Where’s Joe Biden’s wartime popularity spike?

By: Rachel Marsden

PARIS — It’s almost conventional wisdom to assume that war always benefits the popularity of American presidents. So, where’s Joe Biden’s? According to data, the well-worn assumption is a gross oversimplification — if not a downright inaccurate depiction — of reality.

Presidential popularity in wartime tends to be overwhelmingly aligned with citizens’ perceived threat to the U.S. homeland. When, for instance, former President George W. Bush ordered the invasion of Afghanistan, then Iraq, in the wake of the September 11, 2001, attacks on U.S. soil, the threat was omnipresent. The climate dictated that naturally those in charge should be trusted to eliminate any and all possibility of recurrence. According to Gallup polling, Bush’s approval rating soared from 51 percent to 90 percent at the onset of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. It spiked again from 58 percent to 71 percent when he launched the U.S. invasion of Iraq on March 20, 2003.

Likewise, Former President John F. Kennedy’s popularity rose to a record high of 83 percent right after the failed Bay of Pigs attempt by the U.S. to remove Cuban leader Fidel Castro from power using CIA-trained Cuban exiles as proxies on April 17, 1961. Subsequently, the Cuban Missile Crisis of October and November 1962 — a month-long face-off between the Soviet Union and the United States over the placement of Soviet missiles in Cuba within striking distance of America in response to American missile deployment in Turkey and Italy — also caused a bump for Kennedy.

However, former President Barack Obama, was never able to enjoy the same benefits when America’s European NATO allies — namely France and Britain — spearheaded a “humanitarian” invasion and coup d’état in Libya, in 2011, to “save” Libyans from their leader, Muammar Gaddafi, using covertly trained “Libyan rebel” proxy fighters. Obama bragged initially that the U.S. had no boots on the ground, in what appeared to be an attempt to capitalize on the halo effect of the initial operation that overthrew Gaddafi. It didn’t work.

To summarize, Americans like their leaders to engage militarily, directly, and visibly against existential imminent threats to them. These observations help explain Joe Biden’s current predicament. Despite positioning himself as a leader amid the Ukraine conflict in his annual State of the Union address on March 1, Americans don’t seem to be buying it. Tellingly, only 27 percent of independent voters are convinced by Biden’s performance with this issue at the forefront.

Biden and his allies are trying to have it both ways in taking credit for their leadership role in this conflict while at the same time denying involvement in a matter that they’re now desperately trying to frame as strictly between Ukraine and Russia. All right, so then where in all this is the direct threat to NATO countries or to the American people? Nowhere.

The U.S. and NATO have also conveniently developed sudden and selective amnesia regarding their nonstop sales of weapons to Ukraine, their covert training of Ukrainian “rebels” to carry out their dirty work in previous skirmishes on the border with Russia, and their insistence on deployment of weapons systems on Russia’s border as NATO boundaries moved ever closer to Moscow in violation of international treaties and Biden’s own advice back in 1997.

“I think the one place where the greatest consternation will be caused in the short term, would be to admit Baltic states in terms of NATO/US/ Russian relations. And if there was anything that was going to tip the balance in terms of a vigorous and hostile reaction in Russia, it would be that,” Biden said in a statement broadcast on C-SPAN on June 20, 1997, as ranking member of the Senate foreign affairs committee.

So, Biden has admittedly known Russia’s red line for at least the past quarter-century, and insisted on testing it anyway, against his very own prior advice. What has changed since then? Well, the western foreign policy establishment has since turned Ukraine into an establishment outpost, exploiting its chronic corruption sales for the past several years — with even Biden’s own son, Hunter Biden, magically landing on the board of the Kiev-based energy giant, Burisma Holdings. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has been manipulated into joining the relentless provocation of his neighbor against his people’s own best interests of pragmatic neutrality through the dangling carrots of NATO and European Union adhesion, and questionably directed foreign aid.

And now U.S. and NATO leaders are pointing fingers from the safety of their box seats, pretending that they had absolutely nothing to do with any of this.

This is arguably the most misguided premeditated conflict in U.S. history — and that’s saying something. Biden’s lack of foresight in grasping the immediate potential catastrophic economic and political fallout for the entire western world risks weighing heavily alongside the average American citizens’ understandable heartfelt support for the Ukrainian and/or Russian people who are bearing the brunt of this fiasco. If previous conflict-era polling is any indication, the mess in Ukraine is not likely to do Biden’s own legacy any favors. He really should have known better.