President Joe Biden has withdrawn from running for a second term as POTUS, citing his advanced age and ‘personal reasons’. But many believe it’s because, under his watch, the United States has lost its position as chief enforcer of global governance.
It started with the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan, when Kabul fell within days to the Taliban insurgency, and people were left desperately clinging on to planes as American citizens and agents evacuated. Those scenes cost Biden dearly in the polls, where he suffered the biggest popularity drop ever; well, after Trump that is.
But that was only the start of a gradual reduction – admittedly started by Trump – of America’s role as the only global superpower that could keep world order. The simple truth was that extended wars of occupation or propping up friendly governments in far flung countries for decades became just too costly. In the face of massive government debt and grandiose infrastructure renewal plans, as well as tackling climate change, Biden had no choice but to scale back the military and put ordinary Americans first.
In sheer military might – just count the aircraft carriers – the United States is still the superpower, and has allies to prove it. But now China, and to a lesser extent Russia, is stepping in to occupy the vacuum left by US withdrawal in many theatres. China’s Belt and Road, already active in Pakistan, has quickly engaged with Afghanistan’s new rulers, and entrenched its position in the region. China uses economic rather than military power, but has enormous resources to back up its ambitions.
At this stage it’s unclear who the Democrats will choose to run against a resurgent Trump, but it won’t be Joe. Biden has left the building.