Nile Gardiner, a former aide to Margaret Thatcher, said that Russian President Vladimir Putin has “read Biden like an open book”. He suggested that Mr Putin had waited for President Trump to leave office before making his move on Ukraine, saying that the timing was “no coincidence”.
Last night, Mr Putin ordered Russian troops into two separatist regions of Ukraine, after earlier recognising their independence from Ukraine.
Russia said it would be a “peacekeeping” mission, but is speculated to be a potential pretext for placing troops in Ukrainian territory.
Western leaders have reacted today (Tuesday) by preparing sanctions on Russia.
This evening, US President Joe Biden told a White House press conference that sanctions had been introduced targeting various Russian banks including one which does defence deals.
Sanctions are also being applied to Russia’s borrowing.
Mr Biden told reporters: “We have cut off Russia’s government from Western financing. It can no longer raise money from the West.”
He added that Moscow would “pay an even steeper price if it continues its aggression”.
Writing for the Telegraph this afternoon (Tuesday), Mr Gardiner said he had met President Trump several times in the White House, where he “closely observed” his administration’s foreign policy.
He said the presidency had been “deeply committed to strengthening America’s leadership in the world, believed closely in working with America’s allies, and actually put the fear of God into America’s enemies.”
Mr Gardiner went on to say that the Trump presidency was “the antithesis of the weak-kneed Biden presidency”.
He continued: “I am convinced that the Russians were strongly emboldened by the disastrous nature of Joe Biden’s Afghanistan withdrawal, and by the fact that they were no longer facing a far more aggressive and unpredictable President in the form of Donald Trump.
“Putin has clearly read Biden like an open book, predicting correctly that the former Senator from Delaware would not threaten any kind of US military action, would be slow to arm the Ukrainians, and would spend a great deal of energy coordinating with the appeasement minded European Union, with Germany and France at the helm.”
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Mr Gardiner wrote that in his view the Trump administration had been “far tougher” on Mr Putin than Biden’s.
He suggested that the Trump administration fought “an aggressive campaign” against the “hugely controversial” Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
Today, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that he had halted certification of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline – which was built to send natural gas directly to Germany, circumventing Ukraine – something which Russia had been doggedly vying for.
Mr Gardiner continued: “The reality is that America’s enemies don’t fear Biden, and believe he does not have the stomach for the fight.
“In Trump, they faced a President who they deemed to be dangerous and often hard to read.
“Putin is acting now because Biden is toothless, Socialist led Germany is energy dependent on Russia, Emmanuel Macron is busily dividing the NATO alliance with his delusional calls for a European Union Army, and the European Union is deeply split and unlikely to impose crippling sanctions.
“Russia and China will take full advantage of this unprecedented situation, and could even open a war on two fronts if Beijing’s communist rulers move against Taiwan during the remainder of the Biden presidency.”
He concluded: “President Trump kept America’s foes on their toes, especially the Russians and Chinese.
“In contrast, President Biden has been on his knees, driving a superpower in decline.
“The timing of Putin’s Ukraine invasion is no coincidence. It is a clinical strategic calculation based on the fact the US is led today by a President without a spine.”