across the world now that Biden has engaged in them, denying any possibility of fraud and demonizing those who ask or audit.  That's the standard now, and Putin, in his country's recent parliamentary elections, has run with it.  It doesn't matter who votes; it matters who counts the votes, to paraphrase what Stalin reportedly said, bringing the matter curiously full circle. 

Most of these empowerment moves to Putin can be chalked up to Joe Biden's incompetence, Joe being a man who has been "wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades," as Bob Gates put it.  He's a mediocrity, a plagiarist, a bumbler, of diminished capacity now, and incompetence has been a way of life for him.

But there's also a pattern here and the pattern goes in just one direction: against America's interests and for Putin's.  Might that be a part of a plan?  Sure, it's a conspiracy theory to say so, but there are a hell of a lot of Soviet Union– and communist China–admirers in his administration, such as comptroller of the currency nominee Saule Omarova, who nakedly admires Soviet banking as superior to that of the U.S., and of course the Mao-admiring Anita Dunn, who's a power-couple with her husband, a Perkins Coie member affiliated with Biden campaign shenanigans.  Views like theirs are pretty extremist to the point of rarity, but Biden's somehow found these people and pulled them close to power. 

Stronger still, there's Hunter Biden's abandoned laptop, which contains evidence of a $3-million payment from a mayor of Moscow's widow, whose late husband was an ally of Putin's close enough that Putin spoke at his funeral.  Anybody ask any questions yet about what that $3-million payment was for?

The Biden family's Ukraine dealings are worth thinking about, too.  They have many angles, but suffice it to say many of the characters involved were Putin puppets and stooges with a lot of energy-linked cash in Ukraine, rather than independent and freedom-loving Ukrainians. 

There are a lot of unanswered questions as to whether this was by incompetence or design.

What is certain, though, is that Biden is the best friend Vladimir Putin ever had.  He's like a playground checkers player thrown out onto the pro chess field with an odor of corruption on the side, and for Putin, it's an easy match.

Image: Pixabay, Pixabay License.

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