One of the recurring points throughout a number of my blog posts has been the point about the intent behind Washington’s global policy and strategy over the course of approximately the last two decades, as well the lack of thoughtfulness behind the policy and strategy. An anecdote that can demonstrate poor intent as well as a lack of thoughtfulness is the fact that more than double the amount of foreign aid went into Afghanistan over the course of the last two decades compared to the aid that went to Germany and Japan as part of the “Marshall Plan” after World War II. Despite the fact that more than double the aid went to Afghanistan compared to the entire “Marshall Plan,” the Taliban took over Afghanistan in August and thus everything is now back to square one. If this anecdote does not demonstrate the poor quality of the intent as well as the lack of thoughtfulness behind the policy and strategy of the last two decades, then perhaps nothing else will.
Poor policy and poor strategy also gave rise to Donald Trump. In a sense, Trump capitalized off a “post-truth” environment by rationing certain truths to his base and to the broader public. But Trump failed on two fronts. For one, Trump was too aggressive and reckless, and it was aggression and recklessness that put a halt to Trump’s efforts. As mentioned previously, everything comes down to intent and thoughtfulness, and Trump obscured these two things with his aggression and recklessness. Second, Trump made strides politically in terms of practice. But Trump lacked the theoretical and philosophical underpinnings for political action. As the Buddhists said, books without action are useless, but action without books means you are a soldier of Satan.
Thus, a Trump resurgence depends on a certain degree to the adjustments that Trump makes heading into the 2022 midterm elections and the general election of 2024. But a Trump resurgence also depends to a certain degree on what the Biden Administration does over the course of the next three years. There is also the concern that no matter what Biden does, Trump and the Republicans will eventually upend everything Biden does in a few years. However, there are certain measures the Biden Administration can take in order to facilitate the transition from a 30-year epoch defined by a whole-of-government policy and strategy based on questionable intent and lack of thoughtfulness towards an indefinite period of American history and world history that is defined by an American global policy and strategy which contributes to the establishment of world order and peace.
Although America may feel irrelevant to a certain extent because of the way things transpired over the course of the last two decades, Americans can still assume a leadership role in the shaping of a global order post-hegemony. Even if Biden cannot control or influence what the next president does – especially if the next president is a Republican – Biden can foster conditions to a certain extent which can then carry over into the next presidency. As mentioned before, much of what a person can do is not necessarily defined by an exact science. Rather, much of what a person does amounts to an art.