Grampa Joe at Turtle Bay

Biden at Turtle Bay

DR had an article up this morning in anticipation of Joe Biden’s address to the UN:

President Biden’s ‘America is back’ will be met with skepticism and sour faces at the UN General Assembly
Lillian Gjerulf Kretz, DR, 21 September

Lillian Kretz is DR’s USA correspondent, and the wife of Ace Correspondent Steffen Kretz.  Half of everything DR viewers and readers misunderstand about America is thanks to this couple’s extraordinarily shallow and simplistic output.

This article is just another 800-word salad of foolishness.

It opens by informing us that when Biden ascends to the podium in New York, he’ll be facing a tough crowd. 

She goes on:

On paper, the USA has gone from Trump’s “America first” to Biden’s “America’s back.”

From a USA that tried tearing UN and international agreements to shreds under President Trump to a president Biden who immediately reversed Trump’s decisions and signed America back onto the Paris climate accords and the World Health Organization.

The USA should be back in the global driver’s seat.  But the political reality has in several areas offered more of the same: more USA first.

This is a fascinating perspective: by Kretz’s logic, American leadership apparently consists of following along with everybody else.  That’s how it gets back in the driver’s seat: by agreeing to drive where everyone else wants to go. Like a boss!

And yet she tells us that “political reality” is forcing the American president to weigh American interests foremost, as though there existed a separate but preferable reality in which the job of an American president, elected by the American people, was to act in the best interests of France, or Denmark, or Mexico, or, worst of all, that phantasmagorical darling of the left: “the international community.”

We move directly from that chilling observation about what political reality hath wrought into a section entitled “Chaos in Afghanistan.” Here Kretz observes that the chaotic withdrawal from that 20-year war left American allies “who felt badly informed and not taken into consideration.”  She cites fears of a humanitarian catastrophe and a stream of refugees. 

“And the EU Commission’s President said, instructed by the US mission in Afghanistan, that the EU must now work seriously to get its own military to future crises.”

In other words, if the EU declares a humanitarian catastrophe in some remote corner of the world, it can no longer rely on America’s young men and women risking their lives to protect European feelings.  Europe will have to send its own youth to defend Europe’s own moral indignation. 

It’s interesting, however, that Kretz views the Afghanistan debacle not as a failure of competence, but a demonstration of “America First-ism.” She can plainly see the devastating consequences of the administration’s blundering stupidity, and she’s worried that those blundering idiots aren’t trying hard enough to lead the world.

It’s like watching a drunken 25-year-old doing donuts in a parking lot until he slams into a brick wall, then complaining because he was supposed to be your ride home.

The next section is entitled “Infuriated France.”

Kretz summarizes how France lost its massive submarine contract with Australia, and a lot of its influence in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, due to America’s new defense agreement with Australia and the UK.

France recalled its ambassadors from Australia and the US in protest over what they saw as a dagger in the back.

The French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian announced: “This is something I would have expected from a president Trump.”

It’s instructive that this is something Le Drian would have expected from, but did not experience with, Donald Trump, but got instead from Joe Biden. 

Annoying the French is a venerable and bipartisan American tradition (as is saving them), but Kretz can’t waste time getting into that.  The comparison to Trump is enough to support her case that Biden is charting a dangerous “America First” foreign policy, rather than just bungling things, so she’s off to the next section before the reader has a chance to wonder how Biden doing something Trump never did warrants a comparison to Trump, or how a trilateral agreement can represent any kind of go-it-alone-ism.

The next section is headed “China Is in Focus,” and Kretz begins by reminding her apparently daft readers that, although it wasn’t stated explicitly, America’s deal with the UK and Australia was “aimed at China and at China’s geopolitical power in the area.” She then immediately says that this demonstrates “that in the fight against China, the United States puts American interests first.”

Indeed it does. Whose interests should America put before her own in the fight against China? In a fight against anyone, for that matter?

The United States has seen its biggest competitor grow strong both economically and militarily in the 20 years the United States has been tied up in the war on terror.

Recent figures show that China is on track to overtake the US as the world’s largest economy as early as 2028. Therefore, the US focus will continue to shift from Europe and the Middle East towards Asia.

Britain’s inclusion in the alliance can be seen by critics as an American reward after Brexit, which only makes relations with France more strained.

That last sentence is so achingly senseless I don’t know what to make of it. I think that Kretz is trying to say that because Britain is a party to an agreement that cost France both pride and money, some French malcontents might perceive the whole thing as a Biden ploy to reward Britain for leaving the EU, which would make them even more grumbly.

Except Joe Biden never supported Brexit.

Ever.

So why would anyone, anywhere, think he wanted to reward Britain for doing something he opposed?

They wouldn’t. This has to be something Kretz just made up and tossed into the mix for a little extra color or flavor.

But never mind that. Let me say this clearly and unambiguously so that even the kids in the back row can hear it: The Chinese Communist Party is the enemy of everything that defines western civilization.

Not only that, but in case it escaped your attention—as it apparently has escaped Lillian Kretz’s—the CCP just knocked the world on its ass by failing to contain a virus that in all likelihood was developed in a Chinese lab (which was receiving American funding).

The “fight against China” (which really ought to be “the fight against the CCP”) is the defining geopolitical fact of the age, but Kretz treats it like it’s all just a big popularity contest—like the popular mean girls (the queen bitch America, snobby stuck-up Britain, and that new girl Australia) just told France she couldn’t sit at their cafeteria table any more.

Concepts like individual liberty, private property, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion, equality before the law, and open scientific inquiry have been taking a beating lately on account of the ascendant anarcho-Marxism of the international left, but they remain the backbone of western strength and prosperity. They’re important. Our societies (and economies) don’t work without them.

“But Greg, Greg—if the Chinese way of doing things is so bad, why is their economy growing so fast?”

The same reason 19th century southerners could produce cotton so cheaply. Slavery is a moral blight, but it certainly keeps costs down.

In any case, as we accelerate toward the kind of bipolar world we thought we’d escaped forever with the collapse of the Soviet Union, we probably ought to focus more on containing Chinese expansion rather than wounded French pride or, even more trivial, canceled French contracts.

Now we reach the inevitable point in the article where Kretz resorts to sheer catechism: the next section is entitled “Biden Needs the UN:”

President Biden has made it clear that he sees the UN as crucial in the fight against the global challenges facing the world. And that the United States is an important spearhead in that cooperation.

It is expected that in his speech he will in particular address the major and acute problems from climate change to the fight against Covid-19, but that he will also use the speech to send hidden messages to Russia and China and frame a global showdown between democratic and authoritarian regimes.

I have no doubt Biden sees the UN as crucial to fight the global challenges facing the global world all over the planet, worldwide. Nor do I doubt he’ll rail against climate change and covid-19 and, you know, the thing. I’m also confident he and his speechwriters and handlers believe his words will awe and terrify the Chinese and Russians, because they clearly believe that China and Russia are as stupid as they themselves are and will therefore be unable to differentiate between words and actions.

Joe Biden just handed Afghanistan back to the same primitive barbarian thugs we went over there to wipe out. That’s a more powerful message than anything he may happen to read off his teleprompter in Turtle Bay.

The next section is entitled “China Pays Big,” and details how China’s increasingly large payments to the UN are increasing its influence over that body. Which is really more a condemnation of the UN than it is a problem for anyone interested in the welfare of civilization: it suggests that influence at the UN is something that must be bought rather than earned, which throws the revered moral authority of that sainted organization straight into the toilet.

Who cares if China gains more influence at an organization that’s so obviously corrupt that even someone who’s ostensibly supporting it can state flatly that it’s all just pay-to-play? How stupid do you have to be to invest any moral authority in an organization that gives itself out to the highest bidder?

I’ll tell you how stupid: Kretz stupid.

The penultimate section is entitled “Crises on the Homefront” and consists of just two paragraphs. In the first, Kretz observes that the extent to which Biden can live up to his “America’s back” slogan is limited by the large bloc of Americans who are skeptical about everything involving international cooperation.

Here’s the second:

He is pressured by a wide range of national crises that weigh heavily in the United States: pandemics, vaccine mandates, economic crises, extreme inequality, an epidemic of misinformation and lies, and a deep political divide that makes debate and compromise near impossible, and which has forced the gaze inward to a much greater degree.

That’s some world-class chutzpah right there, is what that is. “Vaccine mandates” aren’t a crisis, but a stupid and unconstitutional policy that Biden chose to enact. The economic crises are largely if not entirely a consequence of idiotic leftist policies imposed to address the pandemic. Extreme inequality is not a crisis, but a metric. The “epidemic of misinformation and lies” is a popular leftist talking point that is usually just doublespeak for the holding or promotion of ideas other than those approved by the ruling class. As for the “deep political divide,” I don’t recall anyone named Kretz referring to the “#resistance” against Trump as a crisis: the crisis in that case was not the pathological and unprecedented resistance and defiance directed at a sitting president, but the mere fact of his being president at all.

And finally the concluding section: “The Solution Depends on Congress.” Drink in every drop:

These are challenges whose solutions Biden sees in the gigantic economic packages he’s trying with great difficulty to get through Congress. And that will be absolutely crucial, especially in relation to the climate ambitions he’s promised the United States and the rest of the world.

President Biden has reiterated the UN Secretary-General’s warning that climate change is now “code-red” for our planet.

But if he is going to pressure the other biggest greenhouse gas emitters and put himself in the global driver’s seat, he must first have control of his own house.

So Biden’s got a big task when he has to convince world leaders from the rostrum that the United States is back.

Got that?

He has to convince world leaders that “the United States is back” (an entirely fictitious premise with no real meaning).

To do so he has to be in the “global driver’s seat,” which requires in turn that he “have control of his own house.”

Which, if I’m following Kretz’s logic, seem to hinge entirely on whether he can bankrupt the nation on a thoroughly partisan, party-line vote in Congress, because otherwise the world won’t think America is serious about the code-red climate emergency—even though that code-red emergency isn’t urgent enough to stop world leaders flying around the world to hear each other’s speeches about how very, very red the code-red emergency is, and how concerned they are about all the other global challenges confronting the planet around the world.

Lillian Kretz appears, like most of her peers, to have forgotten that America is a sovereign nation whose government’s paramount responsibility is the welfare of its own citizens. “America First” and “America’s Back” are political slogans used by politicians to actuate their supporters. At the end of the day, any American president who doesn’t put American interests above all others ought to be run out of office—and surely would be.

Of course American presidents disagree on what American interests are, and on how to achieve them, just as parents may disagree about what’s best for their children without being in any disagreement on the primacy of their children’s needs.

Lillian Kretz doesn’t appear to understand any of this. She seems to equate the protection of American interests by American presidents with some kind of chauvinistic nationalism rather than the natural order of things.

The French are upset about the broken deal with Australia not because they think it’s detrimental to the global order, but because they think it’s a raw deal for France. Australia didn’t bail on France because they thought the world was better served if they teamed up with the US and UK: they did so because it served Australian interests.

“The USA should be back in the global driver’s seat,” Kretz wrote at the top of her article, “But the political reality has in several areas offered more of the same: more USA first.

Political reality in America will always mean America first, just as political reality in Denmark will always mean Denmark first. Donald Trump’s strength—and weakness—was merely that he said it out loud.

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