The increasingly complex and threatening Russia-Iran-China axis is no longer intimidated by Washington's 'red lines'

The US is becoming weak in the eyes of its enemies

El presidente estadounidense Joe Biden le da la mano al presidente chino Xi Jinping - REUTERS/KEVIN LAMARQUE
photo_camera U.S. President Joe Biden shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping - REUTERS/KEVIN LAMARQUE

The upcoming US presidential election in November will take place at a time when Washington faces numerous geopolitical challenges. It is for this reason that foreign policy is playing a major role in the current electoral battle between the two candidates: incumbent President Joe Biden, who aspires to win a second term, and former President Donald Trump, who, despite all his court cases and controversies, hopes to return to the White House.

In this regard, Biden's opponents have criticised his foreign policy, claiming that his strategies make the US appear "weak" in the eyes of the world, especially its enemies.  

Even Robert Wilkie, former US Secretary of Veterans Affairs during the Trump administration, compares the current situation to the West after the end of the First World War.

"Echoes of the 20th century have returned with a vengeance," he notes. Wilkie recalls that, after the Great War, defence budgets were slashed while Western allies signed pacts declaring an end to war as an instrument of national policy and turning mighty warships into scrap metal. However, the invasion of Poland and the attack on Pearl Harbor shattered this pacifist dream. 

"The fall of the Berlin Wall also heralded the "end of history" for some. Utopian fantasies even survived years of terrorist savagery sponsored by fanatical enemies of the West," Wilkie notes in National Interest magazine.  

Donald Trump - PHOTO/FILE
Donald Trump - PHOTO/FILE

Comparing the two situations, Wilkie argues that the left "failed to learn the lessons" of the past. Now, according to Wilkie, the United States faces a danger from an axis of evil - China, Russia, Iran - more threatening and more complex than the Soviet Union once was.  

British Defence Secretary Grant Shapps also warned that we are entering a 'pre-war' phase at a time when the British military has ammunition for only a week's fighting in a scenario similar to the Ukrainian one.  

In addition to criticising Biden, Wilkie also takes a swipe at the Obama administration, which tried to appease its traditional adversaries: Iran, Russia and China. While sending billions of dollars to the ayatollahs' regime, they promised leniency to Putin and showed weakness to China by not maintaining a presence in the Pacific. 

PHOTO/FILE – Ayatolá Ali Jamenei
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei - PHOTO/FILE

All this led Washington's enemies to challenge US "red lines", which were crossed without any response from the White House. "The US was painted as the paper tiger that the communists and theocratic fanatics always claimed we were," Wilkie notes, recalling the withdrawal from Afghanistan and current responses to Iranian-backed militia attacks on US bases in the Middle East.   

On the military front, Wilkie argues that the US military is "overstretched, underfunded and under-resourced". Defence spending is the lowest percentage of GDP since the end of World War II and military recruitment has dried up as the administration uses the Pentagon as an experiment in social justice, Wilkie complains. 

El destructor de la Armada estadounidense USS Carney (DDG 64) en el Bósforo en Estambul, Turquía (REUTERS/YORUK ISIK)
U.S. Navy destroyer USS Carney (DDG 64) in the Bosphorus in Istanbul, Turkey - REUTERS/YORUK ISIK

The former US Secretary of Veterans Affairs also raises the question of who is in charge in the White House, recalling that the Secretary of Defense disappeared for days and no one noticed. 

"Are the radicals on the White House staff inspired by the professors who run the show taking the administration to the left, even to the point of throwing Israel to the wolves? These are the same staff who have ruined our energy independence and who look wistfully to the UN Human Rights Council for inspiration," Wilkie writes. 

Wilkie ends his analysis with a warning: "this is America's hour of maximum peril". He believes that, when the country should be preparing for a great power conflict, no one seems to be in charge. "The malice of the wicked is reinforced by the weakness of the virtuous," he concludes, paraphrasing Winston Churchill.