• Megan Nager

Joe Biden’s Long History of Foreign Policy Fails

“Biden has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.”

Robert Gates, Obama Defense Secretary, 2018

As the presidential election inches closer by the hour, it has become increasingly more difficult to turn a blind-eye to the shocking allegations made against both Hunter Biden and his father, and presidential nominee, Joe Biden. Tony Bobulinski, a Biden business associate, provided a plethora of evidence that - contrary to his public statements - Joe Biden not only knew about his son’s business dealings, but also partook in them, receiving millions of dollars in cash from both Russia and Ukraine (New York Post). “I believe he is a threat to our national security,” Tony Bobulinski told Tucker Carlson on October 27, 2020. “Him and the Biden family are compromised” (New York Post). While the controversy is obviously important to note, amidst it, few have examined Joe Biden’s extensive failed foreign policy efforts, which may pose an even bigger threat to our democracy than his shady business dealings do. If we take a look back at Biden’s foreign policy decisions, it’s readily apparent that presidential nominee has been wrong on practically every single major foreign policy and national security issue of his 40 year career. In a 2018 interview with Face The Nation host Margaret Brennan, Barack Obama’s defense secretary, Robert Gates, told Brennan that “Biden has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.” When asked if he believes that Biden would be an effective commander in chief, Gates replied with the following: “I don’t know…I don’t know…I stand by that statement”. Biden’s inconsistent philosophy of when and how to use military force, and his lack of necessary toughness to go head-to-head with foreign leaders (exactly the opposite of what he’s said on the campaign trail), indicate that Biden, if president, would be an absolute failure when it came to dealing with foreign policy and national security issues. Below are examples of Joe Biden’s foreign policy fails throughout his four decades in office:

The Gulf War (1991)

Biden opposed a 1991 congressional resolution authorizing the use of force following Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait in August 1990, one of the most successfully prosecuted wars in American history. According to a report in The New York Times back then, Biden "scorned the other members of the anti-Iraq coalition because they saddled the U.S. with most of the hard sacrifices”. The war was - and still is - considered a success. With relative ease, the U.S. was able to defeat Iraqi forces and remove them from Kuwait. Additionally, and most importantly, the war led to the isolation of Iraq and the building of a brand coalition to conduct military operations that enforced U.N. resolutions (https://warontherocks.com/2020/09/the-gulf-war-30-years-later-successes-failures-and-blind-spots/).

The War in Iraq (2003)

A decade later, Biden suddenly became very pro-war. In a 2003 interview just hours after Colin Powell’s congressional speech, Biden appeared on CNN and was asked if Secretary of State Powell “closed the deal” in his mind about sending troops into Iraq. Biden responded: “Absolutely…He made a compelling case. The predominance of the evidence, the pure weight of the evidence, I think anyone. … Let me put it this way, if I were back practicing law I can’t imagine I could not convince an open-minded jury of the facts that he presented as having been true.” (https://www.factcheck.org/2019/09/bidens-record-on-iraq-war/). Prior to the official vote to authorize military force, Biden gave a lengthy speech from the Senate floor explaining why he would vote for the resolution. Biden said he viewed the resolution not as a “rush to war,” as some of his Democratic colleagues alleged, but rather a “march to peace and security” (https://www.factcheck.org/2019/09/bidens-record-on-iraq-war/). The decision to go to war has come to be known as one of the biggest U.S. foreign policy failures, which was first made apparent when we learned that there were NO weapons of mass destruction being built. Additionally, more than a trillion dollars were expended on the war and more than 4,400 American lives were lost, and tens of thousands more wounded (https://classroom.synonym.com/pros-cons-united-states-vs-iraq-war-7038.html). A 2006 assessment made by America’s 16 intelligence agencies states that “America’s actions in Iraq actually strengthened radical Islam and fueled the growth of terrorism across the globe” (https://classroom.synonym.com/pros-cons-united-states-vs-iraq-war-7038.html).

The War in Iraq (2005)

Just two years after his lengthy speech on the floor of the Senate, Biden announced that the Iraq War had, in fact, been a mistake. In an interview with NBC News, Biden said, “It was a mistake. It was a mistake to assume the president would use the authority we gave him properly. And I brought along that whole quote. I knew you'd ask me this….So I never argued that there was an imminent threat. We gave the president the authority to unite the world to isolate Saddam. And the fact of the matter is, we went too soon. We went without sufficient force. And we went without a plan (https://www.nbcnews.com/id/wbna10154103). In 2019, when asked about his position in the Iraq War, Biden lied: “I did make a bad judgment, trusting the president saying he was only doing this to get inspectors in and get the U.N. to agree to put inspectors in. From the moment ‘shock and awe’ started, from that moment, I was opposed to the effort, and I was outspoken as much as anyone at all in the Congress and the administration.” (https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/09/09/bidens-claim-that-he-opposed-iraq-war-moment-it-started/). If we review his statements from 2002-2003, however, we find that Biden did absolutely not forthrightly oppose the conflict once it started.

The War in Iraq Surge (2006)

In 2006, Biden opposed the Iraq War surge, which brought the situation in Iraq under control. The plan, which was under consideration at the time, was to send an additional 30,000 troops to Iraq in a bide to restore order. “I totally oppose this surging of additional American troops into Baghdad,” Mr. Biden said. “It’s contrary to the overwhelming body of informed opinion, both inside and outside the administration” (https://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/27/washington/27diplo.html). The surge proved to be one of the most beneficial moves of the Obama administration, as it cooled rising tensions in Iraq and stabilized the region for a period of time.

Carving up Iraq (2006)

In 2006, Biden made a full-on push to carve Iraq into three semi-autonomous regions, saying the idea that the Iraqi people would unite behind a strong central government was "fundamentally and fatally flawed." (https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2010/jul/21/joe-biden/joe-biden-says-he-never-called-partition-iraq/). According to an article written in The Intercept, Robert Mackey explains that Biden’s desire to partition Iraq “Would Have Unleashed Chaos” (https://theintercept.com/2019/09/06/joe-biden-defends-record-iraq-including-plan-divide-along-sectarian-lines/). The 2006 plan, which Biden co-authored with Leslie Gelb, former president of the Council on Foreign Relations, paved a way for the U.S. to withdraw its troops from Iraq by “segregating the country’s three major ethno-religious groups — Arab Shias, Arab Sunnis, and Kurds — into self-governing regions” (https://theintercept.com/2019/09/06/joe-biden-defends-record-iraq-including-plan-divide-along-sectarian-lines/). The plan, which prompted dismay from Iraqis and was frowned upon by experts in the region, was luckily never implemented, but rather stands as another example of Biden’s foreign policy errors.

Pulling Troops Out of Iraq (2010)

When Barack Obama precipitously pulled troops out of Iraq in 2010, Biden declared it a major victory. In an interview with Larry King, Biden proclaimed, “I am very optimistic about Iraq. I think it’s going to be one of the great achievements of this administration.” (https://archive.thinkprogress.org/despite-opposing-withdrawal-from-iraq-cheney-takes-credit-for-withdrawal-success-31e55af6de65/). The move directly led to the rise of ISIS throughout the Middle East.

Obama’s Afghanistan Surge (2009)

In 2009, when Obama was deciding whether or not to send 30,000 troops to Afghanistan in order to quell the violent attacks, Biden stood opposed to the President. “Rather than focus on nation building and population protection, do more to disrupt the Taliban, improve the quality of the training of Afghan forces and expand reconciliation efforts to peel off some Taliban fighters,” Biden said at the time (https://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/06/world/asia/06reconstruct.html). He was one of the biggest critics of the surge, and made sure everyone heard his opinion. The surge happened to be one of the better moves Obama made during his presidency, leaving Biden, once again, incorrect in his analysis of the situation. Following Biden’s vocality on the issue, Robert Gates stated that Biden has been wrong on basically every major foreign policy issue.

Bin Laden Raid (2011)

In 2012, Biden revealed what he told Obama during a Situation Room meeting where top administration officials were going around the room offering their advice on whether the president should or shouldn’t move forward with the raid. According to an NBC News article, Biden - once again - made the wrong call when it came to taking out Bin Laden: "He got to me. He said, 'Joe, what do you think?' And I said, 'You know, I didn't know we had so many economists around the table.' I said, 'We owe the man a direct answer. Mr. President, my suggestion is, don't go. We have to do two more things to see if he's there,'" Biden said (https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2020-election/blog/2020-08-27-rnc-updates-n1238267/ncrd1238597#blogHeader). However, when asked about the incident later on, Biden flipped his position. "I thought he should go, but follow his own instincts (https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2020-election/blog/2020-08-27-rnc-updates-n1238267/ncrd1238597#blogHeader). Biden then contradicted his initial claims, saying, “Imagine if I had said in front of everyone, 'Don't go,' or 'Go,' and his decision was a different decision. It undercuts that relationship” (https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2020-election/blog/2020-08-27-rnc-updates-n1238267/ncrd1238597#blogHeader).

The Taliban (2011)

On a Jake Tapper interview in 2011, Biden went as far as saying that the Taliban is not the enemy of the American people. “Look, the Taliban per se is not our enemy. That's critical. There is not a single statement that the president has ever made in any of our policy assertions that the Taliban is our enemy because it threatens U.S. interests. If, in fact, the Taliban is able to collapse the existing government, which is cooperating with us in keeping the bad guys from being able to do damage to us, then that becomes a problem for us” (https://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2011/12/vp-biden-says-that-the-taliban-per-se-is-not-our-enemy).

Russia (2012)

In 2012, Biden famously mocked the idea of Russia as a U.S. adversary, a statement that could not have been further from the truth, particularly at the time. After Romney stated that he believed Russia was a threat to the United States during the 2012 presidential debates, Biden took the stage to call out the candidate. “Governor Romney's answer I thought was incredibly revealing. He acts like he thinks the Cold War is still on. Russia is still our major adversary. I don't know where he has been. I mean, we have disagreements with Russia, but they're united with us on Iran. The only way we're getting one of only two ways we're getting material into Afghanistan to our troops is through Russia. They're working closely with us. They have just said to Europe, if there is an oil shutdown in any way in the Gulf, they'll consider increasing oil supplies to Europe. That's not-- this is not 1956” (https://www.cbsnews.com/news/face-the-nation-transcript-april-1-2012/4/). This statement directly coincided with Obama’s decision to hand control of Syria over to the Russians, leading the Russians to invade Crimea.

The Iran Deal (2015)

What Trump now claims was one of the worst deals in history, the Iran Deal was met with warm welcome by then Vice President, Joe Biden. "This is a good deal. It's a good deal for the United States, for the world, and for Israel,” he said (https://www.usatoday.com/videos/news/nation/2015/09/03/71636828/). The deal, which Obama believed was the best way to keep Iran from gaining nuclear capability, proved to be a massive failure. Despite the deal, the Iranians continued to support terrorism, refused to turn over four American hostages, continued to build ballistic missiles, and racked up numerous human rights violations (https://www.thebalance.com/iran-s-economy-impact-of-nuclear-deal-and-sanctions-3306349). The deal also involved removing sanctions from Iran, which gave the country even more economic power than they had previously, which they used to fund terrorist organizations in Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen.

China (2019)

In what might be one of Biden’s most incorrect assessments ever made, in 2019 he insisted that China poses no threat to the United States. In a speech aired on ABC, Biden proclaimed: “China is going to eat our lunch? C'mon man...They can’t even figure out how to deal with the fact that they have this great division between the china sea and the mountains in the east, I mean west. They can’t figure out how to deal with the corruption in the system. They’re not bad folks, folks. They’re not competition for us” (https://twitter.com/calebjhull/status/1239377879605149699?lang=en). In typical Biden fashion, the Presidential nominee then reversed his stance on China in the Presidential debates. “Words matter. These are flat out dictators. Period. They should be called for it. Straight up,” he said on national television.

The Killing of Solemani (2020)

In response to the drone strike that killed the head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Quds Force, General Qassem Soleimani, Biden proclaimed that it was a “hugely escalatory move” on Trump’s behalf (https://www.newsweek.com/trump-tossed-stick-dynamite-tinderbox-drone-strike-says-joe-biden-1480212). "President Trump just tossed a stick of dynamite into a tinderbox and he owes the American people an explanation of the strategy and plan to keep safe our troops...our people and our interests,” (https://www.newsweek.com/trump-tossed-stick-dynamite-tinderbox-drone-strike-says-joe-biden-1480212). The Pentagon said that the attack was in response to "General Soleimani…actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region,” (https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/476610-trump-tweets-american-flag-amid-reports-of-strike-against-iranian). Biden turned out to be wrong, once again, as the move to kill Solemani held off the attacks and restored order to Iran.

Israel (2020)

Taking into consideration his track record, one shouldn’t be surprised that Biden incorrectly argued that moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem was a bad move. “Moving the embassy when we did without the conditions having been met was short-sighted and frivolous,” the former vice president said. “It should have happened in the context of a larger deal to help us achieve important concessions for peace in the process (https://apnews.com/article/47c2d807cbb563b747cee29aaefeda5a). The decision to move the capital was one of the first actions taken by the Trump administration in regards to establishing peace in the Middle East. The move was not only successful, but it also led to the recent unprecedented peace agreements between Israel and the Arab nations.

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