By Hal Brown
There was a commercial on MSNBC so when I sat down this morning with my cup of coffee I clicked on HUFFPOST to see what their lead story was.
I want to share the third thing I thought about when I read the following:
This was the main page of the BBC website:
I read these articles before I saw the news on MSNBC:
President Trump repeatedly involved Vice President Pence in efforts to exert pressure on the leader of Ukraine at a time when the president was using other channels to solicit information that he hoped would be damaging to a Democratic rival, current and former U.S. officials said.
Trump instructed Pence not to attend the inauguration of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in May — an event White House officials had pushed to put on the vice president’s calendar — when Ukraine’s new leader was seeking recognition and support from Washington, the officials said.
The last president to visit a war zone was George W. Bush who visited Iraq in 2003. This was probably a high point in his dismal presidency (see last paragraph here). Biden joins Bush, Lincoln, FDR, Eisenhower, and LBJ on the list of presidents who have visited war zones.
The logistics of the trip are now being reported including the fact the Russia was notified about it in advance:
The trip that Biden made into Kyiv was “bold” and “risky,” and done after months of planning for a range of security concerns, according to several White House officials.
The logistics were coordinated with a range of different government agencies, which included threat assessments to determine if Biden could safely enter and exit the war-torn country. It was made more challenging, officials said, because there is no U.S. military presence in Ukraine.
“This was a historic visit unprecedented in modern times to have the president of the United States visit the capital of a country at war where the us military doesn’t control the critical infrastructure,” said Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser.
There's a video here of an air raid siren going off as Biden and Zelensky visit the historic St. Micahel's Cathedral. I don't think anything in presidential history compares with this.
Watching the President of the United States walk down the line of Ukrainian officials and shake hands with each of them was inspiring enough but then this happened with one of them:
Update: I wasn't the only one to think along these lines. This is from David Rothkopf.
In sending this message, Biden pointedly evoked without mentioning his name yet another American president in a visit to the Eastern edges of Europe: Donald Trump during his 2018 Helsinki meeting with President Vladimir Putin. Biden went to Europe to send Putin a message of American and allied strength. Trump went to grovel before Putin. Biden stood up for American values and our allies. Trump said he trusted Putin more than America’s own intelligence and law enforcement services. Biden embodied America’s strength. Trump illustrated and represented our greatest weakness.
A year after Trump embarrassed the country in Helsinki, he compounded the offense by withholding aid from Ukraine in an attempt to extort Zelensky into doing political dirty work against Biden to help Trump’s reelection efforts. It was an illegal act that ultimately led to Trump’s first impeachment. At the same time and throughout the following year according to reports from Trump’s own top advisors, he was actively advocating to withdraw American troops from Europe.
There is no doubt that had Trump been re-elected, today we would be witnessing an American president standing alongside his Russian counterpart not Zelensky, marking the weakening of the West, not its enduring strength. Perhaps that prospect, the sense that America was weak and divided and did not care about Ukraine, would not lead the fight to preserve democracy, encouraged Putin to undertake his ill-fated, hugely costly, profoundly ill-considered invasion last February. It seems likely it had an effect leading to that disastrous miscalculation.
From Fox Business:
'Bold move': Fox Business host gushes over Biden's 'game-changer' Ukraine visit
Fox Business host Stuart Varney praised President Joe Biden on Monday for a surprise visit to the war zone in Ukraine.
Varney reacted on his Fox Business program just hours after Biden visited Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv.
"This could be a game-changer," Varney announced. "President Biden makes a surprise visit to Ukraine. It was a very well-kept secret. He took a train from the Polish border to Kyiv. And even as air raid sirens were sounding, he was meeting with President Zelensky. And then, walking the streets in a war zone! Highly symbolic."
Unrelated to the visit per se I noted that story was headline news on major media websites like The New York Times ...