All of these events have unfolded with such staggering speed and intensity that it’s difficult to assess their lasting impact on the Biden presidency and global geopolitics. There is a definite feeling in the US that this is the end of a chapter that opened at 8.46 a.m. on September 11, 2001, when a hijacked jet careened into the World Trade Center.
Off the list again
The United States is no longer “safe.”
The move underscores just how hopes for a resumption of something like normal life were scuppered this summer by the surging Delta variant. The US is again recording an average of more than 150,000 new cases of Covid-19 every day.
And vaccinated Americans are still likely to be welcome, as noted Jen Psaki, the press secretary of a White House that has spent months pleading with Americans to save themselves, with free and safe inoculations. “The fastest path to reopening travel is for people to get vaccinated, to mask up and slow the spread of the deadly virus,” she said.
Psaki also hinted at the way that more sustainable travel links might be maintained reciprocally between the US and EU, including strengthened testing and proof of vaccinations with limited exceptions. But Washington isn’t in any hurry, even though the US appears to pose more of a threat of infection to Europeans than the other way around.
For one thing, after Afghanistan, Biden can’t afford any more missteps. Even a small chance of letting some new variant onto US soil is probably not worth the risk.