Our presidential election is only five months away. It is time to give the race a closer look.

Major constitutional duties of the president include the formulation and execution of foreign policy and the nation’s defense against foreign adversaries. The president negotiates treaties, appoints ambassadors and is commander in chief of the armed forces – tasks that define and defend the very existence of the United States.

For three years President Trump has executed these duties with a decisive and confident hand. He rebuilt a broken U.S. military which sunk to dangerous levels of readiness during the Obama/Biden administration. He soundly defeated ISIS, which was a direct result of Biden’s foolhardy recommendation to withdraw from Iraq against the advice of military leadership. Consequently, thousands were beheaded, brutally raped, and tortured, including many Americans. Trump has executed limited military action to include the defeat of ISIS and he has encouraged our allies to pay their fair share in funding NATO.

As financial advisers say before they invest your money, “Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results.” But since past performance is the only available measure of a person’s reliability and competency, let us review former Vice President Joe Biden’s past performance.

While in the Department of Defense, I worked for then-Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama. In his recent book, "Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War," Gates stated that Joe Biden has “been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades." Mr. Gates reaffirmed that statement on CBS Face the Nation in May 2019 when asked: “Would he be an effective commander-in-chief?” Gates responded, “I don't know… I think that the vice president had some issues with the military.”

While vice president, Joe Biden advised President Obama not to launch the mission that ultimately killed Osama bin Laden. As the Washington Post reported in 2012, Bin Laden wished to assassinate President Obama so that Vice President Biden would assume the presidency: “‘The reason for concentrating on them,’ the al-Qaeda leader explained to his top lieutenant, ‘is that Obama is the head of infidelity and killing him automatically will make Biden take over the presidency ... Biden is totally unprepared for that post, which will lead the U.S. into a crisis.”

In a January 2012, interview with the New York Times, Biden revealed he had advised against the raid on Bin Laden. “Mr. President, my suggestion is, don’t go,” Biden said he told the president. But at a Biden For President rally in 2015, Biden changed his mind and said he had told Obama he "should go."

The 1991 congressional vote for the Gulf War was decisive and bipartisan, and Sen. Joe Biden voted for it. It is a vote that the former vice president has been re-inventing and obscuring ever since.

In 2019-20, he has said the real story is that he opposed the war from the beginning of the debate. “Immediately, the moment it started, I came out against the war at that moment,” Biden told NPR in an interview in September, 2019. After the Post fact-checked his broadcast statement, the Biden campaign said he had “misspoken.”

And the story is one the vice president evidently enjoys revising, in public. At a recent campaign stop in Des Moines in April, Mr. Biden said, “The president then went ahead with ‘shock and awe,’ and right after that, and from the very moment he did that, right after that, I opposed what he was doing,” a statement that even Biden-friendly CNN has called misleading.

The New York Times has reported that former President Obama personally counseled Biden before he entered the 2020 race, telling him, “You don’t have to do this, Joe. You really don’t.” Also, according to the Times, after Biden’s campaign began, the former president urged the candidate to “expand his aging inner circle.” In a March 2020 meeting with Biden campaign staff, the Times reports, Obama pleaded with Biden’s advisers to ensure candidate Biden did not “embarrass himself” or “damage his legacy.”

Former Vice President Joe Biden has honorably served his country since he was elected to the U.S. Senate from Delaware in 1972 as the sixth-youngest senator in American history. He can appear empathetic, caring, and likeable – but his past performance does not support his qualifications to be your next commander-in-chief.

He should stop and reconsider President Obama’s sound advice. He does not have to do this.

James R. Poplar III, of Quicksburg, proudly served with the U.S. government for over 40 years. He specialized in national security affairs at both Vanderbilt and the National Defense University.