On Thursday's Morning Joe, discussing Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the normally mild-mannered Richard Haass of the Council on Foreign Relations shed that temperament while condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Of all the morning show pundits opining on the topic, Haass gave the starkest recommendation: make Putin vulnerable by killing Russian soliders. As Haass put it: "I hate to be so blunt, but the thing Putin is most vulnerable to is dead Russian soldiers. So we have to ensure Ukraine has means to resist."
Haass, who recently authored a piece in The New York Times titled, "The West Must Show Putin How Wrong He Is To Choose War," did make one encouraging remark. He said that "wars of choice," like Putin's invasion of Ukraine, "often begin well, but end badly," for the invader.
As retired Admiral Stavridis was speaking just before Mika turned to Haass, you could hear the air-raid sirens going off in Kyiv, prompting Stavridis to say: "We are watching the History Channel unfold in real-time here, by the way. We are on a rocket ride back to the 1930s."
One thing not seen Thursday morning was the liberal media second-guessing Biden's handling of the looming crisis. The closest was Matina Stevis-Gridneff of the New York Times writing that "as Russian troops launched an invasion of Ukraine on Thursday, it became painfully clear that [the European Union] had badly miscalculated," in imagining that its threat of sanctions would deter Putin.
That, by implication, is also an indictment of Biden, since his strategy also was to rely on supposedly "severe sanctions" to deter Putin.
Here's the transcript.
6:21 am ET
JAMES STAVRIDIS: I think the next thing you're going to see are going to be pretty serious movements of troops and tanks [air raid sirens in Kyiv heard going off in split screen] led by -- and there go the air raid sirens in real-time. Hey, we're watching the History Channel unfold in real-time here, by the way. We are on a rocket ride back to the 1930s.
MIKA BRZEZINSKI Geez. Richard Haass, you have a piece out, "The West Must Show Putin How Wrong He Is To Choose War." But so far, so far he's listening to no one. And all predictions of just how bad things can be are coming true. What is the worst option at this point, and what can the U.S. do?
RICHARD HAASS: Well, the worst option, Mika, is to allow Mr. Putin to succeed with his unwarranted, unjustified, illegal, immoral war of choice. There was no necessity that Russia do what he has now done. But it's not axiomatic that what Madeleine Albright and others have been saying will come to pass. That's our challenge now.
We need now a response of necessity to his war of choice, and there's got to be, to raise the economic costs at home, to raise the military costs on the ground.
I hate to be so blunt, but, you know, the most vulnerable thing that Putin is vulnerable to is dead Russian soldiers. So we have to make sure Ukraine has the means to, to resist.
. . .
We need to think about this with every tool we have. We shouldn't be sanguine, but history does offer some comfort. Wars of choice, like this one, they often begin well but end badly. We've seen that for the United States. We saw it for Russia in Afghanistan. And the two keys are, one, to raise the costs on the ground for the invading country and, two, to build opposition at home. To basically feed the weariness and wariness of the home population. That is what we need to do here.