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News Analysis: Biden, recognizing the power of Zelensky’s plea to Congress, beefs up defense aid for Ukraine

Eric Edelman, a former ambassador to Finland and Turkey who served as undersecretary of Defense under President George W. Bush, questioned the White House’s logic in determining that delivering MIG-29 jets could be deemed by Putin as escalatory when it continues to supply Javelin missiles and other weapons that are being used against Russian forces. The Biden administration rebuffed Poland’s efforts last week to transfer such jets to Ukraine.

“All of it is potentially escalatory,” Edelman said. “I wish they would stop worrying about what’s going to provoke Putin and start making Putin worry about what’s going to provoke the U.S. and NATO.”

The president and other administration officials have been explicit about the fear of setting off “World War III” through any direct military engagement with another nuclear power, seeming to take Putin’s threats of deploying nuclear weapons seriously.

“It costs Putin nothing to saber-rattle about nuclear weapons, but if he uses them, it costs him everything,” Edelman said. “But if you allow him to play that card and cow you, there’s no end to it. And ultimately you will find yourself in a much more serious crisis.”

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