3 min read

Biden's Public Deterioration Does Not Put the U.S. at Immediate Risk

The worry that the President's now public infirmities create an opening for our enemies is misguided
Painting of a blue-skinned woman with a dour expression on a bright wall
Either how you felt watching the debate or how he felt doing it, your choice | Picture by Author

Greetings friends!

The fact of Mr. Biden’s obvious decay is disturbing on a personal level, with mentions of “elder abuse” being made across party lines. We imagine how we’d feel if it was our parent or grandparent being forced up the steps into a situation where they felt only bewilderment and fear.

No matter our sympathy for the man personally, this article is about America’s fate.

Our President’s slack-jawed vacant expression left many viewers of the presidential debate themselves stupefied. It was as if, all at once, the scales had been taken from our eyes and we could see clearly that many people had been lying to us about many things.

As goes the President, so goes the fate of the country?

Does having a visibly ailing leader create a strategic risk for America, for example, because it emboldens our enemies to act while they think they can get away with it?

Here’s presidential candidate Nikki Haley responding to Biden’s disastrous debate performance: “Our enemies just saw that they have between now and Jan. 20 to do whatever it is that they want to do.”

Former President Trump made repeated references to Biden’s weakness being a contributing cause to Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine and Iran’s decision to ramp up its various proxy wars in the Middle East, including the October 7 attack on Israel.

There’s good reason for concern. Autocrats and dictators include in their calculus the expected world response to their aggressions. When you think your adversary is distracted or weak, you are more likely to conclude your ill deeds will go unpunished.

The Wall Street Journal reports that world leaders have been observing and privately noting signs of Biden’s significant decline for months. See The World Saw Biden Deteriorating. It wasn’t just our friends noticing.

Painting of an elderly man holding a skull
Not sure which of the two here is in worse shape | Picture by Author

These concerns are overblown, for a simple reason

A single question helps alleviate the concern:

Who's been running the country?

We don’t know the answer, do we?

We can dismiss as convenient lies the idea that “behind closed doors” Mr. Biden is remarkably sharp and on top of his game. This is belied by what we can plainly see and the testimony of an increasingly large number of world leaders.

For at least a half year (since Special Prosecutor Hur wrapped up his investigation by concluding a jury would be unlikely to convict an “elderly man with a poor memory”), and possibly considerably longer, Mr. Biden has been unfit. So who’s been running the show in his absence?

The fact that we have no idea who’s been making decisions, setting policy, and determining U.S. response is both terrifying and, in a limited sense, wonderful. Terrifying for obvious reasons and wonderful because it means our adversaries don’t know either.

Sure, the President is the Commander in Chief and makes the ultimate decisions. But when the President doesn’t know what day of the week it is, whether he’s got a chair behind him, or which direction the exit is, we must assume his handlers put papers in front of him each day for his rubber-stamp signature.

So while our adversaries know that President Biden has exited stage left, they don’t know who remains behind the curtain directing the show.

This situation cannot safely continue for long

The uncertainty will hopefully bridge the United States through the election to next January when a new President is sworn into office.

From a constitutional and governance perspective, it’s intolerable to consider it to last much longer. The leader of the free world cannot in reality be a cabal of unseen puppet masters and operatives who pull strings and push buttons we know nothing about.

But for now, we should be happy that the whole world knows Biden is no longer in charge. It’s the only thing keeping the wolves at bay.

Be well.

Conventional wisdom is boringly correct most of the time. And sometimes it’s spectacularly wrong. If you want to be able to tell the difference, read more of my work.