Biden has done more than Trump to harm America’s reputation
As president, Donald Trump’s antics harmed America on the world stage. Yet President Joe Biden’s legacy will be worse.
From calling African countries “s***holes” to telling Middle Eastern countries he wanted to steal their oil to his blowhard bromance with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, Trump was a disaster. Even relative successes (getting NATO members to contribute more toward collective defense, killing Iran’s Quds Force chief Qassem Soleimani, and the Abraham Accords) do not offset Trump’s gratuitous damage.
Across the world stage and among the American foreign policy establishment, there was a collective sigh of relief when Biden won the presidential election. In just two years, though, Biden has done more damage to America’s reputation than Trump ever did. Trump’s antics were the equivalent of a sunburn, an irritant that passes. Biden’s decisions, however, have led to a third-degree burn that permanently disfigures America’s reputation.
Trump’s trust in the Taliban was naive, but it was fully embraced by Biden. The order to abandon to a terrorist regime the same Afghans who helped Americans fight is a shame that the world will not forget. America’s humiliation catalyzed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and encouraged China to tighten its noose on Taiwan. Rather than recognize his error, his own State Department now fetes the co-founder of al Shabaab
at taxpayer expense.
To fund an opposition movement in Israel, the region’s only true democracy, out of pique at a prime minister whose chief sin was raising concern about a naive nuclear deal is as stupid. Biden may play politics as if he were a junior senator, but Iran’s sharp increase in nuclear enrichment coincides not with Trump’s exit from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, but from Biden’s reversal of maximum pressure. Rather than acknowledge its appeasement policy failed, Biden’s told the media and Congress that they had stopped negotiating a nuclear deal. Now, it emerges they lied: In recent weeks, they have told Europeans and Israel that they would lift sanctions for a 60% enrichment cap. Civilian reactors require 5% enrichment. No wonder Saudi Arabia wants its own nuclear deterrent.
Biden’s treatment of Saudi Arabia was wrong. The kingdom was an imperfect ally, but one that stood by the United States since the Roosevelt administration. Progressives might castigate the Saudi crown prince for the war in Yemen, but they ignore the real threat both Houthis and al Qaeda pose to the country. If a rebel group overthrew Mexico’s government and launched missiles at Los Angeles International Airport, no senator would blame the victim. Jamal Khashoggi’s killing was a mistake, but the situation was not black and white. He was not only a writer but also an ex-intelligence officer who broke commitments to his former employer. He was his country’s Edward Snowden. What Saudi Arabia did pales in comparison to what Turkey and Iran do. To drive Riyadh into Beijing’s embrace while offering Iran billions of dollars and Turkey F-16s is a generational mistake.
Biden’s approach to hostage rescue rewarded rogues. Trump freed Pastor Andrew Brunson from Turkey with sanctions, not cash. He freed Princeton student Xiyue Wang without a ransom. Special Envoy for Iran Rob Malley, in contrast, has offered Iran billions to free the country’s remaining hostages, and Biden has traded rogue arms dealer Victor Bout for WNBA player Brittney Griner while leaving behind former Marine Paul Whelan. By so incentivizing Russian President Vladimir Putin, is it any surprise Putin snatched reporter Evan Gershkovich?
Trump tore apart protocol, but Biden shreds alliances. He does right on Ukraine, but the disdain he shows friends and allies and his naivete to autocrats and terrorists challenging the liberal order, cement his place as among the worst foreign policy presidents the U.S. has ever had.
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