Biden has made his country appear as a security partner from hell, unreliable and weak-kneed to an unprecedented extent

Kinetic conflict is anticipated to involve a loss of life. There will be those who will not return alive from the battlefield, or indeed, not recovered from there at all. Hence the rationale for the many “tombs of the Unknown Warrior” that dot battlefields across the world. Within the Atlantic Alliance, newly invigorated by President Joe Biden, the US is characterised by a large number of deaths each year that are caused not by disease, but by the prevalence of guns and their use, or by accidents on motorways. During the earliest days of the republic that was founded on 4 July 1776 by those opposed to rule from London rather than by themselves, there was a rationale for each citizen to bear arms. The purpose was to ensure that efforts by the British to impose their will on the inhabitants of the “New World” be met with armed resistance, which in the event turned out to be sufficient to enable the US to secure its freedom from British rule relatively quickly. Unlike in the case of India, where it dragged on for centuries that enervated the country and reduced it to extreme poverty. Katherine Mayo wrote a less than flattering portrait of the situation in India in her 1927 work, “Mother India”. The subtext was that the people of the subcontinent were incapable of ruling themselves, and needed to remain subordinated to the British colonial authority. Given the penury and degradation that had been caused by British rule over nearly two centuries before her polemical work was published, it is difficult to understand why Ms Mayo regarded such rule as anything other than reprehensible. Mahatma Gandhi was not being charitable to gutter inspectors when he compared the 1927 book to be a “gutter inspector’s report”. After all, such individuals seek to ensure that the drains flow smoothly and take refuse away, whereas Ms Mayo was content to allow the muck to remain. Indeed, she regarded such a state of stasis as inevitable, given her views on Indian society. To regard those from different cultures and ethnicities as being “lesser breeds” of homo sapiens has long been a trait common within some societies. In Germany, certainly by 1936, it was obvious to the rest of the population that Jews, Gypsies and those opposed to rule by Adolf Hitler’s NSDAP were at risk of losing their freedoms and subsequently their lives. Yet it was as though such atrocities were invisible. The reason was the perception that those belonging to certain groups were not human in the full sense of the term, and hence were undeserving of consideration. Which is why an animal such as Hitler could enjoy such wide support in a country that had in the past boasted of an array of writers, philosophers and musicians.

Ethnicity certainly plays a role in the politics of the countries that cling nostalgically to the Atlantic Age, but in the case of Joe Biden, it is not race as much as it is citizenship that guides his actions. Intent on ensuring a comfortable majority for the Democratic Party in the 2022 midterms as well as a second term for himself in the White House come 2024, Joe Biden chases after every vote that seems available. Over the decades, a “Body Bag” syndrome has gripped voters across both sides of the Atlantic. It is taken as a given by political operators that the return of body bags of fallen soldiers would be a killer of votes. An extreme form of this syndrome seems to have been internalised by President Biden, leading him to take actions that seem on course to multiply the eventual tally of body bags that will befall the US, once the consequences of what appears to be his policy of panic become evident. Another US President who suffered from an extreme form of the phobia of body bags was Donald Trump, who initiated the sequence of events that has led to the catastrophe in August 2021 of the Taliban once again becoming the party of government in Afghanistan. The pell-mell rush away from Afghanistan seen during the very first months of the Biden presidency have consequences that are damaging beyond words to not just the US interest, but that of other countries that regarded the country as a security partner. Biden has made his country appear as a security partner from hell, unreliable and weak-kneed to an unprecedented extent. Biden is occupying the White House because enough elements of the electorate saw him as being the opposite of Donald Trump. Now they are witness to Biden not reducing but accentuating the harmful policies of his predecessor. Trump had zero compunction in throwing long-time US allies to the wolves, as he did in the case of the Kurds in 2019 or the Afghans a year later. Biden has demonstrated in his actions a contempt for Afghans that fits neatly into the fact that he is very much a follower of the Clinton line, which is that only the two sides of the North Atlantic matter and not any other location, such as the Indo-Pacific. President Biden still regards (and this in 2021) the G-7 as the fulcrum of the world. That would be closer to the truth, were he (or Boris Johnson) to get the remaining members to agree to expanding the club into a G-8. This time around, by adding not the Russian Federation but the Republic of India.

An obsessive-compulsive effort to avoid risks is often a risky course to adopt. Neither Biden nor any other G-7 leader seems to understand that the Taliban needs to be confronted, and that seeking to cajole it into good behaviour (something that it is incapable of) merely adds to the hubris that is being witnessed amongst its leaders. That the Northern Alliance needs to be helped, not left to its fate. That the events of 2001 need to be replayed if the world is to become a more secure place. And if the CCP’s effort at fanning the flames of extremism as a diversion from its own depredations is to fail. Thus far, neither Biden nor Merkel nor Johnson seems to understand this obvious fact, sadly for the countries they lead and for the others that are coming closer to them.