A fantastic piece by Peter Beinart on substack puts excellent clarity on the people around Joe Biden baiting Russian President Vladimir Putin to enter Ukraine.
Current CIA Director William “Bill” Burns was the former ambassador to Russia and Jordan. Bill Burns had a 33-year career at the State Department under both Republican and Democratic presidents and speaks fluent Russian. If the people in the background of Joe Biden wanted an intelligence operative to trigger a specific result from Russia, there’s no one more strategically perfect for the job than CIA Director Bill Burns.
The article by Beinart is mainly focused on pointing out the irreconcilable nature of Joe Biden implying Ukraine could join NATO, while his own CIA Director has a history of giving serious warnings emphasizing the “brightest of all red lines” about that specific point.
[…] “Two years ago, Burns wrote a memoir entitled, The Back Channel. It directly contradicts the argument being proffered by the administration he now serves. In his book, Burns says over and over that Russians of all ideological stripes—not just Putin—loathed and feared NATO expansion. He quotes a memo he wrote while serving as counselor for political affairs at the US embassy in Moscow in 1995. ‘Hostility to early NATO expansion,” it declares, “is almost universally felt across the domestic political spectrum here.”
On the question of extending NATO membership to Ukraine, Burns’ warnings about the breadth of Russian opposition are even more emphatic. “Ukrainian entry into NATO is the brightest of all redlines for the Russian elite (not just Putin),” he wrote in a 2008 memo to then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. “In more than two and a half years of conversations with key Russian players, from knuckle-draggers in the dark recesses of the Kremlin to Putin’s sharpest liberal critics, I have yet to find anyone who views Ukraine in NATO as anything other than a direct challenge to Russian interests.”
Against this backdrop of Bill Burns, the details about the lead up to the Russia-Ukraine crisis gain quite a bit of clarity.