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segunda-feira, 20 de setembro de 2021

Don’t Kill Me For Saying It — But Biden’s Presidency is Failing - Umair Haque (Medium)

Don’t Kill Me For Saying It — But Biden’s Presidency is Failing

America and the World are Losing Confidence in the Biden Administration — Because it Keeps Making Baffling Mistakes

 Umair Haque

Medium, September 18, 2021


It falls on me to be the bearer of news I don’t want particularly want to give you. Sigh. Who wants to have tell people — especially liberals — that Biden’s presidency is now in danger of failing. And yet it is.

Now, before you get your hackles up, let’s…talk about it. Like grown ups. Adults. American Liberals get incredibly defensive about Joe Biden. They have a seriously unhealthy relationship with their politicians. A cultish one. They don’t brook any criticism, and lash out in rage. It’s understandable. America is indeed under siege from a militant, fanatical, authoritarian far right. And yet it doesn’t do liberals any favours to treat Biden and his team like blessed saints, above and beyond mere mortals, perfect, divine, and unquestionable. Don’t regress into the infantile rage of spoiled American liberal man-baby, OK?

It’s been a terrible month or two for Biden — that much should be clear to all. His approval rating is plummeting. It’s now hovering down there, approaching Trump’s. Again, this isn’t my opinion, it’s an objective fact. “His” means his whole team’s, obviously, so again let’s not fall into the trap of cultish personality centred thinking. Biden’s Presidency isn’t in free fall just yet. But it’s getting perilously close.

And if this trend keeps going, where does America end up? With President Trump, all over again. Or maybe even worse. This is not a drill. It’s bitter reality.

So please, take it seriously, as painful as it may be to hear, because it is an objective, empirical fact that Biden’s Presidency is now beginning to fail.

When I say “Biden’s presidency is beginning to fail, and it’s an objective empirical fact,” I mean it in three ways. One, Americans are losing confidence in Biden, and not just Trumpist fanatics but average people. Two, the world is beginning to lose confidence in Biden, America’s allies left shaken and bewildered. And three, all the numerous crises hitting us at once from Covid to climate change show no signs of abating.

Why is Biden’s Presidency beginning to fail? Because he and his team are making amateur level mistakes. Too many of them, too fast. And so Americans are beginning to lose confidence in Biden’s supposed strengths — competence, calmness, poise, a kind of assured control. A firm hand on the wheel in stormy waters. So why does the boat still feel so rickety?

Let’s discuss a few of those mistakes. I’ll begin with the one Americans care about least, to highlight just how amateur hour these mistakes are.

Biden’s team recently signed a pact with Australia and the UK to essentially make new nuclear submarines, to ward off China. What the hell is this nonsense?

It’s not just me asking — it’s the entire rest of the world, beginning with America’s closest allies. Something unprecedented then happened: France recalled its ambassador to America, because it was so offended and shocked. Germany said the deal challenged the “coherence and unity of the west.” The French foreign minister had strong words: “There has been duplicity, contempt and lies, and when you have an ally of the stature of France, you don’t treat them like that…this is a real crisis.” A former French ambassador to the UK said, “This puts a big rift down the middle of the Nato alliance.”

Now, you might think this is all meaningless. It’s not. Read the quotes above. This isn’t a game. It’s our duty as responsible adults to understand this stuff.

What the hell is Biden doing making new nuclear weapons to have some kind of macho pissing contest with China over? What on earth? Biden’s doing it because his team thinks China is a big, big threat. Are they kidding? To whom? To America? China’s not exactly a model global citizen, it’s true — but it’s hardly going to attack America, let alone Australia, or the UK. And if the US really wanted to make China scared, all it has to do is shut down trade for less than 24 hours and the Central Committee will quake in its boots.

Biden has signed this pact — AUKUS — to please Boris Johnson and Scott Morrison. These are two fanatically ultra conservative leaders. One a climate change denier, the other who behaves as if Covid is “just a flu.” They could care less about Biden or liberal progress at all. Why appease them? At the cost of Europe? This ain’t just bad policy. It’s terrible, amateur hour politics.

This is a bad, bad look for America. It reeks, to the rest of the world, of both paranoia, racism, and American empire. Three white nations…making nuclear weapons…to fight against…the largest non white nation. For no good reasonUnprovoked.

It’s not just about nuclear non-proliferation, though it is about that. New weapons? Nuclear ones? Seriously? Three white nations teaming up to intimidate the largest non-white one? What century is this?

It’s about much, much more than that though. This whole dumb episode reveals just how amateur hour the Biden teams’ mindset really is.

What is the actual biggest threat to America, right now? There are three. “Climate change,” or global warming, if you want to use the more accurate term and not the one made up by a Republican pundit to keep us from taking it seriously. It’s already making parts of America uninhabitable. Who’s going to live in California in a decade or two? How is the West going to have water? Then there’s the far right, which is doing an end run around the rule of law, and doing things like making people bounty hunters to harass and try to catch…vulnerable women. And number three is Russia. You know, the nation that essentially installed Trump in the Presidency, a fact which we now have stark evidence in support of.

Two of those three threats — global warming, the far right’s ascendant fascism — are domestic. Only one is external. And it has nothing — literally nothing — to do with China. So Biden’s team has managed to alienate allies over…nothing. For no good reason. Over something useless.

China paranoia, at this point, is more about racism than reality. No, China is not some kind of beacon of goodness and light. But it’s hardly a country so menacing to the West that a whole new nuclear arms race has to happen. This is not reality. It’s paranoia. It’s rank stupidity.

What’s the big deal about alienating, well, all of Europe, to build new nuclear weapons to intimidate China with?

There are three Very Big Problems with such Epic Goddamned Stupidity. One, America needs Europe on its side to fight the world’s — and America’s — actual biggest problem, which is global warming. Two, America needs China on its side to fight global warming, too. And three…let me think about how to put this kindly…nobody on the planet needs more nuclear weapons. More nuclear weapons aren’t going to save anybody’s ass. Our asses are going to be cooked by megafire, drowned by megaflood, poisoned by new pandemics, parched and starved — they already are.

What are you going to do, bomb global warming to death?

This isn’t just a failure of foreign policy, in other words — it cascades into the domestic and global policy failure of not fighting climate change hard enough. Meaning, half the country was either flooded or on fire a week or two ago, and it’s only going to get worse. These are failure cascades, which is how Presidencies fail. One mistake — bang!! — becomes a much, much bigger one.

The UN is warning that the world is on a “catastrophic climate pathway” — and there’s Team Biden alienating the very allies the world needs, on both sides, to fight climate change with…for the sake of macho posturing…more nuclear weapons…that aren’t going to save a soul from the planet melting down…which is the world’s, and America’s, actual biggest threat.

Let me say that last part again because I think most people are still in deep denial about this, caught in the minutiae of the latest crisis, constantly distracted by the next media buzz. Climate change, aka global warming, is the world’s biggest threat. Global warming is the biggest threat to America, to the world, to our civilization, right now.

It’s epic, epic stupidity. In all this, Biden comes off to the entire world as…just another idiotic cowboy American. Who else alienated Europe, do you remember? Trump did.

Why? Because his philosophy — and that’s a generous term — was “America First.” But it turns out, chillingly, fatally, that Biden’s isn’t all that that different.

You’re probably hopping mad right about now, because I compared Biden to Trump. So let me keep going and prove it to you.

What is Biden’s next massive failure — this time, the one Americans actually care about? Covid. Covid is out of control in America all over again. And American liberals ascribe this to the kind of moronic red staters who think making kids wear masks in schools is like Jews being sent to gas chambers during the Holocaust.

That’s only half right, though: yes, Covid’s out of control because Red Staters are idiots. But it’s also out of control because there’s a new variant, Delta. What happens when idiots meet a new variant of Covid? The cycle of death repeats. They turn a new variant into a wave. How do you really solve this problem? You stop the new variants.

How do you do that? You vaccine the world, fast. So that new variants don’t have breeding grounds. Because those variants will affect you, too.

Now I have some really bad news for you. News which should infuriate you, but leaves most American liberals indifferent, which just proves to me and the rest of the world that, yes, basically, they’re not that different from the idiot Trumpist fascists they imagine they’re opposing.

Biden hasn’t been on the side of vaccinating the globe. He’s been against itSure, he might have talked about it once or twice. But in practice? His people are at the WTO, literally enforcing patents with legal power. America will not let the world have vaccines.

But who does “America” mean? Well, it means figures like Bill Gates, who it seems intervened to make it happen, when researchers wanted to give the vaccine formula away. And it means Joe Biden, whose administration is actively preventing the world from being vaccinated.

What’s the outcome of all that? Well, as the head of the WHO has pointed out, Covid cases globally outpace vaccinations. That simple math has a devastating conclusion. New variants keep on igniting. Because obviously if people are getting a disease faster than they’re getting vaccinated, it’s spreading, breeding, and mutating. Worse, plenty of those new variants are vaccine resistant, like Israel’s experience shows.

Why is Biden’s preventing the world from getting Covid vaccines? Because they’re more interested in protecting the profits of pharmaceutical companies. Don’t Pharma companies already make enough money? Of course they do. Do they deserve to earn history’s greatest fortune from vaccinating eight billion, every year, over and over again? Of course they don’t. The worst part of all this might just be that Covid vaccines were literally created with public money at public institutions, which means they’re public goods, which means they’re there to be shared. With the whole world. Just like, say, the polio or smallpox vaccines. Because diseases spread right back to us.

Do you see how goddamned idiotic all this is? Biden might get on TV and talk a good game about Red States and Covid. But the truth is that if he and his team really wanted to stop Covid, they’d vaccinate the whole planet. Tomorrow. Do you know how much that would cost? Literally a tiny, tiny drop in the bucket. The IMF estimated $50 billion, of which it had a shortfall of $13 billion. Zuck or Bezos could do that single-handedly. That’s way less than all those new nuclear weapons.

This is an epic, incredible, shocking, jaw-dropping, amazing, astounding mistake. No superlative can possibly be enough. All Biden needs to do is spend $50 billion — call it a hundred if you like, it’s pennies for a nation like America — to stop Covid dead in its tracks. No more Red State lunacy, because no more new variants. No more domestic chaos and panic and anxiety, because Covid never goes away.

But he won’t do it. Because he’s too busy defending Pharma profits and building new nuclear weapons.

Do you know how much $50 billion — the cost of vaccinating the world — is? It’s a quarter of one percent of America’s GDP. It’s a tiny, tiny fraction. This is what Biden is sacrificing the planet’s public health for, sacrificing his Presidency, utlimately, for.

Let me make really clear why I say that.

Biden could go down as one of America’s few — very few — Presidents who did something good and noble and beautiful for the whole world. The man who eliminated Covid. He’d be up there with FDR. The entire world would applaud. America would be a respected and admired nation again. He would have defanged his opponents, too, by taking the game to a much, much higher strategic level, a higher level of vision and ambition and purpose. Conservatives would look like the narrow-minded fools they are, and they would be badly disempowered as Americans felt good about being a country that could do genuinely beautiful and noble things again.

But Biden won’t do it. He’s shown us, at this point, time and again, what his governing philosophy really is. Tragically, stupidly, astonishingly, it’s not that different from Trump’s. At least if you’re France, Germany, China, Russia, Afghanistan — the entire rest of the world. America First.

The problem with that is that none of this century’s great Existential Threats can be solved that way. They are all global. We are all in them together. You can’t fight global warming with nuclear bombs. You can’t even fight global warming alone. You can’t fight Covid with individualism and selfishness and indifference.

But Biden isn’t teaching Americans that. He’s teaching them the opposite. He’s telling them that the world doesn’t need vaccines — so why should they believe the position that Americans do? He’s telling them that global warming matters — and then going out and spending a fortune on bombs.

Is it any wonder that Americans — the sane ones — are losing confidence in Biden? They’re baffled and bewildered, and they’re beginning to get a little frustrated. I thought this guy was better than Trump, they’re saying. And he is, in some ways. But in others? He’s a lot like him. He doesn’t seem to really think things through. He shoots before he thinks. He has double standards and inconsistencies which are too glaring to really not to see.

Biden’s Presidency is beginning to fail, my friends. I don’t say that with gloating glee — I’ve always liked the guy. I say it as a warning. Nuclear weapons and preventing the world getting vaccinated. America First-ism and giving the fascists a slap on the wrist. Global warming a lower priority — while America burns and floods — than bombs and guns. Don’t even get me started on Afghanistan. What is going on here? The captain of the ship doesn’t seem to know how to navigate this storm. He seems to be going in circles, while the ship buckles, and the waves roar.

I think a lot of Americans feel this way, right about now. Biden should have been better than this. Why isn’t he?

September 2021

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