Covid-19 has created one of the most critical conditions for Western leadership for centuries. The free world has experienced a true lack of leadership which seems to have been exploited by inimical world powers to expand their power in traditionally Western-dominated regions.
After the Republican party took the White House in 2016, many foreign policy experts and military leaders who are seen as hawks got important positions inside the administration. This led to positive results in many areas, like strengthening Western Europe to restrict Russian influence, giving assistance to Ukraine, sanctioning Iran to tighten the grip on their economic capabilities, arranging an historic meeting with the North Korean leader, attempting to handle communist Venezuela and of course, exposing the threat of China.
After the Democrats came to power, the expectation for Biden’s picks was too positive. For me as a Georgian, who sees and perceives the threats from Russia in everyday life, it was very strange to see many Georgian experts overestimating the new administration’s plans – specifically in its foreign policy approach towards Russia.
As we see today, Biden’s actions and positions are simply not strong enough. President Biden’s press conference in April 16 was far too much geared towards cooperation between two nations, rather than the clear and present threat or warning Russia is currently posing towards Eastern Europe. John Bolton, who was Trump’s first National Security Advisor, criticised Biden’s sanctions and mentioned that this action falls short.
As Robert Tyler perfectly explained in a recent piece, Western Europe is dangerously dependent on Russian energy, which gives Putin strong political leverage to suppress their political voice. And that silence may soon give an additional tool to Russia when the Nord Stream 2 project is finished under the Baltic Sea. Unfortunately, there was no mention on that project in the latest imposed sanctions.
The position of the West is even weaker toward Iran, which as it seems, will be free from any economic and political sanctions very soon and continue to use all of its resources to destabilise the Middle East.
Meanwhile, China has actively engaged in that region, giving $400 billion of credit to the government of Iran. Chinese investment will spur Iran’s economic and commercial abilities to escape the American effort to keep that radical autocratic regime isolated. One of the reasons for this process may be passivity by Western politicians, especially by Americans.
During the second part of the previous century, the USA played an immense role to balance any authoritarian ambitions and check tyranny in many parts of the world. However, with the growing ambitions of China and Russia, America needs more proactive engagement with their ideological allies and precise solutions to avoid the expulsion of Western influence and the removal of democratic values from critically important regions.
The Biden administration will gather world leaders, including ideological opponents, around the table of Climate Summit 2021. The President’s efforts to bring the leaders together will demand much concessions, it would seem. But new climate strategy must not be at the expense of the security interests of US allies. That is the only thing that cannot be compromised.
In this complicated situation, the world has a critical need for hawkish political leaders who do not take steps back but create conditions by themselves and demonstrate the famous Peace Through Strength policy. That position would show the power and less fragmentation of the Western democracies, which nowadays looks a very perilous signal for the entire free world.