Earlier this month, President Joe Biden gave a speech at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania—the site where George Washington and his depleted band of soldiers famously endured starvation and the tremendous cold of the winter of 1777-78.
Biden's purpose for choosing this site was to suggest that in 2024, "democracy is on the ballot." But Americans see through his platitudes. The 2024 election will not be about an abstract concept—it will be about Biden's record as president. On that score, the location of his speech served as just another reminder of how weak our military has become under his leadership.
On Sunday, the Heritage Foundation released its annual Index of U.S. Military Strength—a one-of-a-kind report card that empowers the American people to see how our armed forces stack up against the growing array of threats to our national security. Unsurprisingly, this year's report indicates that shortfalls in capacity and capability leave our military weaker today than at any point since we began publishing our report 10 years ago.
Worse still, during this decade of decline, our enemies have grown stronger. While our political leaders squandered our strength on never-ending wars in the Middle East, our number-one adversary, the Chinese Communist Party, expanded its capabilities and is now poised to invade Taiwan and establish hegemony in the Indo-Pacific.
This crisis demands the virtues of a true statesman: the mental fortitude, prudent strategy, and decisive action that General Washington demonstrated at Valley Forge. But, to put it gently, Joe Biden is no George Washington, and Lloyd Austin is no Nathanael Greene.
Washington was a ruthless prioritizor—someone who knew how to make the most of limited resources—and a staunch opponent of America getting involved in foreign entanglements. Biden is a neoliberal ideologue whose weak leadership directly contributed to the conflicts we are witnessing today in Europe and the Middle East.
Washington commanded respect from his men and his enemies. Biden can hardly speak in front of a crowd, much less find his way off a stage.
Most importantly, Washington was fighting a revolution alongside and on behalf of everyday Americans, defending their tradition of freedom and self-government. Biden heads a coterie of left-wing coastal elites advancing a revolution hostile to that tradition. And that's the core of our current crisis: the past decade of military decline is merely one symptom of a broader collapse of self-government in our country.
The military's failure to meet its basic recruiting goals, for example, is directly related to the epidemic of millions of young men—fatherless, out of shape, and addicted to drugs and porn—dropping out of the workforce in recent years. Our elites abandoned an entire generation of boys and now wonder why they're not willing to make the ultimate sacrifice. The military could help these young men reform their lives and become soldiers, of course, but our woke top brass is too busy dismantling the meritocracy, lowering standards, and installing a regime that prizes politics over effectiveness.
Likewise, the sobering fact that China's shipbuilding capacity is 232 times greater than our own is directly related to the sad reality that America simply doesn't make things anymore. Our ruling elites in both parties decided to export manufacturing capability overseas in exchange for cheap consumer goods. This move not only sacrificed quality middle-class jobs and the families and communities that benefit from them, but also increased our dependence on China, weakened our national security, and significantly degraded our supply chains.
Although Biden and America's globalist elite claim the mantle of George Washington and pretend to be defenders of American democracy, their actions much more closely resemble a top-down revolution imposed on the American people. At every turn, they have sought to undermine our ability to govern ourselves, both personally and politically, and our military has suffered because of it.
The first step to the United States reasserting itself on the world stage is for everyday Americans to reassert themselves in the halls of power and demand new leadership. Fortunately, in 2024, all Americans will have the chance to channel the true spirit of the American Revolution and do just that.
This piece originally appeared in Newsweek