If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, what does it mean when a phone doesn’t ring? This philosophical chestnut recurs whenever a new American president phones his allies and clients or, if you’re Joe Biden, when the calls are to your deepest frenemy Benjamin Netanyahu or your ex-friend and now quasi-enemy Xi Jinping.
Now and then, you are reminded that the Khomeinis and Khameneis, and the Osama bin Ladens, too, have a point. America’s politicians are decadent and feckless. They substitute image for reality, and when it goes wrong, they pretend it never happened. Everything about Joe Biden is false, from his teeth to the random musings that float past them. The whole world sees this, but we are enjoined not to by an administration that drifted into office on a cloud of fantasy, puffed up by a largely complicit media.
“Biden confronts China’s Xi in first call,” reports Politico. Biden couldn’t “confront” a cheese sandwich without a side order of denture paste.
“Last night, I was on the phone for two straight hours with Xi Jinping,” Biden announced to the press on Thursday, as though boasting of the bladder strength of a younger man. “We don’t get moving, they’re going to eat our lunch.”
But America’s lunch was long since served to China, and Biden was a consistent supporter of serving it. What’s coming next is the tab. This, as is traditional, will be paid by ordinary Americans and other suckers.
The Washington Post gets it right, if only by accident: “Biden has first call as president with Xi Jinping.” It’s Biden who’s now the weaker party, ringing up to petition for favors so he can confirm his false view of reality, and the false impressions that his domestic media are pushing. Substituting fiction for reality is, of course, a sure and short path to disaster. And it is the path we are on.
For similar reasons of image, Biden — or the handlers who compose his cue cards — is sending a signal by not sending a signal to Netanyahu. The message is that the Obama days are back. Netanyahu is in for triple-time on the naughty step, first for denouncing Obama’s Iran deal to Congress in 2015, again for going on play dates with that nasty Donald Trump, and yet again for making up with the Gulf monarchies.
Who are the intended recipients of this infantile theatrical? Not Netanyahu. He won’t have expected anything less, given how he’s behaved — and how Obama, Biden and Hillary Clinton behaved toward Israel during the Obama years. He doesn’t care, and with deepening ties to Russia, China and his new Sunni Arab allies, he doesn’t need to care.
Not the leaders of the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan, who risked a lot by opening relations with Israel, just as the US always wanted them to — only to have the Biden administration begrudgingly acknowledge that it was prepared to let these peace deals stand. They care less and less too. Everyone in the region knows that America is finished, and that Russia and China are the foreign powers to watch.
The intended recipients are the Democrats’ new allies, the zealots of the American media and the mullahs of the Iranian regime. The trauma of the Trump reality shock has welded most American media to the Democrats. They care intensely that Biden issues a symbolic rebuff to Netanyahu, because all they care about is that their side wins the domestic war of images. Reality — the reality of America’s collapsing position in the Middle East and western Asia, the reality of a collapsing polity at home — means nothing. They don’t care about the national interest: They care about proximity to power.
The Biden administration can do no wrong in the media’s eyes, unless it’s on matters of racial or gender “equity.” Even then, no one complained that the first recipients of Biden’s slurred wisdom were the leaders of Canada, the UK, Ireland, Germany and France. Biden was telephonically privileging a bunch of white men and Angela Merkel. We were told this was how serious diplomacy is done.
This, like most of what the media tells us about the Biden administration, is nonsense. Serious diplomacy is done with people who don’t like you. People like Benjamin Netanyahu, who accurately sees Joe Biden as a blowhard and a fool. People like Ali Khamenei of Iran, who doesn’t care when the call comes, because he already knows that, one way or another, Biden will give him everything he wants, whether he wants to or not. People like Xi Jinping, who surely cannot believe his luck that Donald Trump, the first president since the Korean War to give China a hard time, has been replaced by Hunter Biden’s semi-senile father.
The world is saying goodbye to America. Americans should understand that this means that they too will be saying goodbye to America. Dream on.