Mocking by U.S. Adversaries Shows Biden Admin Neither Feared nor Respected | Opinion

America's worst adversaries are mocking, trolling and rebuffing the Joe Biden administration.

In so doing, they would seem to be delivering a clear message: They neither fear nor respect America under President Joe Biden's leadership.

Consider what has transpired over just the last week, barely two months into Biden's tenure.

During the first day of a highly anticipated meeting in Anchorage, Alaska, with the world watching, Chinese Communist Party (CCP) brass responded to criticism of China's human rights violations from Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan by shoving anti-American agitprop back into the faces of the senior representatives of a Biden administration that has already embraced a similar "1619 Project"-style narrative about America's purported enduring evils.

"On human rights, we hope that the United States will do better," tsk-tsked top CCP diplomat Yang Jiechi. He added: "The challenges facing the United States in human rights are deep-seated" and "they did not just emerge over the past four years, such as Black Lives Matter."

CCP officials similarly spewed invective in a bid to portray not China, but America, as a bullying and coercive hegemon-wannabe, seeking to impose its values on others.

On the eve of the meeting, Chinese Ambassador to the U.S. Cui Tiankai needled with the question, "Will the U.S. be a responsible stakeholder in global affairs?"—an allusion to the query leaders of the U.S. foreign policy establishment had been asking of China since at least 2005.

Nearly contemporaneous with the Anchorage debacle, and after being called a "killer" by President Joe Biden, Russian President Vladimir Putin responded that "it takes one to know one" and, without a hint of subtlety, challenged the president to a debate. Putin added, "I wish you [President Biden] health. I say that without any irony or joke." The subtext was clear: Putin was questioning Biden's mental acuity and fitness.

Furthermore, in a March 17 interview with Politico, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif declared that the U.S. must "come back to compliance" with the Iran nuclear deal before Tehran would do so. Zarif rejected out of hand any sort of effort to expand the parameters of any such deal to encompass the mullocracy's sundry other malign activities.

Two days earlier, following the visits of Secretary Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to Japan and South Korea, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's sister Kim Yo-jong "warn[ed] the new U.S. administration [against] trying hard to give off powder smell in our land," threatening that "if [the U.S.] wants to sleep in peace for the coming four years, it had better refrain from causing a stink at its first step."

Now it is true that bile and bluster are, and have forever been, the stock-in-trade of the world's foremost anti-American totalitarian regimes. It is also true that the representatives of such regimes play to their domestic constituencies.

U.S.-China summit in Alaska on March 18
U.S.-China summit in Anchorage, Alaska on March 18, 2021 FREDERIC J. BROWN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

But the context for these remarks matters. And the context is that the Biden administration's policies with respect to America's adversaries have generally telegraphed profound weakness. Consider the following.

On China: As I wrote in Newsweek in advance of the Anchorage meeting, having ceased to curb any of its innumerable malign activities, China would perceive the Biden administration's mere offer of the powwow as a reward for its malevolence, thus emboldening it. The Biden administration had signaled a desire for something of a rapprochement with Communist China even before the meeting by easing the pressure the Trump administration had exerted on the regime, and selecting personnel historically supportive of engaging China.

How did said personnel respond to the CCP's dressing-down? Both Blinken and Sullivan highlighted that America's willingness to "look hard at its own shortcomings," in the latter's words, in "a constant quest to...form a more perfect union," in the former's, constituted a strength. While engaging in self-reflection is healthy and necessary, would the CCP have taken this response to its slandering of America as anything other than a weak kowtow that legitimized its critique of America's moral standing? There is zero moral equivalence between Communist China and America, and that Biden administration officials did not respond with such a straightforward assertion is an abomination.

Further, on the second day of the two-day meeting, Blinken suggested—notwithstanding what happened on the first—that "on Iran, on North Korea, on Afghanistan [and] on climate, our interests intersect." This too would have only further signaled weakness to the CCP. Chinese officials could harangue American officials to their face and said officials would still express an obstinate desire to cooperate. That the Biden administration labors under the belief that China shares its interests on these issues alone suggests a level of naivete—if not delusion—that Beijing will surely seize on.

On Russia: Beyond the Biden administration's unconditional extension of the New START Treaty and unwillingness as of yet to combat its strategically critical Nord Stream 2 energy pipeline while laughably seeking credit for the Trump administration's successful efforts to do so, the weakening to-date has arguably not been as pronounced as it has been with respect to Communist China. Of course, Democrats have painted themselves into a corner with respect to Russia, having for more than four years hyped Moscow as the ultimate adversary. All that said, President Trump's Russia policy was far tougher than that of the Obama-Biden administration, and Biden's past record further suggests weakness. Does anyone believe Putin fears Biden? Certainly not on the basis of his "it takes one to know one" retort.

On Iran: The Biden administration has bent over backwards to return to the very charade of a nuclear deal that had made the U.S. the world's leading state sponsor of the world's leading state sponsor of terror. By inviting the mullocracy back to the negotiating table without preconditions—while downgrading America's anti-Iran allies and partners, removing the terror designation from the rampaging Iran-backed Houthis and failing to respond meaningfully to Iran-tied attacks on American forces—it has screamed weakness at every instance.

On North Korea: Prior to Kim Yo-Jong's barbs, the North Korean regime had reportedly been ignoring the Biden administration's overtures to engage it, while threatening more nuclear tests—not exactly a sign of fear of the U.S. president.

Biden administration officials are fond of saying America is "back." This is true insofar as it means reverting, as anticipated, to the Obama-era policy of appeasing our enemies, confronting our friends and putting globalism rather than America first.

America is certainly "back"—back to a dangerous place where we are neither feared nor respected.

Ben Weingarten is a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research, fellow at the Claremont Institute and senior contributor to The Federalist. He is the author of American Ingrate: Ilhan Omar and the Progressive-Islamist Takeover of the Democratic Party (Bombardier, 2020). Ben is the founder and CEO of ChangeUp Media LLC, a media consulting and production company. Subscribe to his newsletter at bit.ly/bhwnews, and follow him on Twitter: @bhweingarten.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.