In the wake of Special Counsel Robert Hur's report and the disastrous presidential press conference that followed, national security experts are assessing whether Joe Biden's memory could pose a threat to the security of the United States.
According to former Deputy National Security Adviser KT McFarland, who served during former President Donald Trump's time in office, “Biden's dementia is clear to everyone, but especially to foreign leaders.”
“This is dangerous for two reasons,” he said Fox News Digital.
“First, it amplifies the claim that America is a spent power. Chinese leaders have been telling the world for years that America is in irreversible decline, that the future belongs to China. Biden is the embodiment of irreversible decline, lending credibility to the idea that America's supremacy on the world stage is over,” McFarland explained. “Second, because foreign leaders know now is the time to put pressure on the US, to take advantage of a leader who is not only weak but confused.”
The president's confusion was on full display last week.
How BizPac Review he confused French President Emmanuel Macron with former French President François Mitterrand, who died in 1996, and twice confused German Chancellors Angela Merkel and Helmut Kohl. Most striking was his confusion with the leaders of Egypt and Mexico as he desperately tried to assure reporters – and, more importantly, voters – that Hur's assessment of his mental acuity was baseless.
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Fox News contributor Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg criticized the Biden administration as a whole, noting that Biden has always taken “a long time to make decisions or do something” when dealing with U.S. adversaries united
“When it comes to national security, you know, it all comes down to the commander in chief, the president of the United States,” he told Fox News Digital. “You always want your commander-in-chief to be obviously very informed, which is what advisers are supposed to do, but able to make very quick, rational, understandable decisions.”
When it comes to national security issues, short delays are expected, but excessive delays are problematic, Kellogg said.
“Frankly, in this administration, you see the latter, not the former,” he said. “They take a long time to make decisions or do something, and that always allows your adversary to get inside your ability to do something.”
“Years ago in the military, there was a term called the OODA loop,” Kellogg explained. “The OODA Loop [stood for] observe, guide, decide, act. What this meant was, frankly, entering your opponent's decision cycle. That's what presidents are supposed to do.”
“So if you have a diminished capacity, your ability to make quick decisions is of course questionable,” he continued. “And that's where you get into trouble with national security.”
The Biden administration is “very risk averse,” Kellogg said.
“When you look at the Middle East, look at how long it took us to react to the attack on the Americans or what we've done to try to restore deterrence. Decision-making is slow,” he said. “The reason is important is because you force the opponent to do something different. And the one who makes those decisions is always, ultimately, the president of the United States, who is the commander in chief.”
“Is it a problem?” he asked. “Of course it is, but it's an issue that has been with this administration since day one. That's a concern you have to have when it comes to decision-making and mental acuity.”
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Biden's “intellectual flexibility and ability to accommodate new information” is of more concern to Michael O'Hanlon, senior fellow and director of foreign policy research at the Brookings Institution.
“On the one hand, a lot of the discussion seems to focus on Afghanistan and then-Vice President Biden's role in the debate about what to do in Afghanistan during the Obama administration,” he said. “There, Biden lost to proponents of a large increase and likely felt vindicated when that increase failed to achieve the desired results.”
“That said,” O'Hanlon continued, “in my view, he got a little stuck in his view of where Afghanistan was when he mistakenly ordered our withdrawal in the first few months of his presidency.” .
Trump, he said, was guilty of the same mistake.
“It was a mistake he shared with former President Trump. They both failed to take stock of the most recent information: that in fact, even with all the flaws and mistakes, Afghanistan was still standing by 2020 . And it only took a very modest US military presence (along with small forces of US allies) to help their government maintain control of at least the cities,” O'Hanlon explained. “So I'm less concerned with memory, per se, and more concerned with intellectual flexibility and the ability to accommodate new information.”
In handling Ukraine, Biden “did well with a rapidly changing and demanding situation,” according to O'Hanlon. “He helped Ukraine survive the original Russian attack. He made it known to the world that the attack was imminent so that Putin could not blame it on us or the Ukrainians. He continued to provide more weaponry to Ukraine, but he without triggering a war with Russia.”
“These are no mean feats,” he insisted, “and they required intellectual flexibility and adaptability.”
“The bottom line is that while I wish an 81-year-old man wouldn't run for president again,” O'Hanlon said, “I think Biden's memory and brain are stronger than read the recent report.”
It is an optimism that most of the United States did not share before the painful presser of the president.
On February 4, a NBC News poll found that Trump has “a 16-point lead over Biden on being competent and effective, a reversal from 2020, when Biden was ahead of Trump on that quality by 9 points before defeating him in that election.”
According to the poll's results, “Biden's approval rating has fallen to the lowest level of his presidency in NBC News polls, to 37 percent, while fewer than 3 in 10 voters approve of him handling of the war between Israel and Hamas”.
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