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Is the COVID-19 crisis an advantage for Trump’s re-election or vice versa?



The pandemic in the twenty-first century has now become the most determining force on the outcome of the 2020 American Presidential Elections. In this paper, I am going to analyze the impact of the pandemic on Mr. Trump’s chances of getting re-elected. Does it undermine his chances or vice versa? This question may be answered based on three major factors: prevalence in digital campaigning, the candidates’ view on China, and Mr. Trump’s response to the coronavirus and economic recession.

Digital campaign

The coronavirus outbreak made running traditional campaigns problematic as since March neither Donald Trump nor his opponent Joe Biden made public speeches in front of their supporters. Unexpectedly, the importance of running digital campaigns through virtual platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram waxed. This circumstance would have a profound impact on Mr. Trump’s re-election in November but in which way? Well, there is no one answer to this question. 

In the 2016 presidential election, Facebook played a crucial role in determining the outcome of the elections. Trump campaign managers put many efforts into digital campaigning by creating 5.9 million ads on Facebook whereas Hillary Clinton’s team made only 66 thousand ads. Though it spawned much debate about the manipulation of public opinion as some news distributed via microtargeting was proven to be false. The microtargeting itself was contentious from the privacy policy perspective as it was reported that some user data was shared with political consulting companies. Afterward, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was called to testify in Congress and confessed that Facebook was reluctant in checking the validity of spread information and protecting the privacy of user data that could cause public manipulation. 

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, internet media consumption increased worldwide including the United States. The role of digital campaigning strengthened even more as quarantine rules do not allow big people gatherings in the context of a traditional campaign running. Meaning that social media and other digital network platforms gained more significance for the success of political campaigns. However, it seems history is repeating itself and the Democratic side is still far behind allocating sufficient time, human and strategy resources for prevalence in digital campaigning. On the contrary, Donald Trump’s team is taking the internet more seriously having clear predominance over Mr. Biden’s team, and here is why.

Firstly, from the contextual perspective, Mr. Trump’s campaign is more digitally oriented. The vivid exemplification of this is the manager of the campaign himself: Brad Parscale. Mr. Parscale is versed in programming languages and possesses vast experience working with digital advertisements. Moreover, unlike the previous campaign, according to his own words, the availability of an information base makes the task for Mr. Parscale easier in 2020. This is pretty understandable as the whole government’s intelligence machine is in the service of President and a candidate Trump.

Joe Biden, on the other hand, has only 25 people working for his digital campaign and himself preferring a more traditional way of running a campaign and not spending so much time on social media as Mr. Trump does. Even if Mr. Biden places a complete focus on digital campaigning, he is far behind Mr. Trump in the number of followers on all virtual platforms. For instance, on Twitter Donald Trump and Joe Biden have around 80 and 6 million followers respectively. This kind of huge gap is much telling about the virtual campaign possibilities of each candidate. It means more Americans unwittingly interact with Mr. Trump’s politically biased tweets being deprived of reading both candidates’ opinions and objectively evaluating them. 

But what if Mr. Biden accumulates as many followers as Mr. Trump already has? Well, getting more popular on the internet to deliver a message is a very time-taking task and can last many months. Even in case, Mr. Biden’s team succeeded in this, it still would not pave the way to a cordial change. The point is that Mr. Trump is more radical than Joe Biden; his ideas are more provocative in which he constantly blames someone, focuses on a certain segment of the American population, states his thoughts in an emotional manner, etc. Such politically incorrect but more concentrated on potential electorate expressions receive more likes, shares, and comments by spreading it across digital platforms. Mr. Biden’s centrism and unity pledges which are quite abstract oppose his need of being more “shared” on social media. Ironically, attempting to appeal broader segments of the population, Mr. Biden gets full support of none of them. Although more radical progressive politicians such as Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders whose ideas more ideologically concrete and segment-oriented, endorsed Mr. Biden, will this endorsement bring more support and popularity? It is unlikely until Mr. Biden nominates them as the running mate or publicly promises to appoint them to a certain post. Any radical leftist would like the idea of Bernie Sander being a Secretary of Labor.

Here we can argue that Donald Trump’s political course, material, and digital opportunities, campaign orientation grant him more chances for victory in the virtual world. Accordingly, the coronavirus outbreak deliberately increased the strategic importance of the digital campaigning in which Mr. Trump far outweighs Joe Biden. 

Views on China

The second big way how the coronavirus outbreak might affect the 2020 elections is the candidates’ stances on China. The readers might doubt the importance of this criterion; however, there are two indicators based on which I make this argument. Firstly, both candidates’ campaign managers considered this a sufficiently critical issue to include it in political advertisement. Inside the videos, Mr. Trump and Mr. Biden accuse each other of being too soft on China. Secondly, the Pew Research survey shows that 66 percent of Americans now have negative views of China against 26 percent in favor and 8 percent saying “don’t know.” The proportion is large enough to impact the outcome of the elections. Consequently, a candidate being more stubborn and stricter about China will have more chances for victory. But who has been tougher on China?

Amid the pandemic Mr. Trump’s and Mr. Biden’s claims on China seem more similar, however, by taking a short glance at history it is obvious that their approaches significantly differ. 

Mr. Trump had negative views on China even before getting elected as the President by blaming it for taking advantage of the United States. After entering the office, President Trump took other measures against China. First of all, China was numerously mentioned as posing threat in plenty of spheres such as trade, artificial intelligence, military, geopolitics, soft-power, etc. in the National Security Strategy (NSS). It morphed Mr. Trump’s campaign claims into prospective policy implementations in this direction. Secondly, Mr. Trump commenced a trade war against China putting high tariffs on Chinese imports. He criticized China on bypassing the rules of trade and damaging American farmers by creating an image of a President protecting the American people from China. In the times of rising negative views on China, it is useful for Mr. Trump.

On the contrary, in May 2019 Mr. Biden called the Chinese “not bad folks” and stated “they are not in competition for us” in response to Mr. Trump’s concerns about China. And the administration of which Mr. Biden was Vice President, considered the relationship with China as the most important in the twenty-first century. Ultimately, Mr. Biden cannot boast about being tough on China and this is not only about himself but also his party’s mainstream policy. Republicans have inherently been more negative on China and persisted in the importance of domination in great power competition counterweight to Democrats mostly preferring cooperation. 

Recently in a democratic primary debate, Joe Biden said that Donald Trump did not hold China accountable and “rolled over the Chinese.” However, this statement is not an appropriate one amid increased racism against Asian Americans. Considering the fact Mr. Biden’s potential constituency is mostly racial, ethnic, religious, and sexual minorities, the statement puts his own “unifying leader” image at risk sidelining not only Asian Americans but also other minorities.

Economic impact and timely response to the coronavirus

The third most determining factors that might influence the elections in November are economic recession and measures taken to respond to the pandemic by President Trump. Many consider that Americans will understand how unprofessional and negligent the President when it comes to handling major crises. Political advertisements prepared by Mr. Biden’s team showcases a high level of hope for hitting the President on this ground. 

Notifying the reader that this section does not aim to answer the question of whether the response was proper or not, it only takes into a discussion how the actions taken by the President were perceived by Americans and this perception’s possible influence on the upcoming elections. 

In general, Americans are slightly more negative about the President’s response to the pandemic (response in this paragraph is refers to measured taken to prevent the spread of the virus.) A large portion of people holding a negative view is young people, liberals, and ethnic minorities (Pew). As a rebuttal to this point, the majority of Protestants, white Catholics, and the elderly are confident in Mr. Trump’s coronavirus response. At first look, it seems that the majority is not in favor of the President concerning the pandemic case, however, the groups not supporting Mr. Trump (mentioned above) is not the electorate which voted for him in 2016. Vice versa, people who voted for Donald Trump are the same White Christians and elderly Americans. Accordingly, the coronavirus crisis could not yet switch the positions of that segment of the American population on which Donald Trump focuses his political discourse. 

The economic impact of the pandemic is more challenging though. More than half of Americans think Mr. Trump is not doing a good job in terms of addressing the economic needs of ordinary people. Slightly more than half of Americans think that he is good at aiding businesses facing financial difficulties. However, the monthly unemployment reports are very high and keep growing. Lowest in history of the United States unemployment rates with which Donald Trump was bragging is now obsolete. Severe consequences of economic recession are quite likely and, certainly, it will affect Mr. Trump’s chances to get re-elected. The extent of its affection will go hand in hand with the size of damage to the US economy caused by the pandemic.

Undeniably, the economic impact of the pandemic hit the whole world and the long term impact is obscured so far. Among all the above-mentioned factors of the coronavirus impact, the economic part is ongoing and will shape public opinion within the process of handling the crisis. Because this is the matter of future, any attempts to formulate precise predictions over the impact of the recession on Mr. Trump’s chances of getting re-elected are doomed to be imprecise.


In conclusion, I would argue that at this point, Mr. Trump’s chances are not undermined by the pandemic. On the contrary, some powerful aspects of Mr. Trump’s campaign such prevalence in digital networking are strengthened even to a greater extent. The Democratic side, on the other hand, seems to be giving less significance to digital campaigning as they were doing in 2016.

Trump’s political course is also convenient for the current situation, as for the first time not only Americans but also the world started thinking of China as a country shutting transparency and honesty. American workers and manufacturers one more time got confident that China is posing threat on many grounds and Mr. Trump’s China policy was correct. Even though Joe Biden now uses tough rhetoric against China and criticizes allegedly “soft President” on it, his statements are not convincing and do not reflect what he was saying a year before. In politics, a lie is not a big deal, but a radical change of the system of your beliefs is a different story.

In the end, the most complicated issue is the worsening economy that puts Mr. Trump’s re-elections chances at high risk. If no preventive measures will be taken, the unemployed might vote for a change and a more socially-oriented Democratic President. Thus, much will depend on the direction in which the economy flows. Besides, the impact of COVID-19, for now, is harmless to Mr. Trump, vice versa at some point it is beneficial.

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Was Trump better for the world than Biden, after all?



Joe Biden
Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz

Joe Biden and the State Department just approved a major deal with the Saudis for 500mln in choppers maintanance. Effectively, the US sold its soul to the Saudis again after the US intelligence services confirmed months ago that the Saudi Prince is responsible for the brutal killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The Biden administration is already much more inhumane and much worse than Trump. Biden doesn’t care about the thousands of American citizens that he left behind at the mercy of the Taliban, the Biden administration kills innocent civilians in drone strikes, they are in bed with the worst of the worsts human right violators calling them friendly nations. 

Biden dropped and humiliated France managing to do what no US President has ever accomplished —  make France pull out its Ambassador to the US, and all this only to go bother China actively seeking the next big war. Trump’s blunders were never this big. And this is just the beginning. There is nothing good in store for America and the world with Biden. All the hope is quickly evaporating, as the world sees the actions behind the fake smile and what’s behind the seemingly right and restrained rhetoric on the surface. It’s the actions that matter. Trump talked tough talk for which he got a lot of criticism and rarely resorted to military action. Biden is the opposite: he says all the right things but the actions behind are inhumane and destructive. It makes you wonder if Trump wasn’t actually better for the world.

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Biden’s worrisome construct of security and self-defense in the first year of his term



Official White House Photo by Carlos Fyfe

US President Joe Biden’s foreign policy is failing so far. He can’t get the Iran nuclear diplomacy on track. The Afghanistan withdrawal was a disaster seen by all, placing an unusually high number of weapons and armaments in the hands of the Taliban and leaving everyone behind, to the point that one wonders if it was intentional. The US military has been able to accomplish far more impressive and bigger logistics tasks in the past, so when they want to they can do it.

More worrisome, however – and because it is also oriented towards future impacts – is Biden’s construct of vital concepts such as security, international peace and self-defense which has already displayed a consistent pattern during the first year of his term. The signs are already there, so let me bring them out to the surface for you.

Treating a counter-attack in self-defense as an original, first-move strike

This is a pattern that can be noticed already in Biden’s reading of what constitutes defense. It first struck me in a place where you might not think of looking. It originated from the criticism of the previous Trump administration’s support for the destructive Saudi Arabia campaign on Yemen, leaving Yemen as the biggest famine and disaster on the planet. To avoid the same criticism, the Biden administration decided to do what it always does – play technocratic and legalistic, and hope that people won’t notice. On the face of it, it looked like Biden ended US participation by ending the “offensive” support for Saudi Arabia. Then in the months after the February decision, reports started surfacing that the US actually continues doing the same, and now most recently, some troops from Afghanistan were redirected towards Yemen. Biden didn’t end Yemen; he set up a task force to examine and limit US military action only to defensive capabilities, which sounds good to a general observer. It reminds me of that famous Einstein saying that all the big decisions were to be taken by him and all the small decisions were to be taken by his wife, but there hasn’t been one big decision so far. So see, it just turns out that everything falls under defense, ask the lawyers. Usually no one would object to the well-established right to defend yourself. The problem with that is that the US is actually in Yemen. Treating any counter-strike and any response to your presence as an original, first-move attack is not only problematic but it also simply doesn’t work in legal terms. It goes along the lines of “well, I am already here anyways, so your counter-response in self-defense is actually an attack and I get to defend myself”. If the issue was only with terrorist or rebel organizations (because let’s face it, who cares about the Houthies in Yemen?) I don’t think we would be discussing this. But as you guessed it, this approach can already be traced as a pattern in Biden’s thinking and the way he forges alliances, draws red lines and allows things to happen, and it stretches to areas that most people definitely care about such as a possible military conflict between the US and China.

Let’s take the newest development from today. The US just announced that it has entered into a trilateral partnership with the UK and Australia in the Indo-Pacific, which is encirclement of China par excellence. Where it gets interesting is that the trilateral partnership is purported to be only for “advanced defense capabilities”. The equivalent of this is someone from another city squatting at the door step in your apartment, inviting two others to join, and then when in the morning you push them and step on them to go to work, the squatters claiming that you attacked them and calling the police on you in your own apartment. This is Biden’s concept of self-defense: since I am already here in your space, you are attacking me.

The US is trying to start something with China but it doesn’t know how to, and China seems completely unconcerned with the US.  Chinese leader Jinping doesn’t even want to meet Biden, as became clear this week. China doesn’t care about the US and just wants to be left alone. They already said that in clear terms by reading it out loud to Wendy Sherman last month. Biden didn’t have to ask for a meeting in that phone call this week because he already knew the answer. Wendy Sherman got a clear signal on her China visit that the US president won’t be getting that coveted red carpet roll-out any time soon.

So the story says that the US is going all the way to the other side of the world and staging military presence there but only to defend itself. The US has no choice but to move in to defend all the US citizens at risk in the Indian Ocean — that’s the stand-up comedy line of the week. It is staging military presence right at China’s doorstep — if not in Chinese waters, and the idea is “yes, that’s your turf but now that I’m here, if you push me to leave, you are attacking me”. This is the strategy of narcissists and those that are looking to point the finger to their opponent when they just don’t have anything, so they stage something. China is in the long-term game, playing against itself. The US is that number 2 that’s trying to create provocation. In the Indo-Pacific, the US is biting more than it can chew. China is not a big mouth or one to throw around military threats. That’s the US style: “be very careful, we might bomb you if you don’t do what we say”. A dog that barks doesn’t bite. On the other hand, China is more like a Ferrari — it will go from 0 to 200 in seconds and then it will go back to its business. The US and Biden will be left whimpering but no one will jump to save the US from its own folly because self-defense in the US packaging is not even bought by the US government itself. Even they don’t buy their own packaging. So why should anyone else?

Treating embarrassing discoveries and things that don’t go my way as a threat to international peace

This one is a big one. With this one, Biden is playing with the queen, namely action under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter in the name of international peace and security. A threat to international peace and security is grounds for action under Chapter 7 which includes military action, and it’s never to be spoken lightly. Words have consequences. The UN Security Council rarely specifies grounds for action under chapter 7 for threats to international peace and security but it’s enough to take a look at the practice: resolutions were passed when Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, in response to 9/11, against Kaddafi who was marching toward Benghazi to wipe out the people in 2011, in relation to genocide, etc. Grounds for a threat to international peace can’t be “because I don’t like the way things are turning out for me”.

Peace and security are not like beauty – in the eye of the beholder. There has to be an actual or imminent attack and actual military action or violence. Loose interpretations of threats to peace and security are a sign of weak leadership.

Leaders who construct dissent and criticism as terrorism in relation to the Black Lives Matter movement, as I have argued about the FBI previously in the left media, are weak leaders. In smearing Martin Luther King, the FBI argued national security. As director Oliver Stone said in Cannes this summer, when he was investigating the JFK assassination, every time he was getting close, he heard “national security”. 

You can see a lot about the character of a nation by the way it constructs security, and notice traits such as narcissism, weakness, cheating. The Biden Administration has to know that a threat to international peace and security can’t be “things that make my government look bad”. In 2001, the world followed the US in Afghanistan because there was an actual military attack. The world won’t follow the Biden administration on a bogus threat to international peace that can best be summed up as a major embarrassment for the US government. Suggesting a link is a threat to the fabric of international society. Not only is it a sign of national narcissism but also a sign of arbitrariness and authoritarianism. Treating criticism and the exposure of US government crimes as if it were a military attack is what horror movies are made of. What’s next? Droning journalists?

Treating issues which are a subject to treaties, rules and negotiations as a threat to international peace  

The Biden security construct stretches to various regions, including my own. This first struck me with Biden’s executive order regarding the Western Balkans when he tied blocking these countries from EU accession to a threat to international peace, which carries significant consequences. If a country, let’s say Bulgaria, is exercising its lawful right to veto EU processes, hypothetically, based on Biden’s understanding, the US could table a resolution for Chapter 7 action to punish an EU member-state for blocking the accession of an EU candidate because that’s a threat to international peace. That could hypothetically lead to military action against an EU country making use of its veto. Biden doesn’t have a veto in the EU. Do you know who does? Bulgaria. So until Biden becomes an EU country he doesn’t have a say.

Biden was visibly irritated that the process of EU accession has been stalling for quite some time, especially with N. Macedonia and Albania at the EU’s doorstep, so he decided to give it a go. Let’s not forget that the Balkans are a favorite Biden region and this goes back to the 1990s. I have written about it before: Biden is stuck in the 2000s when if you mentioned the Western Balkans the words international peace were a guaranteed association. Not anymore. Negotiations, rules and voting are the peaceful and reasonable way to resolve issues, agree or even not agree in some situations, and are the opposite of war and aggression. Treating these ways as a threat to peace is just the rhetoric of those who can’t get their way. But it’s also indicative of a worrisome trend with Biden that anything that the US government doesn’t like can be dressed as a threat to international peace, which carries the most significant of all consequences in the international arena.

Treating lawful counter-measures as a threat to national security

Perhaps the best and most fascinating example of lawful counter-measures I ever heard was brought by Andrew Clapham at the Graduate Institute in Geneva. Here is the story. The UK issued unlawful sanctions on a country. In response, lawful counter-measures by that country targeted jam exports because a jam factory in Scotland was the key to turning the elections. The targeted counter-measures worked, hit jam exports, discontent people in the region voted the other way and the government that put in place the sanctions to begin with was ousted. This was a brilliant example that you hit where it hurts and you do it lawfully. Counter-measures don’t have to be identical. The US likes to put tariffs on Louis Vuitton bags in retaliation when it deals with France, for example. In the Trump trade wars, Europe would hit bourbon and jeans exports as a counter-measure. You hit their signature product. Not all counter-measures are illegal and count as an attack. International law is full of examples.

Similarly, lawsuits against a government are a lawful counter-measure. This area reveals another part of Biden’s worrisome construct of national security. A threat to sue the US government cannot in and of itself be a threat to national security. Tortured reading of what is national security is a sign of weak leaders, narcissists, those on the losing end, or straight up losers – or all of the above. 

Treating lawful counter-measures as a cause for self-defense is not only a sign of a wrong understanding of self-defense, but is the ultimate sign of narcissism. Usually those who attack know better and brace for impact in anticipation of the counter-measures. Narcissists, on the other hand, cry that they are being attacked when they receive a counter-strike in response. Strategists know better.

Mistreatment of whistleblowers, critics and opponents as spies and as a threat to national security

This one is an easy one. Only losers treat whistleblowers and critics as spies and as an automatic threat to national security. Take the treatment that Gary Stahl has received at the hands of the Biden Administration and the FBI, for example. Again, the US government doesn’t get to construe a huge embarrassment (in what will soon be revealed to shows the true criminal nature of the US government) as a threat to international peace. This is a problem for America. Not only doesn’t China plan to attack militarily the US any time soon over what’s to come, but China is largely unconcerned with the US and would like to be left alone. Any talk about a risk of military conflict could only mean that it is the US that plans to attack because they are embarrassed they got caught red-handed and the world will see the US government’s true nature. Talk of threat to international peace has a very high threshold. No one cares about how America would feel – that’s your problem, not an issue of international peace. 

The Biden concept of security is that of an ugly, pretentious, old woman who is told she can’t enter because her ticket is not valid. She then throws a feat screaming she was attacked, beaten and insulted, expecting everyone to be on her side. But the world simply doesn’t care about the problems of this pain-in-the-ass anymore. The US government will have to try much harder if they want to present the issue as anything close to security and self-defense, let alone a threat to international peace. That tune is old and there are no buyers. 

The US surely thinks very highly of itself if they think that a scandal like that is worthy of a military conflict but literally no one else sees the US as this important anymore. This scandal will matter only to America in what it reveals about all the layers of the US government across rank, institutions and administrations. That’s it. It ends there. Any talk of Chapter 7 threshold is war mongering and no one will care. 

People talk about the Biden doctrine on Afghanistan but the Biden doctrine that will be sealed in history will be something along the lines of “Anytime I get caught, it’s a threat to international peace and security.” This is how Biden will be remembered in history: for creative writing endeavors in the security field and no substantial foreign policy achievements. 

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Biden’s credibility restoration plan



Joe Biden
Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz

Although damages of the United States’ withdrawal from Afghanistan cannot be easily undone, by taking a series of wise steps, Biden can send a strong signal that America is coming back.

Joe Biden’s botched withdrawal from Afghanistan has shattered his reputation as a safe haven for allies. This is while, he pledged to restore U.S. leadership after Trump by confronting China’s and Russia’s growing totalitarian ambitions, restoring historic alliances with European allies, and ending the never-ending conflicts in Afghanistan and the Middle East.

But he is not the only President whose decision has eventually damaged the United States’ global reputation. Donald Trump’s capitulation deal with the Taliban, Barack Obama’s indolence in Syria, and George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq have all tarnished the United States’ credibility around the world. The question now; however, is no longer whether Biden and his predecessors should have acted differently. It’s how the United States can minimize the damage.

Biden should begin by speaking the truth. So far, the President has failed to admit the failure of his withdrawal plan. Biden ought to be straightforward with himself, the American people, and the whole world.

Biden’s policy should, of course, vary depending on the area and global conditions. To promote its interests in the Indo-Pacific area, the United States should station a few ambassadors, including a Navy or Coast Guard attaché, in the Pacific Island countries of Tonga, Tuvalu, and Kiribati. In addition, a considerable number of troops currently stationed in Afghanistan should be redeployed to the Pacific. Finally, Biden’s administration should engage with U.S. defense contractors to speed up the transfer of military equipment to Taiwan. Getting Taiwan its armaments swiftly would be a powerful show of support as a steadfast ally, as well as provide modern platforms to prevent a Chinese amphibious invasion.

The Biden administration should also do all in its power to rebuild relations with European partners. For the very first time, NATO invoked Article 5, which identifies an assault on one member as an assault on all. Since then, soldiers from a variety of countries have fought and died alongside US troops. Nonetheless, Biden decided to leave Afghanistan without consulting the governments of these countries, leaving them to plan emergency rescue efforts for their populations. Close allies of the United States are understandably enraged. America’s behavior is being chastised in Paris, Berlin, and the British House of Commons on both sides of the aisle.

Last month, at a meeting of regional leaders in Baghdad, Macron made it clear that, unlike the Americans, he was dedicated to remaining in the Middle East. “Whatever the American choice is,” he stated in public remarks in Baghdad, “we will maintain our presence in Iraq to fight terrorism as long as terrorist groups function and the Iraqi government requests our assistance.” It was a clear example of Macron’s idea of “strategic autonomy,” which implies European independence from U.S. security policy, and an attempt to use the United States’ humiliation to underline that Europe and Washington were not always on the same page. At an emergency G7 summit, Mr. Biden is said to have turned down allied requests to extend the August 31 deadline for exit.

The Biden administration’s recent decision not to penalize Nord Stream 2 pipeline participants has enraged Europeans as well. Poland and Ukraine underlined their worries in a joint statement about the ramifications of choices taken on the pipeline without the participation of nations directly impacted, claiming that Nord Stream 2 poses both geological and ecological risks to Europe.

As a result, whether it’s diplomatic recognition of the Taliban regime, humanitarian aid for the Afghan people, or any other major issue, the US should not take any more action without engaging partners. Mr. Biden should also dispatch senior members of his national security team to Europe and other regions of the world to reinforce America’s commitment to their security.

As to the Middle East, Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security advisor, in a Foreign Affairs article described “America’s opportunity in the Middle East,” suggesting that diplomacy may work where previous military interventions have failed. The United States’ involvement in the area is frequently portrayed in military or counter-terrorism terms, and as a binary option between going all-in or going all-out. Instead, Sullivan advocated for a strategy that relied more on “aggressive diplomacy to generate more long-term benefits.”

Accordingly, the President and his team in Vienna should get the new Iranian administration back to the negotiating tables and rejoin the JCPOA and ease the tensions in the Middle East. Also, the United States should do all possible in Afghanistan to secure the safe transit of Afghans who qualify for U.S. visas to the Kabul airport – and to keep flights flying until they are able to leave. This should apply to both Afghans who dealt closely with the United States’ military, and to those who engage with U.S. media and humanitarian organizations and must get visas from a third country. In addition to ensuring that the United Nations and humanitarian groups have the resources they need, the United States should cooperate with its Security Council allies to guarantee that the Taliban does not hinder the free flow of help.

Moreover, to follow any influx of jihadists to Afghanistan, intelligence agencies will have to rededicate resources and increase surveillance. They must be pushed to coordinate their efforts on the Taliban in order to keep the most threatening groups under control. The United States could set an example by agreeing to accept a fair share of any displaced Afghans. Neighboring countries like Iran and Pakistan, which already have millions of Afghan refugees, are closing their borders.

Biden may not be able to prevent all of the disastrous repercussions of the Afghan catastrophe, but he must act now before the harm to U.S. interests and moral stature becomes irreversible. By taking these steps, he can send a strong statement to the world that he has learned his lessons and that America is coming back.

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