“[The invasion of Ukraine] could have a profound negative impact on the climate. … I hope President Putin will help us to stay on track with respect to what we need to do for the climate.” — climate czar John Kerry (the same John Kerry who had James Taylor sing to the French people in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo terror attack)
“The war in Afghanistan is now over. … When I was running for president, I made a commitment to the American people that I would end this war. Today I have honored that commitment.” — President Joe Biden after America’s humiliating withdrawal from Afghanistan
“I haven’t been to Europe. I don’t understand the point you’re making.” — Vice President Kamala Harris in answer to the question of why the person in charge of the southern border had not bothered to visit the southern border
“Most of the economic problems we’re facing (inflation, supply chains, etc.) are high class problems.” — Jason Furnan, former Obama economist, in a tweet endorsed by Biden chief of staff Ron Klain
The foregoing statements were made by people in positions of power. Note that none of these statements was a faux pas, a mistake quickly corrected. Indeed, all were delivered as intended for wide consumption and should remain recorded for posterity.
The first word that comes to (the reasonable) mind is “unserious,” an indictment born of our Biden-era transformation into a weak and woke culture. It is an opinion widely held by average Americans, as poll after poll reflects growing disdain for progressive policy.
But the audience is not simply the American people. The world’s despots are watching as well. And they are no doubt encouraged by what they see.
The murderous lineup is familiar: Vladimir Putin in Russia, Xi Jinping in China, Khameini in Iran, Kim Jong Un in North Korea. This gruesome foursome is always probing, always looking for ways to exploit cracks in what they regard as the American façade.
Today they see a downsized, woke military whose leadership is all-in on hunting down white supremacists and attempting to convince the public that the greatest threat to the world is climate change. They see an administration intent on negotiating away America’s natural resource advantage. They see an embarrassing, irresponsible withdrawal from Afghanistan. They see a president determined to placate a notorious sponsor of terror in Tehran.
Above all, they see a declining superpower beset with internal strife and going about the business of questioning its own cultural values.
And so Putin invades a sovereign Ukraine after successful adventures in Chechnya, Georgia and Crimea. Xi regularly sends fighter jets into Taiwanese airspace. The mullahs supersize their ballistic missile program while pursuing a pathway to nuclear status. And can you imagine Kim’s take on all of this?
Sudden thought: Wasn’t the last election supposed to be about putting the “adults” back in charge?
Being unserious during times of peace and prosperity carries a price. Think about the attempts to exclude parents from their children’s education, or the idea that boys should be allowed to compete in girls’ athletics, or the race-obsessed notion that babies are born either oppressors or oppressed. But even these initiatives do not place the country in immediate peril.
Being unserious in wartime is different. It encourages troublemakers to push the envelope — and in the process makes the world a far more dangerous place.
The free world benefits when America is serious. The free world breathes easier when the bad guys are fearful of American power, and especially American presidents.
Here’s hoping a sense of order — of seriousness — can be restored in November.
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