Biden faces challenges two-and-half years on

The 79-year-old US President is facing the twin challenges of his own uncontrolled gaffes and defeating Trumpism at home. Besides, the issue of gun violence is on the Biden administration’s list of troubles.

The President of the United States has enjoyed an untrammelled influence in global politics since the beginning of the twentieth century. When the Allied leaders were facing trouble in defeating the resilient offense of the Nazi forces in the second World War, the heroic personality and the brave decision of the US President pulled off the Allied’s victory over Germany and Japan. Since the war’s end, almost every US president has had the privilege to take crucial decision-making power in any world crisis, especially on behalf of the “Western bloc” countries. In the twenty-first century, the US faces multi-pronged challenges. From China’s aggressive competition in the Indo-Pacific region and anti-US alliances across the Eurasian landmass to declining global trade and investments affecting US business interests, the United States face a quagmire of foreign policy and national security challenges. Racial and ethnic polarization within the domestic boundaries is another challenge the Biden administration inherited. If not controlled, it may impact the dominant influence it exerts on the geopolitical structures of the international system. Here are a few one-worded issues that ail the Biden administration:


President Barack Obama won elections by a massive vote share in the 2008 Presidential elections based on his charismatic leadership qualities and excellent oratory skills that moved American voters across gender, national origins, colours, and ethnicity. American leaders have been known for their strong demeanour to instill confidence in both domestic public and international admirers.

Unfortunately, President Biden lacks both verbal and non-verbal skills. The President has been known for unwarranted gaffes for years. However, during his presidential campaign tours and televised debates, he could shrewdly keep this weakness from the spotlight aside. Though Biden was one of the oldest candidates to run for the White House, he maintained agility while climbing stairs and choppers, waving at voters and supporters in every state. Since he entered the White House, he has been struck with a series of gaffes while delivering official speeches. The latest was the “honour” instead of “horror” comment while delivering a speech in Israel to remember the horrors of the “Holocaust”. These “messaging gaffes” have damaged his and the party’s reputation. Of all the possible reasons for an ongoing contemplation within and outside the party whether Biden would be re-nominated in 2024, a hilarious reason could be his “massaging gaffes”. A report by Fox News revealed that New York Times and a few national newspapers had highlighted the inadequacy of President Biden’s re-nomination for the 2024 Presidential polls. Two Times columns written this month put forward a similar argument suggesting that, besides his damaging gaffes, the President was too old to run for the next term. This is relevant given the reports highlighted in some major newspapers and national polls in the US allures to the sinking President’s reputation within the Democratic Party. The New York Times staff reporter, Michael D. Spear, wrote about the increasing anxiousness and “frustration” around the President. Indeed, several of the Biden administration’s official members seem to be more worried about his next impromptu gaffes than countering negative appraisals of the administration’s policies and programs.


Gas stations’ prices have been the main driver of inflation in the country. Average gasoline prices across the US crossed $5 a gallon (approximately 3.7 litres) in June 2022. In some states, it is more than $6 today. In early 2022, the administration ordered to release of gasoline from US reserves. The reason for the spike in fossil fuels in the US mainly lands in rising global oil prices. The ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict is also a significant reason. Critics at home have been lambasting the President for being unable to control the price rise. Experts have warned that the continued inflation would harm the prospect of Democrats winning the November mid-term elections. Consequently, the ruling party could lose its majority in Congress and, worse, the United States might enter into a recession, impacting global financial health. These developments could jeopardize Biden and hurt his party’s prospects.


The US President is currently in Israel as part of his regional tour to boost confidence-building measures with its allies. President Biden will meet Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman in Riyadh, where the President is expected to streamline thorny issues with the “de-facto” leader. Unlike his predecessor, President Biden has been reluctant to engage with the Prince Salman-led regime in Riyadh fully. The assassination of the US-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi triggered Washington’s cold response to the regime. The issue might come up during the meetings in Saudi. Reports from Washington have hinted at boosting the oil supply in the US through direct negotiation with Saudi Arabia to ease gas inflation back home. The reason for re-orienting US-Saudi ties after more than two years in a coma could lie beyond the need for oil supply. Reports have stated that the US is attempting to forge closer military and strategic ties with its regional allies, including Saudi Arabia, to counter Iran’s assertion. In this respect, Washington aims for closer Arab-Israel ties to check on Iran and preempt Tehran’s nuclear ambition.


Summing up, the President is facing the twin challenges of uncontrolled gaffes and defeating Trumpism at home. Besides, the issue raised by gun violence is on the Biden administration’s list of troubles. President Trump is rallying in Republican states to seek public opinion about his re-nomination in the next Presidential elections. The First Lady, Dr Jill Biden’s recent “breakfast tacos” comment at a national Latino conference in San Antonio did not go well with the President’s opponents, including some media outlets. The White House intervened and apologized on behalf of Dr Biden for the comment. Moreover, the 79-year-old President’s unpopularity among the Democrats could dent his chance to be the next Presidential candidate in 2024.

These developments are hurting the prospect of the President’s future role, as can be imagined. In this scenario, the President has a steep challenge to overcome the distrust and instill fresh confidence among the party leaders and the public. If the gaffes and seemingly “reserved demeanour” associated with the President continue unabated, the prospect of Biden prefixing “former” to his title looks closer than one can imagine. The first step to a recovery for the President is to return with a perfect-score-report-card from his maiden visit to Saudi Arabia.

The author is currently an Assistant Professor at the Department of Political Science, Imphal College, Manipur University. He is the author of ‘The United States Approach to FMCT Negotiations: Lessons for India’. He has submitted his Ph.D. thesis at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.