Joe Biden’s problem is bigger than his being incoherent. Explains Andrew McCarthy in NRO, Biden is a “captive of transitional progressivism, where red lines are just preliminaries to new red lines.” Talking, talking and more talking is an end in and of itself.
Mr. McCarthy explains how enemy regimes proceeded cautiously with Donald Trump, with his unknown stability and a tendency to dissemble. He was unpredictable.
(Trump) was aggressive enough and dismissive enough of the international order that the rogues figured he (and the hawks around him) might just take out an Iranian terror master, such as General Qasem Soleimani.
Trump’s words might not have carried much weight, but his populist preference for lightning displays of might over long-term entanglements did.
The international media are in thrall to the urbanity and nuance of these “citizens of the world,” but the hard men can’t help but notice that when they take Crimea, nothing of real consequence follows the preening recriminations unless you count the West’s lining up to buy more Russian oil and gas while strangling its own energy producers.
Biden’s words, in themselves, are meaningless. Of that, writes McCarthy, there is no better testament than the soles of his advisers’ shoes, worn away by the speed and regularity with which those words are walked back.
- Well, yes, the president did say Putin is a “war criminal,” but we are not seeking to prosecute him as if he were, you know, an actual war criminal.
- Well, yes, the president did say Putin “cannot remain in power,” but no, we are not seeking regime change and wouldn’t think of meddling in Moscow’s internal affairs.
- Well, yes, the president did say he would abide by the “Taiwan agreement” with China’s president, Xi Jinping, but no, there is actually no such thing as a “Taiwan agreement” — there is just the same old “one China” policy under which we ambiguously acknowledge that China claims Taiwan as its own but we do not recognize its claim.
- And okay, yes, the president did say he was committing the U.S. to defending Taiwan militarily, but no, that does not actually mean we’re committing to, um, defending Taiwan militarily — our policy of strategic ambiguity has not been altered by the president’s habit of strategic vacuity.
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