Milot’s Musings: The Biden Puzzle

Claude Milot

What makes this man tick? Joe Biden has been pretty much of an open book since he entered politics forty years ago. We’ve learned even more about him since his days as Obama’s vice-president, and now as the occupant of the Oval Office.

Bob Gates, defense secretary under Obama, saw Biden up close and said he had been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past forty years. That’s a very strong indictment of Biden’s lack of judgment and casts serious doubt on his ability to make the right call on issues that a president has to face almost daily.

To me, the most important factor in a man’s decision-making is the set of moral and intellectual principles that inform his judgment. In other words, a man is most likely to make the right decisions if his judgment is based on a foundation of sound principles. And by “sound” I mean firmly held.

What would we conclude, then, about someone who has a record of flip-flopping? Over the years, Biden has flip-flopped on marriage equality, the Hyde Amendment, criminal justice reform, the border wall, and a host of other domestic issues. On foreign policy he has changed his views on Russia, China, the war in Iraq, and the killing of Osama bin Laden.

Since becoming president, Biden has changed his mind on a refugee cap, waiving patents on Covid-19, defending the police, DC statehood, and the senate filibuster.

Why does President Biden change his mind so often? One answer is that he is susceptible to public pressure, mostly from the left. Another is that he really lacks a foundation of sound principles that anchor his judgment. How, for example, can a solidly pro-life Roman Catholic suddenly switch his position to pro-choice if not because of pressure from the left? He certainly can’t justify that based on a firmly held moral principle.

On another front this becomes positively scary. When Hamas launched over 4,000 rockets at Israel, and Israel responded by pounding Gaza, Biden reluctantly conceded that Israel had the right to defend itself.

But where was Biden on May 18? In Dearborn, Michigan, where he faced hundreds of anti-Israel protestors and met with Rashida Tlaib, a Palestinian immigrant and Congress’s most rabid anti-Semite, who do doubt demanded that Biden stop defending Israel. What response did we expect from Biden?

The very next day Biden called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and told him to end the bombardment of Gaza. A cease-fire shortly ensued, in no short measure because Israel could not afford to refuse its most important patron whose support under Biden was becoming tenuous. In fact, ever since he became president, Joe Biden has made a series of decisions, all of them pro-Iran and anti-Israel.

First, he revoked the designation of Yemen’s Houthis as a terrorist organization, to the delight of their patron Iran. Given a green light, the Houthis resumed missile and drone attacks on Saudi Arabia, our ally.

Second, Biden offered to resume the Iran nuclear deal in spite of Iran’s breaches of its terms, harassment of American ships, and sending to Hamas the thousands of missiles that rained on Israel.

Third, the president resumed financial aid to the Palestinians, millions of dollars that will go straight into the pockets of Hamas leadership, as they have before.

All of this is a clear signal to Israel that it will have to go it alone in its fight with Iran. We can expect that Israel will do what it always has done to survive—without help from Joe Biden.

A resident of Perquimans County, Claude Milot may be reached at