Biden visit fails to calm nerves in eastern Europe

posted at 9:21 am on March 19, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

With the Russian bear on the prowl, stalking the frontiers of eastern Europe, the anxiety felt by those who lived for decades under Kremlin oppression comes as no surprise. Neither does their gaze westward toward NATO and the US, which is why Vice President Joe Biden flew to Poland and Lithuania this week to reassure our allies on and near Russia’s borders — wherever those might be now — that we intend to stand firm in our alliance with them to defend their territorial integrity and sovereignty. However, the Washington Post reports that these allies are just as anxious at the end of Biden’s visit as they were when he arrived, having heard nothing of substance from the US during the visit:

As Ilves, a Swedish-born, American-educated former academic, noted in his appearance with Biden Russia’s intervention is “forcing us to reassess the assumptions of the past 20, 25 years.”

“The old idea of NATO, which I remember from 20 years ago, out of the area or out of business, predicated on a Europe that no longer has any threats – that, unfortunately, has turned out, with the actions we’ve seen against Ukraine, to no longer to apply,” he said. “The East-West relationship needs to be put on a new standing.” …

But in many ways, the visit itself was the message. Even Grybauskaite used the term “symbolic” to describe it before meeting with the vice president.

Beyond spine-stiffening pep talks – and some aspirational discussions about weaning Eastern Europe from Russian natural gas – Biden pledged very little of substance during the trip.

The US does not appear to have much urgency in communicating urgency except through speeches. With Russia fomenting unrest among ethnic Russians in Ukraine as a pretext for military action and with large ethnic-Russian enclaves in some frontier nations, eastern Europe wants to see a display of toughness from the West. Instead, it got some double-talk about defense:

[Biden] highlighted recent U.S. military contributions to Poland’s defense, a dozen U.S. F-16 fighter aircraft. The administration also has increased by 10 aircraft its contribution to the Baltic air policing program, another step Biden noted.

But those planes will leave with the United States as early as next month when it rotates out as the NATO partner to the Baltic nations for the air policing effort. Poland will replace the United States in that role, casting doubt on whether the increased air patrol will continue beyond then.

Biden’s team didn’t offer any sense of understanding their urgency:

The senior administration official traveling with Biden, who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe the meetings, said there is an assumption that once the United States rotates out of the program “an equal number of planes from allies will rotate in.”

An “assumption”? Er, shouldn’t this be something we confirm? That’s not a show of strength, or even business as usual. Poland, which has suffered for centuries under Russian domination, wants to feel reassured that the US takes its security concerns seriously, and the US in response can only offer an assumption that the additional strength added to air defenses might remain in place. The “senior administration official” promised to take “a close look at making sure that that number stays elevated” only after being probed on the specifics.

No one expected much out of Biden’s visit to our eastern European allies, but this grudging effort falls short of even lowered expectations. If we want our allies to remain confident in our ability to provide for their common defense, we have to act like we care about it in the first place. Not only does this make the entire visit look like a sham, it projects an air of unseriousness about American military preparations that is very dangerous in this crisis. We’re not going to go to war over Crimea, but we should at least project a readiness to act in coordinated defense of NATO partners, rather than shrug off any responsibility for our part in coordinating strategic levels of assets in the region.

No wonder our allies feel just as anxious now as they did before Biden arrived. Perhaps they should feel even more anxious. Smart power, indeed.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2

Biden visit fails to calm gets on everyone’s nerves in eastern Europe …

Pork-Chop on March 19, 2014 at 11:37 AM

This is the best post on this topic, from yesterday.

Biden arrives in Poland

Steps off the plane: “Its great to be in Norway!!”

tommer74 on March 18, 2014 at 3:10 PM

ToddPA on March 19, 2014 at 11:38 AM

Will he go to Alaska to provide reassurance there? It used to belong to Russia and Russian politicians have said they should reclaim it before. Besides, it is a politically incorrect red state that produces lots of climate changing hydrocarbon fuels– not something highly prized by the left.

KW64 on March 19, 2014 at 11:40 AM

I’d get a lot more nervous if Slo Joe said he’s got my back….

dentarthurdent on March 19, 2014 at 11:44 AM

Russian politicians have said they should reclaim it before.

And Alaskans aren’t signing up for Obamacare! Very politically incorrect. When Alaskans look south to the Blue states they can practically hear the Progs growling.

KW64 on March 19, 2014 at 11:44 AM

So much for NATO.

It would have been nice if Obama had told them that before the Russian bear showed up at their doorstep.

PattyJ on March 19, 2014 at 11:47 AM

Zero and BiteMe emboldening adversaries- check.
Zero and BiteMe not reassuring NATO allies- check.
Plan’s working out good so far. Smart power, indeed. Ugh.

Royal Fizzbin on March 19, 2014 at 11:53 AM

Soon the crazy midget will go to Alaska, to secure them from LilliPutin.

Schadenfreude on March 19, 2014 at 11:58 AM

Talk is the only coin of the Obama realm that exists. Putin, among other toughs know this.

Techster64 on March 19, 2014 at 11:59 AM

Plan’s working out good so far. Smart power, indeed. Ugh.

Royal Fizzbin on March 19, 2014 at 11:53 AM

Workin’ out good for some. It all depends on which side all that Smart Power(tm) is on and what its overall goal is.

It sure isn’t smart our side, or our Republic’s allies.

That’s for sure.

hawkeye54 on March 19, 2014 at 12:00 PM

I don’t know whether to feel sorry for this old fool, or by angry at him for being such a pompous azz.

avagreen on March 19, 2014 at 12:00 PM

He’s so unaware that he is…….unaware.

avagreen on March 19, 2014 at 12:02 PM

Fixed link…

‘Toons of the Day: Bellow Like A Banshee And Carry A Nerf Gun

Resist We Much on March 19, 2014 at 12:00 PM

Meh, Putin stole that roll from Bammy.

hawkeye54 on March 19, 2014 at 12:02 PM

Secret trip

Schadenfreude on March 19, 2014 at 12:04 PM

There is only small consolation in the fact that the Left, their Media propagandists and the Ignoranti of this country are living in the very house that they are burning to the ground. Three more years to suffer these craven fools

justltl on March 19, 2014 at 12:05 PM

I don’t know whether to feel sorry for this old fool, or by angry at him for being such a pompous azz.

avagreen on March 19, 2014 at 12:00 PM

Shed no tears for Biden. He gladly plays the fool publicly, but in private he’s a conniving arm-twisting crook. Be angry.

hawkeye54 on March 19, 2014 at 12:05 PM

Only three years is with the assumption that Hillary will drink herself to death between now and the election.

justltl on March 19, 2014 at 12:07 PM

Resist We Much on March 19, 2014 at 12:00 PM

My gosh, just two comments above I typed about Biden assuring Alaska, then you post a caricature about the same.

Schadenfreude on March 19, 2014 at 12:07 PM

Meh, Putin stole that roll from Bammy.

hawkeye54 on March 19, 2014 at 12:02 PM

I bet LilliPutin loves the US more than the lilliputian preezie.

Schadenfreude on March 19, 2014 at 12:10 PM

…”Having heard nothing of substance”

Precisely what we’ve been dealing with from this incompetent Administration since 2008.

As John McClain would say, “Welcome To The Party Pal”

Pelosi Schmelosi on March 19, 2014 at 12:11 PM

…”Having heard nothing of substance

Pelosi Schmelosi on March 19, 2014 at 12:11 PM

Ask her sometimes how she made it in politics.

Schadenfreude on March 19, 2014 at 12:12 PM

Who would have thought that the greatest nation in history would be brought down by an insignificant little Indonesian turd born and bred to be a hate-filled, racist communist?

justltl on March 19, 2014 at 12:14 PM

Although historically, that’s the way such things usually happen- reference the rise and consequences of the little corporal from Austria.

justltl on March 19, 2014 at 12:19 PM

The fool that keeps on giving

Schadenfreude on March 19, 2014 at 12:20 PM

I think the feeling among new NATO members is roughly that of older border members such as Norway and Turkey during the waning days of the Carter administration when the USSR invaded Afghanistan.

While there is little doubt of the support if Article 5 is invoked, the tepid US response to Russian aggression outside of NATO is alarming.

We need a US president who calls Putin’s Russia for what it really is. Evil Empire 2.0
No more “reset buttons”, appeasement or vague sanctions.

Norwegian on March 19, 2014 at 12:21 PM

The fact that King Putt after losing to Putin at EVERY encounter is sending Joke Biden to assuage the Poles, Estonians, et al, has the rest of Europe both rolling their eyes and wetting their pants.

Missilengr on March 19, 2014 at 12:23 PM

Vice President Biden misspoke on Tuesday, claiming he had led the fight for Poland to join NATO when he served as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Biden, whose tendancy toward gaffes is well known, served as chairman from 2001 to 2003; Poland joined NATO in 1999.

“Fifteen years ago, I was honored, as the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, to lead the fight for Poland’s admission into NATO,” Biden said in Warsaw, Poland

Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/global-affairs/middle-east-north-africa/201100-biden-misspeaks-about-chairmanship-and-nato#ixzz2wQVMCbu4
Follow us: @thehill on Twitter | TheHill on Facebook

Kapos on March 19, 2014 at 12:23 PM

The Kerry comedy failed…not to the Biden one…

Schadenfreude on March 19, 2014 at 12:31 PM

I bet LilliPutin loves the US more than the lilliputian preezie.

Schadenfreude on March 19, 2014 at 12:10 PM

Could be….Putin certainly respected it as it once was more than Bammy ever did or could.

hawkeye54 on March 19, 2014 at 12:35 PM

The Kerry comedy failed…not now to the Biden one…

Schadenfreude on March 19, 2014 at 12:38 PM

Although historically, that’s the way such things usually happen- reference the rise and consequences of the little corporal from Austria.

justltl on March 19, 2014 at 12:19 PM

Russia wants its great empire back, and no threat short of going to war, its going to proceed to achieve that goal, I believe.

hawkeye54 on March 19, 2014 at 12:38 PM

The Kerry comedy failed…not now to the Biden one…

Schadenfreude on March 19, 2014 at 12:38 PM

The Three Stooges could have done better. The REAL Three Stooges, I mean.

hawkeye54 on March 19, 2014 at 12:39 PM

Vice President Biden misspoke on Tuesday, claiming he had led the fight for Poland to join NATO when he served as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Kapos on March 19, 2014 at 12:23 PM

And John Kerry promptly announced – “I remember well, driving my gun boat up the Danube River on Christmas Eve to help Poland fight off the Nazis….”

dentarthurdent on March 19, 2014 at 12:41 PM

Just another instance of spitelful, small-minded O’Butthead thumbing his nose at the rest of Western civilization.

Someone said that Biden was conniving. I think he’s just plain stupid and nothing else.

MisterElephant on March 19, 2014 at 12:42 PM

From the BBC:

16:35: “The government will take adequate steps unless all provocations against Ukrainian servicemen end, and Admiral Hayduk and other hostages – both military and civilian – are freed by 21:00 (19:00 GMT),” the Ukrainian president has warned.

Kaffa on March 19, 2014 at 12:46 PM

Vlad and the KGBuds have Barry’s Birth certificate and School Transcripts. There is not a thing he can do but be “more flexible after the election”. Playa, Got Played. He is Impotent in office.

Innercat on March 19, 2014 at 1:00 PM

which is why Vice President Joe Biden flew to Poland and Lithuania this week to reassure our allies on and near Russia’s borders — wherever those might be now

I like the snark – but unfortunately, and sadly, this may become true.

Michh on March 19, 2014 at 1:14 PM

Sending Biden over there reminds me of the movie Braveheart – when Long Shanks needed to send a messenger to negotiate after the sacking of York, he looked at his feeble son and said, “I can’t send him, the site of him alone would encourage the Scottish to invade England”.

Michh on March 19, 2014 at 1:21 PM

“I can’t send him, the site of him alone would encourage the Scottish to invade England”.

Well put. +100.

Unfortunately, we have Edward II, or his equivalent running the country at present.
All he’s going to send are going to be buffoons like Lurch, or Crazy Uncle Joe. Hardly likely to reduce the anxiety of our allies in Eastern Europe, who know full well that this Administration will run like little girls before Viking invaders, if Russia decides to ‘liberate’ the former Eastern bloc from its current representative democratic tyranny.

To such depths, has our nation fallen.

orangemtl on March 19, 2014 at 1:26 PM

Soon the crazy midget will go to Alaska, to secure them from LilliPutin.

Schadenfreude on March 19, 2014 at 11:58 AM

Are there Russian nationals in Alaska? All the Alaskan natives were Russian at one time.

slickwillie2001 on March 19, 2014 at 1:36 PM

I seem to recall huge crowds in Europe and all the chattering classes there supporting Obama in 2008. They deserve whatever Russian decides to do to them.

Over50 on March 19, 2014 at 9:39 AM

You may need to work on your memory–That was the western socialists. While Germany was celebrating a 2nd coming of a socialist hero at Brandenburg Gate, Poland was erecting statues of Ronald Reagan.

Browndog on March 19, 2014 at 10:27 AM

Also in response to Platypus and Cliff by the Ford:

In a very short search, I did not find the 2008 data, but here’s the 2012 data showing 34% support in Poland for Obama v. 16% support for Romney. (Granted it’s a BBC poll, so probably slanted, still.)http://globescan.com/images/images/pressreleases/bbc2012_obama/GlobeScan-BBC_US-Election-Poll_Oct2012.pdf

I stand by my original statement – Europe deserves whatever Putin decides to do with them.

Over50 on March 19, 2014 at 1:36 PM

Vlad and the KGBuds have Barry’s Birth certificate and School Transcripts. There is not a thing he can do but be “more flexible after the election”. Playa, Got Played. He is Impotent in office.

Innercat on March 19, 2014 at 1:00 PM

I’d love to see Putin publish that stuff – just to return the favor to our Prankster-in-Chief.
I’ll bet we’d get some good laughs out of those..

dentarthurdent on March 19, 2014 at 1:41 PM

Ms Obama is on a mission to obtain a safe haven when the treason trial is about to start. She will have him set for house arrest in China an she will get to be the ambassordor of China to the U.S. at the U.N..

Done deal.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on March 19, 2014 at 1:44 PM

The only problem she will have is getting his basket balling buddy a free ride like current.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on March 19, 2014 at 1:46 PM

Vlad and the KGBuds have Barry’s Birth certificate and School Transcripts. There is not a thing he can do but be “more flexible after the election”. Playa, Got Played. He is Impotent in office.

Innercat on March 19, 2014 at 1:00 PM

I’d love to see Putin publish that stuff – just to return the favor to our Prankster-in-Chief.
I’ll bet we’d get some good laughs out of those..

dentarthurdent on March 19, 2014 at 1:41 PM

Flashback: Wikileaks: Obama secretly took Russian money for his campaign

Has Pooty called in some debts?

slickwillie2001 on March 19, 2014 at 1:53 PM

We need a US president who calls Putin’s Russia for what it really is. Evil Empire 2.0
No more “reset buttons”, appeasement or vague sanctions.

Norwegian on March 19, 2014 at 12:21 PM

You might have to wait for POTUS 45 for that to happen….and even then I wouldn’t hold my breath, if it’s a certain lady who is the architect of the ‘reset button’ with Russia :)…

jimver on March 19, 2014 at 2:33 PM

How much of a complete pathetic loser does Obama have to be to send Biden anywhere to “reassure allies”?

Biden has been on the wrong side of every major foreign policy question of the last 35 years. He was for the pro-Soviet “Nuclear Freeze” movement, for crying out loud. It’s an outrage a traitor like him would be elected Senator, much less VP, but do we have to compound our embarrassment and disgrace by parading this jackasp around the world?

Adjoran on March 19, 2014 at 3:00 PM

I don’t see how a visit from Biden could fail to reassure our allies. After all, he’s the guy who negotiated the status of forces agreement with Iraq.

And he was in charge of the proper disbursement of TARP funds, and clearly, not one single red cent of error was found in the release of 40 billion dollars. It had to be that everyone was afraid of ‘Ol Sheriff Joe, not possible that he just wasn’t looking very hard…

West on March 19, 2014 at 3:57 PM

I don’t see how a visit from Biden could fail to reassure our allies. After all, he’s the guy who negotiated the status of forces agreement with Iraq.

And he was in charge of the proper disbursement of TARP funds, and clearly, not one single red cent of error was found in the release of 40 billion dollars. It had to be that everyone was afraid of ‘Ol Sheriff Joe, not possible that he just wasn’t looking very hard…

West on March 19, 2014 at 3:57 PM

Can you imagine what Barry and the gals say about Joke Biden when he’s not around?

slickwillie2001 on March 19, 2014 at 4:06 PM

Flashback: Wikileaks: Obama secretly took Russian money for his campaign
Has Pooty called in some debts?

slickwillie2001 on March 19, 2014 at 1:53 PM

I’d say that’s a good possibility – considering what Putin is doing, and how King Putt is responding.
Looks like Putin is getting his money’s worth.

dentarthurdent on March 19, 2014 at 4:08 PM

Flashback: Wikileaks: Obama secretly took Russian money for his campaign
Has Pooty called in some debts?

slickwillie2001 on March 19, 2014 at 1:53 PM

I’d say that’s a good possibility – considering what Putin is doing, and how King Putt is responding.
Looks like Putin is getting his money’s worth.

dentarthurdent on March 19, 2014 at 4:08 PM

Ah, so THIS is what “Flexibility” looks like!

West on March 19, 2014 at 4:24 PM

Ah, so THIS is what “Flexibility” looks like!
West on March 19, 2014 at 4:24 PM

Bingo!!!

dentarthurdent on March 19, 2014 at 5:40 PM

This post really has nothing of substance…but…neither does Biden.

The guy’s just a total dipshit, period.

Wow. …just…wow.

This administration absolutely smacks of the original SNL sketch with Dan Aykroyd as ‘Leonard Pynth Garnell’ hosting “Bad Ballet”.

…”Appaulingly bad”

a5minmajor on March 19, 2014 at 7:51 PM

I stand by my original statement – Europe deserves whatever Putin decides to do with them.
Over50 on March 19, 2014 at 1:36 PM

Point taken, Over50, thanks for the info. But that still leaves 60 plus percent of Poles as non Obama fans. And it is a beeb poll. So probably closer to 70. We had a much higher approval rating for him here, so we are getting what we deserve obviously.

Cliff by the Ford on March 19, 2014 at 8:42 PM

Barky told Plugs to remind the Ukies that this is all their fault. Thinkin’ they’re exceptional, tryin’ to be their own country and gettin’ all uppity.
Barky got enuff trouble dealin’ with that here./

AppraisHer on March 19, 2014 at 9:24 PM

My goodness, children! The rubber hits the road paved by Obama and you expect major horsepower from Joe Biden of the pearly whites?

The wages of clownish weakness are real–so very real.

Some mean chickens come home to roost.

Meanwhile dem brackets!

Have fun in China, Moochelle!

Oh the optics of it all!

Sherman1864 on March 20, 2014 at 7:51 AM

Biden visit fails to calm nerves in eastern Europe

It was to be expected. Obama sent them Bozo the Clown who proceeded to put one of his clown feet in his mouth, like usual.

So embarrassing to be an American these days……

TerriHaute on March 20, 2014 at 7:59 AM

Calm Europe?

The guy who onced asked his wheel-chair-bound friend to stand up and take a bow, just showed up to tell Europe the U.S. has everything in control.

This is after Kerry issued the administrations laetst ‘Red Line’ and vowed extremely stern and d@mning consequences if Putin did not pull out of Crimea…which consisted on ‘Sancitoning’ 11 INDIVIDUALS, most of which have NO banks/money, property, or interests outside of Russia.

This is AFTER Putin and those Obama ‘sanctioned’ publicly MOCKED and LAUGHED at Obama. This is WHILE Obama is holding a video film screening/showing to celebrate Hugo Chavez and while he fills out his NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Bracket.

All I have to say is God Bless Germany’s Merkel for being the only world leader who has shown any REAL strength and backbone so far.

easyt65 on March 20, 2014 at 10:17 AM

…and it did not help Biden’s credibility by FALSELY trying to take credit for gettnig Poland into NATO…and getting busted for it almost immediately! (Biden: D@mn that ‘Google’!)

easyt65 on March 20, 2014 at 10:19 AM

Hmmm……let’s see……Obama has thrown all our allies under the bus, and now he sends the moron, Biden, to calm nerves in Eastern Europe. Hmmmm……….wonder why this isn’t working.

kjatexas on March 20, 2014 at 4:36 PM

On one hand I’m glad to see the euroweenies trembling in their designer boots. For far too long they have relied on the US military (and US taxpayer) to defend them while they live the socialist dream and spend .00003% annually on defense.

Yet, this is truly a dangerous situation. Another major land war in Europe, tank battles, the whole works -gulp. The big scariest question is would Obama keep to our commitment as per NATO agreement to come to the defense of another member if attacked? Would he – really?

mike3121 on March 20, 2014 at 7:09 PM

I want y’all to picture something. Suppose the #2 elected official in Russia made a trip to Toronto and Mexico City. Suppose further he said in public speeches, “I understand how worried y’all are that the United States might invade y’all again, as it did in the past, so I am here to assure you that Russia is on your side.” I’m betting y’all would be pretty ticked off and consider that high-handed meddling.

So yesterday the US Vice President Joe I-Had-A-Hair-Transplant Biden went to Poland, Lithuania, and Estonia and said all this, but aimed at Russia. Look at it from both directions: if you were the Russians, how would you take that? If you were the Poles, Lithuanians, & Estonians, how much would you trust it? And if it would be high-handed meddling if the Russians did it, why is it not high-handed meddling when formerly bald Joe Biden does it?

Only a nacheral born durned fool would ask questions like this. -Franklin Sanders

Akzed on March 20, 2014 at 11:13 PM

Comment pages: 1 2