Joe Biden’s troop deployment to Eastern Europe proves only the US counts in the Ukraine crisis

Europe still plays second fiddle to the US when it comes to defending the security of its own Continent. 

Joe Biden has unilaterally deployed thousands of troops to Eastern Europe, without waiting for a Nato vote to send a force. 

The US President’s gambit is a response to further build up of Russian troops close to the Ukrainian border. 

Washington has been careful to spare European blushes over the fact that the US is negotiating with Russia over the Ukraine.   

There are Nato-Russia talks but the US has always dominated that Alliance, as Mr Biden’s latest move makes clear. 

The only two real negotiators in the Ukraine crisis are the presidents of the United States and Russia.  Europe is not in the negotiating room and neither is the president of Ukraine.  

Vladimir Putin will speak to other leaders, and look to exploit any weakness in the West’s unity, but it is only Joe Biden he has to actually listen to. 

Lesser European powers remain tied to US apron strings and hiding behind its skirts. 

The UK and France have talked about additional troop deployments to Hungary and Romania. Berlin has blocked weapon transfers to Kyiv and sent helmets instead.

The UK talks tough but mainly cheerleads for Washington and chivvies along other allies to do more.

A Ukrainian soldier walks at the line of separation from pro-Russian rebels, Donetsk region, Ukraine Credit: Andriy Dubchak/AP


France holds parallel talks with Moscow and insists that EU-Russia talks would be more successful than those between the Kremlin and White House. 

For all of Emmanuel Macron’s talk of the “brain death” of Nato, his belief he can snake charm autocrats and visions of building up EU defence, France, the bloc’s major military power, are junior partners to the US.  

Germany, conscious of its wartime history in Ukraine and Russia, is reluctant to take any leading role at all.  

The EU is slow to act and hobbled by its need to rally 27 different countries behind a single position on Russia. Meanwhile Viktor Orban, Hungary’s prime minister, met Mr Putin on Tuesday and said new EU sanctions would not help resolve the crisis. 

US troops being repositioned

The Cold War may be over but Europe, which does not spend enough on defence, is still dependent on US military protection. 

The US is the only country that could face a foe like Russia outside of Nato and survive. 

No European member of the Alliance has the agency, resources and political will to move decisively, quickly and independently. 

Only superpowers can be truly sovereign. And only superpowers will be taken seriously by Mr Putin.

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