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Wall Street Journal: Gallagher Op-Ed: Biden’s ‘Integrated Deterrence’ Fails in Ukraine

The Biden Admin. continues to tout its strategy of “integrated deterrence” – a catchy phrase coined to describe its disastrous foreign policy. Wisconsin Congressman Mike Gallagher penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, which can be accessed here, taking the President’s misguided approach task. He wrote in part:

“Perhaps desperate for a win after their failures in Afghanistan, senior Pentagon officials are bragging to the Washington Post about the success of “integrated deterrence” in Ukraine. This buzzy new phrase serves as the intellectual foundation of President Biden’s forthcoming National Defense Strategy, combining diplomacy, alliances and new technology with conventional hard power to deter bad guys from doing bad things.

That may sound reasonable, but the administration’s embrace of integrated deterrence is an abandonment of the Pentagon’s previous strategy of deterrence by denial. That required the U.S. to maintain enough military strength to turn back an adversary’s aggression, particularly in Taiwan and Eastern Europe. In April 2021, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin justified the new approach under the premise that allies and “galloping advances in technology” can pick up the slack.

Innovative technologies and allied cooperation are important, but deterrence ultimately rests on an adversary’s assessment of existing U.S. military power and Washington’s willingness to employ it. That’s why integrated deterrence failed its first big test in Ukraine, where the Biden administration relied on the threat of nonmilitary punishment to deter Vladimir Putin. The administration delayed lethal assistance to Kyiv for months and repeatedly signaled that military force was off the table for fear of provoking Mr. Putin. Instead, the White House threatened to punish Mr. Putin with sanctions and diplomatic isolation if he invaded. Even though the Ukrainians have since inspired the world through their courage and the Russians have shocked the world with their incompetence, integrated deterrence didn’t work.

Nevertheless, anonymous Pentagon officials are spiking the football and moving the goal posts, arguing that integrated deterrence is working because Mr. Putin hasn’t expanded his war into North Atlantic Treaty Organization territory. This is a low bar for geopolitical success and ignores the obvious reality that a NATO-Russia war is more, not less, likely since the invasion of Ukraine.”

Read the full op-ed in the Wall Street Journal.