As problems compound abroad, faith in President Joe Biden is suffering.
First-term President Joe Biden has faced no shortage of problems during his time in the Oval Office.
Any world leader tasked with repairing the damage wrought by COVID-19 and its attendant mitigation measures was bound to have their hands full, but many of the Biden administration's woes have been self-inflicted.
The U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan was an unmitigated disaster, for instance. The effort, such as it was, cost the lives of American soldiers, abandoned millions of dollars in U.S. military ordnance, and humiliated the United States on the world stage.
It has escaped the notice of most mainstream press outlets, but Afghanistan has since been plunged into a maelstrom of economic destitution, violence, oppression and chaos.
That no one was even fired over the Afghanistan debacle seems to be further proof, if further proof was needed, of how little pressure the Biden administration is under from the legacy press.
No one has had to answer any difficult questions about the Afghanistan withdrawal because there haven't been any.
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Biden's challenges have also been laid bare in other foreign policy failures. Under the auspices of the Democratic Party and President Joe Biden, the United States' relationship with Saudi Arabia has been badly strained.
On the campaign trail, and after his election in 2020, Biden promised to make Saudi Arabia a pariah. Fast forward to June of 2022, just as U.S. gas prices were cresting $5 a gallon, and Biden started singing a different tune.
The president's motivation was clear: He needed gas prices to come down before the midterm election, and he needed Saudi Arabia's cooperation. Thus, apologies to the kingdom over the "pariah" comments were obviously going to be expedient.
Most major media outlets were willing to help with Biden's apology tour, explaining to all and sundry both at home and abroad why Biden was right before about Saudi Arabia, and though he had since changed policy direction 180 degrees, was still right.
Biden's goodwill trip to Saudi Arabia — as well as his widely panned fist-bump with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman — came to nothing: Instead of increasing output, as Biden requested, OPEC announced production cuts ... in October.
Though the liberal press howled that the Saudis were in league with Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, French President Emmanuel Macron did warn Biden at the end of June not to expect the Saudis to increase oil production ahead of the midterms.
"Biden Interrupted by Macron at G7, Told Saudis Are Near Oil Capacity Limit," reported Newsweek of the incident, though it was one of the few media outlets to pay the hot-mic exchange any attention
In the aftermath of Biden's Saudi trip, an undignified back-and-forth about what the two leaders discussed ensued.
Biden insisted that he confronted Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman over the latter's role in the Jamal Khashoggi murder; Saudi officials who also attended the meeting strongly denied that any such a confrontation took place.
Biden's credibility, as even the legacy press has been forced to admit on numerous occasions, has been hurt by a reputation for what his political allies dismiss as harmless folksy hyperbole.
Biden's fans in the press paint him as a hyper-empathetic fabulist, one who so strongly and nobly identifies with his audiences as to internalize experiences beyond his own. The press credits Biden with a concentrated form of honesty so pure as to transform the material nature of Biden's statements, however false, instantly into existential truths.
Biden's political opponents are less forgiving and sometimes refer to the process as bald-faced lying.
After the Saudi trip, Brit Hume was forced to admit Biden was, "struggling with the ability to rally allies, not even able to be able to get on the same page with Saudis about what happened behind closed doors.
"It is not clear who to trust, normally if the Saudis said one thing and the president of the United States said another. People would generally believe the president.
"I'm not sure that's true now," Hume begrudged. "I think his credibility is so damaged by so many things that he has said and done and not done, at this point, you see these conflicting versions and you might be inclined to think maybe the Saudis were telling the truth."
Even Biden's closest Democratic allies in the press are starting to notice.
"Biden made a bad deal for Brittney Griner," concluded the Bloomberg Opinion editorial board glumly on Dec. 12.
That the deal was, in part, negotiated by Saudi Arabia and UAE intermediaries is further complicating a diplomatic relationship already severely strained under the Biden administration.