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Biden’s Debate Night Meltdown Has Made The World A Far More Dangerous Place

Biden and Trump at first presidential debate
Image CreditCredit: CNN/YouTube

After last night, our adversaries know what everyone knows: President Biden is unfit for office, and he’s not really in charge.


In the wake of President Biden’s disastrous and humiliating debate performance last night, the chatter was all about whether Democrats will replace Biden on the ticket, how the mechanics of that might work, and what the Biden campaign’s strategy is going to be now that the president has shown himself to be unfit for office.

But amid the Democrats’ rending of garments and gnashing of teeth, an important point has gone largely unnoticed: America essentially has no president right now. Whomever is calling the shots in the White House, especially on foreign affairs, it isn’t Biden. While it’s true that much of American governance has devolved into the hands of an unelected (and unaccountable) administrative bureaucracy, when it comes to foreign policy and decisions about how to respond to crises overseas, the president still plays an important and arguably indispensable role.

But our current president, as the entire world now knows, cannot follow the train of his own thoughts. He seems to have only a tenuous grasp on reality. He can barely walk down a few steps. Clearly, he’s not the one in charge of the White House, which means the presidency itself is remarkably weak right now. That in turn means the world is a much more dangerous place after last night, because America’s adversaries know they have a narrow window to exploit the obvious weakness of our Executive Branch while Biden is still in office.

In other words, the most serious consequence of the debate isn’t what the DNC will do at its convention this summer or how the media might turn on Biden after dutifully carrying water for his campaign. The major fallout from the debate might not be how it affects domestic politics at all, it might be actual fallout.

Right now there are multiple hot conflicts around the world — and not just low-level coups in small countries like Bolivia and Kenya. Israel is essentially at war with Iran. The Russia-Ukraine war rages on, no end in sight. And China could launch an invasion of Taiwan any day. These are dangerous times even without a dementia-addled 81-year-old in the White House. But the extent of Biden’s decline has made it even more dangerous.

To be clear, Biden has been unfit for office for years at this point. But the public spectacle of the debate gave a new urgency to a reality that our establishment media and political classes have been denying for a while now. Simply put, the debate made it undeniable that Biden is in a state of rapid decline. He can barely string a sentence together or keep track of what he’s talking about. There is no way to spin it. The entire world saw the reality of our situation last night.

But equally obvious was the contrast with Trump, who was cogent, forceful, and clear-eyed about the threats we face abroad and what he’ll do about them. K.T. McFarland, the former deputy national security advisor under Trump and a longtime fixture in the national security establishment, made this point last night, noting that Iran, China, and Russia “realize they have a narrowing window of opportunity to exploit US weakness.”

That’s exactly right, and not just because of the contrast between the two men on the stage. There’s also a stark contrast between their foreign policies. During the debate, Trump rightly pointed out that Moscow didn’t attack Ukraine during his presidency and that there was peace in the Middle East thanks to his more robust foreign policy and containment of Iran. It was only after the debacle of the Afghanistan withdrawal in the first year of Biden’s term that Russian President Vladimir Putin decided the time was right to invade Ukraine. And it was only after Biden lifted sanctions on Iran that Tehran was able to marshal the resources to back the Hamas attack on October 7.

These differences in foreign policy don’t go unnoticed by our adversaries. They know it will be much harder to pursue their strategic aims during a second Trump administration for the simple reason that Trump’s foreign policy is guided by nationalism in a way that Biden’s is not. While in office, Trump pursued American national interests abroad regardless of whether it went against the “interagency consensus” of the deep state and regardless of whether the liberal media howled in protest. He really did put America first in a way that Biden and the Democrats have not.

That’s a problem for our enemies, whose plans rely on a weak and unsteady America. Revisionist powers like China and Russia are limited in their ambitions primarily by American foreign policy backed by economic and military power—and executed by a competent president and commander in chief. 

After last night, the entire world knows we don’t have a competent commander in chief. We don’t even have a president. The next six months just got a lot more dangerous, not just for America but for the entire world. 

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