Displaying items by tag: Joe Biden
Joe Biden will visit Israel and Saudi Arabia from 13 to 16 July. The 16th is a Jewish fast day in remembrance of Jerusalem's walls being breached. On that day the president will visit Saudi Arabia where Washington has been brokering talks to transfer a pair of Red Sea islands from Egypt to Saudi Arabia, in a deal that would see Riyadh take small steps toward formal diplomatic ties with Jerusalem. It is also believed that Biden’s visit to the Gulf kingdom is to seek an increase in its oil production and coordinate with regional partners on Iran. The president’s schedule of two days in Jerusalem and Bethlehem indicates Washington also aims to solidify the two-pronged ties with Jerusalem while assuring the Palestinians that his administration is still proactively committed to the two-state solution.
A left-wing group that supported Joe Biden in 2020 announced it is going to work against him with a public pressure campaign to block his renomination as the Democratic candidate in 2024. The group has an email list of 1.2 million people and will spend six figures on a #DontRunJoe campaign with digital ads starting in early nominating states the day after the midterm elections. They have already created the website DontRunJoe.org, with a petition asking him not to run. It includes recent media headlines outlining his many public gaffes to bolster its argument. They said, ‘Having Joe Biden as the Democratic Party's standard-bearer in 2024 would be a tragic mistake.’ The question of his advanced age and cognitive ability were frequently questioned during the 2020 election and have also been under scrutiny during his time in office by political pundits, lawmakers, and the media. 38 Republican members have asked Biden to take a cognitive test.
On 24 May, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos entered Robb Elementary School in Texas, armed with a handgun and a rifle. He killed nineteen pupils and two teachers before he himself was shot dead. This was the deadliest school attack for a decade. Amid the outpouring of shock and grief, Joe Biden asked, ‘Why do we keep letting this happen? Why are we willing to live with this carnage?’ This tragedy has reignited the debate about guns, particularly since there had already been 27 other school shootings this year. Since his election, the president has made a number of pledges to tighten legislation, but he faces an uphill battle to convert any of them into action, given the fierce opposition from the Republicans and the powerful gun lobby.
On 25 May North Korea test-fired at least two ballistic missiles, just a day after Joe Biden left the region. One flew about 300 km, the other 750 km: they were the latest in a flurry of such launches in 2022. Japan’s defence minister said they were ‘unacceptable’, and South Korea called them ‘a grave provocation’.' Mr Biden visited both those countries, and agreed with the South Korean president to hold bigger military drills and deploy more US strategic assets if necessary, to deter North Korea’s intensifying weapons test.' He said that the USA was ‘prepared for anything North Korea does’.
Joe Biden's first formal State of the Union speech came as only 40.6% of Americans are happy with his job performance. After describing his foreign policies on the invasion of Ukraine, Mr Biden confronted a host of domestic troubles dogging his presidency, from the enduring pandemic to soaring consumer prices, a wave of violent crime, and inflation hitting a 40-year high even though the jobless rate has sunk to 4%. The president sought to empathise with hard-pressed working families, saying ‘I get it.’ He promised a plan for ‘building a better America’ by boosting domestic production of cars and semiconductors, as well as rebuilding the nation’s roads and bridges. Republican response to the speech portrayed a presidency reflecting the late '70s ‘when runaway inflation hammered families, a violent crime wave crushed cities, and the Soviet army was trying to redraw the world map’.
Republicans have questioned Biden's cognitive abilities since before he was elected in 2020. Biden's doctor said, after November’s physical, that he was healthy, vigorous and fit for office. Republican senator Roger Marshall, also a physician, expressed interest in having the president take an annual cognitive test, much like he has an annual physical examination - citing concern for his health. Marshall said he feels there has been a ‘deterioration’ in Biden's ‘mental capacity’ over the past year: ‘I think we're all very concerned about his health, and it is a national security issue.’ On 15 February, 38 Republicans sent a letter to the president requesting he take a cognitive test. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Marshall's comments or the letter. Biden is 79, the oldest person ever to be elected president.
3,000 additional American troops will aid in defending NATO allies in Eastern Europe. A recent satellite image shows Russia has an entire new housing area, established in the past ten days, next to the existing military vehicles in Russia-occupied Crimea. Russia now has 130,000 troops encircling the Ukrainian border, increasing the threat to the region’s stability. The USA said its moves are designed to respond to the current security environment. Moreover, its troops are not going to fight in Ukr; they are there to ensure the robust defence of NATO allies. A thousand US soldiers will reposition from Germany to Romania in the coming days, adding to the 900 currently there. 2,000 additional troops are being moved from the USA to Europe. The 82nd Airborne Division is deploying an infantry brigade combat team and key enablers to Poland. 8,500 US troops remain ready to move if called.
Joe Biden said there would be ‘enormous consequences’ globally if Russia invaded Ukraine and threatened personal sanctions on Putin if he does. His comments came as other Western leaders warned Russia would pay a heavy price for an invasion. The UK said it had ruled nothing out, including sanctions on people, banks and businesses. It wants all its allies to do the same, as collective action would deter Russia. Biden also said Europe must match America’s sweeping sanctions. However, Europe imports 45% of its gas from Russia, and Putin has used gas for geopolitical leverage before. Also, Ukraine is not a NATO member, so NATO has no obligation to defend it. Putin objects to Ukraine joining NATO as he wants to have more power there. Invasion is hard to imagine, but so is the prospect of Putin backing off without major concessions from NATO. Recently Russian, Ukrainian, German and French diplomats gathered for talks.
Joe Biden plans to open a consulate in Jerusalem. This amounts to an actual US embassy to the Palestinians on Israeli territory. Many believe its true purpose is to undermine Israeli sovereignty in its own capital city. It will also jeopardise future prospects for peace between Israel and Palestinian Arabs. As well as betraying Israel, Biden's diplomatic signalling also appeases his hard-left supporters and is a betrayal of the Palestinian people. They have suffered too long and too hard under the hostility of their leadership, which has consistently refused to entertain all proposals for peace with Israel that could lead to the establishment of their own state. Successive Palestinian leaders have been encouraged in their inflexibility by the US and Europe, who have for decades extracted concession after concession from Israel while Palestinians make none. The intended consulate in Israel's capital will encourage greater support for Hamas, currently ruling Gaza.
Numerous factors are pointing to a presidential meltdown. At home, Biden’s handling of the pandemic attracted growing criticism during a summer Covid surge. There has been continuing mistreatment of Mexico border migrants, which he promised to end. A Biden-backed police reform bill, prompted by George Floyd’s death, was rejected in Congress. His reputation for foreign policy competence was shattered by the Afghan withdrawal and deaths of Americans and Afghans. The row with France over a US-UK-Australia defence pact deepened disillusion over his commitment to multilateralism. While international perceptions matter, it is Americans who will make or break this presidency. Before next year’s midterm elections, Mr Biden wishes to enact an extraordinarily ambitious legislative agenda including a $3.5tn social spending plan and a $1.1tn infrastructure package. A new survey gives Donald Trump a 48% favourability rating to Biden’s 46%.