Joe Biden – Knox Democrats Sun, 09 Jan 2022 11:33:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Joe Biden – Knox Democrats 32 32 Lat: Biden remakes federal justice Sun, 09 Jan 2022 08:13:41 +0000

What will historians say Joe Biden and Donald Trump had in common? Their greatest presidential legacy could end up being how they shaped the federal justice system.

Despite failures on other fronts, Trump has appointed more than 200 judges, including three Supreme Court justices – who may soon vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, a longtime target of the conservative legal movement. With a 42% Trump-style approval rating, President Biden finds himself in rough waters. But on December 18, Biden witnessed the confirmation of his 40th federal judge – the highest number in a first year since Ronald Reagan.

And it’s not just numbers. Biden and those in his administration who choose judges, including White House attorney Dana Remus and Chief of Staff Ron Klain, are smart and strategic. Instead of following the approach of the Obama administration, which hasn’t won many confirmations, the Biden administration is taking a page out of Trump’s playbook by aggressively advancing on nominations – and using the process to do so. advance political and political interests.

First, Biden prioritizes diversity: So far, around 80% of confirmed Biden nominees have been women and 65% have been people of color. Diversity strengthens the judiciary because diverse perspectives improve decision-making. Various appointees are also helping Biden and the Democratic Party, bolstering the support and enthusiasm of two key constituencies: women and minorities (some of whom have recently moved to the right).

There is still room for more progress. The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund recently noted that Biden’s six applicants this year in the Central District of California included only one Latino, for a district whose population is now 46% Latino and is expected to be. more in the decades of 2021 nominee terms. LGBTQ representation also lags in California. But when it comes to the various presidential candidates, Biden is still far ahead of Trump, whose appointees were predominantly white and male (84% white, 76% male).

Second, just as Trump chooses extremely conservative candidates, Biden selects extremely liberal candidates. In the absence of an organization as influential as the Federalist Society to verify ideological good faith, his administration has skillfully found professional attorneys for progressive politics, turning to areas whose practitioners tend to be very liberal: public defenders, lawyers. of public interest and lawyers representing unions. It’s too early to say anything definitive, but I predict Biden’s judges will be the most liberal since those of President Jimmy Carter.

Finally, and strategically, Biden emphasizes young people. As George Washington University law professor John Collins Jr. writes in an article analyzing Biden’s candidates, “President Biden’s freshman judges suggest Democrats are finally coming of age too. serious than the Republicans. … At (about 48), the average age of his freshman candidates is eight years younger than senior circuit judges in President Obama’s first year. This relative youth is important because, thanks to seniority, young judges sit longer. So even seemingly small age differences can lead to big differences in legal influence over time.

So the Biden administration’s selection of young liberal judges is good for the administration and the Democratic Party. Is it good for justice?

There is – or should be – a difference between law and politics. The law should not be, to paraphrase Carl von Clausewitz’s commentary on war, the continuation of politics by other means. Instead, judges should do their best to apply the law to the facts of the cases before them, as objectively as possible. The goal of a judge should be to dispense justice under the law, not to advance an ideological agenda. Unfortunately, judges on both the right and left have too often treated the law as a vehicle for partisan politics. The process of selecting judges could bear some of the blame.

It might be better if the judiciary in Biden – and all presidents, for that matter – focused relatively little on youth and ideology.

This was essentially the approach of the Obama administration, partly because it was Obama’s own centrist inclination and partly because at the time when the filibuster was in effect, it was impossible to confirm judges too far from the center.

To avoid further politicization (if at all possible), we could consider structural changes to the appointment process for future administrations.

First, we could bring back the filibuster of judicial candidates, eliminated for lower court judges in 2013 (when Democrats controlled the Senate) and Supreme Court judges in 2017 (when Republicans controlled the Senate). When the systematic obstruction was in effect, judicial candidates did need 60 votes for confirmation. This ensured that any successful candidate would have at least a few votes from the other party, making it difficult to appoint extreme or unqualified judges. (Of course, bringing back the filibuster would also require a return of senators voting for the other party’s judicial candidates as long as they are qualified, ideological disagreements notwithstanding – which is, admittedly, far away. of today’s party line votes on clearly qualified candidates.)

Second, we could consider something for lower court judges that is currently the subject of extensive discussion for Supreme Court judges: tenure. If the judges sat, say, 18 years rather than life, the parties would be under less pressure to nominate the youngest and more ideological candidates, as the current system encourages them. But realistically, nothing will happen anytime soon to change breeding strategies.

President Biden, I have a perfect choice for you: my 4 year old. He’s young, smart, diverse – and very, very opinionated.

David Lat is the author of Original Jurisdiction, a newsletter on the law and the legal profession. From the Los Angeles Times.

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Supreme Court appears poised to block Biden vaccine and testing rules for businesses Fri, 07 Jan 2022 19:17:00 +0000 But in a separate challenge, some judges appeared more open to a vaccine mandate targeting certain healthcare workers.

The court heard arguments for nearly four hours as the number of infections skyrocket and 40 million adults in the United States still refuse to be vaccinated.

The three liberal judges of the court clearly expressed their approval of the rules of the administration in both areas.

Two sets of rules were released in November. The first would impact some 80 million people and force large employers to force their employees to be vaccinated or to undergo weekly tests. A second regulation requires certain health care workers who work for establishments participating in Medicare or Medicaid programs to be vaccinated.

Critics of the demands, including a coalition of Republican-led business and state groups, say the Biden administration has exceeded its authority by issuing such sweeping warrants that could lead to massive staff shortages and billions. dollars in compliance costs. The administration, meanwhile, is focusing on the impact of the virus, which has already killed some 800,000 Americans, closed businesses and kept children out of classrooms.

Already, judges have overturned a separate attempt by the president to soften the impact of the virus. Last August, a 6-3 court blocked the government’s moratorium on evictions, ruling that the agency involved in the case, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, had overstepped its authority.

“There is no question that the public has a strong interest in combating the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant,” the court said at the time. But in an unsigned opinion, the majority added: “Our system does not allow agencies to act illegally even in pursuit of desirable goals.” The three liberal judges, Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor were dissenting.
Judge Sonia Sotomayor did not take the bench participated remotely from her chambers. A court spokesman said Sotomayor “is not sick”.
Sotomayor is fully vaccinated and the court announced this week that she had received her booster. Liberal justice has worn a mask in previous disputes probably due to the fact that she suffers from diabetes.

Large employers

The first set of arguments on Friday focused on the rule put forward by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration – an agency that reports to the US Department of Labor and is responsible for ensuring a safe workplace. OSHA requires employers with 100 or more employees to ensure their employees are fully immunized or undergo regular testing and wear face coverings at work. There are exceptions for those who have religious objections.

Two different views on the Covid pandemic exposed to the Supreme Court

The agency said it had the power to act under a temporary emergency standard designed to protect employees if they are exposed to “serious danger.”

The Biden administration is defending the settlement, arguing the nation faces a pandemic “that’s sickening and killing thousands of workers across the country” and that any delay in implementing the requirement for a vaccine or undergoing regular testing “will result in illness, hospitalization and death.

Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar told judges in court documents that if the court were to rule in favor of the challengers, it would leave OSHA “powerless” to respond to “serious workplace hazards posed by existing viruses and ‘other infectious diseases, as well as future pandemics. ”

At the very least, she argued, if the court says employers can’t force employees to get vaccinated, it should leave another requirement for frequent masking and testing in place.

The Supreme Court upheld national and local vaccine mandates.  It may not save Biden.

But an attorney for the National Federation of Independent Businesses, representing a coalition of business groups, told the court OSHA lacks the power to put in place a vaccine and testing regime that would cover two-thirds. of all workers in the private sector. Attorney Scott A. Keller pointed out that OSHA’s requirement would impose substantial compliance costs on companies that will face the cost of testing for millions of employees who refuse to vaccinate.

Keller argues the rule will trigger serious staff shortages when workers who oppose the demands step down. “The resulting labor disruption will devastate already fragile supply chains and labor markets at the height of the holiday season,” he wrote in court documents.

Keller told judges that if the court were to rule in favor of the government in the dispute, it would “significantly” expand the agency’s authority over industries that cover a significant portion of the economy. “Congress failed to give OSHA the power to impose emergency warrants and monitor 84 million employees for a known and pervasive hazard that poses no unique hazard to identified workplaces,” did he declare.

Keller is supported by a coalition of states represented by Ohio Solicitor General Benjamin M. Flowers, who told judges that the mandate encroaches on states’ sovereign authority to “adopt and enforce policies that come into effect. conflict ”with a federal vaccination or testing requirement.

A divided panel of judges from the 6th United States Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the administration, believing that Covid -19 has “continued to spread, mutate, kill and block return in Safe US Workers at Their Work “OSHA” can and should be able to respond to hazards as they evolve.

But a well-respected Conservative judge from the same court expressed his dissent during an earlier phase of the case. Judge Jeffrey Sutton acknowledged “the usefulness of vaccines”, saying: “This is the rare federal judge who didn’t get the message.” He argued, however, that regardless of the political advantages of a well-meaning settlement, “a court cannot enforce it if the agency’s scope goes beyond the scope of a law.”

OSHA has said it will not issue citations for non-compliance to employers until Jan. 10.

Over 10 million healthcare workers

The second rule concerns a vaccination policy rolled out in November by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid of the US Department of Health and Human Services, which sought to require the Covid-19 vaccine for certain healthcare workers in hospitals, homes nursing and other facilities. who participate in Medicare and Medicaid programs.

According to government estimates, the mandate regulates more than 10.3 million healthcare workers in the United States. Covered personnel were originally scheduled to receive the first dose by December 6, and the warrant allows for certain religious and medical exemptions.

Senior Deputy Attorney General Brian H. Fletcher is asking the Supreme Court to overturn two opinions from lower courts that have blocked tenures in 24 states, arguing that the “unprecedented pandemic” has killed 800,000 Americans and that “the Secretary of State for Health and Human Services has exercised its express legal authority to protect the health and safety of Medicare and Medicaid patients. ”

Fletcher said the requirement “would save hundreds if not thousands of lives every month” and pointed out that patients who participate in Medicare and Medicaid programs are of advanced age or have a disability and are at higher risk. to develop serious complications if they are infected with Covid19.

“It is hard to imagine a health and safety condition more paradigmatic than a requirement that workers in hospitals, nursing homes and other medical facilities take the measures that most effectively prevent the transmission of a deadly virus to vulnerable patients, ”Fletcher said. He also pointed out that while CMS may not have directly required vaccination in the past, workers at Medicare and Medicaid facilities have long been subject to employer or state vaccination requirements for the virus. flu or hepatitis B.

Lawyers for two different groups of states counter that CMS acted outside its authority when issuing the warrant because Congress never specifically authorized the agency to issue such a broad rule. They also accuse the agency of having circumvented normal procedures that would have allowed stakeholders to influence the mandate.

Jesus A. Osete, assistant attorney general for Missouri, called the tenure an “unprecedented sweep” and said it would create a crisis in healthcare facilities in rural America as it would force “millions of workers to choose between losing their job or complying with an illegal federal mandate.

He called the healthcare workers who fought the pandemic “heroes” and said some of them could soon find themselves out of work and stressed that the federal government did not have the power “to force them. health workers to undergo a permanent medical procedure ”.

Separately, Louisiana Solicitor General Elizabeth Murrill, representing another set of states, said the term is also unconstitutional. She argued that under the Constitutional Congress Expenses Clause, the power to legislate “rests on the state knowingly and willingly accepts the terms” of a contract.

In this case, she said, institutions that accept federal funds had no notice of the mandate. She also argued that Congress cannot simply delegate the power to a federal agency to require vaccines for more than 10 million healthcare workers without a clear statement of intent.

“There is no question that mandating a vaccine for 10.3 million healthcare workers is something that should be done by Congress, not by a government agency,” a US District Court judge said. United for the Western District of Louisiana in a ruling against the Biden administration. in November.

The judges agreed to hear the case in a rush with a truncated briefing schedule and it is unclear how fast they will act.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story twisted previous positions of judges on state efforts to mandate vaccines.

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Competition with Joe Biden pushes Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to do his job Wed, 05 Jan 2022 15:06:00 +0000

Click to enlarge

  • Photo via Ron DeSantis / Twitter

Stating that the “federal government is not going to come up” with a plan to distribute coronavirus tests to homes, Gov. Ron DeSantis said on Tuesday the state was refining its own strategy to send tests to vulnerable Floridians.

DeSantis has tested for COVID-19 the latest front in its clashes with President Joe Biden’s administration, after the White House last month announced a plan to distribute 500 million home coronavirus tests nationwide . The distribution of tests has not yet started.

At a Jacksonville press conference on Tuesday, DeSantis said the state was not waiting.

“As soon as we realized the federal government was not going to follow through on this, we got to work. We will definitely send home tests. The question is how much, ”DeSantis told reporters.

The governor’s comments came a day after State Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo announced that the Florida Department of Health intended to release new testing guidelines to focus on “High value tests”, which he said would target the elderly and the medically vulnerable.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis hands responsibility for COVID-19 testing delays to Joe Biden, Floridians

DeSantis administrator believes the testing delays are the fault of Floridians who want to know if they have COVID-19 or not.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis hands responsibility for COVID-19 testing delays to Joe Biden, Floridians

By Alex Galbraith


Ladapo, teasing the state’s new testing guidelines on Monday, said he would seek to “unravel the psychology of testing” from the federal government.

Asked about Ladapo’s comments, White House press secretary Jen Psaki referred Tuesday to “our own medical and medical experts to find out when the tests should be administered and used.”

At Tuesday’s press conference with DeSantis, Ladapo clarified the state’s plan. He said the advice will be geared towards “populations for whom testing is more likely to change results.”

“The advice we’re going to publish will talk about… testing based on risk factors, based on level of risk. Because that’s the main thing that determines whether a test is really likely to make a difference, ”Ladapo said.

DeSantis said his administration intends to prioritize nursing homes, assisted living facilities, seniors’ communities and local emergency management and health departments for testing.

Amid the skyrocketing COVID-19 cases driven by the highly contagious omicron variant of the virus, DeSantis has also criticized the use of testing as a means of allowing people to travel on airplanes or return to work.

“A lot of these tests are not a good use for testing. Testing really should be focused on people with clinical symptoms. So you have symptomatic people, and they might not have as good access because you have so many other tests being used in a way that is really not a good use of resources, ”said the governor.

As DeSantis and Ladapo aim for mass testing, the state Department of Health released a report on Friday that showed 298,455 new cases of coronavirus were recorded in the week ending December 30. , more than double the number of cases reported a week earlier.

Amid the delay in rolling out Biden’s plan, DeSantis – who is widely speculated as a potential 2024 Republican presidential candidate – appears to be pushing for a race with the federal government to have tests shipped first.

Biden said on Tuesday that new federal testing sites were being set up across the country. Home test kits will be available in a few weeks, according to the president.

“As I announced recently, the federal government is launching a website this month where you can get tests shipped free to your home on your request,” Biden said at a team meeting. White House COVID-19 response.

The president also said a federal requirement that insurance companies reimburse Americans for home tests would go into effect next week.

Florida Democrats on Tuesday blasted DeSantis’ plan to cut coronavirus testing for the general population as COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, a candidate for the Democratic nomination for governor, said on Tuesday that the governor’s approach was “fewer tests means fewer cases.”

US Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz said the proposal “is not based on science and ignores the reality that people find themselves in.”

“So many Florida families have multigenerational households, which makes the governor’s and surgeon general’s plan to discourage testing for asymptomatic people and downright dangerous children,” Wasserman Schultz told reporters.

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“The money (never) stops here” Mon, 03 Jan 2022 16:59:22 +0000

Joe Biden is the owner of the US COVID-19 pandemic.

Biden ran for president promising to federalize the US response to COVID: “I will,” he said, “act to take control of the virus” – “day one”, nothing less.

In September 2020, Biden accused Trump of being personally responsible for 200,000 COVID deaths (at the time): “If the president had done his job… from the start, everyone would still be alive.

In mid-October, candidate Biden tweeted, “We are eight months away from this pandemic, and Donald Trump still does not have a plan to get this virus under control. I do.”

In a debate, Biden said: “Whoever is responsible for so many deaths should not remain President of the United States …”

Jerry shenk

Four days before the election, Biden announced, “I’m not going to shut down the country. I’m not going to shut down the economy. I will stop the virus.

In short, Biden’s campaign cynically politicized COVID to garner votes and, equally important, capitalized on COVID restrictions to allow a pissed off candidate to (no) campaign from the basement of his area mansion from Wilmington. Both gadgets worked.

Now on to his December 27, 2021 online meeting with state governors in which President (ish) Biden admitted failure: “There is no federal solution. [COVID] is resolved at the state level.

Immediately after this cowardly attempt to shirk the responsibilities he suspended from his predecessor, Biden fled to his luxurious Delaware beach house for photo ops with a new puppy.

What didn’t go well?

As President, Biden has benefited from COVID therapies developed over nearly a year of experience and President Trump’s Operation Warp Speed ​​vaccine initiative.

In office, Biden made vaccination mandatory for federal employees, employees of companies doing business with the federal government, and he ordered the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to apply vaccinations to all companies employing more than 100 people. Biden himself was fully vaccinated before opening day.

Nonetheless, there were more deaths from COVID in Biden’s first ten months in office – with vaccines available – than throughout 2020, most without vaccines.

As of December 31, 2021, deaths from a U.S. pandemic exceeded 820,000, more than half of which – applying his own campaign rhetoric – was Joe Biden’s personal responsibility.

Ironically, during the campaign, Biden and his running mate expressed doubts about the safety of Operation Warp Speed ​​products. Kamala Harris has said she will not be taking a “Trump” vaccine.

Once in office, however, both dismissed public concerns about the safety and efficacy of vaccines. Biden even called the vaccination a “patriotic duty.”

In fact, as vaccinations increased and COVID case / death rates declined, Biden opportunistically “appropriated” and, on July 4, boastfully predicted “our independence from of a deadly virus ”.


Plagued by COVID variants, Biden / Harris “didn’t see it coming” and a shortage of COVID test kits Biden swore but failed to correct, on December 27 an ineffective president officially turned surrendered, washed his hands – he thinks – of COVID, and tried to avoid blame by blaming fifty governors, more than half of whom are Republicans.

Belatedly realizing that his vaccine mandates have caused real problems – among them, staff shortages in essential services, including first responders, the trucking industry and healthcare – Joe struggles to escape judgment by telling America that the virus must be “resolved at the state level.” “

Americans aren’t supposed to notice that Biden’s improvised thinking / speaking skills are … to put it mildly … weakened, so the assistants rejected the press pool before Joe (his staff, really) answered questions. governors.

Biden managers are desperate for a COVID exit strategy, so they are trying to offload the blame / responsibility onto the States while claiming that Joe never made any commitments he didn’t keep.

It won’t work. America knows Biden smeared his predecessor, made empty promises, claimed credit for progress made before he took office and blamed his failures on governors before taking another vacation.

COVID has mutated; her symptoms are milder, but they don’t go away. In two years, smart officials have learned that living with the virus means protecting vulnerable citizens, prioritizing therapies, providing vaccines to consenting recipients, and avoiding the aftermath of shutdowns / mask warrants that have already proven ineffective in stopping – or even slow down – the spread of COVID.

Certainly, some dense and / or proto-fascist governors and mayors, mostly Democrats, will continue to issue / attempt to enforce arbitrary COVID warrants. They will also fail.

Meanwhile, the president’s negative approval ratings will plummet as the United States keeps Joe Biden at the standard he set in 2020: “Anyone … responsible for so many deaths should not remain president of the United States. United States… “

Contact columnist Jerry Shenk at

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Colorado forest fire: up to 1,000 buildings destroyed as Biden declares disaster | Colorado Sat, 01 Jan 2022 17:04:00 +0000

As many as 1,000 buildings were possibly destroyed in the record-breaking wildfire that swept through an area of ​​Colorado bordering the Rocky Mountains, as Joe Biden said the situation was dire and experts warned the climate crisis and the expansion of suburbs had contributed to the devastation.

After saying it was a miracle, based on the latest information, that no one was killed in the blaze that roared without warning in Boulder County on Thursday, officials said more than 500 and up ‘to 1,000 homes and businesses could have been wiped out.

And on Saturday afternoon, authorities said they are now looking for two people missing as a result of the wind-whipped hell.

Hundreds of residents who expected to ring the bell in 2022 at their homes instead started the New Year on Saturday by trying to collect what was left to them.

Families who had been forced to flee the blazes without warning returned to their neighborhoods on Friday in the cities of Louisville and Superior, with a combined population of 34,000, north of the state capital Denver, to find a patchwork of devastation.

At least seven people were reportedly injured. Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle said as authorities continue to work on the aftermath of the blaze, the number of likely casualties for homes and businesses will increase as things move forward. would become clearer.

“I would estimate that it’s going to be at least 500 [and] I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s the 1000, ”Pelle said on Friday.

He added that many structures were reduced to mere “smoking holes in the ground”.

It was considered the most destructive wildfire in Colorado history.

Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle said as authorities continue to work on the aftermath of the blaze, the number of likely casualties for homes and businesses will increase as things move forward. would become clearer. Photograph: Carl Glenn Payne / ZUMA Press Wire Service / REX / Shutterstock

On Saturday, many homeowners were already talking about rebuilding in the same location.

Cathy Glaab discovered that her house in Superior had been turned into a pile of charred and twisted debris, one of seven houses in a row that were destroyed. “So many memories,” she said through tears.

She and her husband plan to rebuild the house they’ve had there since 1998, she says, as they love the natural space behind and the view of the mountains.

Boulder County adjoins the eastern foothills of the Rockies, an area known locally as the Front Range. To the west is the Rocky Mountain National Park.

The flames had swept east through grasslands and drought-stricken neighborhoods at an alarming rate, propelled by gusts of up to 105 mph, as tens of thousands of people were ordered to flee. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Light snow fell on Friday, helping to put out the blaze that had burned up to 10 square miles, but snowfall in the area this winter was late and light.

Then another snowfall on Saturday night and freezing temperatures added to the misery of homeless residents.

The frost cast an eerie scene amid the still smoking wreckage, and the smell of smoke still permeated the empty streets blocked by National Guard troops in armored vehicles.

For the thousands of residents whose homes survived the blaze, volunteers at Red Cross shelters distributed electric heaters as utility crews struggled to restore natural gas and electricity.

But with temperatures forecast well above freezing in the county on Monday and Tuesday, the fire risk persisted, even though huge wildfires are not usual in Colorado in December.

The US president declared a major disaster in the region on Friday, ordering federal aid to be made available to those affected.

Superior and Louisville are teeming with subdivisions for the middle and upper middle class with shopping malls, parks and schools. The area lies between Denver and Boulder, home to the University of Colorado.

Scientists say climate change is making weather more extreme and forest fires more frequent and destructive.

Ninety percent of Boulder County experiences severe or extreme drought, and it has not experienced significant rainfall since mid-summer. Denver set a record for consecutive days without snow before having a small storm on December 10, its last snowfall before wildfires broke out.

Becky Bolinger, assistant state climatologist at the Climate Center at Colorado State University, tweeted: “The ingredients for a devastating wildfire have come together since last spring. A very wet spring of 2021 allowed the grasses to grow. A very dry summer and autumn dried up the herbs and prepared the kindling.

“I thought it wouldn’t be long before we started to experience fires like California, where flames are chasing people out of their neighborhoods,” Bolinger said in an interview with the Denver Post. “I didn’t expect this to happen in December.”

The temperatures were too high. June to December 2021 was the hottest time on record, Jennifer Balch, a fire specialist and director of the Earth Lab at the University of Colorado at Boulder, told the newspaper.

“Climate change is definitely part of this story as the fire seasons are longer,” she said.

Additionally, the greater Denver metropolitan area has grown with the expansion of suburbs and the construction of new residential neighborhoods in the Front Range that were nothing but wild meadows a generation ago, causing massive disruption for these towns when fires break out.

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]]> Biden pushes Putin to de-escalate Ukraine in second appeal this month Fri, 31 Dec 2021 03:36:00 +0000 The 50-minute phone call did not yield any major breakthroughs, US and Russian officials later said, but did set the tone for upcoming face-to-face diplomatic talks between the two sides.

Putin again gave little clue as to his intentions on Thursday, officials said after the call ended. Instead, the two men had what a US official described as a “serious and substantial” discussion, in which Biden charted two paths for Putin as he continued to amass Russian troops in the border with Ukraine: one a diplomatic route to de-escalation and another focused on deterrence through economic sanctions, strengthening the presence of US troops on NATO’s eastern flank and increasing assistance to Ukraine.

Which path is chosen “will depend on Russia’s actions over the coming period,” the official said, saying there would be “serious costs and consequences” if Russia continued its regional aggression.

Putin responded with a terrible warning, a Kremlin aide said. He told Biden that introducing a new round of sanctions against Russia would amount to a “colossal mistake” that could lead to a complete breakdown in relations between the two countries.

“Many such mistakes have been made over the past 30 years,” said Russian Presidential Assistant Yury Ushakov, “and it is advisable not to make such mistakes again.”

Biden also told Putin that the United States did not intend to deploy offensive weapons in Ukraine, Ushakov said.

Putin “noted that this is one of the key points included in the project [on security guarantees Russia seeks]”, added Ushakov.

No less than 100,000 Russian troops remained amassed at the Ukrainian border, despite warnings from Biden and European leaders of grave consequences if Putin went ahead with an invasion. U.S. officials also said Moscow was engaged in a massive disinformation campaign aimed at undermining the Ukrainian government ahead of that country’s national elections.

Biden made the call from his home in Wilmington, Delaware.

The Biden-Putin talks take place about two weeks before U.S. and Russian diplomats meet in Geneva to discuss the ongoing crisis. In the run-up to these talks, Russia has publicly presented a list of security concerns and demands it wants addressed, including a pledge that Ukraine will never be allowed to join NATO and that Russia will never be allowed to join NATO. military equipment of the alliance is not positioned in its former Soviet states. .

The United States has prepared its own list of concerns, a senior US administration official told reporters on Wednesday, but has no plans to make it public. Instead, Biden’s advisers believe it will be more fruitful to keep the negotiations private.

Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman will lead the U.S. delegation to the talks, which are slated for Jan. 10, multiple sources familiar with the matter told CNN. Biden and Putin shouldn’t participate themselves. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov will lead the Russian delegation. Pentagon and National Security Council officials will also participate in the talks on the US side, a senior administration official said on Wednesday.

The direct US-Russian talks will be followed by broader meetings between NATO and Russia, as well as a meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, where a range of topics are under discussion.

The United States has pledged to keep Western European countries and Ukraine itself informed as Biden diplomatically engages Putin. Secretary of State Antony Blinken held talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday, and White House officials said they were in almost daily contact with their counterparts in the UK, France and Germany to coordinate their approach.

“There is significant security coordination between Ukraine and the United States and coordination has only intensified in recent weeks,” said an adviser to Zelensky.

The United States has succeeded in convincing its allies to prepare a package of tough sanctions, including against some of Putin’s main allies, as part of a coordinated approach. U.S. officials have said the punishment will be far more severe than the sanctions applied in 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea.

Since the last time Biden spoke to Putin, there is no indication that Russia is easing its position on the border with Ukraine, although a senior administration official has said the situation is fluid.

“It’s not entirely static from our point of view,” the official said. “What the Russians have put in place in and around this border area remains a continuing source of serious concern.”

The Russian build-up has included troops, artillery, vehicles and supply lines, officials said previously. Earlier this week, Russia announced it would withdraw 10,000 troops from their regular barracks. But U.S. officials have suggested the move does not amount to major de-escalation.

In the meantime, the United States has maintained its own position in the region. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has ordered aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman and his escort ships to remain in the Mediterranean region rather than sail to the Middle East as part of an effort to reassure the allies Europeans.

Ahead of Thursday’s discussion, the US Air Force flew over another spy plane over eastern Ukraine to gather intelligence on the military situation on the ground, a source close to the mission told CNN. .

This was the second time this week that the United States has conducted such a mission using the E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS).

The maiden flight on Monday marked the first time a JSTARS aircraft had flown over the area, Lt. Cmdr. Russ Wolfkiel, spokesman for the United States European Command, told CNN. Wolfkiel told CNN that the United States “regularly operates planes in the Black Sea region in support of various U.S. and coalition intelligence objectives,” but the flights come as the United States attempts to collect intelligence on Russian troop movements along the Ukrainian border.

The JSTARS system can track ground vehicles as they move, collect images, and transmit photos and traces of moving formations to ground and air commanders, allowing the United States and its allies to monitor the position of Russian forces. An on-board antenna has a 120-degree field of view that can cover nearly 20,000 square miles to monitor ground movement, according to an Air Force fact sheet, and can also detect aircraft.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated when the first surveillance flight over eastern Ukraine took place. It was Monday.

This story has been updated with more details.

CNN’s Natasha Bertrand and Anna Chernova contributed to this report.

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2022 likely to be a brutal year for Joe Biden and Democrats – The North State Journal Wed, 29 Dec 2021 14:00:59 +0000
President Joe Biden jokes about the reporter to call for a question as he speaks about the bipartisan infrastructure bill in the White House State Dining Room on Saturday, November 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo / Alex Brandon)

Normally I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this is one of those times when I don’t hate it so much. many.

For President Joe Biden and his fellow Democrats, 2022 is likely to be a brutal year.

For starters, history tells us that the midterm election years are usually not good for the president’s party, as they are seen as referendums on how that president conducted his first two years in office. .

And polls at all levels tell us that no one – Democrats or Independents – and certainly not Republicans, of course – is happy with Biden.

The main reason Democrats are unhappy with Biden stems from his inability to rally his party to rally around his platform.

Considering how Sen. Joe Manchin (DW.Va.) effectively torpedoed Biden’s much-vaunted “Build Back Better” plan for the foreseeable future earlier this week, and see how Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) remain staunch supporters of filibuster – for which Democrats, in general, have regained hatred now that the Senate is split 50/50 – that is unlikely to change.

But Biden and his fellow Democrats also face another problem from within, which revolves around Hispanic voter support, which began to wane during the Trump years. It’s a trend that recent elections, including the September recall election in California and the November 2021 off-year election, indicate showing no signs of abating.

While the percentages are low, in close elections, you don’t have to massively tip Republicans out of a grassroots Democratic voting bloc to change the course of a race. It only takes a percentage point or two.

The problems Independents have with Biden and the Democratic Party largely match the problems Republicans have with him. They don’t like his push for vaccine warrants, they don’t care about his constant fear of COVID-19, and they don’t stick to his economic plans.

Biden’s exit strategy from Afghanistan and his disastrous handling of it, which saw 13 US Marines murdered as they tried to protect innocent Afghans and which, for weeks, was fraught with danger to them. Americans stranded there, won’t help him either. This has already bolstered Republican opposition against it and will likely inspire some of those who may not have participated in the 2022 midterm elections to make their voices heard on election day.

Parents, even those in states other than the Red States, are also galvanized against the “awake” education program based on critical racial theory that Democrats are forcing – or at the very least attempting to impose – on young children in the world. public school classrooms across the country.

Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe found out the hard way last month after repeatedly insulting parents in the state by lying about coordinated efforts to implement a sweeping agenda that involves to teach black children to believe that they are perpetual victims of their white “white privilege” classmates, and that America is an inherently racist country.

He also admitted point blank during a debate that “I don’t think parents should tell schools what to teach,” an illuminating statement that occurred during a controversial exchange between him and Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin on whether parents should be given notice of when sexually explicit material was going to be taught to their children – another issue parents have with Democrats locally in various parts of the country .

Shortly after parents began showing up for school board meetings, Biden’s DOJ issued a memo that sought to implicate the FBI in “investigating” the parents for alleged “threats,” an attempt clear to suppress freedom of expression.

The anger of parents, independent voters and Hispanics towards Democrats continues to grow, and if they don’t change course, what happens in November at the polls is not going to be pleasant for them.

Media analyst Stacey Matthews also writes under the pseudonym Sister Toldjah and is a regular contributor to RedState and Legal Insurrection.

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Live updates: No new COVID-19 restrictions for England Mon, 27 Dec 2021 17:51:01 +0000

LONDON – UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid said on Monday that no further coronavirus restrictions would be introduced in England before the new year, but urged people to remain cautious and celebrate outside if possible .

COVID-19 data was spotty over the Christmas holidays, but the latest official figures showed 98,515 new infections were recorded in England on Monday and 143 people have died with the virus. The National Health Service in England reported that there were 1,281 hospital admissions for coronavirus on Christmas Day, up more than 70% from the previous week.

The four parts of the UK have taken different approaches to coronavirus restrictions as the omicron variant is spreading rapidly in the country. As nightclubs have been closed and limits on gatherings have been imposed in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, authorities have resisted tightening restrictions in England.

Javid said around 90% of cases across England were the omicron variant.



– Omicron sows global gloom during new year celebrations

– Delta flight to Shanghai has turned around because of the COVID rules.

– The variant disrupts vacation travel but no shopping

– France records more than 100,000 infections per day for the first time


Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at



WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden on Monday pledged the federal government’s full support for states facing an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases due to the more transmissible omicron variant and a series of home tests.

Joining a regular meeting between his coronavirus response team and the National Governors Association, Biden said, “My message is, if you need anything, say something, and we’ll stand by you. every possible way. “

Biden acknowledged the long lines and chaotic scenes as Americans sought testing amid the upsurge in cases and sought to safely reunite with family and friends over the holidays.

He referred to his administration’s plan to make 500 million rapid tests available to Americans starting next month through a yet-to-be-developed website.

A White House official said the new tests would come from new manufacturing capacity and not interfere with existing supply chains.


WASHINGTON – Dr Anthony Fauci, America’s top infectious disease expert, said on Monday that the United States should “seriously” consider a vaccination mandate for domestic travel.

Speaking to MSNBC, Fauci, who is President Joe Biden’s chief scientific adviser on the COVID-19 response, said: “When you make vaccination a requirement, it’s another incentive to get more vaccinated. of people. “

The United States currently requires that most foreign nationals traveling to the United States be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, but has not instituted one for domestic travel.

The administration has at times considered a requirement for a nationwide vaccination, or requiring either vaccination or proof of negative testing, but two officials said Biden’s science advisers have yet to formally make the recommendation to the president. Officials noted that they were unwilling to impose vaccination for domestic air travel, as they expected it to immediately face legal challenges, mitigating its potential effectiveness as a tool. to increase vaccinations.

Biden’s employer’s vaccination demands were mired in legal wrangling, with the Supreme Court hearing arguments in early January in cases to overturn them.


ATHENS – In Greece, authorities announced further restrictions after announcing the highest number of daily confirmed infections, at 9,284, since the start of the pandemic.

Health Minister Thanos Plevris announced that from January 3: the compulsory use of high protection or double masks will be imposed in supermarkets and on public transport, entertainment venues will close at midnight, capacity will be reduced to 10% in football stadiums, distant work and schedule changes will be extended in the public sector and visits to nursing homes will only be allowed for people with a negative PCR test result.

“The omicron variant is now apparent across the country, particularly in greater Athens where there has been a huge increase in cases,” Plevris said.

He added that the new restrictions would take effect after the New Year amid fears that if imposed sooner they would lead to an increase in private gatherings.


HELSINKI – Denmark has recorded the highest number of daily cases of coronavirus since the start of the pandemic with 16,164 new cases of infection in the past 24 hours.

The figure released on Monday by Danish health authorities did not break the previous daily record set in the Scandinavian country until Sunday when 14,844 new infections were documented.

Seven people infected with COVID-19 have died in the past 24 hours. This brings the total death toll in Denmark to 3,217, officials said.

The number of coronavirus infections in Denmark started to rise sharply in early December, but last week the pace appeared to have stabilized. But health officials said the number of infections had started to rise again dramatically in the past few days.


ABIDJAN, Côte d’Ivoire – Health officials in Côte d’Ivoire say West African country has seen dramatic increase in COVID-19 cases

The authorities recorded a positivity rate of 26.5% on Boxing Day. A statement from the Ivorian Ministry of Health said the figure was 18.4% the day before.

The new figures come at a time when many Ivorians are traveling from major cities to rural areas to see their families during the holidays. Since last week, 5.7% of Ivorians were fully vaccinated. Côte d’Ivoire has confirmed 64,429 cases of COVID-19, including 707 deaths since the start of the pandemic.


NEW YORK – New York City’s broad mandate to require nearly all private sector companies to ban unvaccinated employees from the workplace has come into effect amid an outbreak of coronavirus infections.

Workers at around 184,000 companies had to prove that they had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by Monday. Businesses that don’t comply could face fines starting as low as $ 1,000, but Mayor Bill de Blasio said imposing penalties would be a last resort.

Employers should check and keep track of each worker’s proof of vaccination against COVID-19. Workers who have only received one injection will need to get a second within 45 days. Businesses are required to display a sign stating that they are complying with the “in a conspicuous place” rule, under the City’s mandate.


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The 20 most admired men in the world in 2021: Warren Buffett and Joe Biden join the list Sun, 26 Dec 2021 00:00:01 +0000

The ‘World’s Most Admired’ Men of 2021 have been named in a new global survey.

YouGov, a UK-based pollster, compiled the 20 best men alive after interviewing more than 42,000 people online in 38 countries and territories.

The participants expressed their admiration for men of politics, business and sport. This year, new additions include US President Joe Biden, investor Warren Buffett and former Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar.

News week will feature the 20 Most Admired Women on Boxing Day.

20. Joe Biden

President Biden is among the newcomers to this year’s list, being named the 20th most admired man in the world.

Biden previously served as vice president to Barack Obama, who was No.1 on the list last year, from 2009 to 2017.

He has had a rough start for his own presidency, especially with the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

19. Andy Lau

movie star
Hong Kong actor Andy Lau attends a red carpet event promoting Chinese director Zhang Yimou’s latest film, “The Great Wall,” in Beijing, China on December 6, 2016.
REUTERS / Jason Lee

In another new entry, the Hong Kong actor, singer, songwriter and film producer, 60, has appeared in over 150 films, where he was the first at the Hong Kong box office for at most 20 years. strong of his acting career between 1985 and 2005.

Lau also has an equally successful award-winning singing career and won a Guinness World Record for “Most Male Canto-Pop Artist Awards.”

18. Virat Kohli

Virat Kohli, India, Cricket World Cup
Virat Kohli of India walks away after being knocked out by Colin de Grandhomme of New Zealand during the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup warm-up match between India and New Zealand at the Kia Oval on May 25 in London, England.
Getty / Jordan Mansfield

Considered one of the best batsmen of his time, cricketer Kohli is also an influential figure and lifestyle icon among Indian millennials.

Known as the backbone of Indian cricket, the 33-year-old is the captain of India’s national cricket team in tests and a right-handed batsman of the Indian Premier League.

17. Imran Khan

FE Cover Imran Khan BANNER

Speaking of cricket, the current Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan became a national hero in 1992 when he led the Pakistan national cricket team to World Cup victory.

He entered politics after ending his athletic career and is also chairman of Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), the political party he founded in 1996.

16. Pope Francis

The Pope celebrates his 85th birthday
Pope Francis celebrates his 85th birthday on Friday, December 17, 2021.
Gregorio Borgia / AP Photo

The Argentine Pope is well known for attempting to reform the Catholic Church and has been appointed Time magazine personality of the year in 2013.

It was the year he became Pope, the first Latin American to hold this post and the first outside Europe for over 1,000 years.

15. Amitabh Bachchan

40 Amitabh Bachchan
Getty Images

The 79-year-old is one of the most influential, talented and admired actors in India, where he is considered a superstar.

Some of his most popular films, in a career spanning more than five decades, include Zanjeer (1973), put on (1978), Shakti (1982), Noir (2005) and Piku (2015).

14. Shahrukh Khan

37 Shah Rukh Khan
Getty Images

King of Bollywood since 1992, when he starred in commercial success Deewana, Shah Rukh Khan is an Indian actor, producer and television personality known as SRK.

Famous for his romantic films, some of his most famous films include My name is khan (2010), Dil Se (1998) and Kal Ho Naa Ho (2003).

13. Donald Trump

Donald trump
Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during the Rally To Protect Our Elections conference July 24, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona.
Brandon Bell / Getty

45th US President, who served from January 2017 to January 2021, Donald Trump is ranked 13th most admired men this year.

Businessman and media personality, he went from real estate mogul to victory in the 2016 presidential election. Even though he is now removed from his post, he remains the leader of the Republican Party, and could stand. represent in 2024.

12. Sachin Tendulkar

Sachin Tendulkar
Sachin Tendulkar smiles at the trailer launch for the upcoming film about his life ‘Sachin: A Billion Dreams’ in Mumbai on April 13, 2017. He will be honored with the Asian Awards on May 5.

The third and best cricketer in this year’s ranking.

Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar, known to many in India as the “god of cricket”, is the former captain of the national cricket team. An icon in his home country, he retired in 2013 after winning all major cricket trophies and national level honors.

The 48-year-old is the only batsman to score 50 centuries in the international cricket test and is currently an ambassador for many organizations, including UNICEF.

11. Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett at the Forbes Awards Dinner
Warren Buffett speaks at the Forbes Philanthropy Summit 2015 Awards Dinner on June 3, 2015 in New York City.
Monica Schipper / WireImage

91-year-old investor, business mogul and philanthropist Warren Buffett is the top-ranked new entry for 2021.

He started investing in 1941 when he was only 11 years old and 80 years later he is not only one of the most admired men in the world, but also a living legend of investing.

He is the current Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway.

10. Jack Ma

Jack Ma
Alibaba Group Founder Jack Ma delivers a speech at the “Ma Yun Prize for Rural Teachers and Directors” on January 7, 2020 in Sanya, Hainan Province, China.
Wang HE / Getty

The billionaire co-founder and former executive chairman of multinational tech conglomerate Alibaba Group is number 10 on the list.

Arguably China’s most outspoken entrepreneur, Jack Ma has kept a low profile since delivering a speech last year criticizing Chinese financial regulators after the government launched a regulatory crackdown on his business empire.

9. Vladimir Putin

VLadimir Poutine during a videoconference in Moscow
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting of the Presidential Council for the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights via video link at the Novo-Ogaryovo State Residence outside Moscow on December 9, 2021 .

President of Russia from 2000 to 2008, and from 2012 to the present day, Vladimir Putin, was named No.9 on the list of most admired men.

The former KGB intelligence officer, who served as de jure prime minister but de facto leader from 2008 to 2012, signed a constitutional amendment in April that will allow him to run for two more six-year terms at the end of his presidency in 2024.

8. Narendra Modi

Narendra modi
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi presents his national statement at the World Leaders Summit of the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland on November 1, 2021.
Alastair Grant / POOL / AFP via Getty Images

Narendra Modi, the 14th Indian Prime Minister in office since 2014, has dropped four places from the 2020 list.

Before rising to the highest office in the country, he was Chief Minister of Gujarat from 2001 to 2014.

7. Lionel Messi

lionel messi arrives in paris
Argentinian footballer Lionel Messi arrives at the Royal Monceau hotel in Paris on August 10, 2021, before signing his deal with Paris Saint Germain following his departure from childhood club Barcelona.
Sameer Al-Doumy / AFP via Getty Images

Argentine footballer Lionel Messi climbed four places in 2021, from 11th to 7th, his highest rank to date.

Messi is the captain of the Argentina national team and currently plays as a striker for Ligue 1 club Paris Saint-Germain, having ended his long career with FC Barcelona last year.

The seven-time Ballon D’or winner has failed to overtake former El Clasico rival Ronaldo in this year’s list.

6. Elon Musk

Elon Musk, owner of SpaceX and CEO of Tesla
Elon Musk, owner of SpaceX and CEO of Tesla, at the 2020 Axel Springer Prize on December 1, 2020 in Berlin, Germany.
Britta Pedersen / Getty

Elon Musk was named No.6 on the list of most admired men in 2021. The businessman of South African origin is the CEO and chief engineer of SpaceX and the founder of the company Tesla Motors.

Worth an estimated $ 300 billion, Musk is considered the richest person in the world, according to Forbes.

5. Jackie Chan

Jackie chan
Jackie Chan attends the Li-Ning Menswear Fall / Winter 2020-2021 Fashion Show as part of Paris Fashion Week on January 18, 2020 in Paris, France.
Francois Durand / Getty

Jackie Chan, takes fifth place. He is a major action movie star in Asia and is known worldwide for his burlesque acrobatic fighting style in films.

Actor, acrobat, director and one of the main martial artists in history, Jackie Chan does all the stunts himself. He is also the creator of the “wu da pian” subgenre, a mixture of martial arts, impressive gymnastic stunts and comedy.

4. Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Everton at Old Trafford on October 02, 2021 in Manchester, England.
Visionhaus / Getty Images

Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo nabbed fourth Most Admirable Men in 2021. This is Ronaldo’s best position on the men’s list since the creation of YouGov’s Most Admired Rankings.

At 36, an age where many footballers are already retired or are considering retiring, Ronaldo is currently Manchester United striker and captain of the Portugal national football team.

The former Juventus and Real Madrid player is also a five-time Ballon d’Or winner and the second most followed person on Instagram, on which he has 378 million followers.

3. Xi Jinping

Xi Jingping's speech
Here, Chinese President Xi Jinping can be seen delivering a speech in June.
Kevin Frayer / Getty

Xi Jinping, president of the People’s Republic of China since 2013, has been named the third most admired man in the world.

The chairman of the Central Military Commission since 2012 and former secretary general of the Communist Party of China is one of the world’s most famous political leaders.

2. Bill Gates

Bill Gates at the top of investing
Bill Gates speaks at the Global Investment Summit at the Science Museum on October 19, 2021 in London, England.
Leon Neal / Getty

Business mogul and philanthropist Bill Gates is the second most admired man in the world. He retained his post despite a publicly troubled year after announcing the divorce of his 27-year-old wife, Melinda Gates.

The Microsoft co-founder, business mogul, author and philanthropist was also in second place last year behind the same man …

1. Barack Obama

Barack obama
Former US President Barack Obama delivers a speech on Day 9 of COP26 at the SECC on November 8, 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Christopher Furlong / Getty

Former US President Barack Obama retained first place on the list, being named the world’s most admired man for the second year in a row.

The 44th president and the first black president served from 2009 to 2017.

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Opinion: The last thing Biden needs Fri, 24 Dec 2021 02:30:00 +0000 But as important as foreign policy is to the president’s agenda, he knows that the greatest threat to the republic, and to his presidency, lies at home. Tackling national issues – such as tackling Covid and inflation, passing a Build Back Better bill, and protecting voter rights – will require all the bandwidth it can muster, especially at approaching mid-term.

For Biden’s foreign policy, 2021 turned out to be the year primarily to clean up the old mess and create a few new ones. Biden set out to repair the damage his predecessor had done to America’s standing in the world. Joining the Paris Climate Agreement, reestablishing relations with NATO, repaying the World Health Organization and resuming talks with Iran have all helped restore America’s position with its allies, while by reminding his opponents that the United States was still a force on the international stage.
In June, after his first overseas trip, Biden emphatically said, “America is back to the table.” And there was little doubt that after four years of Donald Trump America’s allies were happy to see him there. It’s just that the table was not quite the same.

Countries – from China to Russia – had started talking about bolder steps to challenge American influence. And the grossly inadequate global response to both Covid and climate change appeared to raise serious doubts about the value of multilateral diplomacy.

Further, the chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and the free fried French diplomacy that alienated Paris over the Australian-American and British submarine deal seemed to confirm some allies’ concerns about the competence and credibility of the Biden administration.

In addition, the current crisis in US politics – capped off by the January assault on the US Capitol – has left the allies questioning the stability of the US political system and what remains of the administration’s commitments. Biden whether Republicans took over Congress in 2022 or a Republicans won the White House in 2024.

Heading into 2022, Biden knows that the country’s future (and his) does not only lie in restoring a sense of normalcy, but also in security and prosperity. Foreign policy is an internal Beltway issue, far from the top of what Americans think is the most pressing issue.
It doesn’t mean ignoring the world. Quite the contrary, it means engaging abroad so that foreign policy crises do not harm or undermine Biden’s national agenda, or as in the case of Afghanistan, damage his reputation. While the botched pullout wasn’t the only reason Biden’s approval ratings plummeted, it certainly didn’t help – given that the president has been touting his deep experience in foreign affairs.

So where should President 2022 start?

Ukraine will probably be the number one problem of the New Year. Even if Biden’s use of deterrence and diplomacy prevents a Russian invasion, Ukraine is likely to disrupt US-Russian relations for some time, given Putin’s determination to try to end his affiliation. growing with the West.
It will also complicate Biden’s domestic politics. The US Senate has scheduled a January vote on whether to impose sanctions on the company behind a pipeline from Russia. If the administration opposes tougher sanctions, Republicans will accuse Biden of being weak against Putin. If he agrees to toughen sanctions, he will alienate Germany, an essential ally, relying on access to the pipeline.
The Biden administration faces much the same conundrum in light of the difficult negotiations with Iran, which are likely to reach a point of success or failure early in the New Year. Neither diplomacy nor deterrence, so far, seems to be working. Iran is closer than ever to producing enough fissile material for a nuclear bomb, although, according to Israeli intelligence, the country is at least two years away from making a deliverable weapon.
And Iran’s demand to lift all sanctions makes a return to the original 2015 nuclear deal unlikely. Israelis are pushing for a tougher US approach to Iran than the Biden administration hesitates to adopt even if Republicans and some Democrats deem it necessary. Indeed, the last thing Biden wants now on top of all his domestic woes is a major conflict with Iran that is leading to tumbling financial markets and rising oil prices.
Then there is North Korea. Kim Jong Un has been relatively calm lately. Indeed, there has been no long-range ballistic missile launch since 2017. If North Korea resumes long-range testing, Biden will have another headache on his hands.
So far, according to Joel Wit, a prominent member of the Stimson Center and veteran North Korea expert, Biden has his North Korean policy “only half right.” As the president has strengthened ties with U.S. allies in East Asia, such as South Korea and Japan, he has been reluctant to engage Pyongyang directly. Rather than reviving Trump’s summit-oriented diplomacy, he might consider quietly exploring the prospects of seeing Secretary of State Antony Blinken engage with North Korea.
Above all of Biden’s foreign policy priorities, of course, is China. The country’s predatory lending practices in much of its Belt and Road initiative, alleged human rights violations in Xinjiang, increased threats against Taiwan, and assertion of sovereignty in the China Sea South, among others, face the new administration with major challenges.
The administration backed down, sanctioning China for human rights abuses, strengthening relations with allies like Australia and Japan and announcing a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics in Beijing. But as Evan Feigenbaum of the Carnegie Endowment thinks, the best one can hope for – at least for now – is probably some sort of “managed enmity.” And given attitudes on both sides of the aisle, Biden can’t afford to be seen as weak on China.

Unfortunately, the prospects for success in these four areas are limited. Domestic politics limit the flexibility of the administration, and it is difficult to imagine even the best strategy of deterrence and diplomacy producing stable end states. As the mid-term approaches, the president, who was determined to devote his major efforts to redressing America’s domestic woes, could find himself increasingly mired in dangerous foreign policy challenges to the United States. foreigner. At best, if he is clever and lucky, the world Biden faces is one to manage, not transform.

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