With world powers weakened, would-be conquerors are rising.

Photo by Suzy Brooks on Unsplash.

President Joe Biden has his hands full.

To be fair, any world leader tasked with COVID-19 clean-up duty was bound to have problems. It must also be admitted that some of the issues besetting the Biden Administration have been worsened by its policies.

Biden’s problems are clear at home, where U.S. inflation rates are taking a substantial chunk out of American pocketbookslayoffs are spreading like wildfire, a recession is looming, and crime is spiking.

But even as President Joe Biden grapples with domestic woes, his tribulations abroad seem to be worsening significantly with each passing day as well.

This week, Russian President Vladimir Putin is ostensibly flexing Russia’s nuclear arms muscle, and the United States is doubling down on material and major military support for Ukraine.

US finalizing plans to send Patriot missile defense system to Ukraine,” reported Barbara Starr and Oren Libermann in an exclusive for CNN on December 15, 2022.

“The system is widely considered one of the most capable long-range weapons to defend airspace against incoming ballistic and cruise missiles as well as some aircraft,” wrote Starr and Libermann. “Because of its long-range and high-altitude capability, it can potentially shoot down Russian missiles and aircraft far from their intended targets inside Ukraine.”

Russia warns of “consequences” if U.S. sends Patriot missiles to Ukraine,” reported Han Chen for Axios yesterday.

“I fear that the war in Ukraine will get out of control, and spread into a major war between NATO and Russia,” NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg told Norwegian Public broadcast outlet NRK only two weeks ago.

Joe Biden’s broken promise to avoid war with Russia could lead to Armageddon,” lamented Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J.S. Davis for Salon in October. “‘We will not fight a war with Russia in Ukraine,’ Biden told us in March. But that war has already started.”

The U.S. has been hedging its bets with regard to supporting Ukraine, however — at least somewhat.

U.S. Altered Himars Rocket Launchers to Keep Ukraine From Firing Missiles Into Russia,” reported the Wall Street Journal on December 5. “Experts debate whether long-range missiles for Ukraine would deter Putin or widen war.”

Complicating an already tense picture, there is trouble in Putin’s paradise.

“The fall of the tower,” revealed The Insider today. “Kremlin to replace cadres in charge of foreign policy.

The upper-management shake-ups could be a sign of Russia’s resolve weakening, in which case things might be looking up for Ukraine, the United States, and world peace. Or this latest news out of Moscow could be a harbinger of worse to come: A Putin government more firmly in his pocket, more obstinately dug-in on staying the course in Ukraine.

Or worse.

One bright spot may potentially be Saudi Arabia, a nation that seems to be working to keep the peace between two increasingly prickly superpowers and de-escalate the current conflict.

Yet Saudi Arabia is having its own geopolitical slugfest with the U.S. under the Biden Administration.

Biden’s on-again, off-again relationship with the Saudis has been suffering the slings and arrows of the Democratic Party’s shifting political fortunes over the past two years.

From vowing to make Saudi Arabia a “pariah” for the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, to fist-bumping said pariah on a goodwill visit, Biden made an abrupt 180-degree turn.

Then he made another. And another.

Shelving his pride, President Biden begged for OPEC production increases. Instead, he got major production cuts, a great lump of coal right before the big midterm election.

At first, he vowed “consequences”. Biden has since abandoned the Iran nuclear deal — which the Saudis always hated — and shielded the Kingdom from legal liability in the Khashoggi murder. These favors seem far from consequences.

Will it be enough to mend fences between two once-close allies? Perhaps.

The Kingdom was recently willing to help the Biden Administration negotiate the release of WBNA basketball player Brittney Griner, though not everyone agrees the U.S. got the better deal. In exchange for Griner, Biden was forced to release notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.

Biden made a bad deal for Brittney Griner,” concluded the Bloomberg Opinion editorial board on December 12, 2022.

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.

Can the Biden Administration get the U.S. out of this mess?

Or are we destined to be pulled further into war?

(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)