While it is not clear what U.S. President Joe Biden meant when he referenced America leading a "new world order," his record over the last 15 months suggests it consists of a weakened U.S. economy hamstrung by inflation, war in Europe, unraveling alliances in the Middle East and growing uncertainty in Asia. (Image source: iStock)
U.S. President Joe Biden recently closed his remarks to the Business Roundtable with a confusing reference to a "new world order." He stated, according to the White House transcript of his speech:
"It occurs every three or four generations. ... [A] time when things are shifting. We're going to — there's going to be a new world order out there, and we've got to lead it. And we've got to unite the rest of the free world in doing it."
What was the president talking about? It came at the end of his speech; he did not elaborate on what he meant. Presumably he was referring to the ongoing shifts in the post-World War II global power structures, but does Biden have a plan for America's role in what this new world order would look like, as Europe finds itself potentially engulfed in a major war?
The American people are left to find the clues and try to figure out what Biden might have meant. The best we can do is turn to the policies he has implemented during his first 15 months in office to see if any elements of his plan for America in this "new world order" can be discerned.
The central animating policy push for Biden and the Democrats has been the "Green New Deal." Given America's vast energy reserves and technological know-how, will the U.S. lead in "greening" the planet and providing safe, stable energy supplies to the West and its allies and partners? The short answer seems to be no. China dominates in the production of rare earth materials, solar panels and windmills; six of the top 10 manufacturers are based in Communist China. Clearly, America is not leading the "green" new world order, and Biden seems to have no meaningful plan for how to get us there other than radical disruptions to our lifestyle and a heightened reliance on China.
Other Biden energy decisions are just as baffling. When he took office, Biden killed the Keystone XL pipeline in America, but greenlit Russia's Nord Stream 2 pipeline that would lock in Europe's dependence on Russia for gas. He also opposed congressional efforts to sanction the pipeline in the run-up to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. As U.S. Ambassador to the Netherlands, I was a vocal proponent of the Trump administration's policy to oppose Nord Stream 2. Along the same lines, Biden, on his first day in office, unequivocally accepted the Paris Agreement on climate, reentering America into this deeply flawed pact.
Rather than support America's energy independence and oil and gas production, Biden has left American consumers holding the bag as gasoline prices in the U.S. have spiked to anywhere from $4 to $7 per gallon of gas. The energy crisis is so bad that the Biden administration is talking about purchasing oil from Iran and Venezuela. When it comes to oil and gas, it seems Biden's new world order would continue his policy of decreasing American energy independence and increasing U.S. reliance on bad-faith state actors -- thereby ironically funding their efforts to undermine America in the global order.
Is the Europe of today, a continent consumed by the fear of war with Russia, part of Biden's vision for a new world order? His backing for Nord Stream 2 only seemed to embolden Russia, and his the undermining of U.S. production left America buying a half million barrels of oil per day from Russia. At $110 per barrel, American taxpayers are therefore funding Russia's war machine by more than $20 billion a year. Since the administration's gifts to Russia -- the Nord Stream 2 pipeline and extending the New START Treaty for another five years -- have not worked out for the U.S., the people of Ukraine, or Europe, is Biden modifying or reconsidering his plan for a new world order? In an interview aired the day Russia invaded Ukraine, Biden administration "climate czar" John Kerry showed that the administration was still consumed by its "Green New Deal" fantasies, lamenting:
"But equally importantly, you're going to lose people's focus... I hope President Putin will help us to stay on track with respect to what we need to do for the climate."
We are left to wonder if any number of decisions made by the administration prior to Russia's invasion of Ukraine would have changed Russian President Vladimir Putin's calculus for the war. What if Biden had not signed off on Nord Stream 2 and had, instead, kept the Trump administration's policy in place? What if Biden had heeded calls by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and members of Congress to enact sanctions prior to Putin's invasion? What if Biden had decided to lead instead of follow Europe? Apparently, in Biden's new world order, America does not lead, it only follows or reacts to others.
What does Biden's record in the Middle East suggest that the new world order will resemble there? Well, the president is pushing to sign an agreement brokered by Russia, and backed by China, reportedly to remove sanctions on Iran, delist Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as the terrorist organization it is, and allow Russia to purchase Iran's "excess" enriched uranium -- perhaps to use against its next "Ukraine"?
The president's confusing desperation to reenter the bad Obama-era nuclear deal with Iran is driving U.S. allies such as Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates to question their relationship with the U.S., and evidently moving them at least to consider strengthening their ties with Russia and China. Israel has tried to balance the U.S. and Russia on Ukraine. Saudi and UAE leaders have declined to take calls from Biden but did take calls from Putin. It also cannot be missed that just prior to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Russia, China and Iran conducted joint military drills.
Finally, what is Biden's vision for this new world order with China? The message could not be more mixed. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) continues its genocide against the Uyghurs in Xinjiang, suppressing freedoms in Hong Kong, militarizing at least three of the artificial islands it built in the South China Sea, perfecting hypersonic missiles and "satellite crushers", threatening Taiwan, and signing new friendship agreements with Russia. Meanwhile the Biden administration was sharing intelligence about Russia with China. Apparently, the administration had some quixotic hope that China would join the U.S. in discouraging Russia from attacking. At the same time, it turns out, China was sharing its intelligence information from the U.S. with Russia. One can only wonder who came up with the crazy idea that the CCP would join with the U.S. in maintaining order and stability in Europe.
Indeed, Biden's vision of a new world order led by America looks more and more like a new world of disorder. Instead of articulating a clear vision of American leadership, our actions on the world stage have been directed by Russia, Iran, China, and even Europe. The situation has undermined America's ties to its traditional allies; they seem to be having difficulty understanding the president's global vision, and seeing the new world order evolving to one where America leads, but only from behind, in reaction to the whims of others.
So, while it is not clear what Biden meant when he referenced America leading a new world order, his record over the last 15 months suggests it consists of a weakened U.S. economy hamstrung by inflation, war in Europe, unraveling alliances in the Middle East and growing uncertainty in Asia.
If this is the unintended consequence of Biden's new world order, it is time for him to go back to the drawing board. The world has suffered enough. The time has come for him to recalibrate the global nightmare that his policies have created.
Peter Hoekstra was US Ambassador to the Netherlands during the Trump administration. He served 18 years in the U.S. House of Representatives representing the second district of Michigan and served as Chairman and Ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee. He is currently Chairman of the Center for Security Policy Board of Advisors, and a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute.