Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin admitted in a House hearing Tuesday under questioning by a Republican lawmaker that one of the goals of the Biden administration was to dissuade Russian President Vladimir Putin from invading the ‘Ukraine.
During a House Armed Services Committee hearing, Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) asked if Austin shared the goal of Air Force European Command commander Gen. Tod Wolters — who recently testified before the committee — to dissuade Putin from invading, to which Austin responded
Well, I hope General Wolters shared my objectives, since I’m the Secretary of Defense. And my–my purposes was, first, to defend this nation; second, make sure we have done everything we can to unify and defend NATO if necessary. Third, to channel aid from the security forces to… to Ukraine. And then number four, managing the escalation.
Gallagher asked, “So the goal wasn’t to deter Putin from invading Ukraine?
Austin replied, “I just laid out what my goals were, and certainly -“, before Gallagher noted, “which didn’t include dissuading Putin from visiting Ukraine, unless I had him lack.”
Austin then admitted that it was not just a goal to deter Putin, but admitted that deterrence was likely to fail unless forces were deployed on the ground and the administration removed that deterrent. from the table from the start.
“Well, it was an objective of the government to deter Putin, but as General Milley described it, it’s very difficult to do unless you put forces on the ground, and that’s a decision that we took early in the effort here, that we’re not going to send forces into Ukraine to fight Russia,” Austin said.
Gallagher then pressed Austin on whether there was anything that could have been done to deter Putin.
Austin admitted that if the United States had sent troops to Ukraine, it might have deterred Putin, but the administration didn’t want to do that.
“As General Milley pointed out, if we send forces to Ukraine to fight Putin, that would be a different story. But we made the decision not to, and we made the decision for good reason. And I support those decisions,” he said.
President Joe Biden recently denied that the sanctions threat was meant to deter Putin, despite the fact that Biden and half a dozen Biden administration officials saqying sanctions were meant to do just that, as the reports Breitbart News.
Former top Trump administration official Nadia Schadlow, currently a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, explained in a recent interview that while not sending US troops to Ukraine may be the right political move, we don’t want to not advertise it to the adversary, as this diminishes the effectiveness of deterrence.
Explaining that deterrence requires an expression of will as well as ability, Schadlow said in a March 29 interview:
At the start of this crisis, the White House didn’t really state our will… That doesn’t mean that we were actually going to deploy troops to Ukraine. There is a difference. But saying all the time what we won’t do since December, saying, “We won’t do this, we won’t do that,” kind of undermines the value of deterrence.
December, January, February, constant declarations of what we would not do, which sends the wrong signal to Putin at this time.
She added: “Perhaps these are the right policies… but you don’t want to broadcast your thinking and your options to your adversaries, you want to create complexity for the adversary. You want to keep your options open.
Gallagher said in a statement to Breitbart News on Wednesday: “Yesterday’s hearing confirmed what I argued in the months leading up to the Russian invasion: only American hard power on the ground in Ukraine could deter Vladimir. Putin to launch his barbaric invasion”.
“After all, putting American hard power in the way of our adversaries dramatically increases the costs of escalation and makes our enemies think twice about aggression. Instead, the Biden administration took options off the table and relied on the threat of sanctions to deter Putin. The results were as predictable as they were tragic,” he said.
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