During the first impeachment of then-President Donald Trump in November 2019, former National Security Council member Fiona Hill was one of the top-billed witnesses in the House hearings.
At the time, Hill billed herself as “a nonpartisan foreign policy expert” and the “Intelligence Community’s senior expert on Russia and the former Soviet republics, including Ukraine.”
She told investigators that she disagreed with the Trump administration’s plan to pressure Ukraine to start investigations into corruption, including one that might involve Hunter Biden’s work with the Ukrainian energy firm Burisma when his father, Joe Biden, was vice president.
A few years later, quite a bit has changed between Russia and Ukraine. There’s a reason for that, the former “senior expert on Russia and the former Soviet republics” said during an appearance this week: Trump was so uniquely stupid in regard to the region that Russian President Vladimir Putin waited until Joe Biden was in office to invade.
Confused? Us too. But then, we here at The Western Journal have been pointing out how the recent invasion of Ukraine pokes massive holes in the liberal theory that Trump was an incompetent Kremlin stooge. We’ll keep chronicling the hypocrisy — and you can help by subscribing.
According to The Hill, the former national security official made the remarks at an event put on by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.
Hill claimed that Putin viewed Trump as “somebody that you have to explain everything to all the time,” which represented the root of the problem.
“He had to keep explaining things, and Putin doesn’t like to do that,” she said.
Instead, Hill told the audience that Putin would get frustrated over Trump’s geopolitical vacuity.
“You could see that he got frustrated many times with President Trump,” Hill said.
“Even though he loves to be able to spin his own version of events, he wants to have predictability in the person that he’s engaging with,” she said of the Russian leader.
And thus Putin decided to invade Ukraine after Biden had moved into the White House.
“He thought that somebody like Biden, who’s a transatlanticist, who knows all about NATO, who actually knows where Ukraine is, and actually knows something about the history, and is very steeped in international affairs, would be the right person to engage with as opposed to somebody that you have to explain everything to all the time, honestly,” Hill said.
So here’s the reason Putin wanted to invade Ukraine after the intelligent “transatlanticist who knows all about NATO” took office as opposed to the dimwitted guy who doesn’t even know where the country is, as per Hill:
“2024 is going to be a banner year for elections,” she said. “It’s our election, it’s also the Russian election — and technically the Russian election comes before ours — and Ukraine also will have to have an election for [Ukraine President Volodymyr] Zelenskyy.
“So Putin’s got actually quite a lot there that he has to be concerned about. And, I mean, one of the reasons that he thought he could act now was to get ahead all of that.
“I think he wanted to get ahead of our midterms, he wanted to, you know, act while he had Biden’s and everybody else’s attention. Because I think he wanted us to sue for peace.”
So Putin knew Trump was stupid and isolationist and that Biden was at least informed and a NATO backer, which is why he chose now to invade because he wanted the world’s attention and a predictable leader. But the Russian leader also wanted to get in ahead of the midterms, where the president’s party will likely be voted out of majorities in at least one of two houses of Congress because of … um, shrug emoji?
Elsewhere in her remarks, Hill said Putin hadn’t received adequate intelligence on how badly the invasion would go because “the way that he structured things makes it difficult for people to bring information” to him, since there’s “a very high penalty of, you know, getting things wrong.”
“The sad fact of the matter from our perspective is that Putin doesn’t think that, you know, anything has gone wrong. And I know that might sound absolutely bizarre, because we can see that if he declares victory now it’s very much a Pyrrhic victory,” she said.
The Russian leader also “thought this was a period of incredible weakness on the part of the United States, in Europe and NATO, the EU.” She said he wasn’t wrong, noting “the failure of many [NATO] members to pay the 2 percent of their GDP towards maintaining the budget,” the “political polarization” in the United States and “our withdrawal from Afghanistan.”
On the underfunding of NATO forces, it’s worth noting that’s an issue Donald Trump pushed hard to address.
Meanwhile, “our withdrawal from Afghanistan” and the chaos that ensued was authored by none other than that fantastic transatlanticist who’s “very steeped in international affairs,” Joe Biden.
This is taking a reductionist view of Hill’s nearly hourlong remarks, of course, but it’s one of the best disproofs for an errant line of left-wing logic that’s circulated since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine: Trump was such a bumbling fool that of course Putin waited until Biden was president in order to strike.
Not only is this ridiculously counterintuitive, but the only evidence that’s generally raised in its favor is the a priori argument that Trump’s supposed ineptitude made him a wild card while Biden’s competency made him, as former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld might have phrased it, a “known known.”
Hill provided several countervailing examples of this, though, including the weakness projected by our shameful withdrawal from Afghanistan. Furthermore, why would Putin think he’d be more likely to get peace terms with someone who understood what he was saying, as opposed to dumb ol’ Trump?
Fiona Hill’s argument remains unconvincing: If Donald Trump were so stupid that Vladimir Putin couldn’t get things through his thick skull, the Russian president would have realized that if he had designs on Ukraine, the time to jump would have been before he left office.
To the extent Putin made his decision to invade Ukraine based on calculations about U.S. and NATO response, it’s far more likely that was based on his perceptions of the current president’s weaknesses, not the former’s.
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