Ukraine conflict rare ‘inflection point’ in history – Biden
President Joe Biden on Tuesday described the conflict in Ukraine as a historic “inflection point [that] comes along every six or eight generations,” and described the US’ role in the conflict as fighting the first “real battle” in a civilizational struggle versus Russia and China. Biden also promised to send billions more dollars worth of aid to Kiev.
“We’re at an inflection point in history. It comes along about every six or eight generations,” Biden said, during a visit to a Lockheed Martin factory in Alabama, adding that “things are changing so rapidly that we have to be in control.”
It is unclear what the last “inflection point” referenced by Biden was, with six to eight generations describing anywhere between 100 and 200 years ago. However, Biden went on to describe the US’ mission in Ukraine in grander terms than simply shipping arms to an ally.
“There’s an ongoing battle between autocracy and democracy,” he said, referring to China and Russia as enemies of supposed Western “democracies.” The conflict in Ukraine, he added, is “the first real battle” in this clash of civilizations.
Washington’s rhetoric on Ukraine has hardened in recent weeks, with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin recently stating that “we want to see Russia weakened to the degree that it can’t do the kinds of things that it has done in invading Ukraine,” and Biden himself appearing to call for a regime change in Moscow on several occasions.
Russia is already treating the conflict as a de-facto war against NATO, with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov accusing the US-led military alliance of “essentially going to war with Russia through a proxy and arming that proxy.” Biden also apparently acknowledged on Tuesday that the US was engaged in a proxy war with Russia, telling workers at the Lockheed Martin plant that American weapons shipments were “making it possible for the Ukrainian people to defend themselves without us having to risk getting in a third world war by sending American soldiers.”
On top of this harder rhetoric, Biden has requested an additional $33 billion – which amounts to nearly half of Russia’s whole 2021 defense budget – in military aid for Ukraine, as well as funding for US government agencies involved in the country. Touting the importance of the Javelin anti-tank missiles made in the Alabama plant to Ukraine’s war effort, Biden compared the unprecedented weapons splurge to the US arming of its allies in World War II.
Biden, known for his frequent verbal slip-ups, appeared to confuse Russia for Ukraine when he said that prior to the launch of Russia’s military operation in February, “we made sure Russia had javelins and other weapons … so Ukraine was ready for whatever happened.”
Biden also told his audience that Ukrainian parents are naming their newborn children “Javelin or Javelina” in honor of the American-made missiles. This claim was originally made last month by Ukrainian journalist and neo-Nazi Azov regiment member Ilya Ponomarenko.
Biden on sending Javelins to Ukraine: "they've been so important that there are stories of Ukrainian parents naming their newborn children 'Javelin' or 'Javelina.'"(this is a fine, very normal thing to say.) pic.twitter.com/PHyxkllgHD— Meara (@MillennialOther) May 3, 2022
As Biden spoke of China’s role in the global order in Alabama, General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate that the US is “now facing two global powers, China and Russia,” and that “the potential for significant international conflict between great powers is increasing.”