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Putin’s Failure Is Biden’s Opportunity
Russian President Vladimir Putin stands in a hall before a meeting with his Belarus counterpart at the Kremlin in Moscow on March 11, 2022. (Getty Images)
Russian President Vladimir Putin stands in a hall before a meeting with his Belarus counterpart at the Kremlin in Moscow on March 11, 2022. (Getty Images)

Putin’s Failure Is Biden’s Opportunity

Walter Russell Mead

Joe Biden, as I wrote earlier this week, has a genuine crisis on his hands. But thanks to Vladimir Putin’s historic blunder in Ukraine, Mr. Biden has something else: a once-in-a-decade opportunity to score a historic victory that reshapes the global playing field to America’s advantage. To capitalize on Mr. Putin’s blunder is the most important job Team Biden has.

This requires a psychological shift. Earlier in the crisis we heard of American and European diplomats offering Mr. Putin “off-ramps.” Some still seek compromise solutions that would allow Mr. Putin to save face. The time for such thinking may come again, but for now the objective should be clear. Mr. Putin must pay—and be seen to pay—such a heavy price for his miscalculation that leaders around the world will think twice before taking on the U.S. and its global alliance system.

Carl von Clausewitz noted long ago that a key to success is to pursue a retreating enemy. When an enemy is in retreat, it is possible to inflict the greatest damage on his forces, disorganized and disheartened.

Read in The Wall Street Journal

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