Well, now the Russian Federation has done it: After it struck down a U.S. drone over the Black Sea this week, President Joe Biden’s administration sounds like it’s about to give Vladimir Putin a very bad performance review the next time he’s up for evaluation.
At least, that’s what one word from its messaging seems to indicate. As former White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany noted, part of the Biden administration’s messaging response to the Tuesday downing involved one strange word: “unprofessional.”
What, was Putin wearing casual Friday clothes when he heard about the intercept, even though it was a Tuesday? Downloading video games on the work computer he used to order the attack? Using locker-room language in the congratulatory emails he sent to the Sukhoi Su-27 fighter jet pilots who downed the drone?
In a tweet Wednesday, McEnany — now co-host of Fox News’ “Outnumbered” — shared a clip from that day’s show about the administration’s strange use of the word “unprofessional” to describe the shootdown, in which two Su-27 Flanker jets intercepted and downed an Air Force MQ-9 drone over the Black Sea.
A U.S. European Command news release said the incident occurred after one of the Russian aircraft collided with the drone.
In the media release, the command said the Russian pilots “conducted an unsafe and unprofessional intercept” with the drone.
According to the release, Air Force Gen. James Hecker said the MQ-9 “was conducting routine operations in international airspace when it was intercepted and hit by a Russian aircraft, resulting in a crash and complete loss of the MQ-9.”
— Disclose.tv (@disclosetv) March 14, 2023
“We brought the ambassador into the State Department yesterday here in Washington, D.C. We certainly conveyed a direct message to him about our deep concerns over this reckless, unprofessional behavior by Russian pilots,” Kirby told host Don Lemon.
“So, yes, we have communicated directly through diplomatic channels as appropriate with the Russian government,” he said.
McEnany also noted Kirby brought up “environmental concerns” that seemed wholly extraneous when the world teeters on the brink of war and the Russkies are picking off U.S. drones.
“But ‘unprofessional’ is the word that stuck out to me,” McEnany said.
“That term stuck out to me because I recall … a time when … the National Security spokesperson — she said ‘the Taliban have shown flexibility, and they have businesslike and professional in our dealings with them in the effort,’” she said, referring to the administration’s chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Biden, apparently, has a very low threshold for what’s considered “professional” behavior. (I’m sure there’s a Hunter Biden joke in here somewhere, but I’ll leave it to you, the reader, to find it.)
Whatever the case, however, the “unprofessional” nature of the downing didn’t exactly humble Moscow, as Russia announced it planned to attempt to retrieve the wreckage of the MQ-9 from the bottom of the Black Sea, according to the U.K.’s Guardian.
U.S. officials have said such a recovery would be difficult and wouldn’t yield useful intelligence — which is exactly what they would say if neither of those things were true, too, so who knows?
However, it’s worth noting that U.S. Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the aircraft had gone down in waters up to 5,000 feet deep, which would indeed require a significant effort for what likely wouldn’t be a substantial reward.
And yet, still — “unprofessional?”
This is the point where, in any Tom Clancy novel, both Washington and Moscow begin scrambling all of their military assets toward the North Atlantic and Jack Ryan somehow has to unscramble things before the nukes start flying.
The world isn’t “The Hunt for Red October,” of course, but neither is the downing of an American drone “unprofessional.”
Furthermore, McEnany is right to express grave concern about an administration that uses the word “professional” when dealing with the usurping, rapacious Taliban regime in Afghanistan, as if the dire state of geopolitical relations can and should be framed using corporate-speak.
It indicates nothing but weakness — which, unfortunately, is par for the course for this administration.
Consider the fact, too, that this comes in the wake of the Chinese spy balloon incident, something Vice President Kamala Harris said was “not a major breach” and hadn’t changed our relationship with Beijing.
With this in mind, how, pray tell, do they intend to solve the Russia-Ukraine conflict? Thinking outside of the box? Devising a win-win scenario? Getting all their ducks in a row?
It isn’t the loss of U.S. power and prestige that’s the embarrassment here. It’s the idea that the world’s problems can be solved, at least publicly, by treating it as if it were one huge human resources department.
If the past few years have taught us anything, it’s that Vladimir Putin and the rest of the Kremlin don’t care about the performance reviews they’re getting from the White House — and the rest of the world doesn’t seem terribly interested, either.
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