Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was emboldened to push Secretary of State Antony Blinken for concessions on Ukraine because "he saw such weakness" in President Joe Biden's press conference this past week and because of Blinken's inexperience, former National Security Council chief of staff Fred Fleitz said on Newsmax Saturday.
"The negotiations were interesting and it was quite a mismatch," Fleitz told Newsmax's "Wake Up America."
"Sergei Lavrov has been foreign minister for 18 years and Antony Blinken spent most of his career as an aide to Joe Biden, and you could see the difference."
And as a result, Lavrov pushed for "some interesting things," said Fleitz.
"He wanted a written response from the U.S. to Russia's security concerns. The Biden administration said no, then they said, well, we'll give it to you, but we want it to be secret," Fleitz said. "The Russians said no, we're going to publish it. Why would the Biden administration want this to be secret? Because it doesn't want the American people to know what concessions it's offering."
Lavrov also called for all foreign troops to be removed from Bulgaria and Romania, as "this is simply something he can give away in exchange for more concessions on Ukraine," said Fleitz. "He's a very savvy negotiator and he saw such weakness in Biden's press conference, I think it emboldened him to press for things like this."
Meanwhile, Fleitz said the United States has been reluctant to send military aid to Ukraine, unlike former President Donald Trump. However, he added, the United States is sending in some aid, with the idea of making it "much more costly for Russia to invade," and that is part of the Biden administration's "incoherent policy."
Fleitz said the White House has also given Germany "veto" power over what aid goes to Ukraine.
"The Germans don't want lethal aid in Ukraine, and we've been deferring to them instead of leading, instead of making it a basic determined decision as to the world's leading power, the world's only superpower that will make a stand here," said Fleitz.
That's because Biden "goes by the foreign policy establishment book," he continued.
"Everything has to be multilateral. We don't do things unilaterally. He consulted the Europeans. He's proud to be a member of the European club. I don't want the United States to be a member of the European club or the U.N. club. We have to make decisions sometimes because it's the right thing to do and not to let these people in the establishment decide what our policy is. But that's the way Joe Biden does things."
Meanwhile, polling data shows that Americans don't favor being involved in the situation in Ukraine, "but we also have to recognize that we don't want the United States to be involved in unnecessary wars," said Fleitz.
"We don't want to do something that would spark a war between the United States and Russia. This is a difficult thing to balance … we have to draw the line about keeping America out of areas where there are no strategic U.S. interests. Let's support Ukrainians with diplomacy and with economic sanctions against Russia."
Still, allowing lethal aid for Ukraine "was a good way to go," but it would be better to find a more senior official to negotiate with Russia, said Fleitz.
"We have to get together in a room and have some real negotiations on how to deal with this," he said. "Maybe we could say, we'll put off talking about NATO membership for Ukraine for five years."
But making threats over sanctions that probably won't happen is "undermining American credibility on the world stage," said Fleitz. "Congress could also act in some fashion to send a very strong message as well."
Meanwhile, the way the United States handles Ukraine will send a signal to China at a time when it is "already emboldened" to invade Taiwan.
"I believe that the data that invasion has been moved up already because of Biden's incompetence," said Fleitz. "[There] seems to be a reticence to take preemptive steps, ramping up sanctions now and again. These are all ways to avoid a military conflict being more specific."
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