Joe Biden: From hero to zero in just seven months
Imagine a celebrated running quarterback playing the last — and most significant — game of his career. At a critical moment, he fumbles and drops the ball. Suddenly it's all over for him and his team. Well, that's what Joe Biden now seems to have achieved in his political career. And we are all going to suffer for it.
The composite president of the U.S. known as Joe Biden has managed to do what most people in the Western world formerly thought impossible.
In his first few months in office, he has destroyed America's global reputation as the leader of the free world. The fiasco of the sudden unilateral U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan has made this much clear. In so doing, he has turned personal failure at home into a political catastrophe of global dimensions.
The catastrophe now unfolding in Kabul is being shown on TV screens the world over, and the implications are unavoidable. The rest of the world no longer sees America as the world's leading superpower, protecting freedom and democracy and keeping a lid on the putrefying cesspool of international terrorism. U.S. forces have been shown on the defensive, penned in by an undisciplined rabble wielding AK-47s and grenade-launchers, but — because of political weakness at the highest levels in Washington, D.C. — are unable to act assertively to extract all the American citizens under threat from these same terrorists. Will America's collaborators in the fight against global terrorism now see it as a weak and unreliable ally, lacking the resolve to stand up and protect even its own interests? If they do, one can hardly blame them.
In the U.K. — until now America's staunchest foreign ally — the House of Commons has already condemned Biden's actions.
Even the New York Times — normally an uncritical cheerleader for Biden — felt compelled to report that Biden's Afghanistan policy was upsetting America's closest ally.
And now that the disaster he has precipitated is too obvious for even him to ignore, Joe Biden's demeanor is slowly unraveling before our eyes.
His face has gone puffy of late, but in all other respects, he appears to be shrinking, physically, mentally, and morally. The latest manifestation of this regression was his obvious failed attempt to deal with his own inability to cope with the enormity of the tragic events he has unleashed. At a recent White House press conference, he suddenly went silent, closed his eyes, bowed his head, and shrank his shoulders while raising both hands as if to assume a fetal position while still standing at the podium. It was a gesture that can only be interpreted as one of abject humiliation and total defeat. This is a president who is in office but not actually in control of anything.
The video clip was soon transmitted all over the world, showing the man occupying the most powerful political position in the world apparently at a loss for words, crumbling under the burden of responsibility on his shoulders, closing his eyes to reality, and losing his dignity as a result.
Joe Biden has disappointed almost everyone in America — except, in a certain way, his political opponents. He promised to bring Americans together, and in a way, he certainly has. He's now the best recruiting sergeant his political opponents could hope for, alienating many of those who voted for him. And in the rest of the free world, there can be only sadness that this man who claimed to be so much better than Donald Trump has turned out to be so much worse. Biden is rapidly becoming a serious contender for the title of America's worst president.
In his first months in office, he focused mainly on undoing the good that Trump had done in the previous four years. This destructive urge appears to have been motivated by spite accompanied by a lack of commitment to doing what is best for America instead of himself.
Whatever Joe Biden does now, his presidency will be marked by his bad judgment over Afghanistan, an unforced error that cannot be blamed on Trump's deal with the Taliban. Trump's deal had pre-conditions, and the Taliban had already broken them. And in any case, Obama started the drawdown of U.S. forces on his watch, leaving Trump a poisoned chalice.
In 2016, Trump campaigned on lowering America's military presence overseas, and he threatened the Taliban with terrible consequences if they broke their peace agreement with him. But when Biden entered the White House, he simply shrugged his shoulders and in effect said to them: game over, you won, winner takes all. This one's all down to Biden.
Comparisons between the U.S. pull-out from Afghanistan and the abandonment of the U.S. Embassy in Saigon in 1975 do not capture the full enormity of what has just happened.
A serving U.S. president suddenly walked away from a war, with a shambolic pullout, catching his allies in the field by surprise. The result has been chaos and tragedy, leaving the enemy with a moral victory and many tens of billions of dollars of the most modern military hardware, supplied to them for free by America via the defeated Afghan military. There are indications that some of this hardware has already been re-activated by the Taliban. And thirteen brave servicemen lie dead.
What happens next in Afghanistan will, I suspect, be far worse than what happened in Vietnam in the years after 1975. What the terrorists in Afghanistan now do to harm U.S. interests around the world should come as no surprise.
Joe Biden, a mumbling; shuffling; confused; and, at times, incoherent old man, has gone in a few months from personal failure at home to causing a political catastrophe of global dimensions, the consequences of which will soon be unleashed upon us in the form of renewed terrorist attacks on the West.
Wen Wryte is the pseudonym of a retired teacher of philosophy.
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