Milot’s Musings: Wrong Again

Claude Milot

While we are distracted by daily images of illegal immigrants streaming across our southern border, by rioters protesting yet another shooting of a Black man by a police officer, and by announcements of a third (or is it fourth?) trillion-dollar spending bill, we can hardly be expected to pay attention to potential catastrophes emerging around the globe, all of them of our own making.

Bob Gates, former Secretary of Defense under Obama, said in his memoir that Joe Biden has “been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.” That was a serious indictment of President Biden’s wisdom. Asked in a recent CBS interview if he felt differently now about the president, Gates replied, “I stand by that statement.”

It’s not hard to see why Gates feels that Biden continues to be wrong on foreign policy. Russia, China, and Iran are already testing the waters, confident that a weak Biden does not have the resolve to oppose their coming challenges.

Russia began by massing forces on the border with Ukraine. When Biden ordered two US warships to the Black Sea, Russia protested, and the ships were ordered to turn around. So much for intestinal fortitude.

China is now salivating at the prospect of a successful invasion of Taiwan. To show that it is capable of doing so without opposition from American forces, it has repeatedly over-flown Taiwanese territory. China is mocking US verbal protests.

Iran is taking Biden’s stated intent to rejoin the joint nuclear deal (JCPOA) as a clear invitation to resume development of its nuclear weapons program. That leaves Israel alone to prevent Iran from having a bomb aimed at Tel Aviv. Thus far, Biden has inexplicably ignored Israel, our staunchest ally in the Middle East.

As if to confirm his poor judgment and lack of resolve, Biden’s first major move on the international scene was an announcement to pull all American troops out of Afghanistan by September of this year. This guarantees the withdrawal of all allied forces as well and the collapse of Afghanistan’s army—probably in a bloodbath. As expected, Al Qaida trumpeted this as an American defeat by the Taliban.

The consequences of Biden’s weakness will be grave: the promotion of Iran as a nuclear power; increased jihadist activity in the Middle East and elsewhere; the increased cooperation of China with the area’s autocratic regimes; the permanent loss of confidence in America as a reliable ally in the region.

Here at home President Biden sees a crisis everywhere. There’s a crisis on our southern border, a crisis of systemic racism, a climate change crisis, a Covid crisis, an economic crisis, a gun crisis, a crisis of hate. But he doesn’t see any crisis beyond our shores. What will he call a nuclear bomb in Teheran, a Chinese invasion of Taiwan, or Russian troops marching into Kiev? Will any of these qualify as a foreign policy crisis? Can we afford Joe Biden to be wrong again?

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