OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
A stunning report in The New York Times on Friday claims that the Biden administration essentially showed all of its cards to China regarding Russia’s troop buildup and activity prior to the invasion of Ukraine, ostensibly in an attempt to get Beijing to convince Moscow not to go in.
“Over three months, senior Biden administration officials held half a dozen urgent meetings with top Chinese officials in which the Americans presented intelligence showing Russia’s troop buildup around Ukraine and beseeched the Chinese to tell Russia not to invade,” The Times reported.
“Each time, the Chinese officials, including the foreign minister and the ambassador to the United States, rebuffed the Americans, saying they did not think an invasion was in the works. After one diplomatic exchange in December, U.S. officials got intelligence showing Beijing had shared the information with Moscow, telling the Russians that the United States was trying to sow discord — and that China would not try to impede Russian plans and actions,” the paper continued.
The Times’ report comes just a day after Russia launched an invasion of its neighbor and as fighting has already reached the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, which held overnight, according to Fox News.
U.S. officials have also said that the Russian advance has been slowed somewhat by increasing Ukrainian resistance.
The Times reported that the meetings during which administration officials handed over intelligence to China began following a video summit President Biden held with Chinese President Xi Jinping in the middle of November.
The Times noted further:
After the meeting, American officials decided that the Russian troop buildup around Ukraine presented the most immediate problem that China and the United States could try to defuse together. Some officials thought the outcome of the video summit indicated there was potential for an improvement in U.S.-China relations.
Others were more skeptical, but thought it was important to leave no stone unturned in efforts to prevent Russia from attacking, one official said.
Days later, White House officials met with the ambassador, Qin Gang, at the Chinese Embassy. They told the ambassador what U.S. intelligence agencies had detected: a gradual encirclement of Ukraine by Russian forces, including armored units.
William J. Burns, the C.I.A. director, had flown to Moscow on Nov. 2 to confront the Russians with the same information, and on Nov. 17, American intelligence officials shared their findings with NATO.
Biden administration officials told Chinese counterparts which allegedly tough sanctions the White House would impose on Moscow and explained how they could impact China negatively because of China’s close ties with Russia. In addition, officials attempted to convince Beijing that China’s global image would suffer as well.
But the increasingly desperate attempts “went nowhere,” with China’s Qin reporting acting “skeptical and suspicious,” the Times reported.
In an op-ed for Fox News Digital, K.T. McFarland, former deputy national security adviser to President Donald Trump, believes that Ukraine’s defeat is a foregone conclusion and that Russian forces will eventually gain control of Kyiv. However, she laid out three ways to block Russian President Vladimir Putin from advancing beyond Ukraine.
“Putin is a prideful man and takes his international reputation seriously. If his invasion becomes protracted, he will look weak. If there are considerable civilian casualties, he will look like a nasty bully,” she wrote. “The question we should be asking ourselves is how to stop Putin’s next power grab.”
The way to do that, McFarland says the U.S. should unleash its massive reserves of oil and natural gas — the largest in the world — to drive down the price of oil, starving Russia of currency to pay for “expensive” wars.
At the same time, Biden should tell Europe — especially Germany — that “we have their backs” in terms of guaranteeing their energy security.
“Wars are expensive. Today, Russia is sitting on windfall profits from energy prices that are double what they were a year ago. If we can drive the price of their major export down to 2020 levels, Russia is broke,” she wrote, adding:
President Biden said Putin is trying to recreate the Soviet Union. He’s right; that has been Putin’s dream for decades. The way we defeated the Soviet Union the last time around was by driving down the price of oil. We pushed them into bankruptcy, cut off their access to bank loans, and prohibited the transfer of American technology.