Biden’s first year
In late January, Biden’s first year assessments appeared in various media, including the WSJ, Foreign Policy, The Guardian, Politico, and beyond. The sentiments were mixed.
λ Biden came to office as a leading expert when it comes to the nuts and bolts of governing the American polity. He would restore balance and bring order to chaos after the unusually disturbing governing style of Trump. λ At first, expectations were borne out by events. The direct income support stimuli packages piled up and the indirect tax incentives accumulated. Biden wouldn’t stop before getting the country out of crisis and would maybe even provide a welfare buffer zone ahead of his one-term service time. λ Whether Biden played his cards well in Ukraine or not, he can be sure of two things. He has re-united NATO and put the House of Europe in order. λ Would Biden surpass expectations and become a memorable president in one term (4 years) alone? Could Biden really address healthcare, the nightmare of many an American, and change the rules therein? Has COVID-19 not demonstrated to the world that class (still) matters? Could Biden tax the rich? If yes, was Biden set to become a second Roosevelt? Stereotypes abounded.
λ The positive mood lasted only a few months, until the summer of 2021. Then, the Delta variant ravaged the unvaccinated layers of society, and the early success against COVID was quickly forgotten.
λ Then, the Afghan debacle began. Perhaps the withdrawal of U.S. troops was a well-calculated move, but the images of the Kabul Airport changed perceptions. The U.S. was abandoning its friends once more, and was doing this in a clumsy way.
λ Then with Ukraine the world entered a new phase. True, western media did a good job in portraying Russians as the sole culprit, but this was always so, wasn’t it? Reagan did the same, for instance, with more success.
λ However, the Russian occupation and the resulting war won’t stop soon. There will be economic consequences, the rise in energy and food prices being the first and foremost example. The recovering global economy may experience a new setback.
λ Then there are more important issues at stake. Does American and European public opinion really understand Russia? And is the public intent intent to have real understanding or is a vague notion that the Russian realm differs from the West sufficient for them?
λ How long can economic sanctions last? Will they be effective? Can Russia be contained? Will Biden be remembered for
his clear and unshakable policy against Russia or will he ultimately be seen as an incompetent strategist who opened Pandora’s Box?