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Mirror Mirror on the Wall

AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda, file

The new administration started off using virtue signaling as an important component of foreign and domestic policy. But now even the “only adults in the room” suddenly suspect that  Woke garlic doesn’t repel vampires. Russia and China continue to defy the rules of the Biden-Harris administration despite their expectation that the world would return to its pre-2016 order. Pundits are starting to accept something has gone wrong in the calculations.

Russia and China — not to mention North Korea and Iran — are all on the move and don’t seem deterred by Washington. If disaster overtakes the Biden Harris restoration future historians will conclude that organized self delusion played a leading part. The cultural and political establishment belief in the Great Reset after Trump sputtered and instead of the predicted return to normal the global world has continued its descent into crisis. Perhaps the status quo overattributed the problems of the old global world to populist unrest and failed to address the basic weaknesses which caused them. They thought they could pick up where they left off and couldn’t.

Joe Biden’s focus on ensuring populism never rises again in America through the institutionalization of mail-in voting, social media deplatforming, gun control, and Curleyism may have to compete with challenges from the global world. The Democratic Party has “near enemies” but it also has “far enemies.”…

There are three main challenges to the restoration of the status quo ante:

  1. The slow emergence of the Third World from the Covid pandemic;
  2. The disruption of the global supply chain by lockdowns; and
  3. The direct challenge to Joe Biden by Xi Jinping for leadership of the international system.

Those “far enemies” are now giving Washington a headache. The actions of China and Russia show the actual Great Power perceptions at variance with the way the Biden-Harris administration sees itself in the media mirror.

‘In his first major address to European leaders since taking office a month ago, Biden said at virtual version of the annual Munich Security Conference that “America is back.”…

Although never mentioning former President Donald Trump by name, Biden stressed that the U.S. was committed to re-engaging with allies after four years of an isolationist approach to foreign policy.

While Biden-Harris sees itself as “back” in charge, recent Great Power challenges treat them as a fading, decadent relic. At a top-level diplomatic meeting in Alaska, the Chinese envoy said: “The United States does not have the qualification to say that it wants to speak to China from a position of strength” according to the New York Times.

The disparity is more than one of mere perception that can be fixed by good coverage in the press and social media. Great Power attitudes are not driven by articles in the NYT and the Wapo but by cold-eyed projections of their rival’s capability. America’s foes have extrapolated the Biden-Harris trend of open borders, high taxes, patronage giveaways and unlimited government spending and concluded they can take the ruin that remains. They may be mistaken but that is apparently their judgment.

Mirror mirror on the wall, what’s wrong with America after all? Is it the lack of virtue as defined by academic departments in progressive universities? Or is it some crippling dysfunction striking at the very root of the political system?

Future historians may tell us whether the Nov 2020 has triggered some ghastly overreach by America’s enemies or some march of folly by Washington’s ruling elite.

BooksConnectography: Mapping the Global Network Revolution. It’s time to reimagine how life is organized on Earth. In Connectography, Parag Khanna guides us through the emerging global network civilization in which mega-cities compete over connectivity and borders are increasingly irrelevant. Travelling across the world, Khanna shows how twenty-first-century conflict is a tug-of-war over pipelines and Internet cables, advanced technologies and market access.

Follow  Richard Fernandez at Wretchard.com