Think no ride could be wilder than 2020–2022? Think again.

Photo by Clément Falize on Unsplash.
While President Joe Biden has certainly made mistakes so far as President, his fellow party members and plenty of journalists in the press have still been willing to look at the bright side.

Heading into 2023, the Biden Administration is beset on all sides with — if possible — even more challenges than it has faced since 2020.

Abroad, the growing threat posed by China, Russia, and Iran — or rather, the growing threat posed by the Chinese Communist Party, Vladimir Putin, and the tyrannical rulers of Iran — is troubling the minds of elected officials and foreign policy experts.

Putin’s February 2022 aggression in Ukraine was unexpected, but it shouldn’t have been. Looking back, the signs were always clear that Putin planned to eventually invade Ukraine. Moscow was using information warfare and strategic military targeting to undermine the nation for over a decade before finally invading.

With the benefit of hindsight in the Russia/Ukraine conflict, world leaders are looking ahead much more nervously.

The CCP has been promising — openly — to invade Taiwan for over a decade. Beijing, like Moscow before it, has been furiously undermining Taiwan’s sovereignty using everything from election interference to hacking to economic sabotage all this time.

And like Putin before him, Xi Jinping has recently been conducting a growing number of “training exercises” near his intended target.

Not all world leaders and foreign policy experts agree that 2023 will be the year China moves on Taiwan, but some do.

Iran’s closer relationship with Russia, and Russia’s closer relationship with China, have western nations feeling nervous about the new geopolitical alliances creating a new and improved Iron Curtain.

United States allies in the Middle East could potentially help bridge the widening gap.

Unfortunately, U.S. interests in the Middle East have been undermined by several missteps by the Biden Administration — among other, more deep-seated and long-simmering issues.

U.S. relations with Saudi Arabia were badly strained by President Biden’s promises on the campaign trail to make Saudi Arabia a pariah state for Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s alleged role in the assassination of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Biden later had to eat those words when he traveled to Saudi Arabia in 2022 on a mission to convince OPEC+ to pump more oil.

The mission failed.

Worse, President Biden and Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and their representatives, disagreed acrimoniously — and publicly — over what the two leaders discussed. Biden claimed to have confronted the Prince during the meeting on the subject of Khashoggi; the latter insisted such a confrontation never took place.

Since that disastrous meeting, Biden’s foreign policy team has been working overtime to get back in the Kingdom’s good graces.

The Biden Administration recently helped shield the Saudi Royal Family from liability in a legal suit brought by Khashoggi’s family. Biden also abandoned the Iran Nuclear Agreement last month.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, as is its official name, was never popular with Saudi Arabia’s rulers. It gave too many U.S. dollars to a government sponsoring proxy terror in the region.

Afghanistan was an unmitigated national disaster, which was televised. The debacle can hardly have improved U.S. standing in the Middle East. President Biden’s champions in the press are fond of pointing out the upside: The U.S. has left Afghanistan.

Of course, American military weapons left in the hands of the Taliban, the subsequent brutal repression of women’s rights, persecution of former American allies left behind in the scramble, and a large percentage of the population on the verge of starvation aren’t much to brag about.

The latest revelation in the saga of U.S. military action in Afghanistan has further shadowed an already dark day in U.S. history.

“Military Investigation Reveals How the U.S. Botched a Drone Strike in Kabul,” announced The New York Times on January 6, 2023.

“Documents obtained through a lawsuit reveal how biases led to the deadly August 2021 blunder, and that officials made misleading statements concealing their assessment of civilian casualties,” the nation’s paper of record reported grimly.

“The investigation was completed a week and a half after the strike and was never released, but The New York Times has obtained 66 partially redacted pages of it through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against Central Command,” wrote the NYT later, sounding resigned to the worst.

While it’s true that Joe Biden inherited the ticking time bomb that was the Russia/Ukraine conflict, the fact remains that under his leadership we seem to be inching ever closer to escalating Russia’s war on Ukraine into World War III.

With so many serious foreign policy distractions, the Biden Administration could perhaps be forgiven for expecting the American people to forget about the economy and inflation.

As 2023 kicks off, the world is holding its breath. If the last three years have taught us anything, it’s that anything might be coming down the road.

(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)