Fear – of embarrassment, mistakes, admitting truth, changing one’s mind, disgrace, even COVID – seems to play a growing role in President Biden’s decision-making, with serious implications. Fear is not a good attribute in leaders on whom we depend for calm, rational decision-making.
Some will say that all politicians are sensitive to criticism, some more inept, less secure, retreating from vulnerable venues or overreacting –– to cover doubt and insecurities.
All that is true, but Biden is beginning to look a bit different. For starters, here is a president who hid in a basement during 2020, refuses questions, and – in national security and foreign policy – likes to describe himself as an expert, yet is roundly seen as having horrific judgment.
Wrote Robert Gates – a bipartisan defense secretary, former head of the CIA, and man known for understatement – in 2014: “I think he has been wrong on nearly every foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.” See, e.g., Robert Gates Thinks Joe Biden Hasn’t Stopped Being Wrong for 40 Years.
Lest people see this as a statement of personal disaffection, Gates was Obama’s defense secretary, worked for every President since Richard Nixon, except Clinton – non-partisan.
At times, Biden seems strangely unanchored, out of step, making bad decisions, then getting intransigent, backpedaling, isolating himself. Thus, Biden’s judgment was dead wrong on Osama bi Laden, only official to oppose that mission, “fearing the blowback.” See, e.g., James Jay Carafano: Biden’s drone disaster gives Americans a bigger problem to worry about | Fox News.
Even formerly friendly media confess Biden is off. As President, things are getting worse. The gravity and irreversible effects of Biden’s bad judgment – based on fear – is the only new part.
Thus, we just witnessed an unplanned, wrong-headed abandonment of phased, conditional withdrawal from Afghanistan, intransigence on the date, capitulation to terrorists, stunning equipment, technology, and intelligence losses, giving away of a critical airbase, and unforgivable abandonment (to death, torture, imprisonment, persecution) of hundreds – likely thousands – of Americans, families, and allies.
One formerly friendly outlet concedes things are edgy, fit a pattern.
The list of Biden blunders is long. It includes betrayal in 1975 of the South Vietnamese government by withholding aid, creating a humanitarian crisis, opposing the limited Gulf War in 1991, one of our nation’s most successful and restrained – later saying George H.W. Bush should have been more aggressive.
In 2003, when many opposed hitting Iraq, Biden was an enthusiast, only to later regret it. In 2007, when George W. Bush pushed a troop “surge” in Iraq to repulse terrorism, Biden called that a “tragic mistake.” The surge stabilized the country.
In 2011, Biden was a champion – before managing Ukrainian and China for Obama, to personal gain – of precipitous withdrawal from Iraq. He called the pullout “one of the great achievements of this administration.”
Immediately, ISIS swept in, nearly wiping out Syria and Iraq. As experts note, that “sent Iraq spiraling into sectarian violence and civil war, allowing Iran to expand its influence …” along with ISIS. President Trump reversed all that. See, Biden’s Long Trail of Betrayals.
In Ukraine, Biden pressured the country to remove a prosecutor investigating his son, who was making money off connections to the older Biden. In China, Biden overlooked militarization of the high seas, space, and Far East, human rights atrocities, trade illegalities, currency manipulation, usury in foreign lending, intellectual property theft, cyber-penetration, theft of classified data, prevalence of in US education, all while facilitating – on Air Force Two – his son’s trip to China for a multimillion-dollar contract.
That brings us to “now.” What has happened? Beyond the betrayal of Americans and allies in Afghanistan, Biden seems nonplussed by rash acts, first declining to put the US military in Kabul then doing so but giving away Bagram to the Taliban. Now we learn his chain killed ten civilians, including seven children, in a drone strike.
Worse, he was silent – until Pentagon officials talked Friday. Governed by fear – Biden and his team hid, knowing they had failed to hit terrorists, claiming to be tough, knowing they killed innocents, over-the-horizon a failed approach.
In the end, this President is not just ill-suited to the post, ill-equipped, with notoriously bad judgment. He is infuriating allies, empowering adversaries, boosting terrorists, evading accountability, shading truth from fear and insecurity.
Seldom is a leader more dangerous than when insecure, aware that others know he is fearful. This is the kind of leader who begins pushing his will, telling untruths, mandating behaviors to show he is tough, misstating facts, taking rash acts.
In short, fear is not a good attribute in any leader, especially worrisome when a nation needs calm, rational, alert decision-making. One could argue pointing this out is dangerous – but then, frankly, most of the world already knows it.
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