Thus far in Joe Biden’s young presidency, he has issued a blizzard of executive orders and memos — on the climate crisis “here and abroad,” on “Ensuring the Future is Made in All of America by All of America’s Workers,” on immigration, COVID-19 vaccination, the minimum wage and more. Yet one subject is missing from these various initiatives: war.
Given our nation’s propensity for using force (of late, not very successfully), for marketing massive quantities of arms abroad (often to unsavory regimes), for maintaining a globe-spanning conglomeration of foreign bases (some dating from World War II), and for spending way more on our military than on anyone else on the planet, it is passing strange that the new commander in chief’s passel of executive commands and hopes has had nothing to say about military matters.
OK, not nothing. Biden ordered that President Trump’s prohibition on transgender people serving in the armed services be lifted. But that’s it. And forgive me for suggesting that this particular action has less to do with expanding the pool of potential military recruits than with scoring points in the latest rounds of the culture war.
Presidential authority is greatest when the occupant of the Oval Office dons the garb of U.S. commander in chief. Yet Biden seems reluctant to exercise that authority. He is acting with considerable vigor to implement an ambitious agenda, except when it comes to basic military posture and policy.
Read the full article in the Los Angeles Times.