Recently a friend referred to President Biden as a "miracle worker". When queried as to what he meant, he replied "Every day he makes Trump look better and better. If that isn't miraculous, what is?"
On the very first day of his presidency, he dealt a blow to America's energy self-sufficiency by reversing the approval of the Keystone Pipeline from Canada to the Gulf Coast; in addition, angering Canada and the construction unions, wasting tens of millions of preparation costs and rendering the importation of Canadian oil much more environmentally dangerous, since exporters have to use trains and trucks instead.
--He reversed Trump's immigration measures without analysis, evaluation or preparation, leading to utter chaos on the border with Mexico and the introduction to the country of tens of thousands of of undocumented aliens who may have coronavirus or be terrorists. He then reversed himself and decided to expel desperate Haitian refugees and made a botch of that, angering his own supporters.
--He witnessed (it would be incorrect to say "presided over") an incredibly mishandled evacuation of American troops, civilians and local allies from Afghanistan. Every relevant agency and department of the US government acted abominably in this situation, including the Department of State, the Department of Defense and the CIA, but not a single head rolled. The damage to the reputation and position of the US in the world is difficult to exaggerate and will be ongoing for a very long time, not to mention the loss of strategically significant facilities and equipment and the encouragement of terrorism.
--Of significance particularly to Israel, Biden folded when the so-called "squad" of extreme leftists in the House of Representatives threatened to sink his economic program if the funding of iron dome was not omitted. Luckily, and no credit to Biden, the Congressional leadership made sure that the funding was continued in separate legislation that was passed overwhelmingly,
This is quite a record in only eight months! On the credit side:
--Umm... Er... Let's see.... What can we say? Covid? No, the situation is worse than in January. Economic growth, unemployment, etc.? Ditto.
--That's about it. Oh--I almost forgot, the Biden administration forged an agreement with the UK and Australia to provide Australia with submarines to counter the Chinese threat. What? Yes, OK, this violated a deal Australia already had with France to purchase submarines, leading to the withdrawal of French ambassadors to both Australia and the US, for the first time ever, weakening yet more the already seriously weakened NATO alliance.
I have to say, and I take no pleasure whatsoever in saying it, that my friend is right. Biden is making Trump look better and better, and that is close to miraculous. He's not personally nearly as nasty and unpleasant as Trump, but beyond that, in his actual policies and their implementation, his administration has started out disastrously.
What can be foreseen? I'm afraid, given Biden's personality and those around him, from the National Security Advisor on down, no significant change. If he doesn't survive and is forced out for whatever reasons, a Kamala Harris administration would be unlikely to be very different, and perhaps even worse.
Again, as I have said over and over again in recent months, Israel must become ever-more self-reliant. There is no reason, of course, to unnecessarily antagonize the US, whoever is president, but Israel must thread its way through the minefield of international relations keeping as its unflinching lodestone its own interests, in dealing with Russia, China, India, the Arab countries or implacable foes such as Iran. So far, the Bennett government, given its makeup, has shown that it also can perform miracles by staying together and adopting and carrying-out significant policies. Let's hope that the Israeli miracles continue.
Dr. Norman Bailey is professor of Economic Statecraft at the Galilee International Management Institute, and adjunct professor at the Institute of World Politics, Washington DC. Dr. Bailey was a senior staff member of the National Security Council during the Reagan administration and of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence during the George W. Bush administration.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on September 26, 2021
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