On the eve of the first anniversary of Joe Biden’s inauguration a couple of months ago, a discussion began in the American and British media on an unexpected topic – whether his short presidency is already doomed to failure today. Now there are voices that some kind of curse hangs over his unsuccessful reign.
This context must be taken into account when assessing the entire current situation, including around Russia and Ukraine, if only because Americans are always and everywhere dancing from their own domestic political stove. For them it is more important.
In his inaugural address to the nation, Biden warned that America was going through one of the most difficult times in its history. Among the challenges for the country, he then singled out the COVID-19 pandemic; economic difficulties, including massive unemployment and the closure of hundreds of thousands of businesses and firms; a sharp exacerbation of interracial contradictions; threats posed by climate change; finally, the rise of “political extremism” and “homegrown terrorism.”
Since then, this burden of worries has only grown. In the fight against the new coronavirus, America, having taken the hit of the “omicron”, is still lagging behind. And other problems, especially in the economy, continue to worsen. The nationwide “unity”, in which Biden saw the key to their solution and which he called for in his throne speech, still does not smell in the country.
Moreover, serious new challenges have arisen, including in the field of foreign policy and national security, where they were not expected, since this area is considered the strong point of the current owner of the White House. A strong blow to the pride and international prestige of the United States was their flight from Afghanistan. Against the backdrop of negotiations on security guarantees initiated by Moscow and ultimately ignored by the United States, the Ukrainian crisis, largely inspired by Washington itself, relations with Moscow have escalated so much that they are routinely compared to a hybrid war that threatens to escalate into a direct armed conflict.
” Interests require… “
By the way, even across the ocean, many observers remind that Russia at least knows what it is fighting for. For it, we are talking about a new, more just world order based on common, equal and indivisible security, and about the elimination of direct threats that have come close to its borders. Before raising these questions point-blank, Moscow tried in vain for many years for the United States and NATO to take into account at least the most fundamental interests of our national security.
And what interests, one may ask, does America protect at a distance of lands and seas? Even if we consider the current conflict not as a prologue to a new reorganization of the world, but simply as another episode of a protracted “struggle for the Soviet legacy”, then what, in fact, does the United States have grounds for claiming this legacy?
And what trump cards are they capable of presenting in this fight? As Mary Dejevsky, who I consider one of the best English-speaking journalists writing about Russia since our long acquaintance in Washington, rightly noted in the London Independent, “it took a real war for the West to agree that it was not ready to risk the start of a third world war for Ukraine, and for Ukraine itself has also recognized this reality.” And the American Pat Buchanan, a former adviser to Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan, who himself tried to run for the presidency in the United States, headlined one of his last texts peremptorily: “The vital interests of the United States demand an end to this war.”
Buchanan had in mind the US national security interests in the same sense that Russia speaks about itself. He recalled that during the East-West Cold War, “the great achievement of [American] presidents, from Harry Truman to George W. Bush, Sr., was to avoid a war like those that have taken millions of lives from Western nations since 1914.” to 1918 and from 1939 to 1945″.
First, rate the quote! Here is a frank American view of losses in world wars: it turns out, for example, that the lives of the Nazis and their Western henchmen matter, but those whom they exterminated en masse to expand their “living space”, including in Russia and Ukraine, may as well be ignored. Secondly, the notorious “Truman Doctrine”, which essentially proclaimed the readiness of the United States to interfere in other people’s affairs around the world, is still reflected in Washington’s policy to this day.
Finally, with regard to Bush Sr., recently a former employee of the Russian branch of the US State Department, and now a political scientist, James Carden published an article in Asia Times about the “vindication” of the 41st US president by history. “The development of events has shown that in his 1991 speech, nicknamed “Chicken Kiev” (Chicken Kiev), Bush Sr. was right, and his critics are wrong,” says the analyst.
In a speech delivered to the Supreme Soviet of the Ukrainian SSR three weeks before Ukraine’s independence, the then-American leader tried to warn the audience about the dangers of “suicidal nationalism based on ethnic hatred.” The playful name of the speech is a play on words, since in English chicken also means cowardice.
Bush Sr. retroactively went down hard for this speech from the US ruling elite and Ukrainian nationalists, but I agree with Carden: of the seven American leaders (from Reagan to Biden) that I personally had the opportunity to cover, the 41st owner of the White House always seemed to me most decent and far-sighted. This is especially noticeable in contrast to Bill Clinton, who replaced him in 1992 and quickly undertook to expand NATO.
Extra burden or “second chance”?
Prophets, however, as Vladimir Vysotsky once sang, are not numerous in any homeland. They didn’t listen to Bush the father then, and it still haunts us all to this day. His “mistake”, apparently, consisted primarily in the fact that he tried to reason from the point of view of maintaining global security and stability, as well as the interests of the Ukrainian people themselves.
The latter were not seriously interested in anyone overseas and are not interested – neither then nor now. And in the current context of the Biden presidency, the conflict in Ukraine is seen only as a factor strengthening or weakening the position of the ruling Democratic Party and its leader in the run-up to the November midterm elections to the US Congress, and then the 2024 presidential election.
Opinions on this matter vary. The same Buchanan, for example, is sure that in the eyes of his compatriots, the current “war on the other side of the world” cannot be compared in importance with such factors as “the annual invasion of [the United States] through the southern border of millions of illegal migrants” or ” devaluation of the dollar due to inflation eating away the fruits of the labors and savings of the American people.” In the same row, he puts “the annual death of 100,000 Americans from fentanyl and drug overdose”, the death of “one and a half thousand people a day from COVID-19”, as well as the loss of another “thousands of lives” due to crime “on the streets of the once great American cities”. In general, the meaning is clear: America has enough of its own problems, and it has no time for Ukraine.
On the other hand, some analysts believe that the Democrats still have a chance to play the military card in the elections. Thus, Bill Galston of the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC, believes that the Ukrainian crisis has opened up an opportunity for Biden to partially redeem himself for the Afghan fiasco, that these are “two turning points that are opposite in meaning” in the current presidency.
“For the past three decades, we have lived in a post-Cold War era that has now come to a thunderous end when foreign policy didn’t really matter,” the analyst said. “But now it does and I think it will continue to do so as we face huge challenges.” and on the western front, in Europe, and on the western, in the Indo-Pacific region.” That is, to put it simply, in the confrontation with Russia and China.
” Failed ” year
Apparently, the White House primarily proceeds from this or similar logic in building its election strategy, including when whipping up anti-Russian psychosis. Polls show that there are simply no other electoral cards in his deck right now.
Biden’s political approval rating just dropped to 40%. This is the worst indicator not only for himself, but in general for all American presidents after an equal term in office – except for Republican Donald Trump, who had exactly the same.
But after all, the current American leader was elected precisely as the antipode of his predecessor, a kind of “anti-Trump”. It was believed that he would return stability, predictability and professionalism to the White House, establish constructive relations with Congress, where his party still controls both chambers, reduce the intensity of internal political polarization in the country and improve attitudes towards it in the outside world.
I personally know Americans, including Republicans, who voted for Biden based on these expectations. Now they are extremely disappointed, like most of their fellow citizens. In a US Public Radio and TV poll, 56% of voters called the current leader’s first year in office a “failure.” In their opinion, he is not fulfilling his election promises and is leading the country in the wrong direction, both in general and in specific areas, including the fight against the pandemic, curbing inflation and unemployment. And in recent months – and in the situation around Russia and Ukraine.
It was against this background that a wave of comments about the doom of the Biden presidency rose in the leading US media. Newsweek magazine published a selection of “his six biggest failures in his first year” in office. It included the collapse of Congress’s flagship “Rebuild It Better Again” bill, the stalling of new voting rights laws, an unfulfilled promise to drive off student debt, a poorly managed pandemic, record inflation, and holes in immigration policy. Note that neither the Afghan nor the Ukrainian crisis is on the list.
Time magazine headlined a commentary on the same topic “How the Biden administration got lost,” the political science portal Axios – “Biden’s epic failures”, The New York Times – “Biden can still save his presidency.”
“The notion that the Biden presidency is flailing and failing has moved from the tabloids to the news, from right-wing criticism to conventional wisdom within the Washington Beltway,” the New York Times article said. newspapers. And in order to “save himself,” the owner of the White House was offered to announce now that he was giving up the fight for re-election and to give way to the “younger generation of democrats.”
Not without personal attacks against Biden, as he constantly gives them reasons. Canada’s The Globe and Mail ran a joke that he is “so infirm that he needs to take a break even when he brushes his teeth.” Time shared the opinion of “one of the major donors” of the Democratic Party that in the November elections it would face a “complete defeat” (wipeout), and along the way noted that even the German Shepherd Major, who had previously appeared in Biden commercials, did not take root in the White House. She was removed after she caused injury to the owner and bit a couple of his assistants. Recalling the well-known saying “If you want to have a true friend in Washington, get a dog,” the publication stated that the US president “couldn’t even do that.”
” Not a Magician “
In fairness, it must be said that the current American leader also has apologists. Thus, the CNN television company repelled attacks on him, citing objective difficulties and the fact that he is “a president, not a magician.” Like we had in the old movie, “I’m not a magician, I’m just learning.”
Although it is probably too late to study Biden on the threshold of his 80th birthday. A real leader is then needed in order to already be able to overcome difficulties and create, as they say across the ocean, their own “facts on the ground.” In addition, as the same Time rightly asked, where are the achievements, even if not in key areas? Luckily, what does Biden get?
Now, apparently, in the White House they are trying to bring under the category of success the building of a “united front” of Western friends and allies of the United States against Russia. Hence the frenzied tone of attacks on our country, and the endless lies and rigging about the Russian special operation in Ukraine.
Yes, and Biden went to Europe now precisely in order to personally conduct this common choir, and most importantly, to light up in this role in front of the spotlights of his own media, for a home audience. I have no doubt that all his public words and deeds should now be considered primarily from this perspective.
By the way, this also applies to his most odious actions, including a recent public review of his Russian colleague as a “murderous dictator”. Moscow then warned that such intemperance in the language goes beyond the permissible and puts relations between the two countries on the verge of breaking. And at the same time they reminded that hundreds of thousands of people all over the world died from American bombing.
A penchant for verbal blunders haunts Biden all his life. In many ways, it was she who prevented him from successfully holding “races” for the presidency in 1988 and 2008. This, of course, does not justify him at all, he was rebuffed rightly. But it is important to understand that in this particular case, journalists openly pulled him by the tongue, and he himself voiced not so much his personal opinion as the line of his party.
According to the British Guardian, one of the US Democratic Party’s propaganda warbands, the so-called Priorities USA political action committee, “recently circulated a dark new commercial focusing on Trump’s constant praise of Putin and accusing Republicans of siding with the “deadly dictator.”
The publication was dated March 15, the video, respectively, was released even earlier. So Biden announced the party line. Although in this case, perhaps, a vile preparation is even worse than an involuntary impromptu.
From a sick head to a healthy one
By the way, the same Guardian launched into circulation the thesis about the “damnness” of Biden’s leadership. In any case, it was from her that I found the corresponding direct quotation. “The Biden presidency is cursed” (cursed), Larry Jacobs, director of the political science center at the University of Minnesota, told the publication.
It is curious that the last straw that led the specialist to this conclusion was the rapid rise in gasoline prices in the United States. “Voters are being beaten in the pocket,” the expert said.
For all its outward banality, this maxim has a real political science meaning. Experts know that gas station prices are as reliable a tool for predicting the results of the US midterm elections as the rating of the incumbent president.
This is known, of course, to the White House. That is why Biden publicly calls the current rise in gasoline prices “Putin’s.” The Russian leader, in response, urges him not to blame it on a healthy head, not to shift responsibility for his own mistakes and miscalculations onto others.
Interestingly, the US President hears exactly the same thing from the opposition in Congress. “No one is fooled by Democrats trying to blame the three-week crisis in Europe for the consequences of 14 months of failed policies,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell tweeted recently. “Inflation and gas prices were skyrocketing and hurting people long before the end of last month.” The White House needs to stop denying its mistakes and start addressing them.”
To complete the picture, I will add that, according to all polls, it is inflation that is now leading by a wide margin among the pressing concerns of American voters. The Ukrainian crisis, however, did not stand there and does not stand close. And the pre-election stake on him by the Democrats, led by Biden, seems reckless to many political scientists.
Curse of Tecumseh
Discussing the topic of political curses, one cannot fail to mention that in the history of the United States it also has a direct meaning, albeit a mythological one.
According to the legend, which Biden was reminded of even before coming to power, the Indian leader Tecumseh, who at the beginning of the 19th century raised the indigenous peoples of North America to fight against European colonialists and died in the war, made an ominous prediction before his death. Its meaning was that American presidents elected in years divisible by 20 would die or die before the expiration of their term of office. The curse was imposed either by Tecumseh himself, or by his shaman brother, whom the Indians considered a prophet.
This brother died in 1836, and five years later, William Harrison, the 9th President of the United States, who was elected in 1840, died suddenly. Before entering politics, he was a military leader and in 1811 defeated Tecumseh’s troops in one of the key battles.
In the future, presidents Abraham Lincoln (elected in 1860), James Garfield (1880), William McKinley (1900), Warren Harding (1920), Franklin Roosevelt (1940), John F. Kennedy (1960) died untimely. After that, the cyclicity was stopped, but the legend was preserved, because for the Indians Tecumseh remained a folk hero. Some adherents of the legend believed that the curse was valid only up to the seventh generation, others reminded that Ronald Reagan (1980) and George W. Bush (2000) were assassinated when they were presidents, and Reagan was seriously wounded.
There is a terrible judgment
Whether Providence actually intervened in their fate, we do not know – as well as what fate awaits Joe Biden. I think this is not the kind of knowledge that can be confirmed by science.
But I have long believed that a person lives more by faith than by knowledge. By faith, he selects facts for himself and, on their basis, defends his truth. I argued about this more than once with American propagandists, who are convinced that truth is universal in our earthly world, and always and everywhere it is only on their side.
In the current situation, when we continue the special operation in Ukraine, and the collective West is waging a hybrid war against us, I would remember the prophetic words of Mikhail Lermontov about the fact that “there is also God’s judgment”, which cannot be avoided. And Easter is just around the corner.
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