President Biden’s weakness dulls America’s strength
David C. Innes | A weak government is a government that betrays God’s calling
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In his first address to the nation after the tragic death of 13 U.S. service members in Kabul by suicide bombing, President Biden expressed the nation’s grief—then he slumped over his podium in silence. He looked like a president immobilized by events. His theatrics were excessive. It was not what we or our enemies needed to see. He seemed broken by it, tired, and undone.
But this was more than an optics problem or failed judgment in political self-presentation following a national tragedy. Biden has projected weakness for the past year, from his campaign from the safety of his basement to his indifference toward enforcing our southern border. The Kabul debacle simply dispelled all reasonable doubt. A mid-September Quinnipiac poll showed public disapproval of him as Commander in Chief at 55-40 and of the way he ended our presence in Afghanistan at 65-31.
More recently, the president has been outplayed by the left wing of his party, showing his political weakness. A weak president is a bad president. We elect presidents to do something vitally important, so weakness on the job exposes the nation to real danger.
Alexander Hamilton explained this clearly in Federalist Papers No. 70: “A feeble Executive implies a feeble execution of the government. A feeble execution is but another phrase for a bad execution; and a government ill executed, whatever it may be in theory, must be, in practice, a bad government.”
The Bible teaches that when God gives us the blessing of government (Romans 13:4), it is—or ought to be—not only righteous but strong. He endows it with “the sword,” suggesting a very real power and authority. An effective government must instill confidence in the public—even at times exercising its authority in a way that is firm, fearsome, decisive—especially in the eyes of our enemies.
Weakness in government is a betrayal of God’s calling and thus a source of evil. Government, to be good, must be both safe and effective.
The way President Biden withdrew our forces from Afghanistan has endangered the country because it signaled weakness to the world—to friends, rivals, and enemies alike. Our retreat from Afghanistan presented the appearance of fleeing with our national tail between our legs, pillaged and overrun by a motley crew of taunting medieval maniacs, pleading their mercy for the safe evacuation of our people.
To compensate for this impression of weakness and incompetence and to remedy the political crisis it presented for the White House, the president gave a tough-talk speech and announced a drone strike on ISIS-K operatives (who turned out to be an aid worker and his small children delivering water). Yet, in this final speech on Afghanistan, Biden strangely shouted. He was likely told that he needed to sound firm, to communicate resolve and toughness. But it was too late for that. At home and abroad, people had taken his measure. And it was bad acting, besides.
The tough-guy act was an attempt to overcompensate for previous weakness. More recently, the nation has seen President Biden pivot to his domestic COVID war, where he can try out the part of the great American hero-president, bringing firm and decisive leadership. His “six-point plan” speech on the pandemic was yet another “No more Mr. Nice Guy” signal. But his speech turned Americans against each other, rather than against the virus.
God establishes government to do the dangerous and important job of securing people in their liberty to serve him in godliness. Executive authority must enforce the law at home—equally, forcefully, and prudently—and deter threats from abroad. This requires strength both in speech and deed; it requires credible threat and faithful execution.
As for the president and his pivot, well, weakness has a way of pivoting back on you.
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