How Joe Biden Manages US Foreign Policy

How Joe Biden Manages US Foreign Policy
The US withdraws from Afghanistan.

Management, the ability to organize and direct groups of people toward a common goal or objective, has been a key attribute in building our country.

In sports, each year, we celebrate outstanding management when we crown the World Champion in our most popular team sports: baseball, football, and basketball. We understand that along with the incredible individual talents that each player brings to the game, the coach’s role in organizing, motivating, and directing this group of individuals makes a championship team. Competent management is the essential element every team needs to reach its final victory.

This kind of “management” has made names such as Knute Rockne, Red Auerbach, and Vince Lombardi legendary. These coaches/managers achieved team victories, year after year, and rightly deserved the title “World Champion.”

But Sports isn’t the only endeavor that has seen the American model of Managerial Excellence. Business enterprise has been the most critical element in building this nation. Entrepreneurs have utilized their skills and creativity to build great companies that shape today’s American landscape.

Often, this creativity began with a single technological breakthrough: Edison with the incandescent light bulb and Jobs and Wozniak with the Apple Computer. But they continued; they went on to build great companies through their direction, management, and organization of large numbers of people to produce their breakthrough products.

Over a century ago, the academic community recognized the vital role of the manager when Harvard University created the Master in Business Administration Degree. For the last 100 years, many major colleges and universities have developed the finest scientific, technological, and business managers found anywhere. Truly world-class managers academically trained to coordinate, organize, and motivate organizations that achieve outstanding results each and every year.

Regrettably, such management acumen is woefully lacking in our current President’s Administration. What’s worse, the ramifications of this lack of management capability may lead to an incredibly dire consequence, far beyond a missed Championship or poor quarterly earnings. This Administration’s poor management could lead to a global conflict, a conflict that would affect us all.

This lack of basic management competence began early in the Biden Presidency, with the ill-planed, disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan. It was clear, to even the most casual observer, that the “boots on the ground,” the soldiers and airmen responsible for moving the vast quantities of arms and equipment, were not given proper direction over how much and how quickly those assets were to be removed from the US Bases. That iconic photograph of desperate Afghani-es trying to “hop on” the American transport plane will forever be the representation of poor planning and management of those final days of American troops in Afghanistan.

Unfortunately, the bitter lessons of Afghanistan have apparently not affected the President or his cabinet. In the most fundamental ways, America’s foreign policy is still “Mismanaged.”

The most critical task for any manager is assigning the right person to the right job. In most modern companies, these responsibilities are evident: sales and marketing are generally performed by a competent individual with appropriate experience. The same is true for the financial officer, the operations officer, and so on. All report up to the corporation’s Chief Executive Officer, who is responsible for the company’s overall performance.

However, that’s different from how the Biden Administration works. In the Biden Administration, people are assigned tasks that do not fall under their “job title.” It has been vividly displayed over the past few weeks.

Let’s look at Ukraine, a country at war with Russia. Over the past months, the United States has supplied substantial arms and equipment for its battlefield operations. Most recently, Congress passed a massive aid package that included $14 billion as part of its “Security Assistance Initiative” and $23 billion to replenish US stockpiles, some of which are assumed will also go on to Ukraine.

So, when America announced one of its most significant arms shipments to Ukraine, you would expect that the Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, would coordinate this aid package. Austin is, after all, the most knowledgeable person in the administration and is responsible for all military equipment and supplies. What’s more, Austin is a retired US Army 4 Star General; his advice and assistance to Ukraine’s military would be invaluable. Austin is the person any competent manager would send to Ukraine to coordinate this aid package.

But not in this Administration. Instead of sending Lloyd Austin to Ukraine, this President elected to send his chief diplomat, Secretary of State Antony Blinken. A lawyer by training and a diplomat by vocation, Blinken did not serve in the military, and it could be presumed he has little to nothing to add to any discussion of the military conditions in Ukraine or the weapons we’re sending to support that war. Blinken is simply the wrong person, sent at the wrong time to Ukraine. It’s a failure of management.

On the other hand, Secretary of State Blinken’s skills and capacity are vitally needed in negotiating a settlement between Israel, the Palestinians, and Hamas. So, you might suppose that Blinken would be on his way to Cairo, where the negotiations are taking place to hammer out a cease-fire.

But that’s not how Joe Biden thinks. Instead of sending his chief diplomat, Blinken, to negotiate, Biden sent his chief spy. That’s right, Bill Burns, the head of the Central Intelligence Agency, has been in Cairo as the lead negotiator for the US.

It’s a bizarre choice, any way you look at it. While Burns has experience as a diplomat, taking him away from the CIA at this critical juncture makes little sense. It’s like taking your first baseman from his assigned position at first base and moving him over to third base. Yes, it may help the third baseman, but you’d be open at first!

Likewise, it may be helpful that Burns is in Cairo, but who’s covering the office back in Langley, Virginia? The CIA is without its most senior officer at this critical moment when two (Gaza and Ukraine) conflicts are raging.

These Presidential missteps reflect not just some remote HR issue but threaten America’s strategic posture. Hasty, ill-conceived actions, such as the withdrawal from Afghanistan, combined with improper personnel utilization, are a basic flaw in the Biden Management Plan. And it couldn’t come at a worse time.

It is reported that virtually all communication between Russia and the United States has stopped. The US President and the Russian President have not spoken since the invasion of Ukraine began in February 2022. It’s been “radio silence” for over two years between the world’s most formidable nuclear powers.

Tensions between Russia and the United States continue to escalate. Recently, the Russian President ordered his military to perform drills on how to utilize tactical nuclear weapons. It indicates Russia is prepared for any potential conflict between NATO and the US. Russia is issuing a grave warning.


But is America listening?

Now is the time for the two military superpowers to engage. But to do so, the United States must first listen to and understand Russia’s motives and objectives. Unfortunately, that’s the role of the CIA, and its director is out of the office.

It’s also time we begin to negotiate for sustained peace.

But the nation’s chief diplomat, the Secretary of State, is in Kyiv. By day, he’s busy discussing military aid to Ukraine and rocking out at a local bar at night.

I’m sure our chief spy and diplomat will return to their duties shortly.


What’s so tragic is that the President could have rectified all this by utilizing the basic skills of a first-year B-school student or, for that matter, a competent team coach. Play with your best players, utilizing the most skilled at each position. Use a “game plan” that positions your team to win. Finally, meet the opponent in sports on the athletic field or in geopolitics at the negotiating table. Beginning today, the President needs to utilize these fundamental principles of management.

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Jamie Larson