Secretary of State Antony Blinken is going to Europe this week in a last-ditch effort to stop a Russian invasion of Ukraine. We hope he succeeds. If an invasion does happen, it’s important to explain why deterrence will not have worked.

At his press conference on Wednesday, Mr. Biden didn’t help deterrence when he said that a “minor incursion” by Russia might not get the West to come together to fight back. “It’s one thing if it’s a small invasion, but then we have to fight about what to do and what not to do,” Mr. Biden told the crowd. Mr. Putin may think he can now take at least some land because he didn’t have to fight for it before.

This is in line with the weak Western responses to Russia’s previous aggression. People in 2009 were still angry about Russia’s invasion of Georgia in 2008, so they didn’t like the way things were going in 2009.

A lot of people think that Barack Obama called for a “reset” and got nothing. Obama and Europe put sanctions on Russia in 2014, but they were too weak to make much of a difference, so they didn’t work very well.

They say they will do a lot of damage if Russia invades again, but why should Putin believe them? So, Vladimir Putin doesn’t have to worry about the U.S. coming to Ukraine’s defense with its own military. When it comes to making a Russian invasion more expensive, the United States hasn’t done enough to arm the Ukrainian city of Kyiv well.

It was late last year when we talked to a Ukrainian defense official. He told us that the country needed to protect itself from airplanes, ships, missiles, and drones, as well as “electronic and anti-drone weaponry.” He also said the country needed “artillery and mortar systems.”

An official from the United States said that last month the government approved an extra $200 million in military aid, but he didn’t say what was going to be sent. A lot of military aid has made the White House think that Vladimir Putin will start a war. That hasn’t stopped Mr. Putin, and sending more equipment after an invasion starts could be too late.

Another country, Germany, hasn’t sent weapons to Kiev for historical reasons. This comes from a country that sold almost €10 billion worth of guns in 2021. So Ukraine isn’t as easy to deal with as Egypt, which was Berlin’s top customer last year.

It is also sad that the U.S. and Europe aren’t working together on economic sanctions. A big part of this problem is in Germany, but it comes from all over the world. He made it a goal to meet with people who were leaving the office.

In this case, Donald Trump is the person who is and in the name of trans-Atlantic cooperation. This has been one of Joe Biden’s most strategic mistakes.

When Mrs. Merkel left, she left behind a coalition led by a party called the Social Democratic Party (SPD) that is even more friendly to Russia than before. Mr. Biden changed his mind about the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which would give Russia more power over Europe. Earlier this month, the White House tried to stop a bill that would have put sanctions on Nord Stream 2.

Influential members of the SPD say that the pipeline’s fate should not be linked to Ukraine’s. The new Chancellor says that the pipeline’s fate should not be linked to Ukraine.

Olaf Scholz, the person who wrote this, has only vaguely said that “everything will have to be talked about” after an invasion. The background is Berlin and Washington’s fight against their own energy production, which makes them more vulnerable to Russian threats.

In the toughest economic punishment, Moscow would lose access to international banking systems and the U.S. dollar. This would be called a “swift cut.” People in the West haven’t agreed to this, but the US says “no option is out of reach.” It’s clear to Putin that many people in Europe will fight any Swift sanctions, especially if Russia says it will withhold energy from Europe in the winter.

Mr. Biden’s chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan sent a message to the world’s bad guys. In the last few days, Vladimir Putin has moved his troops toward Ukraine, and that may not be a coincidence. He saw a new U.S. President give up on allies in a 20-year war because he said that domestic issues were more important. His eyes were drawn to a U.S. President who was going to hide from the world.

As a result, if Vladimir Putin invades Ukraine, it will be a bet that he can strengthen his nationalist credentials at home and get a neighbor’s land, as well as break up the Western alliance even more. The tragedy is that the West hasn’t done nearly enough to convince him to change his mind.