One of the key lessons we learned from the great Ronald Reagan was the simple but powerful phrase, "peace through strength."
Right now, we have neither peace, nor strength.
To be sure, after Joe Biden's catastrophic withdrawal from Afghanistan, Biden has not launched any new shooting wars, but he is bringing the U.S. deeper and deeper into the Russia-Ukraine war, having spent roughly $113 billion in the past year, undoubtedly much more on the way.
Meanwhile at home, because of Biden's big government socialism, his massive inflationary spending, tax hikes, overregulation, his war on fossil fuels specifically, and the war on business in general, we have a weak economy that expanded only 1% last year with a 6.5% inflation rate and the majority of economists and business leaders are fearful over a recession later this year or next.
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During the Reagan tax cutting recovery, the economy was growing nearly 5% annually for seven years. Today, the Bidens, who favor redistribution and punishing success, are satisfied with an economy growing barely above 1%.
The Reagan boom doomed Soviet communism. The Biden slump encourages our enemies – Russia and China. That is why I say that today we have neither peace, nor strength.
Biden may be chest-thumping his defiance over Ukraine, but the reality is his failed diplomacy a year ago was a key cause of the Russian invasion. Instead of harsh economic sanctions ahead of the invasion, Biden imposed weak sanctions after it was too late, and the Russian troops were already there.
Even today, with respect to all the aid and weapons we have sent Ukraine, many military experts still believe Biden is a day late and a dollar short.
I spoke briefly to former President Trump over the weekend, and he was emphatic that if he was still in the White House, he would've already negotiated a peace deal.
A number of Republicans in the House and Senate yearn for such an effort, but Biden never talks about it and, indeed, as former Defense Secretary Mark Esper writes: "What is lacking is a clear sense of how Washington wants this conflict to end and then resourcing that outcome."
Mr. Esper will be here in a moment.
Now comes China, almost chomping at the bit to take advantage of America’s weakness.
It has been several weeks since the Chinese balloon fiasco and the Bidens still have done nothing about it. One could only imagine Trump slamming into them with another big round of tariffs or export controls, further decoupling the American and Chinese economies.
The Bidens have done nothing. It's a national embarrassment. The Chinese wouldn't even take the calls of American diplomats and defense officials. When their foreign minister met in Munich with Secretary of State Antony Blinken, he mocked America and did nothing to discourage rumors that the Chinese will not only be meeting with Russia this spring, but maybe planning to provide lethal military weapons to Vladimir Putin.
Biden's U.N. ambassador called that "a red line."
Joe Biden's former boss Barack Obama gave "red lines" a bad name years ago when he did nothing after Russia and its ally Syria continued to use chemical weapons in that Middle Eastern conflict.
To go back to Reagan, strength at home leads to strength abroad, but weakness at home leads to weakness abroad. Right now, the Biden story is just weak and weaker.
This article is adapted from Larry Kudlow's opening commentary on the February 21, 2023, edition of "Kudlow."