When it comes to the thorny matter of providing for Ukraine’s defense against Russian aggression without provoking a Russian response against the West, Joe Biden is engaged in a furious wrestling match with himself.

“We are not going to send to Ukraine rocket systems that can strike into Russia,” Biden said with definitive clarity on Monday. Kyiv had been requesting the transfer of mobile long-range multiple rocket batteries for several weeks, and Russia’s truncated but concentrated offensive in Ukraine’s Donbas region heightened the urgency of the matter. And yet, just about 24 hours after Biden took long-range rockets off the table, he reversed himself.

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