Nabil Amr
Palestinian writer and politician

Biden Or Putin? Who is Responsible for the War in Ukraine?

In debate halls, salons, forums, and even decision-making centers, several questions are being posed without a decisive answer emerging. Who is responsible for this war? Who is perpetuating it, and who can help the world overcome it?

Is it Putin who launched a military invasion starting with the north of Ukraine, justifying his actions with what some saw as legitimate grievances and others believed were insufficient cause for war? Or is it Biden, who had not hidden his direct and strong role in this war, starting with his statements warning about it before it began and on to the present, as the US continues to provide everything the Ukrainians need to drain the Russians, even if that means destroying Ukraine and destabilizing Europe?

Putin is responsible for his retaliation to the US, a conclusion shared by almost all analysts, regardless of their affiliations and biases. Many, if not all of them, believe that the Russian President has been lured into a trap after having miscalculated the Ukrainian and global reactions to his decision. He is thus faced with a long war and modest accomplishments on the ground.

If President Putin and his team got the wrong impression because of the reaction to the invasion of Crimea, the crucial issue they disregarded is that the world was very different then.

The Russians find themselves in a possession in which it is difficult to either progress and achieve decisive results on the ground or to recalibrate the aims that had been set at the beginning. The former option is extremely dangerous for the country, and the latter would constitute a defeat that Putin would be held accountable for.

On the opposite corner, US President Joe Biden set the stage for a bloody and destructive spectacle draining the entire globe, behaving as if the war in Ukraine and the lavish funds allocated to the torn and devastated country were necessary for retrieving US influence- which is declining everywhere. He believed that this was part and parcel of managing all the hot and cold wars on the hapless European continent to maintain its loyalty to the US, regardless of the costs of the whims and conquests of Washington.

I wish the matter had ended here. Instead, we see Biden militarize the world in an unprecedented manner. An “Asian NATO,” for example, is not the stuff of paranoid delusions, as the Taiwan question has been turned into a global conflict against China. Taiwan is China’s nagging itch, the Asian Ukraine, so to speak!

It would not be an overstatement to say that Biden, who presented himself as rational and nimble during the elections, has stunned the world; his pledges on the campaign trail were not disregarded once he reached the White House.

When the contest was at its height, and the Democrats were carefully monitoring their opponent, Trump, looking through every move he made, they even promised to do everything, domestically and abroad, the other way around.

On the trail, candidate Joe Biden scored high. He called for a reasonable balance with Europe, which had been deeply unsettled by his rival Trump, showed relative moderation regarding the Palestinian-Israeli conflict after Trump’s Deal of the Century, and he was keen on restoring domestic stability at home after the brutal contest between Democrats and Republicans, which culminated in an armed incursion on Congress.

The positive image Biden and his Democratic Party presented during the electoral campaign were disregarded less than two years into his term. It began with the submarine crisis with France, though this was part of comprehensive relations with Europe. He then dragged Europe by the hand and forced it to join the war that the US is managing in Ukraine through remote control. He then took the fight to China’s borders, dragging Japan, as it had done to Europe, into a battle it did not want and simply saw no interest in waging. Nonetheless, it has no choice but to join the American game simply.

Where will the Russian snowball in Ukraine end up? And where will Biden’s policy of militarizing countries lead us? And till when will the careful Chinese player grab all these contradictions by hand as the significant investments remain in the US and the West, and the historical conflict remains on the shores of China and Taiwan?

These three players control the fate of all nations. They are moving away from the sorts of concessions we have become used to using and approaching a hot war. This time, it could end being fought directly rather than through proxies.