The United States has pursued a two-track approach in Ukraine. While NATO refrains from active intervention, it has escalated rhetorically, most notably with President Biden’s supposed gaffe that Russian President Vladimir Putin “cannot remain in power.” In turn, the White House has branded Putin a war criminal — and now génocidaire — with Biden also calling for a “war crimes trial,” by implication before the International Criminal Court, a body of which the United States is not a member.
However, the American and allied sanctions package, while damaging to the Russian economy, is ridden with loopholes that preserve Russian cash flows and at best will take years to undermine Putin’s regime.
The rhetorical and temporal disjunctions that characterize American policy have placed the U.S. and the Atlantic Alliance in a parlous situation, leaning on hesitant armed assistance to face down a hostile dictator.
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