President Joe Biden is burning through relationships quicker than the Democratic Party says the world is running out of fossil fuels. Caught in an ideological trap, the commander-in-chief in his short tenure has waxed and waned between far-left progressivism and moderate left-of-center policies in the hope of being all things to all people. And none of it has worked. The economy remains dire, crime is surging, and the border is, by all objective measures, broken. Perhaps it’s time for the president to try a new approach that focuses not on internationalist wish lists but a “home-team” agenda. He could call it an America First vision.
Internationalism Broke Biden
Say what you like about former President Donald Trump – and many people do – but he was never going to beg unfriendly despots for concessions no matter how bad the domestic playing field got. The current administration, however, appears engaged in a digital whistlestop tour to try to stave off an energy apocalypse as oil prices surge and supply runs short. Beginning with an in-person trip to ask Saudi Arabia to “spare a little change” and then a flat-out request for OPEC+ not to nail him to the cross of green renewables by cutting crude output, Biden has been thwarted by every international player he has courted.
And what of the next countries in line to provide the US with fuel? Will the president lift sanctions and allow the production of weapons-grade uranium in Iran to take place without oversight in order to fend off rising gas prices at home? If sanctions in Venezuela were morally correct to apply in the first place, why is it morally acceptable to lift them now?
And then there are the other foreign relations debacles.
It is widely reported in outlets on both sides of the political aisle that former President Barack Obama once warned a fellow Democrat: “Don’t underestimate Joe’s ability to f— things up.” Such sage counsel was apparently ignored by the Democratic leadership when it opted to anoint then-candidate Biden for the top spot.
“I think he has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades,” noted former Defense Secretary Robert Gates when writing about the then-VP. And yet, the Fourth Estate spent the entire Trump presidency lambasting 45 for derailing America’s reputation on the world stage. In fact, when Biden took over the White House, the slogan “America is back” dominated headlines. So what does being “back” look like when the return is somewhat less than prodigal and more akin to a rehash of the Great Depression?
Biden rashly spoke of regime change in Russia while visiting Poland back in March. Although the White House walked back his comments, Russian President Vladimir Putin heard him loud and clear. Putin is now in a position where he likely can’t back out of the mess he created in Ukraine without losing his position and ending up tried for war crimes. North Korea’s Kim Jong Un is sending more and more missiles flying, openly stating that he is testing for “nuclear warnings.” Those two situations would have been unthinkable during the last presidency.
The Build Back Better Undercurrent
Biden’s signature policy – infused in each major piece of legislation – is the Build Back Better agenda. Mentioned in hundreds of speeches and White House dispatches, this remaking of the nation through social spending and climate-based bills is sold to the public as relying on the “hard work and ingenuity of the American people.” Why then is the same set of policy proposals being employed by numerous leaders throughout the Western world?
The United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia, and Canada are just a few of the countries that have adopted BBB. It appears the whole premise relies on internationalist goals that favor shared outcomes rather than independent action.
Can Biden Put America First on the Table?
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work,” wrote Thomas Edison. This is a lesson that Biden could well take to heart. He has tried pandering to the progressives, has attempted to steer a steady center-left course (invariably followed by a swift hard left back to the murky waters of the woke), and – as evidenced by his BBB agenda – has dipped his toes in the waters of internationalism. He even tried a Trump-light approach, telling a Maryland crowd: “Let me start off with two words – Made in America.” All of these efforts have brought unwelcome results.
Perhaps it’s time for a strategy rethink and to give “America First” the good old college try. If it succeeds, he may regain reputational saving grace for pulling the country out of a downward spiral he initiated. If he fails, well, it would be just one more method that didn’t work. Only 9,996 more to go.
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