As many Americans are likely becoming more aware of, confidence in the competence of President Joe Biden is waning quickly.
The images and videos coming out of Afghanistan show a catastrophic failure to execute a withdrawal from the troubled country, and indicate that serious failures in intelligence and planning have taken place at the highest levels of our government.
Even many of Biden’s media and political defenders are noticing and criticizing his leadership amid one of the worst foreign-policy fiascos in American history. Perhaps more than a few feel that Biden’s failures betray his message that he would bring the “adults” back to Washington.
What we’ve seen, in the short amount of time since Biden took office, is a number of catastrophes as the administration flails at pushing its deeply partisan domestic agenda through Congress. The failures on the world stage make the situation a lot worse.
On issues that most directly fall on the executive branch, like the protection of our borders and conduct of our foreign and military policy, the administration has blundered into a series of unquestionable failures.
This, despite the Biden administration being filled with what the media celebrated as one of the most “diverse” and “experienced” set of advisers and cabinet secretaries ever. It looks like that didn’t matter.
The Biden administration initially pushed wokeness; it now projects weakness and frailty at home and abroad. The 45th president’s response to the unraveling disaster in Afghanistan was to essentially blame his predecessors, the Afghan president, and everyone else while lamely and unconvincingly saying “the buck stops here.”
How different from President John F. Kennedy following the botched Bay of Pigs operation in Cuba, who said that he alone bore responsibility to the country.
In his speech following a weekend of mayhem in Afghanistan, Biden was essentially the anti-Kennedy.
Biden delivered an address he should have given months ago about why the U.S. should not be nation-building in Afghanistan and why it’s important to leave. President Donald Trump had the same message, which is why he initiated the withdrawal in the first place. But then Biden completely dodged the issue of the hour, which was why the operation to carry out the withdrawal was an unmitigated disaster.
He then dodged questions from reporters and immediately went back to Camp David to continue his vacation. He only returned to the public eye on Wednesday to deliver a speech about COVID-19. He attacked Republican governors about school mask mandates and then departed from the podium without taking questions.
Is he hoping the story will just blow over and the country will move on to another news cycle? How supremely insulting to the intelligence of the American people if that’s the case.
In a following interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos asked Biden if the situation could have been handled better. The president essentially said “no.”
To make matters far worse, when he was asked about the videos of Afghan people falling from planes, Biden responded, “that was four days ago, five days ago.”
It was two days ago, but what difference does it make, right?
Some have compared Biden to former President Jimmy Carter in how he is handling the situation in Afghanistan. But that comparison is unfair to Carter. In the Iranian hostage crisis, Carter personally took charge of the rescue operation to retrieve Americans held hostage in the U.S. embassy. The mission ended in failure.
In a message to the country after aborting the mission, Carter, like Kennedy, took complete and unequivocal responsibility.
“It was my decision to attempt the rescue operation. It was my decision to cancel it when problems developed in the placement of our rescue team for a future rescue operation. The responsibility is fully my own,” he said in a White House statement.
That wasn’t all. Carter reassured Americans that the effort to bring our people home would not relent:
As president, I know that our entire nation feels the deep gratitude I feel for the brave men who were prepared to rescue their fellow Americans from captivity. And as president, I also know that the nation shares not only my disappointment that the rescue effort could not be mounted, because of mechanical difficulties, but also my determination to persevere and to bring all of our hostages home to freedom.
There certainly was a crisis of confidence in Carter’s abilities to lead, which is why we ended up with Ronald Reagan in the White House after a single term of the Carter administration. Still, Carter wasn’t derelict or unwilling to face the consequences of his decisions. If anything, he was just an ineffectual micromanager.
Biden’s failure at this moment goes much deeper
“History will not judge the Biden presidency kindly for this,” Bill Roggio, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and editor of the Long War Journal, said in an interview with The Daily Signal’s Fred Lucas.
“This makes child’s play out of any of Jimmy Carter’s failures. Carter mishandled a hostage situation,” Roggio said. “Biden took actions that led to the collapse of an ally that we had invested enormous blood and treasure in. This is a defeat for the U.S. and a defeat for the Afghan government.”
Presidents should be active when American citizens are in extreme danger abroad. But while Biden is apparently away on vacation, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan would not even comment about whether troops will leave before all Americans are out of Afghanistan. When asked about U.S. citizens being trapped in the country, Sullivan said at a press conference, “I’m not going to comment on hypotheticals.”
That’s reassuring. For Americans trapped there, it’s not looking good.
Even when the U.S. was a far weaker country, the ill treatment of U.S. citizens abroad has nearly always been a cause for decisive action from our presidents and federal government. It’s why we entered the War of 1812 over British impressment of U.S. sailors, even though we were highly unprepared to take on a world superpower.
Great countries don’t abandon their citizens to the ravages of others without a fight.
Now we have no answers and a president who has not only failed to take decisive action but is now missing in action. Comparisons to Carter are unfair to Carter.
It may be better to draw a comparison between Biden and the only other president born in Pennsylvania: James Buchanan. The experienced man of Washington overwhelmed by the historical moment who dithered and slept as the country disintegrated.
The American crisis continues.
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