VIPS MEMO: To Biden — Avoid a Third World War

No experience of the failure of policy can shake belief in its excellence, even though foreign adventures drained the treasury and led to imperial decline. 

U.S. President Joe Biden with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kiev on Feb. 20, 2023. (White House/Adam Schultz, CC BY-ND 2.0)

January 25, 2024



SUBJECT: Throwing Good Money After Bad: Decisions in an Intelligence Vacuum

Dear President Biden:

We noted in our January 26, 2023 Memorandum to you that National Intelligence Director Avril Haines had expressed skepticism that Russian forces would be sufficiently prepared for Ukraine’s coming offensive. She said Russia was using up ammunition “extraordinarily quickly” and could not indigenously produce what it was expending.

You had just approved sending Abrams tanks to Ukraine. We wrote:

“None of the newly promised weaponry will stop Russia from defeating what’s left of the Ukrainian army. If you have been told otherwise, replace your intelligence and military advisers with competent professionals – the sooner the better.”

Russia Has Not Already Lost

On July 13, 2023, you said Putin “has already lost the war”. You may have gotten that from C.I.A. Director William Burns who, a week before, wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post saying: “Putin’s war has already been a strategic failure for Russia – its military weaknesses laid bare.” Both statements are incorrect. Nor is the war a “stalemate”, as Jake Sullivan has claimed more recently.

Ukraine has lost the war, and this will become very clear in the weeks ahead. Given the lack of any prospect for negotiations, nothing short of nuclear weapons could stop the measured but inexorable advance of Russian forces. You have said you want to avoid World War III. That’s what nukes (including “mini” ones) would mean.


At this historic juncture, we might seek what wisdom historians might offer. Here is Barbara Tuchman in her highly relevant book, The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam:

“Wooden-headedness…consists in assessing a situation in terms of preconceived fixed notions while ignoring or rejecting any contrary signs. It is acting according to wish while not allowing oneself to be deflected by the facts.”

As an example, Tuchman offered 16th century Philip II of Spain: “No experience of the failure of his policy could shake his belief in its essential excellence.” In the end, Philip amassed too much power and drained state revenues by failed adventures overseas, leading to Spain’s decline.

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s appeal Tuesday to U.S. allies to “dig deep” to provide Ukraine with more arms has the ring of wooden-headedness. It also brings to mind a more colloquial quip: “When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.”

Obama’s Take

We do not have to go back five centuries to Philip II. As you will recall, President Obama faced down bipartisan pressure to send arms to Ukraine. According to The New York Times, he warned aides “that arming the Ukrainians would encourage the notion that they could actually defeat the far more powerful Russians, and so it would potentially draw a more forceful response from Moscow.”

Lastly, attempts to dismiss President Vladimir Putin as paranoid don’t pass the smell test. Putin has heard from the lips of Secretary Austin:

“One of the U.S.’s goals in Ukraine is to see a weakened Russia. … The U.S. is ready to move heaven and earth to help Ukraine win the war against Russia.”

Our closing warning of a year ago seems worth repeating:

“Can the U.S. achieve Austin’s goal? Not without using nuclear weapons.

Thus, there is a large conceptual – and exceptionally dangerous – disconnect. Simply stated, it is not possible to ‘win the war against Russia’ AND avoid WWIII. That our Defense Secretary Austin may think this possible is downright scary. In any case, the Kremlin has to assume he thinks so. Thus, it is a very dangerous delusion.”

Willing to Help

Lastly, we are about to re-issue our quadrennial offer to be of assistance to all presidential candidates. This would, of course, include you.


  • Bogdan Dzakovic, former Team Leader of Federal Air Marshals and Red Team, FAA Security, (ret.) (associate VIPS)
  • Graham E. Fuller, Vice-Chair, National Intelligence Council (ret.)
  • Philip Giraldi, C.I.A., Operations Officer (ret.)
  • Matthew Hoh, former Capt., USMC, Iraq and Foreign Service Officer, Afghanistan (associate VIPS)
  • Larry C. Johnson, former C.I.A. and State Department Counter Terrorism officer
  • John Kiriakou, former C.I.A. Counterterrorism Officer and former senior investigator, Senate Foreign Relations Committee
  • Karen Kwiatkowski, former Lt. Col., U.S. Air Force (ret.), at Office of Secretary of Defense watching the manufacture of lies on Iraq, 2001-2003
  • Linda Lewis, WMD preparedness policy analyst, USDA (ret.)
  • Ray McGovern, former U.S. Army infantry/intelligence officer & C.I.A. analyst; C.I.A. Presidential briefer (ret.)
  • Elizabeth Murray, former Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East, National Intelligence Council & C.I.A. political analyst (ret.)
  • Todd E. Pierce, MAJ, US Army Judge Advocate (ret.)
  • Pedro Israel Orta, former C.I.A. and Intelligence Community (Inspector General) officer
  • Scott Ritter, former MAJ, USMC; former U.N. Weapons Inspector, Iraq
  • Coleen Rowley, FBI Special Agent and former Minneapolis Division Legal Counsel (ret.)
  • Lawrence Wilkerson, Colonel (USA, ret.), Distinguished Visiting Professor, College of William and Mary (associate VIPS)
  • Sarah G. Wilton, CDR, USNR, (ret.); Defense Intelligence Agency (ret.)
  • Ann Wright, retired U.S. Army reserve colonel and former U.S. diplomat who resigned in 2003 in opposition to the Iraq War

26 comments for “VIPS MEMO: To Biden — Avoid a Third World War

  1. wildthange
    January 27, 2024 at 21:10

    This century world civilization need to outgrow the male pattern dominance behaviors of previous world empires.
    The religious and military protection racket and culture control for patriarchy requires evolving into a balanced male-female world order. The old world strategic warfare for profit motives taken on the rest of world civilization is self defeating and wasting strategic resources necessary to protect all of human civilization from collapse.

  2. robert e williamson jr
    January 27, 2024 at 12:32

    Do I detect here in these comments that fear and loathing is being over taken by hate and discontent?

    We may be making some progress after all. Too bad the “Dimocranks” didn’t figure out this shit story the “Biden imperial presidency” would become.

    No time like the present to give these visionless, uninspired, totally lacking intelligence, foresight, imagination, pretenders to congresses seats in the swamp a very solid stern kick in the ass.

    No more “the honorable such n’ such” should be used by any who do not vocally call for an end to the genocide in Gaza.

    Shame on them, their souls and their families, who should be responsible for jerking a knot in their tails to straighten out their perverse thinking.

    Time to Dog their every breath and incessantly pursue them out of politics.

    thanks CN

  3. Vera Gottlieb
    January 26, 2024 at 09:27

    It is HIGH TIME that the US is given two black eyes and a bloody nose…and those supporting and remaining silent – guilty by association, should be taught the same lesson.

  4. Andrew Thomas
    January 25, 2024 at 22:00

    A great letter. And, if this august group wants to be taken seriously by Biden, trashing Obama and calling attention to the Maidan putsch run by Nuland AND BIDEN in 2014 would not have been a good idea. Probably the same goes for the acceptance of the incidence, rather than current existence, of World War III. We all thought that when it happened, it would start with the ICBMs and be over in an hour and a half. But, we have to, as Barbara Tuchman said, take into account developments that don’t line up with our preconceived notions. Between Ukraine, Gaza, all of the US sanctions, Syria, Iraq, the West Bank, the buildup in the Pacific, etc., it is very clear that World War III has already begun. Declarations of war are, of course, as irrelevant to war’s existence today as muskets are to its participants. We are working up to nuclear exchanges, rather than having started with them. Who woulda thought it just two years ago? But, better to leave that out of the letter as well. What was in it is probably a lot more truth than Biden can handle.

  5. January 25, 2024 at 17:18

    I was delighted to see this letter as it goes to the very heart of what is wrong with America. It has a tremendous brain trust of wise and experienced authorities scholars and journalists who should be advising government. Instead it is a monkey house. The inmates cannot be left in charge of the institution.
    America is going to have to make fundamental changes in how it is governed and enforces accountability.

  6. robert e williamson jr
    January 25, 2024 at 15:37

    I’ll take credit for being in compete agreement with this VIPS Memo to Joey. And I have credible evidence to back up this claim.

    SEE: Patrick Lawrence’s: Russia’s Turn From the West and my comment of 1/24/24 @22:37 – FYI comments there are now closed.

    The point of my comments there were voice my opinion on why Putin “Turned From the West”.

    The result was I once again pointed out that Putin had little choice but to act, especially when the big dog in the West refused to negotiate with him about anything.

    I take great solace in what the VIPS have to say here, “When you find yourself in a hole stop digging.”

    One would think that after witnessing the profound idiotic behavior of the “Orange Turd” during the past several years the Office of the President of the United States would adjust it’s policies in a manner that made some sort of sense, such as concrete moves to correct the ship of state’s course. I see no signs of such behavior and it is an election year as the VIPS memo addresses.

    Biden surely needs to cast off his “Zionist” beliefs if he intends to be successful, SEE: “Stop Digging!”

    Once again I see no signs of such behavior. I have some great advice to “Sleepy, see I told you he was too old to serves a second term four years ago, Joe!” WTF

    I vote for VIPS to serve on the next U.S. Security Council.

    “everyone is talking but nothing is being done”., lyrics from Jeff Becks 1989 album Guitar Shop, song in A Day In the House.

    Thanks CN

  7. CaseyG
    January 25, 2024 at 13:52

    Trump is an idiot and Biden and Blinken are idiots—although Netanyahu is doing well—-for the time being.
    But he too will cause his own death. And America—–I wonder, what did happen to you after Bush had his wars? Oh right, he was with the Texas Air National guard, and then just quit because he didn’t want to actually BE in the Vietnam war.
    America, you were really lucky that you were so far away from potential enemies. Then Truman did Hiroshima et al—
    Someone s once aid that after screwing up their own planet, the Martians came to Earth— and are now considering what they should do as there is no closer planet. Yes, I know that what I’m saying seems bizarre but can the history of all the different leaders of Earth get any more bizarre?

    Sadly America thinks it can be the UMPIRE of wars—but sadly current leaders it is your own EMPIRE that is dying

  8. John Zeigler
    January 25, 2024 at 11:50

    Dems and Republicans are putting forth unacceptable candidates for the Presidential election in November. Both of them live in echo chambers, and if they by chance hear anything to the contrary, they stick their fingers in their ears and chant, “la la la la, I can’t hear you!” Congress resembles nothing so much as a middle school cafeteria food fight, and the Supreme Court resembles nothing so much as a house of ill repute for sale to the highest bidder. The whole affair of government in these United States makes clown shows look very serious by comparison.

  9. Robert Marcus
    January 25, 2024 at 11:26

    You’re giving Obama (the butcher) way too much credit here. The coup happened on his watch, subsequent massacres happened on his watch. The antagonism towards Russia happened on his watch. The blood is on his hands as much as anybody’s.

    • Robert
      January 25, 2024 at 13:37

      Agree 100% with your assessment of Obama and Ukraine. Obama sent the very vile creature Victoria Nuland to Kiev and she was Obama’s point person on the Maiden coup of 2014. For that single decision Obama should be considered to have spectacularly failed the people of Ukraine.

    • daniel j. hersh
      January 25, 2024 at 13:52

      Obama got Bin laden. Most of the country felt he had control over foreign policy.

  10. Neo-Bolshevik
    January 25, 2024 at 11:10

    As always, the first step is to admit that you have a problem.

    Biden has no intention of avoiding a third world war. The platform of the Democratic Party, and generally of the US major parties, is to conduct a world war to insure world domination by Wall Street. The Democrats would of course prefer that their foreign opponents just get on their knees and surrender, following the local example of the Progressives, but, if the Democrats can’t bluff their way to that result, they are clearly willing to conduct a world war for world domination by Wall Street.

    The Democrats don’t see that this is a problem, and certainly will not admit that this is a problem. Thus, the advice on how to avoid a world war falls at the first hurdle.

    World War for World Domination by Wall Street.
    Including Genocide along the way if an important ally in our world war for Wall Street domination insists on it.
    The Democrats are clearly the Greater Evil.

  11. Randal Marlin
    January 25, 2024 at 11:01

    I recognize many of these names, and believe they have earned their credibility by putting their careers on the line in order to stand by truth against power.

  12. Drew Hunkins
    January 25, 2024 at 10:17

    Gotta love the VIPS!

  13. susan
    January 25, 2024 at 08:51

    Wish VIPS was running the country instead of the current meatheads…

    • Em
      January 25, 2024 at 13:49

      How does ad hominem ridiculing of individuals serve the greater cause you are so ardently promoting?
      Your comment reads like one of the bigoted D.J. Trump’s tactical statements he uses in promoting his narrow self-serving cause. (MAG) Make Another Gaffe suckers.
      Wish he had been barred from running for a second term, immediately after having been voted out, and reluctantly leaving government office?
      So much for wishes!!!
      Voting choices this time around seem, at this point in the unfolding drama; to be a repetition of either voting for the least worst candidate or for the indescribably worst candidate.

  14. TP Graf
    January 25, 2024 at 06:10

    For “file 13” of the first Biden gatekeeper in the Whitehouse … sadly.

    • Steve
      January 25, 2024 at 09:53

      Why in the world doesn’t Russia target Kiev, meaning roads, bridges, stations, grids, factories (off hours), etc? And then repeat every week.
      By focusing on 1 city they would put it out of commission.
      They should also disable key transportation (rail, roads, trucks) constantly.
      Why keep scratching the arm at great expense when you could stop the heart?
      Times running out (before NATO connives another blunder).

      • daniel j. hersh
        January 25, 2024 at 14:06

        Because a prolonged war is most beneficial to arms manufacturers and dealers.

        • anaisanesse
          January 25, 2024 at 15:44

          yes, but it is the USA doing this, NOT Russia which makes arms to fight and win wars, not to make profits for corporations. Russia’s actions are for defense, a word the USA misuses, but Russia is close to self-declared enemies and has asked politely for years to have its own security taken int consideration.

  15. James White
    January 25, 2024 at 03:57

    Every word is true.
    And this is a worthwhile exercise because it presents the truth in a public forum.
    Where people can read it, evaluate it and judge for themselves what steps ought to be taken immediately.
    Truth in stark contrast to 3 solid years of nothing but plain, outrageous lies about the Ukraine war.
    From the White House and Pentagon, amplified by the corrupt press.

    The problem that remains is that everything is up to Joe Biden.
    And Joe Biden only cares about himself and his family, period.
    The next big event on Joe’s calendar, the only event that matters on Joe’s calendar is the November election.
    The only thing that matters to Joe Biden is whether something will look good and help Joe get re-elected.
    Or if it will make Joe look bad.
    In that case Joe will have nothing to do with it.
    Joe Biden never had any strategic plan in this war.
    And he certainly has no reasonable plan for a way out.
    That is the sole reason that this useless war is still being fought.
    And the rest of the world is just along for the whole stupid ride.
    Because we have Joe Biden at the wheel.
    And Joe only cares about Joe.

    • Selina Sweet
      January 25, 2024 at 11:09

      Trying to prove to his alcoholic father he’s a man, a real man.

      • James White
        January 25, 2024 at 17:12

        The primary aspect of Joe Biden’s thought process is his insecurity. He was a stutterer as a young person, so the shame goes deeply with him.
        Joe was always regarded as the dumbest U.S. Senator throughout his career. Sen. Barack Obama wrote the words ‘just shoot me,’ when Biden launched into one of his tiresome speeches. Obama openly mocked Biden as his VP with ‘Never underestimate Joe’s ability to fuck things up.’ Robert Gates said that Biden had been wrong on every foreign policy decision for the past four decades, back in 2014. Trump says that lifetime alcoholic Sen. Ted Kennedy told him that everyone knew that Biden was the dumbest member of the Senate over his career.
        Joe is deeply insecure about how the Washington elite look down on him. When Trump goes after a critic, he tries to humiliate his opponent. Joe Biden’s reaction to critics is much darker. He boils with rage whenever anyone points out his lies. You can also see in Biden’s political rhetoric that he despises Trump voters. Because every one of them knows that Biden is a complete fraud. It infuriates Biden so he responds with vindictiveness.
        The Democrats are trying to change the voter demographics by importing poor people. But with Biden it is also purely personal. He is one mean, sick, old cadaver.
        The whole world is stuck with Joe Biden because the Covid hysteria resulted in changes to U.S. voter laws in ways that permitted mail-in and drop-off ballots along with vote ‘harvesting.’ Taken together these late game changes invited massive voter fraud that was mainly localized on swing states where a relatively low number of fraudulent ballots could tip the result from Trump to Biden.
        Not only is Biden the worst President in history, but he was placed there by corrupt Oligarchs against the will of the people. Notice how desperate the lying press is to constantly repeat the false narrative that ‘there was no evidence of voter fraud!’ If you are conscious of the cheating methods, you are smeared as and ‘election denier.’ It is the American people who were ‘denied’ a free and fair election.
        When people protested the stolen election, they were given 20 year prison sentences for ‘parading,’ at the Capitol. Nazi Pelosi choreographed and filmed her ‘fire in the Reichstag,’ complete with an army of FBI operatives such as Ray Epps, who urged protestors ‘that they must go inside the Capitol!’ Ray Epps was protected by his FBI handlers and the corrupt DOJ and was never held accountable for his actions on Jan. 6. These were the unlawful actions of a corrupt police state, which is what we live under in the U.S. today.

    • Neo-Bolshevik
      January 25, 2024 at 11:34

      “The problem that remains is that everything is up to Joe Biden.”

      This, of course, is NOT what democracy looks like. Its almost an accurate description of America, but not an accurate description of a functioning democracy. I say almost, because Joe Biden doesn’t get to set the menu for lunch, but if you substitute the real powers behind the Imperial Throne for the scowling image of Genocide Joe, then it is quite accurate.

      This is not what democracy looks like.

      The last time an American Election could really change things was when the American voters rejected Hoover’s version of Bidenomics and instead set America’s course towards the New Deal. That is what democracy looks like.

      • mary-lou
        January 26, 2024 at 04:53

        hear, hear! great comment.

Comments are closed.