By Watanabe Hiroo
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Russian invasion of Ukraine was the focus of U.S. President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address on diplomacy and security. The world is facing the threat of multiple entities trying the change the status quo: China is preparing to invade Taiwan, North Korea is accelerating its missile launches, and Iran is trying to destabilize the Middle East. But the President mentioned neither the increased defense budget necessary to fight against the threats nor the posture of emphasizing the Indo-Pacific region. The address reveals the reality that the unexpected escalation of the Ukrainian crisis is forcing the U.S. to rethink its security strategies.
President Biden emphasized the enhanced sanctions against Russia aimed to isolate Russian President Vladimir Putin and the unity of the “West” in providing military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine. He also criticized Putin for not pursuing diplomatic solutions.
An online editorial by the Wall Street Journal, however, quoted the President as saying that “Putin misjudged. We were ready,” and then the editorial went on to attack Biden, saying, “Putin would not have invaded [Ukraine] if the U.S. had been ready.”
The sanctions cannot be immediately effective in stopping Putin from invading [Ukraine] when bombardment continues in the capital of Kyiv. [The West] has no choice but to support the resistance staged by Ukraine by providing it with weapons. The State of the Union address actually revealed the West’s dilemma.
It is imperative that U.S. extended deterrence be maintained and strengthened to protect U.S. allies against Russia’s nuclear intimidation, but President Biden did not show the resolve to do so.
He touched on economic competition with China, which the Biden administration described as the U.S.’s “sole rival.” But he did not refer to the prevention of an invasion of Taiwan. Last month, China clearly challenged the global order led by the U.S. in its joint statement with Russia. Moreover, North Korea has launched a number of missiles amid the Ukrainian crisis.
“Freedom will always triumph over tyranny,” declared President Biden. But the Ukrainian crisis has made it clear that dictators around the world will test the U.S.’s leadership and prey on its weaknesses. After the President’s speech, Republican Jim Risch, a leading figure in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, pointed out, “The administration is continuing to fail to compile comprehensive measures to address critical foreign policy challenges.”