The Fallout from the Biden-Trump Debate

Politics - June 30, 2024

The Biden-Trump debate on Thursday 27 June 2024 revealed what I have said for a long time that Joe Biden is mentally and physically unfit to be President of the United States. But it revealed this not only to American voters but also to the enemies of the Free World—the wolves lurking in the globe’s dark alleys, Xi in China, Putin in Russia, Khameini in Iran and the young Kim in North Korea. It is quite a possibility that they will regard this as an opportunity, Putin to reinforce his invasion of Ukraine, Xi to seize Taiwan, Khameini to attack Israel, and the young Kim to make mischief with his missiles. This is what dictators do. If they see a weakness or lack of resolve, they act. Biden certainly showed in the debate that the United States has no leader.

Calculations and Miscalculations of the Dictators

Often the dictators take a gamble, and sometimes they do not get what they want after overreaching themselves. Hitler broke the Versailles Treaty in 1936 by sending the German army into the Rhineland. Nothing happened. He broke the Treaty again by rearming. Nothing happened. He seized in 1938 the Sudetenland, populated mainly by German speakers, with the consent of Great Britain and France. He soon took control of the rest of Czechoslovakia. Nothing happened. Then he invaded Poland in 1939, and finally Great Britain and France reacted and declared war on Germany, to Hitler’s great disappointment. He had thought he could get away with this, as with his previous successful gambles.

Likewise, Putin invaded Georgia in 2008 and seized some territories. Nothing happened. He invaded Ukraine in 2014 and seized Crimea and territories in Eastern Ukraine. Nothing happened (of any significance). Putin consequently thought in 2021 that he could invade Ukraine again to stop her joining the West, but now he was resisted, and two countries with well-equipped and well-trained military forces immediately joined NATO, Sweden and Finland. Putin thought, wrongly, that he could get away with this. So did the apparently clueless American intelligence community, with the United States hastening to offer Ukrainian leader Zelensky asylum at the beginning of the invasion.

Resolving the War in Ukraine

The Biden-Trump debate revealed an incredible weakness in the leadership of the Free World. There is clear and present danger in the months leading up to the presidential election in the United States. Hopefully the people around Biden, and it seems, controlling him, will act firmly but carefully to avert this danger. The United States controls by far the mightiest military force in the world. But European and Asian leaders have also to rise to the occasion. The Ukrainian war has to end, and unfortunately it will not end with Russia being conclusively defeated. Therefore a solution has to be found that both Russia and Ukraine can accept. This has to be a ceasefire, and the division of the contested territories into many voting zones where the voters would decide in free elections, under international supervision, whether their zone would belong to Ukraine or Russia.

This is how Denmark and Germany resolved the dispute on Schleswig in 1920. The region was divided into three voting zones. The northernmost zone voted for Denmark, and the central zone to Germany, and then it was deemed unnecessary to have an election in the southernmost zone, as it was obvious the inhabitants would overwhelmingly vote for Germany. Accordingly, the border between the two countries was moved southwards, peacefully.

Europe Must Contribute

European leaders also have to realise that they have to spend less on welfare benefits (such benefits becoming less and less necessary anyway with increased prosperity) and more on defence. They cannot expect the United States to bear most of the cost of defending Europe, as has been the case hitherto. The cooperation over the North Atlantic, in NATO, has to be strengthened, but it has to be cooperation between countries which each makes a contribution. The Europeans must give and not only receive. This is eloquently described in a Icelandic Viking poem:

With raiment and arms shall friends gladden each other,
so has one proved oneself;
for friends last longest, if fate be fair
who give and give again.

Taiwan Must Be Defended

Again, Xi should not be allowed to seize Taiwan, mainly because it would be the beginning of a process rather than its end: it would mean a more aggressive China, threatening her neighbours. The defence of Taiwan must mainly be the task of the Taiwanese themselves who could learn a lot from the Finns of 1940 about how effectively to defend a small country against an invasion from a large country. But South Korea and Japan, and possibly Vietnam, India and the Philippines, also have a strong interest in not feeding the wolf so that it would run faster. Last, but not least, the United States and her closest allies, Great Britain, Australia, and New Zealand, must face up to their responsibilities in the new Cold War that Xi started in 2012. They have to prepare for thwarting the invasion or blockade of Taiwan.

In the international fallout from the Biden-Trump debate, most seriously the realisation by the dictators how weak is the leadership of the United States, we must prepare for the worst, while we should hope for the best.