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Opinion: Biden’s obsession with domestic extremism hurts America’s global standing

The reality is undeniable: Under this president’s watch, America has retreated to the international sidelines

SHARE Opinion: Biden’s obsession with domestic extremism hurts America’s global standing
President Joe Biden jokes about doing push-ups during a news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington on Wednesday

President Joe Biden jokes about doing push-ups during a news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington on Wednes.day

Susan Walsh, Associated Press

After a full year of President Joe Biden holding office, many still question whether he has a national security strategy. I can certainly understand their confusion. Look no further than the U.S.-Russia negotiations — it is increasingly clear that, under U.S. leadership, a divided and confused Western alliance doesn’t know how to deal with the challenge posed by Vladimir Putin.

Still, President Biden continues to claim that he’s returned America to its more “traditional” role on the world stage. And the White House repeatedly assures the American people that its diplomacy-at-all-costs approach will yield positive results.

So how does the world look after 12 months of a supposedly more traditional, diplomatic America?

China is increasingly aggressive toward Taiwan and testing hypersonic missiles; Russia is increasingly aggressive toward Ukraine and conducting cyberattacks against American infrastructure; al Qaeda and the Taliban are greatly empowered in the wake of our disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan, leaving the entire region in violent disarray; and North Korea is advancing its nuclear weapons programs and testing advanced missiles. All this while our allies look desperately for U.S. leadership.

The reality is undeniable: Under President Biden’s watch, America has retreated to the international sidelines. We’re already suffering from the immediate consequences of this mistake, and we’ll be coping with the long-term effects for years to come. As I was recently asked by a member of the Ukrainian parliament, “After what we witnessed in Afghanistan, how can we ever trust you again?”

Most shocking, though, is that these consequences are the result of a conscious decision made by the Biden administration. Over the past year, they have demonstrated a clear commitment to reallocating the time, attention and resources of the intelligence community toward a threat they perceive as even greater than our foreign adversaries — “domestic extremism.”

Conveniently, these extremists are largely considered to be Republicans. According to President Biden, these Republicans are holding “a dagger at the throat of American democracy.” And according to Vice President Kamala Harris, there is some sort of equivalence between last year’s Capitol riot on the one hand and Pearl Harbor and 9/11 on the other.

Let me be clear — the Capitol riot was a disgrace. It is a stain on our democracy, and those who participated in the riot should be prosecuted. But to conflate the events of that day with two of the most horrific attacks in our nation’s history is to combine historical ignorance with cheap, partisan overreach.

Sadly, though, I believe that is the formula driving President Biden’s national security strategy. The Democratic Party appears to believe it is in an existential struggle against the forces of darkness among us — the “darkness” being anyone who didn’t vote for them. And apparently, there is no differentiation between these forces and the Axis powers or Islamic terrorists. 

There’s no doubt that America is experiencing deep domestic divisions. But we need to ask ourselves a few important questions before we jeopardize our global position even further. 

How does an obsessive focus on domestic threats affect the objectives of America’s global strategies? How do our foreign adversaries perceive our shifted focus? How do the American people perceive this shifted focus?

Clearly, our standing on the international stage has been significantly diminished under this new “strategy.” Clearly, our foreign adversaries perceive this “strategy” as a sign of weakness. And in terms of our nation’s national security, I’d bet that most Americans are more concerned with the rises of China and Russia than their neighbor’s preferred news program.

If our president continues to elevate his domestic political opponents to the status of foreign enemies, we can expect more of what we’re seeing and experiencing right now: Increasing suspicion and division at home, and the success of our enemies abroad.

Rep. Chris Stewart, a Republican, represents Utah’s 2nd Congressional District.