Thursday, October 28, 2021

The Biden Presidency in Freefall

New York Times columnist Bret Stephens has skillfully catalogued the serial failures of the Biden presidency. I will happily share his analysis.

And he asserts that America needs Biden to succeed. In truth, and in the larger scheme of things, we all need our president to succeed. I will mention, in passing, that no one on the left or even in the center ever dared say that America needed the Trump presidency to succeed.

After listing Biden’s failures, noting that good old Joe has been wrong on just about every foreign policy issue since the beginning of time and that even Barack Obama had no confidence in Biden’s competence, Stephens suggests that Biden has been ill advised. And that he can solve the problem by bringing back Robert Gates. 


In truth, the people Biden hired are people he hired. From the inept Antony Blinken to the absurd Lloyd Austin to the corrupt Jake Sullivan, these are Biden’s people. If you voted for Joe you voted for this crew. 

Besides, not to be overly obvious, but the buck stops with the president. We need a new president, if anything, and we are not going to get one for a few years now, especially given that the alternative to Biden is the thoroughly incompetent Kamala Harris.

Anyway, for your edification, and just in case you do not subscribe to the Times, here is some of the Stephens analysis:

In other words, on one of the central foreign policy challenges of our time, the president can’t get his facts straight. On another, he can’t seem to get his message across. On the third, it’s unclear whether there’s any coherent policy at all.

America’s position in the world as a credible ally to embattled friends and a serious foe to adventurist enemies is visibly crumbling.

Biden is bringing about an American decline. It's going to take more than a change of personnel to solve this.

So, let’s take it from the top, beginning with the recent Iranian attack on American troops in Syria:

A “complex, coordinated and deliberate attack,” was how John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, on Monday described a recent drone assault on a U.S. military outpost in Syria that helps train local allies to fight ISIS. It was carried out with as many as five Iranian drones, launched by Iranian proxies, and conducted with Iran’s aid and blessing.

We’ll see if there’s any kind of U.S. response. The Biden administration is still desperate to get Iran back to the negotiating table to sign a nuclear deal that would free up billions of dollars in funding that Tehran can use to conduct more such attacks.

Of course, letting Iran have nuclear weapons is more important than defending America. As for whether we will respond, don’t bet on it.

And then there are Russian cyberattacks against America. You recall that Biden warned the Russians against such attacks. Now we know how seriously Vladimir Putin takes the words of Joe Biden:

Also on Monday, The Times’s David Sanger reported that a Russian intelligence agency, the S.V.R., is once again engaged in a campaign “to pierce thousands of U.S. government, corporate and think-tank computer networks,” according to Microsoft cybersecurity experts. This comes just a few months after President Biden personally warned Vladimir Putin against renewing such attacks — while also going easy on the penalties the U.S. imposed for previous intrusions.

Around the same time, Biden announced that “now is the time to de-escalate.” It would seem his Russian counterpart doesn’t agree.

And then there is Taiwan. Stephens wrote this before the government of Taiwan announced that American troops are stationed there:

Then there is the sharp and worrying uptick of Chinese military flights approaching Taiwan’s airspace. The idea that Beijing may seek to seize the island democracy by force has moved, in a matter of weeks, from a remote prospect to a distinct possibility.

Biden has claimed repeatedly that the United States has a treaty obligation to come to Taiwan’s defense in the event of an attack, most recently at his CNN town hall last week. Subsequent clarifications from the White House have acknowledged that the United States is obligated by the Taiwan Relations Act only to provide sufficiently for Taiwan’s self-defense, without an explicit guarantee of U.S. military intervention.

Either Biden doesn’t know what the policy is or he is suffering from some serious cognitive decline. It will take more than Robert Gates to pull him from his decline.

It gets better, or worse, depending on your perspective.

Stephens continues to indict the president on a number of other issues. He begins with the absurd notion that people elected Biden because he promised, wisdom, experience and competence:

But Biden was elected on a promise of wisdom, experience and competence. Can anyone seriously say that we’ve gotten that?

The more pertinent question is, did anyone really believe that? Or did they need to prop up a scarecrow of a man because they were willing to do anything to destroy the big, bad Trump.

What was the Biden promise? Stephens lists the components:

The administration entered office with a sense of where it thought the world was heading. Donald Trump’s exit would dramatically improve relations with our allies and at least facilitate diplomacy with our adversaries. A more humane policy on the southern border would ease the humanitarian crisis. The burden of the pandemic would substantially ease by the Fourth of July. We would make a safe and popular exit from Afghanistan by Sept. 11. The economy would prosper.

How is that working out, bunky? Apparently not very well. Stephens explains:

Now every expectation has gone sideways, with little indication that the administration did any thinking about what might go wrong, much less any planning in case it did.

Serial incompetence-- as though you were expecting something else.

Beginning with the Afghanistan withdrawal:

Afghanistan? “There’s going to be no circumstance where you see people being lifted off the roof of a embassy,” the president said in July, barely a month before the world saw thousands of Afghans begging to be airlifted from a country surrendering to fanatics.

How are our relations with our allies. Biden says they are great, but he is obviously either oblivious or lying or both:

Relations with allies? “President Biden says he hears no criticism from America’s allies about the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan and the collapse of the government,” The Times’s Steven Erlanger reported in August. “But the criticism in Europe, at least, is loud and persistent.”

As for the immigration problem, placed in the incapable hands of Vice President Kamala Harris:

The border? In March, Biden assured the country that the surge in migration was merely seasonal, and that it “happens every single solitary year.” Instead, Border Patrol encounters with migrants reached a record high in the last year.

And, what about inflation:

The economy? In July, the president dismissed price increases as “expected, and expected to be temporary.” Current headline in The Times: “Rising Prices, Once Seen as Temporary, Threaten Biden’s Agenda.”

True enough, the Biden did accomplish one thing. It signed a nuclear submarine deal with Great Britain and Australia. Unfortunately, this ruined relations with our French ally:

Even the administration’s one genuine strategic accomplishment — the U.S.-British-Australian nuclear submarine deal, signed at France’s expense — was botched. Expect Paris to serve its diplomatic revenge cold the next time we need its help.

This is not a very good report card. It does not tell us that the administration needs some seasoned advice from Robert Gates. It tells us that the Biden presidency is off to an awful start, and that things are likely to get worse before they get better.

And Stephens does not even mention the appalling conduct of Attorney General Merrick Garland. Even Robert Gates will not be able to clean up that mess. 


Anonymous said...

First; no one believe Biden won. The Democrats stole the election. A massive steal that may have required 15 million fraudulent votes. Second; no one believes that Biden is running things. His appointments are in reality someone else's appointments and their agenda is not known. The agenda "seems" to be to destroy the republic.

Sam L. said...

WHAT??????? The NYT disses Biden?? The HORROR!! The horror... I wish I could show just how this stretches my face into a grin...

Anon, surely no one now trusts Democrats...

markedup2 said...

There is a sizeable, but thankfully dwindling, percentage of the populace that still does trust the Democrats. I have no idea why. Biden's poll numbers are abysmal, but 37% approval is about 100 million people/useful idiots.

lynney62 said...

OMG! I laughed so hard I spit out my evening cocktail when I read your "Whatever" about bringing out Gates! Thank you for my best *laugh of the day!!

Sam L. said...

The Dems went for Biden. It was THEIR choice. It wasn't forced on them. It would SEEM that they might could find someone better, but NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. You cannot see my amazing grin, but it's BIG!! And a hearty, HO, HO, HO to the Dems!