Last October, vice presidential candidate Joe Biden made a bold prediction on the campaign trail: Within the first six months of the new president’s administration, America’s enemies would engineer some kind of crisis to test the new commander in chief’s mettle.
His running mate, Barack Obama, downplayed his veep’s rhetoric. “Joe sometimes engages in rhetorical flourishes, but I think that his core point is that the next administration’s going to be tested regardless of who it is.”
Well, it’s starting to look as if Biden was not only correct (an astonishing thing in and of itself), but he was actually optimistic. The tests have already begun, with variations on familiar themes.
- North Korea, having already kinda-sorta demonstrated its nuclear program, is now showing off its ability to deliver weapons via ballistic missile — but, naturally, they’re calling it a “satellite launch test.”
- China is throwing its weight around on the high seas, harassing an unarmed Naval research vessel in international waters off China’s coast.
- Russia is mocking and playing games with supposedly-secret missives from the Obama administration and publicly embarrassing our secretary of state. (Admittedly, with her help.)
So far, the Obama administration’s response to each provocation seems to be entirely in character with Obama’s history: he’s “voting present.”
On North Korea, we’ve expressed concern. With China, we’ve issued pro forma protests. As to Russia, Obama is busily denying the details of the letter (selling out Eastern Europe’s missile protection in exchange for Russia’s help in keeping Iran from gaining nuclear weapons).
Yes, our enemies are testing us. And so far, we’re not passing.