Weak Joe Biden is no match for Vladimir Putin and other enemies: Goodwin

When it comes to making a deal with Russia, Joe Biden has a problem. He wants to talk, Vladimir Putin wants Ukraine – and has massed 175,000 troops at the border to prove it.

Biden has a similar problem with China and Iran. The president wants to talk about a series of problems and differences, they want to expand their territorial control and crush their enemies.

Our adversaries have clear goals and an iron fist, we have a groping and mumbling president who leads an alliance of largely disarmed welfare states formerly known as NATO. Our army is a giant awake but sleeping.

When it comes to presidents, Biden is particularly weak. He cannot unite his own party in Congress, and members of various factions do not feel the need to give him the legislation he wants. No one fears him.

Its poll numbers are underwater on virtually every issue. In matters of foreign policy, its approval is only 36%, according to the Real Clear Politics average of recent polls.

One reason could be that, whatever the flashpoint, the White House Biden reflexively and repeatedly emphasizes its commitment to diplomacy. Sometimes that promises “tough” diplomacy, which is meant to convey stronger brew, but you have to be steeped in Foggy Bottom puns to be sure.

Ukrainian soldiers patrolling near the separation line of pro-Russian rebels on December 7, 2021.
Ukrainian soldiers patrolling near the separation line of pro-Russian rebels on December 7, 2021.
AP Photo / Andriy Dubchak

Either way, diplomacy is an admirable process, but not a result. For Russia, China and Iran, it’s the outcome that matters.

Instinctively, Americans understand this. They don’t want war, but neither do they want to see their country jostled on the world stage.

The botched withdrawal from Afghanistan showed Biden's poor leadership in foreign policy.
The botched withdrawal from Afghanistan showed Biden’s poor leadership in foreign policy.

Which brings us to Biden’s weakest link: Afghanistan. His cowardly and chaotic withdrawal last summer revealed a willingness to abandon friends and allies, not to mention American citizens.

The ghost of this catastrophe looms over every foreign policy challenge, and Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping, and the Iranian mullahs certainly take it into account in their thinking. Afghanistan could prove to be a tragic foretaste of what lies ahead for Ukraine, Taiwan and Iraq.

Indeed, the Iranians are probably wondering how far Biden would go to protect Israel. There is no doubt that the Israelis themselves are not sure which is why they are taking matters into their own hands by blowing up the mullahs’ nuclear power plants and wiping out their scientists.

Israel cannot wait for Biden to help with Iran's growing nuclear threat.
Israel cannot wait for Biden to help with Iran’s growing nuclear threat.
Photo by ABEDIN TAHERKENAREH / EPA-EFE / Shutterstock

For the Israelis, Iranian nuclear weapons are existential threats, and they would be foolish to wait for Biden to save them.

If there is such a thing as wanting peace too much, Biden is to blame. As even the ancient Romans knew, “If you want peace, prepare for war.

Like Chamberlain in 1939, Biden is a sucker for every war-plotting tyrant who says the magic word only to buy time and concessions.

The President frequently speaks of the “power of our example” rather than of our power itself. It is a piece of well-being for the national public, but it is an invitation to global malice.

China and Russia have strengthened their military capabilities.
China and Russia have strengthened their military capabilities.
AP Photo / Ng Han Guan, file

Every president is tested by foreign players and so far Biden has been able to refine those tests. Now they are growing and converging in a threatening way.

Russia and China have carried out joint military exercises and are helping Iran avoid economic sanctions. Russia and China have also developed hypersonic missiles which have apparently surprised US intelligence and proved we are far behind.

“We are not as advanced as the Chinese or the Russians in terms of hypersonic programs,” recently admitted General David Thompson, vice chief of space operations.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is said to have developed hypersonic missiles that surprised US intelligence officials.
Chinese President Xi Jinping is said to have developed hypersonic missiles that surprised US intelligence officials.
Li Gang / Xinhua via AP

It is surely a coincidence that the virtual Biden-Putin summit took place on the 80th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor that dragged America into World War II. It’s safe to assume that neither man wants another global conflict, but they aren’t equally averse to risk over Ukraine.

“I would never underestimate President Putin’s risk appetite for Ukraine,” Biden’s CIA director William Burns told the Wall Street Journal on Monday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with President Biden to discuss Ukraine on December 7, 2021.
Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with President Biden to discuss Ukraine on December 7, 2021.
Sputnik, photo of the Kremlin swimming pool via AP

Putin took the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine and officially annexed it in 2014, under the Obama-Biden administration, so Biden must know that the Russian strongman will not be deterred by words alone.

Putin’s troop consolidation along Ukraine’s eastern border is now certainly taking stock in case Biden has forgotten.

It is not known whether Putin will actually invade, and it is possible that he is simply using the troops as a pressure point for concessions. Or maybe not.

Biden's own decisions hurt his chances of dealing with Putin's troop-building near Ukraine.
Biden’s own decisions hurt his chances of dealing with Putin’s troop build-up near Ukraine.
Photo by Mikhail Svetlov / Getty Images

The only guarantee is that Putin does not intend to allow the former Soviet state to join NATO or become a Western outpost. Hence the military support for the separatist movement in eastern Ukraine and the threatening build-up.

Even Biden’s warning of economic sanctions in the event of an invasion by Russia comes with caveats. For the sanctions to work, he would need the support of Germany and other European powers.

But Biden curtailed that possibility in May by stupidly lifting sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, which carries natural gas from the Russian Arctic under the Baltic Sea to Germany, bypassing Ukraine.

Former President Donald Trump has imposed sanctions on the project and its managing director, a close friend of Putin. Biden has overturned the penalties supposedly in favor of then-German Chancellor Angela Merkel, but the plan makes Germany a hostage to Putin’s games. If it cuts off the gas in winter, Germany freezes.

In total, Europe gets around 35% of its gas from Russia, which makes Germany and other NATO partners unreliable partners, even in imposing sanctions.

Likewise, Biden’s “diplomatic embargo” on the Beijing Olympics is a weak response to China’s human rights abuses, the silence of Hong Kong dissidents, and threats to invade Taiwan. China, like Russia, will not be dissuaded by half measures that do not even amount to saber strikes.

Iran, while much weaker than Russia and China, is just as bold in giving Biden the broom. He won’t meet with his negotiators to revive the nuclear deal Trump abandoned, leaving Biden to bid against himself in increasing concessions.

The "diplomatic boycott" of the Winter Olympics in Beijing is a weak response to human rights violations in China.
The “diplomatic boycott” of the Beijing Winter Olympics is a weak response to human rights violations in China.
Photo by Kevin Frayer / Getty Images

Given the growing dangers, Robert Gates’ scathing rebuke cannot be ignored. Biden, the former secretary of defense wrote, “has been wrong about almost every major foreign and national security policy issue in the past four decades.”

Fortunately, Biden was not president during these previous blunders.

Bipartite respect

Bob Dole’s death is a rare moment that unites both parties and most Americans around the idea that the greatest generation was just that.

Those feelings will dominate coverage and commentary as his body rests in state on Capitol Hill Thursday and his funeral Friday. Then everyone in Washington will go back to their corner and start hating everyone again.

Chris Cuo’s Fire Week

Radio man Mark Simone uses Twitter to compile Chris Cuomo’s Very Bad Week. CNN fired him first, then Sirius Radio let him go, which led Simone to tweet, “Chris Cuomo is fired again. This time, it’s Harper Collins who fires him, canceling his book contract. That’s 3 times he’s been fired in a week.

“Shattering” idea for Dem votes

Reader Steve Marcinak has an idea that is too smart not to share it. He writes: “Democrats are missing the boat by not having voter registration booths in all armed robberies.

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