Mr Biden’s early interventions on some of the key challenges facing the West point to him being a weak leader who is desperate to avoid confrontation at all costs, an approach that does not inspire confidence when Washington faces increased pressure from rival powers such as Russia and China.
By far the most worrying decision the Biden administration has taken so far is the announcement that all American forces are to be withdrawn from Afghanistan by September 11 – the 20th anniversary of the 2001 terror attacks against America. After two decades of incessant conflict, it is understandable that Mr Biden should want to end American involvement. The problem, though, is that the decision has been taken while delicate negotiations are still taking place over a peace deal to end the fighting. By setting a unilateral date for the withdrawal of US forces, Washington runs the risk of handing victory to the Taliban.
Mr Biden’s Afghan decision, together with the emollient approach he has adopted towards Tehran in his efforts to revive the controversial nuclear deal, certainly creates the impression that the president is more interested in avoiding confrontation than protecting American interests.
Consequently, leaders of rival powers that seek to challenge America’s hegemony will take heart from the knowledge that, in Mr Biden, they have a president who, unlike his temperamental predecessor, is disinclined to present a serious challenge to their activities.
The Biden administration’s appetite for capitulation has not only been evident in its dealings with Afghanistan and Iran. The unwillingness of the new administration to hold rival powers to account can also be seen in Washington’s recent dealings with Moscow and Beijing.