By Ethan Oppenheim
President Joe Biden’s incompetence is obvious. While some of his daily slip-ups and missteps might be funny, they’re also embarrassing and a sign of weakness, lack of awareness, and ineptitude. They demonstrate Mr. Biden’s inability to lead not just the United States, but the entire free world. Below are just some instances of his disastrous foregin policy thus far:
The Afghanistan withdrawal
In Aug. 2021, the Biden administration coordinated a withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, and the radical Islamic military and political group known as the Taliban quickly took power, leading to severe instability in the region. The group has since rolled back years of reforms related to democracy, women’s rights, and equality that persisted during United States occupation. In addition to the suffering of millions of Afghani citizens, including but not limited to the Taliban sexually enslaving women and girls, thousands of Americans were left behind, leading to a haphazard rescue effort in which 13 US service members were killed.
In April, 2021, Russia began deploying thousands of troops, as well as weaponry and military equipment, along Ukraine’s border. Mr. Biden’s Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, even acknowledged this was extremely problematic. “We’re now seeing the largest concentration of Russian forces on Ukraine’s borders since 2014,” said Mr. Blinken, when the buildup first began to take place. “That is a deep concern not only to Ukraine, but to the United States.”
Clearly, the Biden administration knew that Russia intended to act maliciously in deploying troops and weaponry along Ukraine’s border. However, the president refused to act until it was too late. He did not send a message to Russian President Vladimir Putin that this kind of reckless behavior would not be tolerated. Mr. Biden’s negotiations on the issue of Ukraine failed at the June 2021 Russia-United States Summit in Geneva, Switzerland. Additionally, Mr. Biden failed to coordinate with our NATO allies to amass protection for Ukraine, which is the least he could have done.
The administration had over 10 months to deter, or at least prepare for, Russia’s impending invasion of Ukraine. Instead, they chose the passive route, refusing to act decisively and allowing Mr. Putin to act maliciously. And unfortunately, this culminated in Russia’s abhorrent, illegal, and destructive invasion of Ukraine.
Mr. Putin’s invasion has caused massive devastation to Ukraine and its people, with several cities being destroyed and millions of civilians being displaced. According to the United Nations, at least 12 million people have fled their homes in Ukraine. Over the course of the war, more evidence of serious war crimes committed by Russia has been uncovered.
While Mr. Biden should be commended for his success in rallying NATO and uniting the Western world behind supporting Ukraine (which should be expected from the leader of the free world), he has backed down from taking decisive action in numerous cases that could have otherwise prevented needless deaths.
After Russia shifted its strategy entirely toward the East, Mr. Biden had the opportunity to persuade NATO to enforce no-fly zones over the Western and Northern regions of Ukraine, especially Kyiv. Not doing so has allowed Russia to target civilians in Kyiv and over 40 other major cities in retaliation for Ukraine striking a major supply line crucial to Russia’s war effort. In addition, the Biden administration has been reluctant to supply Ukraine with longer-range missiles in what is another pathetic example of letting Mr. Putin dictate the terms of the ongoing conflict.
Mr. Biden’s failure to prevent OPEC+ from cutting oil production
Over the summer, Mr. Biden met with the Prince and Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman. One of Mr. Biden’s primary goals was to encourage Saudi Arabia to increase oil production. However, it appears that Mr. Biden knew Saudi Arabia was planning to slash oil production, and the Saudi Foreign Affairs Ministry suggested in a statement that the Biden administration asked them to postpone its decision until after the midterm elections in November.
While Mr. Biden has threatened retaliatory measures against Saudi Arabia, he has yet to follow through on his promise or even explain his plan to punish the Saudis. Mr. Biden’s failure to dissuade Saudi Arabia from tightening the global oil supply will have a devastating impact on American families at the pump. It could have been avoided simply by asserting American strength and influence to deter Saudi Arabia rather than letting a corrupt dictator determine what Americans pay for gas.
Since the start of his presidency, Mr. Biden’s foreign policy strategy has been one of passivity, allowing foreign leaders who show a lack of regard for international law and human rights to dictate international relations. If Mr. Biden’s goal is to maintain world peace and preserve human rights, equality, democracy, and liberal values, clearly his strategy has not worked out thus far.
Mr. Oppenheim is a junior at Chapman University. He is majoring in political science and philosophy and minoring in film music and history.