By Aaron Kliegman
Six years later, it’s still one of the most damning and indelible critiques of a politician you’ll ever see. Writing in his 2014 memoir, Robert Gates, the eminently respected national security professional, said this of Joe Biden: “He has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.”
Yikes. That’s an indictment of Biden’s judgment, not just of his record. And when it comes to matters of war and peace, bad judgement can be lethal.
Gates stood by his statement last year, just two weeks after Biden announced his presidential bid.
That must have been awkward for Biden, who likes to tout his foreign policy experience and diplomatic credentials. Biden even fancies himself an expert on global affairs. But Gates, who headed the Pentagon under President Barack Obama (and under George W. Bush before that), observed Biden as vice president up close. He knows.
Of course, we don’t need that kind of access to know the obvious. We have a half-century of history, which shows how utterly and consistently Biden has been wrong about foreign policy over his decades in politics.
In 1991, Biden voted against the Gulf War, which is universally recognized as an overwhelming success for the United States. No one can know for sure the exact damage that would’ve followed had the US let Saddam Hussein’s Iraq get away with invading and annexing Kuwait, but it would’ve been severe.
Years later, Biden opposed the surge of American troops into Iraq in 2007 — again, something generally recognized as a great triumph for the US. Instead, then-Sen. Biden wanted to partition Iraq into three parts — an idea that, according to the US embassy in Baghdad, would “produce extraordinary suffering and bloodshed.”
The follies extend beyond Iraq. After 9/11, for example, Biden proposed sending $200 million to Iran, which has collaborated with al Qaeda for years. It remains unclear why he thought giving money to an avowed enemy that sponsors terrorism would help.
Later as vice president, Biden advised Obama not to conduct the raid that killed the man responsible for 9/11, Osama bin Laden. Imagine if our leadership had listened to Biden. Bin Laden could be alive today.
During his time in the White House, Biden also pushed the Obama administration to “reset” relations with Russia, which later invaded Ukraine and interfered in the 2016 presidential election. Furthermore, he sought to create a “commission” with Russian President Vladimir Putin — a relationship that, according to Hillary Clinton, could have “produce[d] a larger bargain.”
Remember, at that time Biden mocked Mitt Romney for saying Russia was America’s “number one geopolitical foe.”
“He acts like he thinks the Cold War is still on [and] Russia is still our major adversary,” Biden said of Romney’s comment in 2012. “I don’t know where he has been. We have disagreements with Russia, but they’re united with us on Iran. One of only two ways we’re getting material into Afghanistan to our troops is through Russia … if there is an oil shutdown in any way in the Gulf, they’ll consider increasing oil supplies to Europe. This is not 1956.”
How times change. Russia is now of course the great bogeyman to Biden. But even worse, look how wrong he was about the specifics: While he was vice president, Russia helped Iran slaughter countless civilians in Syria as they formed a tactical alliance; this year, some media outlets reported that Russia offered bounties to the Taliban for targeting American troops in Afghanistan (although US intelligence still hasn’t confirmed those reports); and one of the most important strategic questions in Europe remains how to ensure the European continent isn’t overly reliant on Russian energy.
It’s truly remarkable how wrong Joe Biden is on foreign policy. Take Libya as another example. If the Gulf War is universally regarded as a success for America, then the 2011 intervention in Libya is universally considered an abject failure. The country was thrown into chaos and became a playground for jihadists. And yet, Biden said at the time that NATO “got it right” in Libya, before flip-flopping his position, as he tends to do.
And then there’s China. Nearly every expert, politician, and everyday American agrees that China is unquestionably America’s chief rival and greatest strategic challenge going forward. Except Joe Biden, who considers Russia to be the greatest threat to America’s security.
According to 2012 Joe Biden, the current Democratic presidential nominee is stuck in the Cold War.
Biden’s recent comment about Russia fits with a pattern of him consistently downplaying the Chinese threat. “China is going to eat our lunch? Come on, man … They’re not competition for us … we can do all we need to do without punishing anybody.” Biden made those comments just this election cycle.
As vice president, Biden said he “fully understands” China’s one-child policy, before walking back his remarks. He also traveled around the world advocating the benefits of a rising China, completely unaware of the potential problems that growing Chinese power could cause for America.
This year, of course, Biden called President Trump’s decision to ban travel to and from China because of the coronavirus, which saved lives, “xenophobic.” In other words, Biden wouldn’t have implemented the ban, thus risking the health of countless Americans.
It’s unclear how much Biden’s pro-China positions have been influenced by his family’s lucrative business dealings with the Chinese, but Americans should be wary. Being skeptical is not conspiratorial; indeed, ignoring the Bidens’ intimate contacts with officials linked to the Chinese Communist Party would be irresponsible.
There’s one clear, overarching conclusion to draw from all of the above: Joe Biden cannot be America’s commander in chief. His judgment is not just bad but egregiously bad — and consistently so.
If Joe Biden becomes president, he will submit to progressives and cut military spending. He will move to ban fracking. He will revive the nuclear deal with Iran and save that country’s murderous but struggling regime. He will take a softer approach to China. And these are just a few of the highlights.
All of these policies, if implemented, would embolden America’s adversaries — including Russia — and place a giant roadblock in the path toward peace in the Middle East that President Trump has paved.
President Trump’s record on foreign policy has been overwhelmingly successful — even Vox admits there’s been a bevy of successes. And when it comes to foreign and defense policy, the president has far more leeway and unilateral authority than he has over domestic affairs.
Which is why, for the sake of American security and global stability, Joe Biden needs to lose.