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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

OPINION:

President Joe Biden’s virtual meeting Tuesday with Russian President Vladimir Putin might be thought of as a final checkup before Russian troops invade Ukraine. Mr. Biden has displayed nothing but weakness since taking office. Even his threats of “consequences” sound weak.

The president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, sounded bolder than the U.S. president when he threatened to “derail” any invasion of his country by Russian forces. 


Look how different the world appears after Donald Trump left office. Mr. Biden ordered a precipitous withdrawal from Afghanistan, and all the administration could do was brag about what an efficient job it did in moving so many troops out so quickly, despite the 13 U.S. service members killed in the last days and the translators and Americans left behind.

For the first time, China is building a naval base in the Atlantic Ocean, off the African coast. Beijing is also ratcheting military flights over Taiwan and threatening to invade the democratic island nation. Mr. Biden’s response is to announce that he will not send government officials to the 2022 Beijing Olympics. That isn’t likely to put fear into the heart of President Xi Jinping.

Iran appears to be proceeding with its program to build nuclear weapons. Why shouldn’t it, given the belief by the religious regime that Allah wants them to have one in pursuit of the destruction of Israel and eventually the “great Satan,” which would be America.

As a Wall Street Journal editorial accurately put it: “The Biden administration’s problem is that it came into office believing that the main threat to world stability was Donald Trump.” The editorial adds: “China is buying Iranian oil in violation of U.S. sanctions, but the U.S. is also doing little about that. (A) Biden official said that was best handled “diplomatically” and that the President had taken it up directly with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Mr. Biden weakened Mr. Trump’s maximum pressure campaign against Iran’s nuclear program and has put nothing but diplomatic entreaties in its place.”

Rogue regimes only engage in “diplomacy” if they think they can pick the pocket of their adversary.

The West too often believes everyone wants to be like us. If that were true, wouldn’t they already be more like us?

Evil must be opposed, or it grows in nations, as well as in individuals. The crime wave in America is partly the result of soft-on-crime judges, prosecutors, district attorneys and calls to defund the police. Criminals naturally see this weakness as an opportunity to loot and kill, fearing few, if any, consequences.

If Mr. Putin invades Ukraine, if China invades Taiwan, if Iran finishes a nuclear bomb, if North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un decides to move against South Korea, all of them may see this as the ideal opportunity to engage in behavior they might think twice about if America had a strong president.

Just as criminals tend to avoid places where there is effective security and bullies prey on people they perceive as unable or unwilling to fight back, so, too, do leaders of “evil empires” feel emboldened when they conclude they will not be effectively opposed by the “strongest nation in the world,” a nation that under Mr. Biden is increasingly seen by our adversaries as feeble.

• Readers may email Cal Thomas at tcaeditors@tribpub.com. Look for Cal Thomas’ latest book, “America’s Expiration Date: The Fall of Empires and Superpowers and the Future of the United States” (HarperCollins/Zondervan).


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