All eyes on the Biden-Putin virtual meeting today. It looks like a major superpower confrontation.
But let me say one thing at the top. It is my great hope, speaking as an American who still believes politics should stop at the water's edge, that President Biden was absolutely resolute, tough, hard.
In a situation like this, following the debacle in Afghanistan, and a decline in American prestige worldwide, it is my hope that President Biden avoided concessions or compromises or diplomatic Jabberwocky. Because that kind of weakness will only embolden Putin.
So right now, no one knows exactly what went on in this virtual meeting. We heard from National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan. There was a brief readout of the video call from the White House. But details are lacking.
Permit me just to ask a few questions.
Why did this meeting take place at all? I learned from my former boss President Reagan that you don't hold high-level meetings like this until there's a clear purpose and action to implement that purpose.
Reagan didn't meet with the head of the Soviet Union until his second term, because he wasn't satisfied that proper conditions had already been set.
Seems to me warnings about tough economic sanctions, although a good idea, can be delivered by the Secretary of State, or the NSC advisor, or an Assistant Secretary of State for Russian Affairs.
Second, why is all the language with respect to US actions couched in the phrase "if" Putin invades Ukraine, the US might "push" Germany to sanction Nord Stream 2. "If" Putin invades Ukraine. The US will implement high-impact sanctions across economies and banking systems, "if" Putin invades Ukraine, the US will increase NATO and other resources, "if" Putin invades Ukraine.
Well, Putin is putting 175,000 troops on the eastern border of Ukraine, threatening an invasion, a coup d'etat, or a massacre of Ukrainians. Isn't that a war-like highly objectionable action on their part? Are we going to say something about that? Do something about it?
And by the way, doesn't Russia still own Crimea? Has anyone done anything about that? Is that part of this discussion?
And finally, as the late senator John McCain once said, "Russia is a gas station masquerading as a country." In terms of foreign and economic policy it may have been McCain's finest moment.
So, I would ask why is Biden favoring Putin's Russia instead of US oil and gas producers? Even before today's meeting, why hasn't the Biden administration backed the Senate amendment to restore sanctions on all aspects of Nord Stream 2?
That would have been a shot across the bow. That would have shown strength. That would have shown hard resolution.
So, I will end as always: save America, kill the bill. But today, I will add: save America, stop Putin.
This article is adapted from Larry Kudlow's opening commentary on the December 7, 2021 edition of "Kudlow."