The first seven months of Joe Biden’s presidency have been fraught with crises. First it was the coronavirus pandemic and the vaccine rollout. Then it was the border crisis. Then it was the economy.
And now Afghanistan, where the Taliban are now reportedly hanging people by the neck from U.S.-supplied Blackhawk helicopters, and the U.S. withdrawal has left behind hundreds of Americans and perhaps thousands of Green Card holders in what now amounts to the largest hostage crisis in American history.
The administration is stumbling from one disaster to the next, with no end in sight and public opinion plummeting on nearly every major issue. In each case, the disaster has been entirely of the Biden administration’s own making. Events are not overtaking Biden, his own rank incompetence is.
(Just about the only disaster facing Biden right now that’s not a result of his administration’s policies is the hurricane slamming into the Gulf Coast. But there’s a decent chance he might well botch that, too.)
The events now unfolding in Afghanistan, where the Taliban control about $83 billion worth of U.S. military equipment, are by far the most dramatic and disturbing display of incompetency and horrible policy from the Biden administration, which recent polling reflects. But the Afghanistan disaster follows a train of incompetence that left the station on day one of this presidency.
As soon as Biden came into office, he signed executive orders that guaranteed we would have a migrant crisis on our southwest border. By reversing a raft of Trump-era policies that had managed to control illegal immigration amid a worsening pandemic, Biden effectively opened the borders, sending the message to would-be asylum seekers that if they could manage to get across the Rio Grande with at least one child in tow, they could stay — and if they sent their child alone, he or she would definitely stay.
The results were predictable: a 20-year record surge in illegal border crossings that continues to worsen by the month. Corporate media has largely stopped covering the border crisis, but July was the worst month for illegal immigration since March of 2000. We’re on track to arrest more than 1.6 million people at the southwest border this year, more than we ever have before.
This historic migrant surge wasn’t inevitable. It was a direct result of Biden’s policies, which played out in an entirely predictable manner.
The same goes for the administration’s COVID-19 response. Biden campaigned on having a plan to “shut down” the virus and end the pandemic, but so far there seems to be no plan at all — or even a coordinated and consistent message from the White House. Contradictory and ever-shifting policies and recommendations on everything from school closures to mask and vaccine mandates have sown confusion and mistrust among Americans desperate to get back to work and their children to school.
Meanwhile, the pandemic itself seems to be getting worse, not better. Monday marked five consecutive days in which COVID-19 deaths exceeded the number of deaths on those dates a year ago, under President Trump.
Biden’s Centers for Disease Control has become lawless, attempting to impose an unconstitutional eviction moratorium on landlords, which the Supreme Court struck down last week, and announcing that it will be pushing for gun control in the name of public health, because that’s really what we need the CDC to focus on right now.
Other pandemic policies from Biden’s team have made economic recovery from last year’s lockdowns well-nigh impossible. Federal unemployment benefits, which the Biden administration has extended to millions of Americans for months now, have exacerbated a worker shortage that’s hobbling the recovery.
And then of course there’s Afghanistan. The Biden administration’s disastrous withdrawal will be the subject of many op-eds and think pieces and, eventually, history books. For now, it suffices to say that each passing day we learn something new about how Biden and the Pentagon botched the job.
Over the weekend, for example, we learned from a report in the Washington Post that on the day Kabul fell to the Taliban, Abdul Ghani Baradar, the head of the Taliban’s political wing, gave U.S. Gen. Kenneth Frank McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command, a choice: either American troops secure Kabul, or the Taliban would. McKenzie told Baradar that he only needed the airport. “On the spot, an understanding was reached, according to two other U.S. officials: The United States could have the airport until Aug. 31. But the Taliban would control the city.”
Of course, as we now know, the Taliban couldn’t control the city, and last week 13 U.S. soldiers, along with hundreds of Afghans, were killed by a suicide bomber in a pair of coordinated attacks near the airport.
The corporate press, keenly aware that things are not going well for this White House, will soon back away from their critical tone on Afghanistan and resume their usual routine of running cover for Biden. In the coming days we’ll almost certainly see outlandish and highly suspect polls showing that, aside from Afghanistan, Biden is doing pretty well, actually, considering all the crises his young administration has had to face.
Don’t buy this line. Biden has not been overtaken by events, he is not a hapless victim of history or coincidence. Every problem his White House has encountered, it has made worse. Every crisis his administration has faced has been of its own making. And as bad as things have been thus far, they are going to get worse.