President Biden, National Security Strategy, and Ukraine

February 25th, 2022

By Peter Hill

As I write this Russia is invading Ukraine, a nation of 40,000,000 people. Ukraine is not helpless, but is undermanned and under armed.

President Biden apparently worked his hardest at using diplomacy to deter Mr. Putin and the Russian Bear. Mr. Putin, of course, is the former head of the Soviet secret police and spy agency, the KGB. Mr. Biden’s efforts were to no avail. If you face a determined adversary, with a strong will and capable resources, diplomacy is frequently not enough. You need an army.

Today’s news prompted me to look at President Biden’s National Security Strategy (NSS). He doesn’t really have one yet. It is due in March. But presidents frequently do “interim” NSSs, and President Biden put one out in March 2021. It can be found here: NSC-1v2.pdf (

I certainly hope his final NSS is significantly different from this interim product. It does not exactly engender confidence. I’m sure that President Biden, however, thinks that this is a real, honest to goodness National Security Strategy. It is important to note that this is not a “National Defense Strategy” which specifically focuses on the nation’s military. Nonetheless, it is a good peak into the mind of the Biden Administration, and what it thinks is important regarding protecting America and Americans from perceived threats. But after reading it, the leaders of Russia and China likely thought, “No worries!”

If you were a normal person, and not a Progressive Democrat who went to the finest universities, lived and worked within the cocoon of Washington, DC, and now worked for the Biden Administration, what would you say in a document that had the title “National Security Strategy”? Would you identify the strengths of the United States? Would you identify the weaknesses that needed to be remedied to make American more secure? Would you identify the threats both foreign and domestic to our independence and liberty? Would you seek to develop military, economic, and diplomatic approaches to enhancing the security of the United States? Would you articulate a vision and a broad strategic plan in which America’s armed forces would be trained and equipped to deter its external enemies, and if deterrence failed, defeat them quickly and decisively?

Some of this actually made it into President Biden’s Strategy. Most of it did not. Let me ask another question. What do you think are the greatest threats to America’s national security? China? Russia? International terrorism? Rogue states with nukes (North Korea) or probably developing nukes (Iran)? Porous borders which let in just about anyone, whether immigrant, refugee, criminal, or terrorist? Loss of technology secrets to governmental or private thieves? Dependence on foreign goods which we do not or cannot produce at home?

President Biden’s four emphases, right in the second paragraph, are 1) the pandemic, 2) the climate crisis, 3) nuclear proliferation, and 4) the fourth industrial revolution. Many of us might agree with 3. But the pandemic as a national security threat? It is if you are a Progressive Democrat like President Biden.

The interim NSS on p. 7 lists the main threats. The first is the pandemic and biological risks. The second is the “escalating climate crisis.” We might agree with a listing of biological risks. That may well pose a significant danger to the U.S. The pandemic exposed some weaknesses in the American response. After all, we have so far had 940,00 deaths in the U.S., and 64 in Meade County. On the other hand, emphasizing this threat seems to make more sense if our enemies could use it as a biological weapon against us, rather than having it randomly transmitted by a bat or some other animal. But, of course, the Biden Administration and CDC have quickly dismissed any theory or evidence or study that suggests the COVID-19 was engineered by humans. As if it could be used as a weapon.

But there it is in number 2 place again – the climate crisis. (One cannot say “climate” without immediately adding the word, “crisis”). This is the second greatest threat to America’s national security, per Democrat Joe Biden. I bet it was not in your top 3. Or top 5. Or top 10. That just shows how much more President Biden knows than you do.

To face these threats, what priorities must the U.S. promote to protect our national security? President Biden lists several – protecting democracy; promoting a strong economy with good-paying jobs; alliances with other nations; and, among other things, at the bottom of p. 12 he lists “gender equality, LBGTTQI+ rights, and women’s empowerment.”

The Russians and Chinese governments read these documents. At this point I’m sure Mr. Putin in the Kremlin was either laughing, completely befuddled because he was sure the translator of the document got it wrong, or planning his next move against the national security of the U.S. I’m pretty sure his plan would not prioritize an attack on “gender equality, LBGTTQI+ rights, and women’s empowerment.” (Incidentally, to show how far behind the times I am, I thought it was consistently LGBTQ, but now it is LBGT… etc. Did the bisexual group displace the gay group? Are they now in a more privileged position? I don’t know.)

President Biden does get around to military matters, including military budgets. Thus, on p. 14 he reassures us that “We will prioritize defense investments in climate resiliency and clean energy.” Whew! For a while there I was a little worried. I thought President Biden might prioritize defense expenditures (remember, Democrats almost never spend your tax money – they simply invest it) into something like, oh, I don’t know, newer and better ships, aircraft, avionics, cyber-attack proof communications systems, ground combat weapons platforms, and that sort of thing. I don’t know about you, but I just feel so much more secure knowing the President is making a priority of “climate resiliency” in our defense establishment. I’m so glad his priorities are in the right place.

President Biden also assures us on p. 15 that, “In today’s world, economic security is national security.” I think he got this from all the history and military lessons he has learned. As long as your nation is prosperous, it has strong national security, he says. That is why Lithuania, with a per capita income of twice that of Russia, can feel so secure. It is why Taiwan, with greater wealth per capita than that of the People’s Republic of China, can fee so secure. It is why… Well, you get the idea. Uh, President Biden, economic security is not national security. They are not equivalent. Determined poorer countries with strong armies defeat richer countries all the time.

President Biden’s NSS has many other choice nuggets that seem more appropriate in a campaign ad or Democratic platform that in a NSS. On p. 18, part of the building up of our national security will be to “combat voter suppression” (which may be the first and last time “combat” is referred to in this document, although there are plenty of things to “fight” against, such as climate change and the pandemic, but not terrorists or autocratic governments with weapons). He will also “reform policing”, and end “systemic racism.”

On page 20, China is actually identified as a threat. How will we defend ourselves against China? By “out competing China economically.” By all means, I want to stay ahead of China economically. But I would feel more secure if we had more and better aircraft, intelligence, and ships, among other things. The tools the Biden Administration intends to use are not tanks and missiles, but “diversity, equity, and inclusion.” These will make America strong. I can almost feel Chairman XI of China shaking in his shoes. This is brilliant strategy!

Democrats have experimented with “defund the police” efforts for a couple years. The lab rats tend to be the regular people who live in their cities. These are the people who pay the price, generally, with damaged or lost businesses, victimization, deaths, and more felonies, but not the actual Democrats who devised and implemented the policies. President Biden proposes his own “defund the police” on a global scale, by defunding, or at least diverting funds from, the U.S. military. The military gets mentioned again on p. 22. In order to “avoid overreliance on the U.S. military… our national security budget will prioritize new resources for diplomacy and development.” I’m sure President Putin appreciates that. He is always worried that another American diplomat may call him a bad name. This has deterred him from so many foreign adventures!

Finally, President Biden closes with his strongest argument. His very last sentence is, “Together, we can and will build back better.” It turns out his National Security Strategy was mostly one big commercial for his multitrillion dollar social and regular infrastructure bills!

Seldom have I read such rubbish by such bright people. The authors of this were very likely smarter than I am. But their judgments about people and priorities, and their judgment about our nation’s adversaries, are so deficient as to be dangerous.

Our adversaries do not care about how many diversity panels we have in our military. They are spending their budgets on bullets and submarines, not on military climate change initiatives. People could actually die because of the misplaced priorities of Democrats like President Biden. The whole NSS looks like the President’s campaign people, with no knowledge of national security, teamed with Progressive activists to write a gobblety-gook NSS that panders to the Democratic Party constituencies, but does very little to identify or protect America’s national security interests.

I can only hope President Biden’s failures in Afghanistan and Ukraine cause him to fundamentally change his National Security Strategy.

But I don’t know if this Administration can learn any lessons from real life, including Russian troops invading Ukraine. Here is a link to a news story about John Kerry, President Biden’s climate envoy, the day before the Russian invasion. John Kerry Worries Russian Invasion of Ukraine May Distract From Fighting Climate Change ( Special envoy (for “climate change”) Kerry expressed concern that a war would increase dangerous emissions and jeopardize international efforts to limit the practices that cause climate change. And, oh, yes, an invasion would be bad for people. Nobody would do that. “I thought we lived in a world that had said no to that kind of activity. And I hope diplomacy will win.”

Well, the people of Ukraine thank you, Mr. Kerry, for telling Mr. Putin, “No.”

I hope that President Biden’s first real National Security Strategy will be much better than this interim one, but I hold out little hope. His administration is full of Progressive ideologues who do not live in the real world with threats from people like Putin and Xi. They are very bright, naïve, and clueless. Once in a while you might be able to talk a Russian Bear out of eating you. But I would not count on it. President Biden should not risk the lives and prosperity of millions of others by relying on such a foolish plan.

Please, will someone protect us and our allies from the Russians, Chinese, and terrorists? So far, it does not look like the Democrats will.
Peter Hill, 24 Feb 22
Mr. Hill is an instructor of National Security Law at the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law, and a retired JAG lieutenant colonel in the USAR. This writing reflects his own views only, and should not be attributed to anyone or anything else.