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Why The Media Keeps Calling Joe Biden Weak

Weak Joe Biden
President Joe Biden, joined by Vice President Kamala Harris, delivers remarks on the Victims of Crime Act Fix to Sustain the Crime Victims Fund on Thursday, July 22, 2021, in the East Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)

We remember presidents by adjectives. Wilson was professorial, Kennedy debonair, Reagan grandfatherly, Clinton slick, and Trump, well, unique.

As for our forty-fifth, there’s a reason why media takes on President Joe Biden’s unconscionable Afghanistan pullout keeps using one word to describe him. On that issue and many others, he assuredly is weak.

Set aside the fact that Biden left an unknown number of Americans behind, gave away Bagram Air Base, and donated billions of dollars’ worth of matériel to the Taliban. He’ll be forever associated with a war that, as H.R. McMaster puts it, “ended in self-defeat.”

Elsewhere, Biden fares little better. He seems to think indoctrinating the military in critical race theory and keeping its budget flat are how we deter and defeat China. His undermining of the integrity of the southern border has caused rates of migrant encounters not seen in two decades. Our country is awash with crime while Biden is more invested in taking guns away from law-abiding citizens than in punishing lawbreakers. Forgive the American people for concluding that he can’t keep us safe abroad, at the border, or on the streets.

It didn’t have to be this way. Biden could have learned from past presidents who exuded a strength that the country could get behind. Despite immense pressure to do otherwise, Truman took on the Soviet Union and crafted the security architecture that would help bring about its demise decades later. Bush 41 rallied the country and an international coalition to oust the rogue despot Saddam Hussein from Kuwait. Even Obama, whose policies often left much to be desired, did not lack the cool confidence needed to be elected twice by impressive margins.

Sadly Biden isn’t up to the job. Not only because he is consistently mistaken on important foreign policy issues—as Bob Gates has famously noted—as well as ones of domestic policy. He also reassures those he should scare and scares those he should reassure.

The jihadis emboldened by American withdrawal from Afghanistan are one thing. The Chinese and Russian thugs bent on further aggression are another altogether. Do they fear that Biden will use force to repel land grabs in Asia or Europe? Is the U.S. deterrent still credible with a doddering near-octogenarian in the White House whose cognitive decline is there for all to see?

Not all past presidents of a certain age came across as such. The Gipper, though far from a young man, never let America’s enemies forget that there would be hell to pay for messing with Uncle Sam. Yet Biden is no Ronald Reagan. He is also no Franklin D. Roosevelt, who inspired our nation to vanquish Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany despite being confined to a wheelchair for much of his adult life. A sorry sequel to FDR’s venerable fireside chats, Biden’s speeches are unlikely to inspire much except confusion.

Ever since Thucydides, students of statecraft have seen that weakness begets belligerence. The surest deterrent to attack is making your foe fear you. Biden and company should learn this elemental truth and start projecting an image of strength.

Like many others, I’m rooting for Biden to succeed. But it’s not easy to get behind a weak man. When future historians write the record of his presidency, they’ll be hard-pressed to avoid the w-word.

Daniel J. Samet is a Graduate Fellow at the Clements Center for National Security.

Written By

Daniel J. Samet is a Ph.D. student in History at The University of Texas at Austin.

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Ben Leucking

    September 13, 2021 at 7:09 pm

    “Forgive the American people for concluding that he can’t keep us safe abroad, at the border, or on the streets.”
    It is no longer a question of if, but when Islamist terrorists strike our homeland again. And when it happens, you can thank Biden’s incomprehension and weakness for it.

  2. FRAZIER STALL

    September 13, 2021 at 8:46 pm

    The media are a bunch of circus clowns. Biden is easily one step better than all the previous jokers who preceded him. The only thing that might need immediate remedy is the disjointed gap or apparent disconnect between his policies and the advice/actions emanating from officials in his administration.

    Biden was right to follow through on the decision to exit afghanistan. It was nothing more than the 21st century version of nam.

    Biden, however, should not have made phone calls to certain people who have made very serious mistake(s) that have now affected the globe.

    On the same score, he should not have acquiesced to actions by his admirals and generals to act provocatively to nations seemingly disagreeable to US.

    Biden still has time to show some grit by putting his foot down on certain issues and certain actions concerning his administration and country before the 2022 midterms. He must have cojones needed to say ‘I’m the boss, the buck stops at my desk’.

  3. Slack

    September 13, 2021 at 9:59 pm

    Biden must ignore CNN, MSNBC, BBC foxnews, Reuters, NYT, etc, etc. Remind them instead that US and nato are not invincible. Afghanistan, nam and osama’s 9/11 proved so.

    But the media outlets want a fightin’ president or war President. The military brass takes cue from media, and employs clinton era tactics, as though they’re hoping for annunder 9/11, in fact clamoring to be GIVEN a new or updated version of it (with hypersonics fireworks included).

  4. Slack

    September 14, 2021 at 12:18 am

    ‘Self-defeat’ is a label that would be apt to pin MacArthur’s home-by-christmas offensive in korea.

    In late 1950, MacArthur was so 100% confident that he ignored multiple warnings not to go up any further. BAM! Out of blue, PVA slapped MacArthur tartly, then retreated, yet mac was still silly enough to barrel up further north, way up north provocatively, hoping to end his business once and for all by Dec 25.

    As mac’s home-by-xmas vanguard neared border, the PVA’s recoil force struck so hard so fast that at the battle of chongchon, US and nato allies were sent packing, via the ‘BIG BUGOUT’.

    Mac’s xmas offensive became his self-defeat and heralded the first seen non-invincibility of US-Nato power.

  5. Commentar

    September 14, 2021 at 10:10 am

    Biden must not be swayed (waylaid) by the media like his hero.

    US under Obama killed between 2,400 to 4000+ humans via drone strikes, the most of any administration. According to whistleblower Daniel Hale, 90% of them were civilians.

    Recently, a drone strike killed 10 people. None were Islamic State militants as alleged. Biden must avoid walking in the footsteps of his hero.

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