It has been over a month since Russia began its "special military operation" in Ukraine. The conflict has since transformed into a full-fledged war. There have been fears that the war could include nuclear and chemical warfare. President Joe Biden visited Europe amid the conflict. His remarks seemed to suggest that the U.S. planned to deploy troops to Ukraine to fight against Russia.
Will Biden really send U.S. troops to fight in the war with Russia? What would happen if the U.S. gets directly involved in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine?
Biden has been criticizing Putin lately.
Biden has been very critical of Russian President Vladimir Putin for invading Ukraine. He called Putin a "butcher" while meeting Ukrainian refugees in Poland. As a former Soviet bloc country, Poland, which is now a NATO ally, has taken in over 2.2 million Ukrainian refugees amid the conflict.
Biden also said that Putin "cannot remain in power." His comments suggested that the U.S. was pushing for a regime change in Russia. However, the U.S. later clarified that it wasn't looking at a regime change in Russia. While Russia is a democratic country on paper, and Putin has been elected democratically multiple times, for all practical purposes the country has an authoritarian rule under Putin.
Does Biden intend to send U.S. troops to Ukraine?
While talking with the U.S. service members in Poland, Biden said, "You’re going to see when you’re there – some of you have been there – you’re going to see women, young people, standing in the middle, in front of a damn tank, saying, 'I’m not leaving.'" Biden's comments seemed to suggest that he was looking at sending U.S. troops to Ukraine to defend the country from Russia's belligerence.
However, Biden's comments turned out to be a gaffe and the White House clarified to multiple media outlets that the Biden administration doesn't intend to send troops to Ukraine. The White House spokesperson said, "The president has been clear we are not sending US troops to Ukraine and there is no change in that position."
The U.S. has sent troops to bolster NATO's defense in Europe.
While Biden might not intend to send U.S. troops to Ukraine, the U.S. has added more troops to Europe to bolster NATO's defense in the region. The number of U.S. troops in Europe now exceeds 100,000, which is the highest level since 2005.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has generated a sense of urgency in European countries. Former U.S. President Donald Trump was critical of NATO allies for spending too little on defense. Now, Germany has announced a massive increase in its defense budget and will raise it to 2 percent of the GDP.
Why isn't Biden sending troops to Ukraine?
Sending U.S. or NATO troops to Ukraine would mean that the U.S. would be directly involved in a war with Russia. This would mean that the conflict, which is so far limited to Ukraine, would spill over to other parts of the world.
Biden has been quite vocal that under no circumstance would U.S. troops fight with Russia to defend Ukraine. He said that it would push the world towards World War III, something that no country in the world would want.
However, Biden has also made it clear that NATO will defend its members from Russia. Ukraine isn't a member of NATO even though it was contemplating joining the military alliance. Putin has been opposed to NATO's eastward expansion and Ukraine joining NATO would have bought NATO right next to Russia's borders.