OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Former President Donald Trump warned that his successor may be sleepwalking into World War III as Russian forces deployed near the border with Ukraine continue to threaten at least regional stability.
In an interview with Lou Dobbs for his “The Great America Show” podcast, Trump slammed President Joe Biden for saying during a press conference last week that “if it’s a minor incursion [into Ukraine] and we end up having to fight about what to do and what to not do, et cetera.”
“What Biden said was psychologically very weak and very bad,” Trump told Dobbs. “He said, ‘Oh, they’re going in.’ It was almost like an invitation to go in. We don’t want to see that, but it was like an invitation.”
Last week, Biden remarked: “It’s one thing if it’s a minor incursion and we have to fight about what to do and not to do. But if they actually do what they’re capable of doing with the force amassed on the border, it is going to be a disaster for Russia if they further invade Ukraine.”
He was speaking in the context of a “minor incursion” possibly dividing NATO in terms of how best for the security alliance to respond.
“There are differences in NATO as to what countries are willing to do, depending on what happens, the degree to which they’re willing to go,” Biden said, noting further that the most severe sanctions on Russia “are gonna have a negative impact on the United States as well as a negative impact on the economies of Europe as well, [and] a devastating impact on Russia.”
Trump also clapped back at a report that Biden was considering sending up to 50,000 U.S. troops to Europe in a bid to defend Ukraine.
“To start World War III, to start World War III,” Trump told Dobbs, a former Fox Business host. “It’s just all so crazy. And it would have never happened under me. It would have never happened.
“Taiwan, which will happen eventually with China, probably after the Olympics, would never have happened. Now bombers are flying freely over Taiwan,” he continued.
“There’s a lot of dislike, and I think I lot of distrust on behalf of Russia toward us because of what happened over the past year,” Trump told Dobbs. “They look at our country and they’re laughing, they are laughing out loud.
“This is just a lack of respect for us.”
He added that the situation with Ukraine is “a NATO problem, European problem.”
“NATO is something that, until I got here … you know we were being ripped off,” Trump told Dobbs. “We not only got ripped off with trade from Europe — they’re almost as bad as China as far as I’m concerned. They were ripping us off left and right.
“On top of that, we defended Europe because they weren’t paying their bills. When I got in, I said, ‘You’re not paying your bills. You gotta pay your bills, you’re delinquent.’ And they said, ‘Does that mean you wouldn’t fight for us?’ I said, ‘If you’re delinquent, I wouldn’t fight for you. No, you’re right about that.’
“The next day, billions of dollars came in.”
Regarding Biden’s ‘minor incursion’ remark, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also took offense.
“We want to remind the great powers that there are no minor incursions and small nations. Just as there are no minor casualties and little grief from the loss of loved ones. I say this as the President of great power,” he said last week.
National security experts also responded to Biden’s remarks.
“Unbelievable,” a former senior U.S. official told the Washington Examiner. “Acknowledging it is Putin’s to decide. Ceding him the initiative. Differentiating between an incursion and an all-out invasion, and suggesting our response would be different. Talking about differences among allies rather than conveying unity and resolve. And ultimately saying that he thinks Putin WILL go in because he can’t back down now.”
The former official also suggested that “jaws must have been dropping in both Moscow and Kyiv.”