The Afghanistan debacle has been devastating for America’s standing in the world. In the last two weeks the most powerful nation on earth has been spectacularly humiliated by a brutal and barbaric Islamist movement that had been ousted from power just two decades ago. President Biden’s decline has been just as precipitous, with his approval rating nowbarely reaching 45 per cent.
The Biden administration is also struggling on the economic front, addicted to a heavy-spending, big-government agenda that will saddle Americans with trillions of dollars of additional debt, raising the spectre of a dangerous surge in inflation. And in practically every aspect of American life, the Democrat presidency is advancing a “woke” racially divisive ideological agenda that is stifling freedom of speech, thought and debate in public life.
America’s allies are now increasingly questioning whether the U.S. under Biden has the ability, capacity and willpower to lead the free world. And many governments across the Atlantic are now looking beyond what is very likely to be a one-term administration, hoping for a new U.S. commander in chief who can actually lead with strength and resolve.
At its heart, the United States is a deeply conservative nation, founded on the principles of liberty that have been a beacon of hope for nearly a quarter of a millennium. The U.S. badly needs another conservative revolution similar to the one that Ronald Reagan ushered in after defeating Jimmy Carter in the 1980 presidential election. In the 1970s, America was a nation on its knees after the humiliation of Vietnam, mired in what appeared to be an irreversible decline. Reagan, however, believed in American leadership, and had a clear-eyed sense of American greatness and the immense responsibility that it carried with it.
The United States can only lead the world again if it puts conservative principles and policies at the forefront of its agenda. A strong national defense, standing with our allies, the pursuit of economic freedom, securing the borders, and a wholehearted embrace of American exceptionalism must be at the heart of America’s renewal.
Fortunately, there are many strong conservative leaders with an optimistic vision for a future based on freedom, deep-seated patriotism and a willingness to lead with our allies.
The most clear-eyed leadership on U.S. foreign policy today is not coming from the Oval Office or the State Department, but from conservative leaders with significant actual experience of working with America’s partners, from former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, to former Vice President Mike Pence and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Haley, Pence and Pompeo have been stalwart supporters of the Anglo-American Special Relationship and the NATO alliance, who all served in an administration that never threw America’s friends under the bus.
In the U.S. Senate, a multitude of conservative Senators, including Ted Cruz of Texas, Marco Rubio of Florida, and Tom Cotton of Arkansas, are rejecting the isolationist message of the Biden presidency and opposing any U.S. retreat from the world. Meanwhile in state capitols across the country, passionately conservative governors, including Ron DeSantis of Florida, and Greg Abbott of Texas, are taking a firm stand in defense of the kind of free-market principles and ideas that will be essential to reviving the U.S. economy in the aftermath of COVID. If America is to lead again, it must have the robust economic foundation to do so.
Amid the wreckage of the fallout from the Afghanistan disaster, I expect there will be a powerful conservative revival. The American people do not like to be humiliated. They are proud of their great nation, and believe in the fundamentally important role that the United States plays in the world. The U.S. will eventually recover from the devastating decline of the Biden years, just as America did in the aftermath of the Vietnam and Carter era.
Taking a leaf from Britain’s victorious Vote Leave Brexit campaign, U.S. conservatives must “take back control” of the world’s superpower from the Left, and advance a powerful vision of a self-confident America that will once again stand tall on the world stage with its head held high.
This piece originally appeared in The Telegraph