Biden’s Diplomacy Resembles Carter’s

Jimmy Carter is a “bad current, great former” president. His entire political career involved serving as a governor while running a peanut farm in southern Georgia. At first, the political expectations for him were high, but his new status was revealed by his clumsiness in Washington politics and his inexperience in diplomacy. In American politics, it has almost become a trend to compare President Joe Biden to Carter. Pro-Trump Congressman Jim Jordan called Biden “the new Jimmy Carter,” and Senator Lindsey Graham mocked him as “worse than Carter.”

Biden has had a brilliant political career, but in many ways, he is reminiscent of Carter. The two assumed power under similar circumstances, with Watergate’s political corruption and Trump’s divisive politics being their legacy. In diplomacy, their practical noninterventionism, with human rights at the forefront, is also similar. Biden promised to restore human rights diplomacy and alliances in place of Trump’s unilateralism and the “America First” approach. The problem is that what Biden, like Carter, showed during a series of crises is close to a specious approach. The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue and the AUKUS alliance [a trilateral security pact among Australia, the U.K, and the USA] to contain China puzzled other allies, and the process of withdrawing troops from Afghanistan marked to the world the fall of the United States.

At a press conference on the first anniversary of his inauguration yesterday, Biden talked about the Ukraine crisis by distinguishing between a full-scale Russian invasion and a partial invasion. When controversy arose, he emphasized zero tolerance toward all attacks, but implicitly recognized Russia’s right to partial possession. The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 was a disastrous failure of the Iranian hostage rescue operation and the Carter administration. The Ukraine crisis, too, will serve as a touchstone to determine whether Biden will follow in Carter’s footsteps. Not only China, but also North Korea is accusing the Biden administration of adopting a “confrontational stance.”

Biden’s one-year inauguration assessment is premature and crude, but the situation is not easy. Even though Carter failed to serve a second term as a result of economic recession and diplomatic failure, he enjoyed a 50% approval rating in his early days of power, but Biden’s approval rating is below 40%. Unlike Carter, who maintained a Democratic majority in the midterm elections, Biden will likely hand over the Senate’s legislative power to the Republicans. It is also painfully obvious that inflation would have worsened without congressional brakes on Biden’s $2 trillion-plus* American Rescue Plan. In light of all this, the road to Donald Trump’s 2024 presidential election seems to be slowly opening up.

*Editor’s Note: The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021was a $1.9 trillion stimulus bill.

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