Biden is steering America to lose asymmetric wars
Joe Biden is losing critical wars he may not even understand he’s fighting.
Nearly 100 years ago, two events — the weak Chamberlain government agreement at Munich and Franklin Roosevelt’s cognitive impairment at Yalta — helped set the stage for the geopolitics of the 20th century. This year, the weak U.S. administration at Anchorage and Geneva and President Biden’s decisions on Afghanistan have set the stage for future, dangerous conflicts in the 21st century. But the Biden administration evidently doesn’t understand those conflicts — asymmetric wars, in which an apparently weaker opponent (“them”) uses unconventional tactics to weaken the political, economic and militarily stronger (“us”) to win.
After World War II, America did not realize the commitment and capability of the Soviet Union’s asymmetric war on Eastern Europe. While the U.S. was naively disassembling its intelligence operations in Europe, the Soviets committed thousands of agents to destroy the civil and public institutions of Eastern European countries and replace them quickly with Stalinist regimes. The resulting 80-year global struggle happened in part because administrations were slow to grasp and respond to communist political and military tactics, as well as other asymmetric wars such as Vietnam and the seizure of Iran by Islamic extremists.
But the Biden team is the worst. The White House, Defense Department, State Department and intelligence agencies are setting the stage for a truly miserable 21st century geopolitical struggle, which America could lose. Potentially disastrous decisions have been made in the past six months.
The Afghanistan withdrawal will become the “gold standard” for failed statecraft and military strategy; it instantly strengthened the hands of China and Russia, while weakening America. The geopolitical implications are huge.
But there are other recent Biden examples.
In many ways, natural gas has become a powerful, useful weapon for Russia, perhaps better than the nuclear threat. Supplying Western Europe with desperately needed natural gas could allow Russia to exert political and economic blackmail over the European Union and NATO. So Biden immediately reversed former President Trump’s policy and approved of Nord Stream 2, the Russian pipeline, into Western Europe, essentially handing a weapon to an enemy.
Middle Eastern nations, some with ties to terrorism, previously exerted political leverage over America while accumulating vast sums of money because of America’s need to import foreign oil. So Biden immediately reversed Trump’s energy independence policies, which produced more American oil and built pipelines to distribute energy in the U.S. Now Biden has asked OPEC and its allies to supply America with more oil (i.e., blackmail us and potentially fund terrorism).
China stands out in asymmetric war. In Anchorage, Secretary of State Antony Blinken confronted the Chinese “wolf warriors” about human rights issues and was slapped back because of violent attacks on Asians in America and racial uprisings. Blinken, a “lamb diplomat,” appeared visibly shaken. Did it not occur to him that Chinese and Russian agents, cyber warriors, and BOTs may have contributed to magnifying these issues on the eve of the meeting?
Biowarfare is an ultimate asymmetric weapon. Yet Biden has slow-walked investigation into the origin, release and coverups of the COVID-19 pandemic, either through naïveté or through fear of China. Yet, if COVID-19 (and its variants) had been a covert attack, it would represent the most devastating attack on America in history, having wrecked the American economy and intensified social divisions. It certainly set the blueprint for future, intentional attacks.
Similarly, China’s indirect bribery of America’s academic, research, financial and business institutions has been an effective asymmetric weapon to steal technology and other secrets. China’s murky climate change promises, while it continues to build coal-fired generators and secure oil, against Biden’s flat promise to cut U.S. greenhouse gasses by 50 percent by 2030, continues to make America energy dependent and leads to enormously expensive and inefficient energy conversion projects, weakening the U.S. economy and security relative to China.
China’s cornering of vital raw materials for future political leverage is also a powerful weapon. Meanwhile, China has diverted its new wealth into more conventional space, cyber, naval, hypersonic and nuclear weapons, effectively challenging the United States. Biden’s actions have accelerated all of this.
Finally, America’s open borders policy invites asymmetric war. None of our enemies would dream of such a naive, destructive policy. It can allow dangerous agents into the country undetected, and can support the spread of COVID-19 or future bioweapons. Most importantly, it foments divisions in American communities, including over the issue of jobs.
Unfortunately, America’s election cycle provides the ideal soil to plant asymmetric war. An expression attributed to a captured Taliban fighter was: “You have the watches; we have the time.” Modern American elections promote frantic, glib and short-term, cynical opportunism, rather than competence and patriotism, among politicians and the news media. This creates incompetence and emphasizes hyper-partisanship.
Whatever else, Donald Trump was not naive and he made few of these blunders. Trump was annoying, instinctive, abrasive, overbearing and often uninformed, but his policies kept America strong and safe. On the other hand, President Obama reportedly once warned privately that Biden could “(expletive) things up.” Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates said in his memoir that Biden “has been wrong on nearly every foreign policy decision.”
Biden’s decisions as president are making the world more dangerous. Sadly, he apparently doesn’t understand that spells disaster.
Grady Means is a writer (GradyMeans.com) and former corporate strategy consultant. He served in the White House as a policy assistant to Vice President Nelson Rockefeller. Follow him on Twitter @gradymeans1.