Joe Biden’s Ukraine Policy: A Repeat of George W. Bush in Georgia?

by Sahar Sadiq

Author: Ted Galen
Affiliation: Cato Institute
Organization/Publisher: National Interest
Date/Place: April 5, 2021/USA
Type of Literature: Article
Word Count: 1020


Keywords: Ukraine, Russia, USA, NATO, Georgia, Biden, Great Power Competition
In this article, the author likens the Biden administration’s supportive attitude towards Ukraine as a
dangerous repeat of the Bush administration’s relationship with Georgia in the past. Biden and Ukrainian
President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke in a recent phone call, in which Biden expressed full support for
Ukrainian sovereignty which is being tested by Russia in Crimea and the Donbas region. This is
especially troubling considering the renewed tensions between Russia and Ukraine, with Russia
positioning more of its military along the border and its foreign minister warning of Ukraine’s end were it
to instigate anything in the Donbas region. Ukraine’s announcement to join training with NATO has been
met with threats of further Russian troop deployments. This is reminiscent of George W. Bush’s claims of
support for Georgia, leading the country to believe that NATO would back it in a confrontation with
Russia. This emboldened the then leader, Saakashvili, to launch a military offensive in the breakaway
region of South Ossetia which had been under Russian control since the 1990’s. His hopes were dashed
when Washington did not provide military support (for fear of angering a nuclear armed state) and it
led to Georgia having to relinquish control of South Ossetia and another region. The 2014 annexation of
Crimea by Russia in response to the US and EU campaign against the pro-Russian Ukrainian
government is further proof that the Kremlin will not tolerate Western allies breaching its security. This
could end in two ways: either a repeat of the Georgian debacle, or Washington decides to militarily
intervene which could be the beginning of a nuclear war.
By: Sahar Sadiq, CIGA Research Intern

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