Criticizing our Allies for noticing our leadership’s weakness will not fix the problem.
American foreign policy is clearly in decline and isn’t necessarily measured by an occasional misstep. It is more measured by how the world perceives us overall — not whether they agree with any given foreign policy pronouncement. And the world sees the US in decline — a steep decline.
It became noticeable and evident in the aftermath of the Biden Administration’s disastrous handling of the withdrawal from Afghanistan. Thirteen Americans were killed by a suicide bomber when the troops on the ground knew exactly what was happening, what the risks were, and who posed that risk, but the higher-ups refused to allow them to protect themselves.
And the Administration trusted the Taliban — our nation’s sworn enemy — to provide security for our people. It should surprise no one that they didn’t provide security but instead used the trust we placed in them to kill our people and to intercept our people trying to evacuate the nation before it descended into a totalitarian ball of flames.
But it didn’t stop there. In the following months, Russian President Vladimir Putin saw his opening because weakness is provocative. He began mobilizing troops on the Ukraine border. Biden again showed weakness which was highly provocative. He even said that he could live with a “minor incursion” by Russian troops, which many saw as a green light to attack.
While it makes sense not to want to engage America in a full-fledged war in Europe, it also makes sense to use America’s strength to help avert war in Europe. And there is a middle ground where America could have used its strength to dissuade Putin’s plans and, at the same time, not plunge us or anyone into war. But instead, the Biden administration effectively signaled to Russia that we would respond in very muted ways to an unprovoked attack and land grab in Ukraine.
Once the war started, it would become much more difficult to stop it than it would have been to avoid it in the first place. So a significant opportunity was lost because of the Biden Administration’s weakness.
In the early stages of the war, the Ukrainians mainly fought with handmade Molotov cocktails and civilian weapons. The Biden administration slowly began to provide them with some small military help — with enough weapons to help them defend themselves. Still, not enough weapons to repel the Russian attack and win the conflict.
But of course, Biden, while not generous with military aid, was very generous with cash, sending billions of dollars to Ukraine, most of which is accounted for and much of which is being used to pay pension plans, and millions of which came back to Democrat Party campaign coffers.
The weakness didn’t stop there. China, our chief adversary in the world today, sent a hi-tech spy balloon over the US and very sensitive military installations. We did nothing until its mission was completed, and then and only then, did we shoot it down. In recognition of this error, the Biden administration began shooting down high school science experiments — $50 weather balloons that had blown off course — with missiles that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Even more recently, Russian fighter jets attacked an American drone in international airspace damaging it and causing it to crash into the Black Sea. The Biden administration’s response has been to complain about it.
And even some of Biden’s domestic policy is making America look weak internationally. On energy, the Biden Administration’s war on domestic energy has harmed not only American consumers but has strengthened Putin and helped him fund his adventurism. Then Biden was reduced to pleading with other energy-producing nations to increase their production when we could have increased it. Still, Biden was too weak and feckless to admit his error on day one of his presidency.
The rest of the world has been observing the sharp decline in American foreign policy and acting accordingly. America was once a trusted ally. But now, our allies see the weakness of the Biden administration, and they have to hedge their bets. So suddenly, China is becoming a more assertive foreign policy voice and shaping world politics to their liking.
Some of my friends are critical of our allies, who have been meeting with China and other adversarial nations in search of security agreements. But I would argue that is not the fault of our allies. They are obligated to pursue arrangements likely to lead to their security. They have judged that the Biden Administration is so feckless, weak, and unreliable that they can no longer depend upon America. I don’t know how we can blame them for coming to that conclusion. They are simply watching world events and making a rational assessment of reality.
While America’s fighting men and women are every bit as well trained and qualified as they were a year or two ago, and while our aircraft carriers, bombers, tanks, and other military equipment are as robust as they were a year or two ago, what has changed is the weakness and fecklessness of our leadership.
We now have people in the Pentagon who argue that our most significant security risk is the climate or that the military should be focusing on pronoun usage. It isn’t only China and Russia who see this as sheer lunacy. Our allies also see this. And it has to lead them to believe that our leadership’s stupidity and fecklessness are terrible signs of our reliability as an ally.
In fairness, this should come as a surprise to no one. According to Politico, it was Barack Obama who once said, “Don’t underestimate Joe’s ability to (F) things up.” And Robert Gates, the former defense secretary under Obama, said of Joe Biden that he’s “been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.” Both of these statements are proven correct daily.
So rather than criticizing our allies for noticing reality, it is time for America to stop giving them reasons to doubt us. That does not mean we must plunge ourselves into war at every turn. It simply means we must project strength at every turn. We are seeing the truth of the statement that weakness is provocative. It is time for America to be strong and to show strength. That is the best way to avoid wars. As George Washington said, in his first address to both houses of Congress in 1790, “to be prepared for a war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace.”
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