The past two years have seen two significant conflicts rock the Western world.
In February 2022, Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, aimed at taking the capital, Kyiv, within three days. Whether the purpose of that invasion was to install a pro-Moscow puppet government or fully annex the region, we will (hopefully) never know.
Twenty months later, the Islamic militant group Hamas breached the border wall with Israel in Gaza, massacring hundreds, if not thousands, of innocent civilians. The resulting Israeli response is ongoing, but the country’s forces have already seized nearly half of the Gaza Strip.
Some would argue that means U.S. President Joe Biden is a wartime president. Is that truly the case?
Joe Biden: Supporting Allies
Biden has provided billions of dollars in economic and military aid to Kyiv, and support from Israel’s strongest ally in a region of hostile nations remains high.
Rightly or wrongly (the overwhelming view is the former in both), the President has not committed any ground troops in either conflict.
The knock-on effect of the conflicts is felt at home. When Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded his neighbor, the price of commodities rose sharply, and the effects are only being lessened nearly two years into the conflict. Wholesale gas prices rose as the West cut all ties with Russia, while Ukrainian grain – unable to be exported safely – was inaccessible.
There is far more to supporting a nation in conflict than just “it’s the right thing to do.” There are economic and security interests in keeping allies on side and ensuring their internationally-recognized territory remains in the hands of governments friendly to Washington, D.C.
U.S. Troops Abroad
The Cold War is a prime example. Never once did NATO and the Soviet Union engage in a direct conflict; for sure, there were American troops in Vietnam, and Soviets in Afghanistan, but never once did the two sides engage with each other. If they had, I probably wouldn’t be writing this article, and you probably wouldn’t be reading it.
What the world is currently seeing is a series of proxy wars. Tragic as they may be, the geopolitical reality is that NATO and its allies are currently battling those, at least in our Western view, who pose a threat to world peace through other nations. If you ask someone who writes for a Russian outlet, one would suspect they would say the vice versa.
U.S. troops have been stationed worldwide for the better part of a century. If we’re going to brand Biden as a wartime president, we must apply that label to every president since Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Of course, that could change. While many hope that peace can come once again to Eastern Europe and the Middle East, the reality is the number of major conflicts has increased in recent years. It’s a trend we must hope is a rise in a wave of peaks and troughs; otherwise, Biden could be a wartime president someday soon.
For now, he isn’t, but it’s good governance always to have that lingering in one’s mind in case of a worldwide security deterioration.
Shay Bottomley is a British journalist based in Canada. He has written for the Western Standard, Maidenhead Advertiser, Slough Express, Windsor Express, Berkshire Live and Southend Echo, and has covered notable events including the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.