From a national security perspective, Americans won’t fondly remember 2021. Self-inflicted injuries, delusional political goals, underestimated strategic threats, and powerlessness in the face of immediate threats unfortunately characterized the Biden administration’s approach.
Good news was scarce. But continuing a 61-year bipartisan tradition, Congress this year passed the $ 768 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), $ 25 billion more than the president’s request. Of course, we still need a comparable, annual supply bill to avoid limping with continued underfunded resolutions. We must also overcome president obamaBarack Hussein Obama Roberts calls for judicial independence in year-end report 2021 brought security concerns – and the worst could happen in 2022 The 9 politicians who had the most impact in 2021 MOREeight years of insufficient resources and rising inflation, which is eroding this year’s small increase. As it could be worse, just passing the NDAA deserves a celebration.
As for the bad news, America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan has been a strategic debacle, a national embarrassment, a continuing catastrophe for the Afghan people, a tonic for our adversaries, and a depressing for our friends. Both Presidents Biden and Trump contributed to this blunder. While much of the global humiliation of the failed execution of the decision, watched live by hundreds of millions of people, rests with Biden, Trump’s indefensible deal with the Taliban meant the tragedy would likely have unfolded. in the same way under either president.
White House sources anonymously hoped Americans would forget much of the shame and sadness. Unfortunately, however, the hits keep coming. The White House recognized only months after its withdrawal that ISIS was capable of launching terrorist attacks against the United States in 6 to 12 months and against al-Qaeda in 12 to 24 months.
In early December, the CENTCOM commander reluctantly admitted that, contrary to Taliban pledges and assurances from the Biden administration, al Qaeda support had “probably increased slightly” and that “we should expect a resurgence. ISIS ”in Afghanistan. Hundreds of American citizens and over 60,000 Afghans who worked with America (not counting their families) are still seeking asylum. A humanitarian catastrophe is looming.
Finally, the media report a large influx of Pakistani sympathizers in Afghanistan to join the Taliban, inevitably increasing the risks that Pakistan and its substantial stockpile of nuclear weapons will also fall into the hands of terrorists.
Speaking of nuclear proliferation failures, Iran and North Korea have stood out in 2021. Since his inauguration, Biden has abjectly begged Iran to revitalize the 2015 nuclear deal. Leaving aside the fact that the deal itself is hopelessly flawed, and even assuming, contrary to the facts, that Iran has strictly complied with its terms, Biden has hopelessly wasted nearly a full year chasing an illusion.
Of course, Tehran wants to free itself from American economic pressure, as does Pyongyang, but neither wants it enough to make the strategic decision to abandon the pursuit of deliverable nuclear weapons.
Biden seems unable to absorb this point. After a year of frenzied diplomacy and public optimism for Iran, and a year of frenzied doing nothing for North Korea, the outcome in both cases is identical. Tehran and Pyongyang are a year away from perfecting their nuclear and ballistic missile technology, and North Korea may be hypersonic cruise missiles. Time is always an asset for the proliferator, necessary to overcome the complex scientific and technological obstacles to become a nuclear weapon state. Iran and North Korea have both made good use of 2021. The United States has stood idly by.
Ahead of Christmas, the media once again speculated on a US-Israeli “plan B” involving the use of force to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, presumably well above sabotage and disruption. level already inflicted on Tehran. Whether Israel is willing to use military force depends on its uneasy governing coalition, which clearly has the will to stay in power despite widespread political differences.
Some members of the coalition seem unlikely to favor a pre-emptive force against Iran, although Israel faces what former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon called a possible “nuclear holocaust” launched by Tehran. As for America, its rhetorical and real deterrent capacities seem less convincing than ever. Iran likely thinks it can challenge the United States without consequences for at least three years. Israel must act accordingly.
Which brings us to Russia and China, who seem to believe they never lost parity with the United States or have now achieved it. Russian president Vladimir PoutineVladimir Vladimirovich Putin Biden to meet with Ukrainian President Biden warns Putin of “tough sanctions” if Russia invades Ukraine Really targeted economic sanctions could work with Putin MORE had lengthy discussions with Biden, including three hours in person on June 17 in Geneva. By then, Biden had already agreed to a free five-year extension of the highly flawed New START nuclear arms deal, wasting significant diplomatic influence, since Putin had previously been willing to agree to a one-year hike. .
Moreover, rumor had it that Biden was ready to admit that the Nord Stream 2 pipeline was so close to completion that the United States would no longer try to shut it down; an agreement with Germany to this effect was announced just a month after Geneva.
After the summit, Biden said that “all foreign policy is a logical extension of personal relationships.” Amtrak Joe, like Donald Trump, may believe that foreign policy is about personal relationships, but Putin knows it’s about power, determination and reason of state.
Putin marked his man, and problems await him very soon in Ukraine. Biden’s reaction to the Kremlin’s pressure has been quite predictable: strong rhetoric about Russian belligerence, reflections on the importance of NATO, threats of economic sanctions and nothing else. Moscow has heard it all before and reacted by formally annexing Crimea and gaining effective control over substantial parts of eastern Ukraine.
If Biden has nothing new or different to offer, the crisis for Ukraine and the other former USSR republics left in the “gray zone” between NATO and Russia will only get worse. in 2022. The risk of a Russian military incursion has not diminished by the end of 2021.
Meanwhile, Beijing’s growing strategic threat should be paramount to Washington. Biden’s lack of a goal on China is therefore not only embarrassing, but dangerous. His lack of direction has one of two causes. Either he does not understand the enormous scope of the Chinese threat, which covers the entire spectrum of economic and politico-military affairs (which would be bad enough), or he is holding back, desperately hoping for Chinese cooperation on issues of change. climate (which would be even worse).
While Biden hasn’t spoken definitively, at least some of his diplomacy is constructive. He strengthened the all-new India-Japan-Australia-US Quad, hosting its first in-person summit and advancing a potentially critical strategic partnership. He accepted the joint Australia-UK-US effort to deliver nuclear-powered submarines to Australia, a major step forward in Allied military cooperation. And, mirroring a deal between the United States and Palau in 2020, the United States, Australia, and Japan have agreed to fund submarine communications cables to three Pacific island states, thwarting relentless efforts to China to expand its influence.
That these agreements are only sui generis or form parts of a long-term strategy that are urgently needed. But they clearly do not address more pressing Indo-Pacific issues. Despite the difficult 2020 campaign talks on China, which was popular across the U.S. political spectrum, Biden’s concrete follow-up was noticeably lacking, especially when it came to Taiwan.
The Afghan pullout and Biden’s focus on climate change echo ominously in Taipei as signals of Washington’s willingness to abandon Taiwan or trade it for something Biden deems more useful. Throughout the Indo-Pacific, Taiwan is seen as a synecdoche for regional security. If China wins there, either militarily or diplomatically, America’s position in this vast region will be irreparably weakened.
America is ending 2021 in the wrong direction on national security. On this record, and given the growing challenges globally, 2022 could be truly bleak.
John Bolton served as President Trump’s National Security Advisor from 2018 to 2019, United States Ambassador to the United Nations from 2005 to 2006, and held senior positions in the State Department in 2001-2005 and 1985-1989 . His most recent book is “The room where it happened“(2020). He is the founder of John boltonJohn Bolton Biden loses contest of wills with Iran over nuclear weapons When will Biden declare America’s “One China, One Taiwan” policy? India’s S-400 Missile System Problem PLUS Super PAC, a political action committee supporting candidates who believe in a strong U.S. foreign policy.