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of loud complaints about European countries skimping on defense spending, which were completely justified.

Indeed, it’s perverse that Angela Merkel was made into a great heroine of Western statesmanship at the same time she maintained a pathetic level of defense spending and deepened Germany’s energy dependence on Russia in a way that was more dangerous than anything Trump said or tweeted.

And it wasn’t Trump who told Biden to execute a humiliating withdrawal from Afghanistan, to give Putin the gift of a summit after he menaced Ukraine the first time, to remove sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, to speak forthrightly about Western divisions at a pre-invasion press conference, or to forgo preemptive sanctions.

All of that is on Biden, and all of it — especially the Afghan fiasco — had to make an impression on Putin. Now, it may well have been that Putin was undeterrable, but that makes it all the more outlandish and dumb to blame a former U.S. president for his depredations. Rich Lowry is editor of the National Review. (c) 2020 by King Features Synd., Inc.

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