Last evening, we had former Russia chess grandmaster and human rights advocate Garry Kasparov telling us that there's no clear proof that a Ukraine victory is part of President Biden's agenda. He made an important related point that a bunch of people in the administration see the Ukraine war as a distraction from their ultra-left-wing domestic agenda.
Therefore, this group could just as soon end the war at any cost, including territorial concessions by President Zelenskyy. These are strong points.
Remember John Kerry saying that he worried the war would interrupt the radical Green New Deal climate change movement?
It was an incredibly stupid statement, but Garry Kasparov made what I thought was a brilliant point, take a listen:
GARRY KASPAROV: They are not sure whether they want Ukraine to win, because if Putin's regime collapses and by the way, Ukraine winning the war and recovering all territories, Crimea included, is synonymous to the collapse of Putin's regime and it's a... it's a paranoia.
In other words, if Ukraine can win and Russia loses, then Putin is kaput. Gone. Regime change will be upon him and Garry Kasparov agreed with Biden's original statement that Putin must go, as did I.
I thought it was the best sentence in his whole presidency, but then everybody in his administration walked it back which was a terrible mistake.
What Kasparov is saying, that the U.S. must expand its financial and energy sanctions to damage Putin and deliver as many lethal weapons as president Zelenskyy needs, this is the road to regime change in Russia.
Putin is a war criminal and it's good to see President Biden stepping up that rhetoric.
The horrific evidence and pictures in Bucha, Mariupol and elsewhere; crimes against humanity; mass graves; killing innocent civilians, elderly, women, children; attempting to level out major cities is, I think, having a positive impact on the lead-from-behind Biden administration.
The President may—may—be stepping up his game on defending Ukraine. Maybe. Today Biden repeated his support for war crime trials and inquiries. Look Putin is a war criminal, a mad man and a crook.
He's been stealing from the Russian working folks for decades. He's the biggest oligarchical, kleptomaniac of them all, holding public office for over three decades and accumulating reportedly over $200 billion in wealth.
Elon Musk is reportedly worth $267 billion, but he earned it. Putin stole it. Biden has put sanctions on Putin.
So once again, I ask why haven't we seized his $700 million yacht sitting off the coast of Italy. Take it! In your face, Putin!
The U.S. and Spain just seized a tiny $90 million rowboat from a Russian oligarch. Now it's time to hit the big fish.
By the way, The U.S. Treasury just blocked a $600 million Russian payment on its sovereign debt, forbidding any use of Russian-owned dollar reserves held at U.S. banks. That's a good step. That's a very good step.
It puts Russia on the road to debt default and total bankruptcy, but we still have to go after the Russian energy sector where exports are running one-third above a year ago and financing Putin's war machine to the tune of over $300 billion.
We need to thoroughly sanction—loophole free—all the Russian banks, including the central bank and move toward secondary bank sanctions around the world.
As I've said, the Russian ruble has rallied 40% in recent weeks. That tells me we are not choking off their finances yet.
A new set of sanctions is to be announced shortly and we'll see if they're sufficiently tough. Reagan used to say, "we win, they lose."
Biden is closer to that than he was a month ago, but Garry Kasparov is right. He's not there yet. It's time to get there because if we do, we will rid the world of Putin the dictator, the war criminal and the crook and we will have done so without putting one American troop on the ground in Ukraine. Think of it.
This article is adapted from Larry Kudlow's opening commentary on the April 5, 2022, edition of "Kudlow."