Biden’s fears of the two factors that could blow up the “arms and ammunition” strategy in Kiev and unleash direct war with Russia

A president particularly furiousso sources of the White House describe the mood of Joe Biden in recent days. The revelations – respectively of the New York Times e you NBC News – that US intelligence provided information to Ukrainians to kill Russian generals and sink the Moscow, the president of the United States did not like them. Biden reportedly phoned the director of National Intelligence, Avril Hainesto that of the CIA, William Burnsfinally to the head of the Pentagon, Lloyd Austinto express all his indignation at the leak of news. It’s a indecent conduct, dangerous, which must stop immediately, the White House tenant said. In reality, the administration sources always say, Biden would have used, as was his habit, a more colorful language, but this is still the meaning.

The furious reaction, on the eve of the meeting with the Prime Minister Mario Draghireveals the fear of Biden: to go from one indirect warfare of the United States vis-à-vis Russia, to one direct warfare. It’s what Biden has been trying to avoid from the start, but it’s getting harder and harder. L’intelligence americana continues to provide the White House with a fact: the war will be long. The plan A from Vladimir Putinto get to Kievkick out the president Zelensky and install a government friend, It has failed. Even the plan Bwhich plans to focus on Donbass, does not appear so successful. The Russians advance slowly, the territorial conquests are followed by losses of newly occupied outposts. The tono moderato shown by Putin during the victory speech of 9 maggio, is the prevailing opinion in these hours in the administration, but it must not be misleading. The Russian president must end this war with something to claim, to show his public opinion. For this, the US intelligence services reflect, the war will still be, in all likelihood, long.

This basically means two things. On the one hand, that Russia is increasingly destined to weaken strategically. On the other hand, that the risk of a enlargement of the conflict it becomes a not so distant possibility. And if the former is a goal that the United States has consciously pursued since the invasion began, the latter is a risk that Biden does not want to take. This space between the Russian weakening and the widening of the war is, moreover, the very narrow path that the US president has constantly followed and which continues in part to characterize his action. Biden wants to win this one war “by proxy”without a American soldier set foot in a combat zone. He wants to liquidate the autocratic threat Putinian without direct US intervention. The goal is ambitious but, in fact, it takes very little to blow the plans.

From the point of view of the White House, the strategy chosen so far has been successful. Putin wanted to block the expansion of the Natobut among the effects of the invasion were the first formal steps of Finland e Sweden to enter the Atlantic Alliance. After nearly three months of war, therussian economy appears strong suffering and its army has given proof of a structural weakness. Putin’s international isolation is there for all to see. One of the most important results achieved by the administration is precisely having prevented the China offered military aid to Russia. Again on 4 February, welcoming Putin on the occasion of the Olympic Games winter, Xi Jinping signed a declaration in which it was said that the friendship between Russia and China “has no limits”. But there are limits, and they are economics interests and commercial. In a telephone call at the beginning of the conflict, Biden himself warned the president Xi that support for Russia would jeopardize i business relations of China with its two main partners: United States and Europa. The warning had the intended effect. Aside from some superficial statements, criticisms of the United States, Beijing has cautiously stayed out of the fight.

It shouldn’t fool the huge increase in either American assistance to Ukraine, with a final tranche of 33 billion dollars in military and economic aid that are added to another 13.6 billion allocated for Kiev some weeks ago. As US military assistance grows, Biden has remained adamant in denying Ukraine i jet military that Zelensky has been asking for months and that, departing from a US base in Germania, could cause an accident that could escalate into a direct conflict between the United States and Russia. In short, the volume of American military aid to Ukraine has increased above all, in order to help the Kiev troops in the presumably long war to be held in the east of the country. But Biden has always kept cautiously on this side of supplies that could precipitate the situation. Despite the open diplomatic support and military, despite the billions in arms sent to Ukraine, the Biden administration has been very shrewd in protecting the American national interest. And the American national interest, at the moment, is not to get involved.

On this line, Biden got it broad acclaim at home. Most of the republicansand practically all of the democrats, supports its strategy. L’Ukraine Lend–Lease Act, which gives Biden the power to transfer arms to Ukraine without major bureaucratic hitches and legislative controls, was voted unanimously by the Senate and won just ten Republican votes against the House. Even the left of the Democratic party, the traditional thorn in the side of the White House, appears to be on the whole compact in its support for Biden. The only real difference lies in the request that Bernie SandersAlexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other progressives continue to stand for one non-military solution of the conflict. But these are precisely positions that do not question the approach chosen by Biden up to now: arms and sanctions. Barbara Leethe progressive democratic deputy who opposed the expansion of the president’s war powers after 9/11, has flown in recent days in Poland and he said that “this is a fundamental moment, which will decide whether the world will go on with ours democratic principlesor else it will go back, which is what Putin is trying to do ”.

The strategy also gains support from public opinion. A survey Washington Post-ABC News early May shows that American support for Biden’s handling of the war has grown. He was the 33 percent in February, today is 42. What the administration is doing is what American public opinion is asking for: more aid to Ukraine (37 percent of those interviewed for the survey actually think that the United States is doing too little for Kiev); no direct military involvement (only a fifth of Americans, according to this survey, support direct US military intervention). Episodes such as the leak about the role of US intelligence in the killing of general and in the sinking of the Moskva they therefore risk putting in crisis this strategy, because they reveal the degree of involvement American in conflict.

The real problem, for Biden, lies precisely here. That is to say, balancing the repeatedly reiterated will to stay out of direct confrontation with Russia, with the reality of military and economic assistance to Ukraine that is being made, day after day, ever wider. The exchange of intelligence with the Ukrainians – which is absolutely unusual for the United States – is only one aspect of it. The Democrats al Congress they are considering a $ 40 billion new aid plan. And just the Land-Lease Actwhich is inspired by a measure taken at the time of Franklin Delano Roosevelt to quickly get help to the Great Britain attacked by Nazis, is the confirmation of how the United States is increasingly binding itself to the Ukrainian military fortunes. The indirect war, one made up of sanctions against Russia and copious military supplies to Ukraine, remains there guideline of the American administration. But very little is enough – in fact, a leak of news from the US administration, an isolated and encircled Putin’s backlash, the Ukrainian choice to hit targets within the Russian borders – to undermine this line. At that point, the shift from indirect warfare to direct warfare could become an unwanted, very dangerous possibility.