Op-Ed: President Biden has a laundry list of unfinished tasks to mind

Op-Ed by Dr. Todd J. Barry and Sean R. Barry

On Thursday, September 1, President Biden spoke from outside Philadelphia’s Constitution Hall, aiming to 1) motivate the Democratic base, and 2) unite the country. In his speech, the two goals did not coalesce, and he veritably accomplished neither. Rather, he incited 2020 election deniers, ignoring the fact that many Democrats lengthily repudiated the 2016 election results because of the belief of Russian hacking; in absolute truth, neither elections’ anomalies were enough to affect eithers’ outcome.

President Joe Biden’s accomplishments have been tepid. While the economy is in recession, as there have never been two consecutive quarters of negative growth that was not a recession, President Biden finally passed his stimulus bill: an anti-inflationary environmental and healthcare package. But, unemployment will probably upsurge, as a lagging indicator, particularly with a long-lasting recession. Therefore, a greater effort could be made to help the unemployed, and especially those having “left the workforce” - the long-term unemployed, such as through hiring tax credits. This issue could be called “MUM,” for mass unemployed men, a growing problem that few leaders discuss. There is also a strong chance of a “double-dip” recession.

With the Republicans likely to control Congress in November, since non-incumbent parties typically fair better in “off-year” elections, then barring unforeseen budget confrontations, Mr. Biden would be best to focus his term’s remainder on foreign policy. The next two years will probably see Republican investigations into Mr. Biden’s son (Hunter Biden), and Attorney General Merrick Garland, as well as questioning about the President’s age and health. Foreign policy presents greater opportunities.

In foreign policy, Ukrainian-Russian relations is the largest issue. Ukraine has fought bravely, with America’s help, and defended Kyiv. They wounded Russia’s army, making a future reinvasion dubious. But it is unlikely that Ukraine will be able to recapture the two eastern breakaway provinces, nor Crimea. The 1938 Munich Conference, though, was not, and will not, be repeated. Ukraine battles forward, but a complete victory could take thousands of more lives, billions of United States’ dollars, threaten a U.S.-Russian conflict, or produce a false-flag nuclear tragedy. A “reg militaire” could form, whereby fighting simply stops where the troops remain, such as with Korea’s 38th parallel. A better outcome might be for multilateral talks, perhaps over semi-autonomy for the two provinces, and future U.S.-Ukraine security guarantees. Ukrainian membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) seems rather implausible.

China is America’s most important long-term relationship: both the U.S. and China need to cool-off their increasing provocativeness regarding Taiwan, lest, to be succinct, China attempts to overtake the South China Sea from American influence. The U.S. should continue to deal with Russia and China, both, over nuclear weapons, in replacing treaties that expired, or, were withdrawn from. The U.S. should work against nuclear proliferation, such as with Iran, where the U.S. has taken a backseat to Europe in renegotiating the Joint Committee Plan of Action (JCPOA). The Middle-East is now a region where a war might be untimely.

Sanctions could also be used as a carrot-and-stick with North Korea, the world’s most dangerous country, short-term, as it is absurd to think that North Korea would rescind all of its nuclear weapons. The United States’ best hope is a “freeze for a freeze”- North Korea agreeing to cease building any more nuclear weapons, and allowing inspectors, while America would lessen its military exercises, or relocate adjacent peninsular troops to willing countries farther south.

Just as other Democratic candidates, in 2020, left the Democratic primary after South Carolina’s vote, enabling Mr. Biden to secure the nomination, it would be equally as noble if President Biden were to now abscond, helping a younger generation candidate, who could win the general election. The last time that a Democratic candidate lost the popular vote in over 30 years was in 2004. However, Americans are living in an “era of bad feelings,” of entrenched incumbents, a category which includes former President Trump, essentially, by his already garnered 2024 supporters. Also propitious for a Trump candidacy might be “left-leaning,” “third-party” contenders who siphon Democratic votes. For President Biden, though, to be unselfish, by mellowing his tone, and by parting gracefully, after his next two-year accomplishments, would all likely enhance his historical legacy.

Bio Notes: Dr. Todd J. Barry holds a PhD from the U. of Southern Mississippi, and teaches economics, with Hudson County Community College in NJ, USA. Sean R. Barry holds a master’s degree in public administration, and has served on town committees in Branford, CT. Contact at: tbarry@hccc.edu