Biden talks tough at UN … and talks … and talks
President Theodore Roosevelt expressed his foreign policy very succinctly. He said America talks softly but carries a big stick. It is noteworthy that this was before America led the world to victories in World War I and War World II – establishing that the United States military was the biggest stick in the world.
President Biden embraces the antithesis of that policy. He speaks tough and tosses the stick to the side. We saw the tragic results of that approach in Afghanistan. Remember how the steely-eyed Biden looked into the cameras and said that the Taliban would not take over the country for a long time? Or how they would hold down al Qaeda? That we would not leave until every American and Afghan partner was safely out of the country? How would he extend the retreat until that was accomplished? Tough talk … followed by capitulation.
In terms of Ukraine, Biden used tough language – and threats of crushing sanctions – if Putin invaded. He followed up his tough talk with the removal of all American military from Afghanistan – putting a welcome mat over Ukraine.
Well, Biden did it again in his recent UN speech. It was a lot of tough talk directed at Russia and the UN in general – with the notable exception of China. His friends in the media gave the speech high praise – some saying it was his best speech ever. Of course, they say that about almost every tough Biden speech in which he does not have a major gaffe.
Since words are cheap, Biden’s UN speech did not have a lot of real-world value. It changed nothing. But what better place to give a meaningless speech than before the United Nations – an institution that is characterized by tough talk leading to … nothing.
In a recent television interview, United States UN Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield updated America on her activities at the international Peacekeeping(?) body. She condemned Russia in the strongest terms. Talk. Talk. Talk. She said Russia has been “isolated” at the UN. Really? In what way? Empty talk. Putin still has his veto — and membership on the Security Council
While America is talking at the UN, Putin is conscripting more than 300,000 soldiers and purchasing billions of dollars of new weaponry from North Korea. When Putin talks tough, it is almost always just before another round of real tough actions.
Academically graded, Biden gave a very good speech – well delivered. Unfortunately, it changed nothing – not even US policy in dealing with Putin. Nothing but words.
So, there ‘tis.