UK Media Laments ‘Calamitous Erosion’ of US Influence in 2021, Predicts Even Gloomier 2022
16:58 GMT 26.12.2021 (Updated: 17:50 GMT 26.12.2021)
Although the Washington establishment rang in 2021 with hopes that Joe Biden would clean up “America’s tarnished image abroad,” “rebuild alliances” frayed by Donald Trump and tackle US adversaries with renewed vigour, expectations have had to be reined in after a string of problems, setbacks and outright disasters.
2021 was a bad year for the West, but next year “will be even worse” The Telegraph defence editor Con Coughlin fears.
“For a year that was meant to mark a welcome revival in the fortunes of the western alliance, 2021 has proved to be not so much a sorry disappointment as a disaster of potentially catastrophic proportions,” the columnist wrote
in a wistful piece summing up the year’s events.
Recalling Biden’s “America is back, diplomacy is back” speech from February, Coughlin bitterly considered how “hollow those words sound today”.
“For, far from presiding over the restoration of western hegemony in world affairs, Biden has instead overseen a calamitous erosion of the West’s ability to influence events, one that does not bode well for the survival of democratic rule in 2022,” the columnist wrote.
The problems are global and they are multiple, said the journalist, who pointed out that nearly a year into his term, Biden still hasn’t been able to appoint ambassadors to “any of the major European capitals – including London,” thanks to Republican Senator Ted Cruz’s hold-up of nominations in the Senate
in his fight with Biden and the Democrats over Nord Stream 2 sanctions.
Accusing Biden of failing to “confront China’s rulers” amid the smoldering US-China spat about who’s to blame for the global COVID-19 pandemic, the hawkish journalist claimed that, should the US and its allies continue to stay silent “then it is unlikely China is going to experience much serious opposition in its quest for world domination”.
To be fair to the People’s Republic, notwithstanding this kind of Red Dawn-style rhetoric, Beijing and President Xi Jinping personally have continued to tout their preference for “mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation” with the US and other nations.
11 November 2021, 00:01 GMT
“Russia is another country that, scenting weakness in Washington, has intensified its effort to cause maximum division and disruption in Europe,” Coughlin claimed, charging “Mr Putin” with “holding Europe to ransom over its energy needs” and “threatening an invasion of Ukraine”. Biden, the columnist fears, may very well “succumb to his desire to appease the Kremlin by ending any hope Kiev might still entertain of acquiring full NATO membership.”
In reality, Russia has repeatedly expressed openness to sending additional gas supplies
to Europe to help soften the blow of the current energy crunch, which President Putin has pointed out was brought on by its own leaders
. As for claims of malevolent Russian intensions against Ukraine, Moscow has dismissed
allegations that it is amassing troops on the border and stressed that it will not answer to anyone on where it can put troops inside its own territory.
25 December 2021, 18:04 GMT
Finally, Coughlin suggested that America and the West’s catastrophic retreat from Afghanistan led to the collapse of “the last bastion of the Biden administration’s credibility”, depriving NATO of “a residual presence in this vital strategic location” and the ability to keep an eye on Iran and China.
“Now, thanks to Mr Biden’s ill-considered withdrawal, the West no longer has the ability to track the activities of Islamist terror groups, and Afghanistan’s priceless mineral riches have been gifted to Beijing,” Coughlin bemoaned.
“From Beijing to Moscow, and from Tehran to Kabul, the world certainly has the potential to be a far more dangerous place in 2022 than it is today. The major concern, so far as the West is concerned, is that we badly lack the strong and united leadership that is needed to tackle the challenges that lie ahead,” the columnist concluded.
28 October 2021, 19:14 GMT