Ukraine War, July 18, 2022: Biden’s visit to Saudi Arabia; How to manage “the president we have”; The need for a unified leadership structure in the war against Putin

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UKRAINE: THE WAR TO SAVE THE U.N. CHARTER AND INTERNATIONAL LAW

To see a list of previous articles, enter “Ukraine” in the Search Box on the upper right, on The Trenchant Observer web site, and you will see a list in chronological order.

Dispatches

1) Karen Elliott House, “Biden’s Saudi Arabia Visit Was Worse Than an Embarrassment; The president’s 24 hours in Jeddah were dominated by photos of his fist bump with Mohammed bin Salman. Things went downhill from there, Wall Street Journal, July 18, 2022 (1:25 pm ET);

2) “Ukraine War, June 11, 2022: Biden scores a point for Putin; Muddled thinking, Biden’s leadership, and how to lose the war; Biden is “the President we have”, but Democrats in Congress need to guide him,” The Trenchant Observer, June 11, 2022;

3) Gerard Baker, “Has Biden Lost It? He Never Had It; His presidency’s failure rests on a longstanding character flaw: He follows the Democratic Party wherever it goes, “Wall Street Journal, July 18, 2022 (1:23 pm ET).

4) “Tatiana Stanovaya, “Putin Thinks He’s Winning,” New York Times, July 18, 2022;

5) “Ukraine War, June 17, 2022: Who should call the signals on the NATO/EU team in the battle with Russia?” The Trenchant Observer, June 17, 2022.

Analysis

Gerard Baker makes the telling point that the problem with Joe Biden is not so much his age though that is increasingly a problem, but rather that he is not too sharp and never was. Baker writes,

Democrats aren’t suddenly alarmed by the discovery of unexpected evidence that the president is too old for the job. They are alarmed by the discovery of entirely predictable evidence that he is too inept for the job. It’s not his advanced age that has Democrats worried, it’s his advancing unpopularity.

While we certainly have opinions on domestic issues, we will simply observe that on foreign policy Biden has been the inept leader of an incompetent foreign policy team.

The consequences have been catastrophic, from the withdrawal from Afghanistan to the invasion of Ukraine.

Obviously, the great war criminal Vladimir Putin is responsible for the invasion of Ukraine and the war crimes Russians have been committing there.

But historians will debate whether they think Putin would have invaded Ukraine if Biden had not decided on the catastrophic withdrawal from Afghanistan, or not repeated over and over again after November 2021 that he was taking force off the table and that the U.S.(and by implication NATO) would not consider using force to oppose a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine.

One doesn’t want to criticize one’s government in the middle of a war, but these questions will be be raised, at least by historians if not by Republicans in the 2024 elections.

Former Defense Secretary Bob Gates’ comment in his memoir that Biden has been wrong on most of the major foreign policy ussues over the last four decades echoes with an eerie resonance today.

Baker makes the point that Biden never was independent-minded. Secure in a safe Senate seat from Delaware, he simply followed the Democratic Party mainstream over the years, as he rose through the ranks on the basis of seniority.

His latest major foreign policy blunder was to travel to Jedda, Saudi Arabia, and to give Mohamed bin Salman (MBS) the fist bump that was shown around the world.

The shallowness of Biden’s thinking was demonstrated by that fist bump, as if by not shaking hands with MBS but by engaging in the fist bump instead he could avoid the symbolism of surrendering Americans’ values in exchange for … for what?

The fist bump was not required by COVID, as Biden shook hands with everyone else.

These little gimmicks seem to be important to Biden. In Israel days before he paraded around wearing a yarmulke, though none of the Jewish men with him were wearing one. He looked absolutely ridiculous.

Karen Elliott House, who really knows Saudi Arabia, does an excellent job in describing Biden’s visit and its broader implications.

We are left with “the president we have”, as Biden was so aptly described in The Telegraph some months ago.

One can only be envious of the virtues of the British parliamentary system, which allows for a change of leadership when it is time for a prime minister to go.

Biden is “the president we have”–for another two and a half years.

The main questions are:

1) Will he be removed from consideration as a candidate in 2024, and when?

2) How can his presidency be strengthened tp correct for his poor judgment?

The Trenchant Observer

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See also,

Only force can stop Putin

“Ukraine War, April 5, 2022 (II): Force must be used to stop Putin,” The Trenchant Observer, April 5, 2022.

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