Joe Biden’s inability to use diplomatic measures to prevent Russian President Vladimir Putin from conducting a full-scale invasion of neighboring Ukraine was well documented in the months leading up to the crisis of open warfare. According to the New York Times on Friday reporting, the situation was worse than believed. In recent months, the Biden Administration has been working on getting assistance from the Chinese in dealing with Russia, in yet another international diplomatic effort gone wrong.
In recent months, Senior Administration Officials have reportedly arranged urgent meetings with Chinese government officials. American officials shared intelligence with China showing Russia’s troop deployments and movements along the Ukrainian border to get China to intervene and tell Putin not to invade.
The Chinese repeatedly turned the Americans away and pretended not to know Putin’s intentions. On at least one occasion, China handed off American intelligence directly to Russia. American diplomats were made aware that Beijing was sharing information with Moscow and that the Chinese government would not stand in Putin’s way regarding Ukraine.
The Times report shows that the Biden administration began reaching out to the Chinese after a video conference between Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping last November. After that, the Americans began negotiating with Russia and China on a dual-track.
American negotiators told China that it would be adversely affected by sanctions imposed against Russia. Those warnings were ineffective.
Even though Biden announced new sanctions against Russia in a press conference last Thursday that he said would be “devastating,” most international observers have found the Administration’s response to the Russian invasion to be lukewarm.
When pressed about the possibility of sanctioning Putin personally or cutting Russia off of the international SWIFT banking system, Biden said that it would be necessary to wait “another month or so” to determine if the lesser sanctions are “working.” However, Biden moved just a day later to freeze personal assets belonging to Putin and his foreign minister.
For its part, China has remained largely silent so far regarding the Russian invasion of Ukraine.