TIPP: NSA jeopardizes national security!

By TIPPINSIGHTS EDITORIAL BOARD, TIPP Insights

In July, we noted how Jake Sullivan, President Biden’s National Security Adviser, had committed a $600 billion blunder by steadfastly committing America to a war in Ukraine where the definition of victory has evolved and is still unclear.

Now, the brash, uber-confident T.V. personality has declared that the United States would respond decisively to any Russian use of nuclear weapons against Ukraine and has spelled out to Moscow the “catastrophic consequences” it would face.

That a senior American official is making public threats of this nature on Sunday T.V. talk shows, on a sensitive matter as nuclear armageddon, is remarkable. Remember that the liberal media mocked President Trump as reckless, in 2018, for tweeting that his nuclear button is “much bigger” and “more powerful” than North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s.

President Biden has shown that he, too, is reckless when he issues threats, but the press never criticizes him. Twice already, the administration has had to walk back his comments about American support for Taiwan against China, although, on his appearance last Sunday on 60 Minutes, he crossed the line when interviewed by Scott Pelley of CBS News.

“But would U.S. forces defend the island?” Pelley asked.

“Yes, if, in fact, there was an unprecedented attack,” Mr. Biden said.

“So unlike Ukraine, to be clear, sir,” Pelley said, “U.S. forces, U.S. men and women would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion?”

“Yes,” the president said.

After the interview, a White House official said U.S. policy on Taiwan has not changed.

But Jake Sullivan’s threats are far more reckless for several reasons. The United States is all but at war against Russia. More than $60billion has already been pledged in weapons, training, and strategic military and tactical planning, with more help on the way. Rather than an idle Trump tweet that most of the world, other than late-night T.V. hosts, ignored, Sullivan is backing his threat with policy credentials as the American architect of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Besides, it is not clear how Sullivan can legally issue this threat. America is not defending itself against direct Russian action threatening the United States. Until Ukraine is a member of NATO, Article 5 protections related to the principle of collective defense cannot apply. Nor has America yet declared war against Russia, preferring to engage in a proxy battle with a nuclear power. No American blood or treasure is currently at risk. What gives Sullivan the authority to state American policy in such a dramatic and aggressive fashion? Catastrophic consequences, really?

International law is not clear on the issue of the referendums that Russia is holding in the occupied Ukrainian territories. Article 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states that “all peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right, they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.”

To Sullivan’s utter distaste, it appears that Russia has done its homework. The West is sure to cry foul that the referendum results are rigged, and the referendum itself is a sham because the region is at war. The West has argued that coercion in an occupied territory does not provide Article 1 protections of self-determination to the peoples of Ukraine’s Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia provinces, as well as part of Mykolaiv province.

Russia argues the opposite. At a news conference after addressing the U.N. General Assembly, Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, said that following the referendums, “Russia, of course, will respect the expression of the will of those people who for many long years have been suffering from the abuses of the neo-Nazi regime.”

So, who is right when the West and Russia disagree on the tenets of international law? The U.N. Security Council generally handles security disputes. But, as a permanent member, Russia wields veto power. And because of the reckless actions of Speaker Pelosi and President Biden’s statements on Taiwan, China, another permanent member, is likely to vote with Russia on the veto. China and Russia have never drawn this close since the Cold War.

On Thursday, former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev said that any weapons in Moscow’s arsenal, including strategic nuclear weapons, could be used to defend territories incorporated in Russia from Ukraine. Lavrov said the same thing. “Russian territory, including territory “further enshrined” in Russia’s constitution in the future, “is under the full protection of the state.”

Under Sullivan’s theory, if Ukrainian forces, using American weapons but not American soldiers, attack Donbas, and if Russia defends itself with tactical nuclear weapons, America will ensure that Russia would face “catastrophic consequences.” That’s right – Russia, with more nuclear weapons than America and a bruised political leader who is hopelessly cornered, will uniquely face such consequences, but no one else will suffer. This is utterly reckless speech.

Mr. President, is Jake Sullivan still fit for the job?

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