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On Russia, Joe Biden’s mouth is writing checks the US can’t afford to cash

By Scott Ritter | RT | September 18, 2020

Joe Biden’s tough rhetoric on Russia, fueled by politically motivated FBI testimony alleging continued Russian electoral interference, may play well to his base. But if US allies act on it, it could mean war.

Joe Biden talks a good show. “I believe Russia is an opponent, I really do,” he said at a CNN town hall Thursday night. Biden’s statement was in response to a question from the moderator, Anderson Cooper, as to whether Biden viewed Russia as “an enemy.”

In the world of politicized semantics as used by Joe Biden, the difference between an “opponent” (someone who competes against or fights another; a rival or adversary) and an “enemy” (a person who is actively opposed or hostile to someone or something) knows no differentiation between mens rea (the intention or knowledge of wrongdoing), as opposed actus reus (the actual action or conduct). Both are elements of a crime and, according to Biden, Russia’s actions violate both principles.

“Putin’s overwhelming objective is to break up NATO,” Biden told the made-for-television audience, “to fundamentally alter the circumstance in Europe so he doesn’t have to face an entire NATO contingent.”

Mens Rea.

Biden also called Russia’s alleged election meddling, which FBI Director Christopher Wray recently testified before Congress was “ongoing,” as a “violation of our sovereignty.”

Actus Reus.

The problem here is that while Biden seeks to soften his hardline stance on Russia by using the lesser descriptor “opponent,” the actions he is accusing Russia and its leader, President Vladimir Putin, of committing are de facto elements of a crime, meaning that to anyone listening to Biden’s words, Russia is transformed into an “enemy.”

“Opponents” engage in genteel debates; “enemies” seek to undermine your security and destroy your democracy.

Biden can play fast and loose with words, but at the end of the day, words have meaning, and the picture painted by Biden in his town hall meeting is of a Russian threat to America, and a Russian threat to him personally. “There will be a price to pay,” Biden said of Russia’s actions. “And Putin knows – the reason he doesn’t want me as president, he knows me, and he knows I mean it.”

The personalization of actions which, if true, could be construed as constituting an attack on the United States, is itself disturbing, since it links the political fate of Biden to America’s willingness to stand idle in the face of such perfidy.

Biden is not alone in making such claims. FBI Director Wray appeared to be channeling the Democratic nominee when he told Congress that Russia’s interference in the 2020 presidential race relies heavily on disinformation and agitation designed to make some Americans so angry they support a preferred candidate (Trump) and others so angry and disaffected they don’t vote for another (Biden).

Biden and Wray are both playing to a domestic American audience, and both for political reasons. Biden’s motives are that of a seasoned politician seeking to exploit a predisposition amongst a certain element of the American electorate to accept at face value anything negative said about Russia and/or its president.

Christopher Wray’s motives are more complicated, rooted as they are in the need to restore the FBI’s reputation in the aftermath of the Mueller Report fiasco, the Christopher Steele disaster, and the FISA warrant scandal. By reasserting as fact allegations of Russian political interference in the 2020 presidential election, and claiming ongoing Russian “active measures” in the form of unspecified “disinformation”, Wray seeks to soften the blow of FBI incompetence and malfeasance by resurrecting the Russian threat in a manner designed to make Americans believe that the FBI’s past errors were at least made in good faith while confronting a real enemy… or opponent.

The danger here is not that the United States under a Biden administration would do anything precipitous when it came to dealing with Russia. As Biden himself stated, he knows Russia, and he knows President Putin, and as such he knows the reality of the limits to which Russia can be pushed. Russia is not some petulant child to be punished haphazardly, but a grown man capable of giving as good, or better, than it takes. Joe knows.

But others are listening to the rhetoric who might be fooled into believing that there is substance behind the bluster. Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine, and Georgia – all of these lesser powers today play an oversized role in shaping the US-Russian dynamic, whether by anointing a “true president” in Belarus, dragging their feet on peace in the Donbas, or reigniting the dream of NATO membership by playing host to US forces in large scale military exercises designed to mimic a NATO-like reality.

All it would take in the early weeks and months of a future Biden administration would be for one of these lesser powers to overplay their hand, transitioning the rhetoric of “opposition” into the reality of “war” by pushing Russia too hard. Then Joe Biden would be left holding the bag, having talked the talk, and now being called upon to walk the walk.

But the reality is, Joe Biden’s mouth is writing checks the United States can ill afford to cash. “I don’t mean war,” he told the town hall when talking about how he would respond to alleged Russian perfidy. “But they’ll pay a price… There’ll be an economic price.”

Not if Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine and Georgia can help it.

Scott Ritter is a former US Marine Corps intelligence officer and author of ‘SCORPION KING: America’s Suicidal Embrace of Nuclear Weapons from FDR to Trump.’ He served in the Soviet Union as an inspector implementing the INF Treaty, in General Schwarzkopf’s staff during the Gulf War, and from 1991-1998 as a UN weapons inspector. Follow him on Twitter @RealScottRitter

September 19, 2020 - Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , ,

3 Comments »

  1. Excellent, ominously-oriented reportorial work by Scott Ritter. Biden’s bidin’ his time, content to do the biddin’ of his masters in the
    Zionist and ultra-monied (Jewish billionaires) sectors of the once-independent USA that hews wood and carries the water of militant/political Zionism regardless of duopoly affiliation. I won’t vote for him and his ilk — cum-e.g., the Jewess Harris goosed by Killlary.

    I cannot agree with “The danger here is not that the United States under a Biden administration would do anything precipitous when it came to dealing with Russia.” I was, in January 2017 and remain, convinced that Killary would have have had us at war with Russia within 60 days of a Dem election. Yep: Biden’s bidin’ his time, eager to please even on a four-year-delayed time line. (And besides, he’s got to prove his manhood, denying by tough, teleprompter-fed rhetoric and action his dementia dilemma. His handlers are more than pleased to please….)

    A US Department of Peace, anyone? Not on Biden’s — or Trump’s, for that matter — watch. There’s no “there” — manhood, you know — there.

    Like

    Comment by roberthstiver | September 19, 2020 | Reply

  2. I sure respect Scott Ritter’s analysis on foreign matters. And again, wish his message could get to Trump.
    Also, why are there just 3 of us who ever comment on this site? Makes me wonder. Hi Robert.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by klmayes | September 19, 2020 | Reply

    • Hi in return! Yes, I’m always disappointed that there’s not a much more and vibrant discourse in this Comment space. I’d welcome pro as well as con — my ignorance or mis-analysis is always near at hand. I admit that I often use hyperbole in the hope of eliciting more of the same or outraged riposte. Let’s keep on trying’. Cheers!

      Like

      Comment by roberthstiver | September 20, 2020 | Reply


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