When Barack Obama picked Joe Biden as his running mate, one of Biden’s credentials cited was his foreign policy expertise. He was expected to lend his credibility to Obama, assuring the American people that they would not be entrusting our national security to some naif.
On the surface, a good idea. But how does Biden’s foreign policy experience stack up?
When examined, pretty shabbily.
Biden has been in the Senate for almost 36 years, and in that time he has had a chance to weigh in on a lot of major issues of foreign policy. And, quite frankly, I’m not impressed.
For example, the first war with Iraq. That was very popular; most Americans and a lot of the world all agreed that Saddam needed to be stopped — not only prevented from invading Saudi Arabia, but chased out of Kuwait and his ability to wage aggressive war greatly inhibited.
As I said, a lot of people backed that war. But not Joe Biden. He voted against that war.
Flash forward 12 years. Once again, Congress is asked to authorize a President Bush to use military force against Iraq. This time Biden has learned his lesson — and he votes for this war to invade Iraq and overthrow Saddam.
A few years later, and all of a sudden the war isn’t so popular in his party. So now Biden has to explain his vote in favor of “Bush’s war.” He decides to try the Hillary Clinton defense — “I know what the actual resolution said, but I thought I was only authorizing THREATS of force. I thought I was just voting to have Bush bluff — I had no idea that he’d take an Authorization for the Use of Military Force In Iraq and actually use military force in Iraq!”
It just isn’t on Iraq that Biden demonstrates his ineptitude. During the vice-presidential debate, he made the following pronouncement:
When we kicked — along with France, we kicked Hezbollah out of Lebanon, I said and Barack said, “Move NATO forces in there. Fill the vacuum, because if you don’t know — if you don’t, Hezbollah will control it.” Now what’s happened? Hezbollah is a legitimate part of the government in the country immediately to the north of Israel.
I’m going to give Biden a slight benefit of the doubt, and say he meant “Syria” instead of “Hezbollah.” That changes his quote from sheer, utter fantasy to a simple gross misunderstanding of reality. But I could be wrong — Biden seems to me to be a prime candidate for that most fatal of flaws, “believing your own bullshit.”
Anyway, did the US and France kick Syria out of Lebanon? Hardly.
The Lebanese people, with considerable international vocal support, rose up themselves and demanded that the Syrians get out. And they actually achieved something — Syria did, indeed, pull its most visible presence out of Lebanon.
Meanwhile, their proxy in Lebanon, Hezbollah, chose to start a shooting war with Israel that led to Israel invading southern Lebanon and waging a conflict that threatened to put a major hurting on Hezbollah.
Then the international community again intervened and imposed a cease-fire, then an end to the conflict. As part of the settlement, Hezbollah was to be disarmed and the Lebanese government was to reassert control over all its territory, including southern Lebanon.
And how’s that worked out?
Well, Hezbollah still dominates southern Lebanon, is better armed than ever, and now holds enough legitimate sway in the Lebanese government to have effective veto power over anything the Lebanese government.
In other words, the exact opposite of the agreed-upon settlement has developed, and no one seems to care in the least — because the shooting has not resumed.
This bears almost no resemblance to what Biden described in the debate, even adjusting what he said for what he probably meant. And hardly anyone in the mainstream media — who are supposed to be the guardians of the truth — wants to talk about it.
On the other hand, it is starting to seem that Biden’s influence is starting to rub off on Obama. In 1979, there is evidence that Biden attempted to subvert President Carter’s negotiations with the Soviet Union. While Carter was pushing his human rights agenda, Biden was telling Soviet representatives that it was all just talk, and would not be pushed.
Well, as the saying goes, the acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree. (Yes, I’m enjoying the resurgence of that old saying. I think I’m going to use it a few more times.) It seems that Barack Obama tried to intervene in the negotiations between the Bush administration and the Iraqi government.
Now, I’ve pretty much given up on pointing out that this is technically illegal — since no one ever actually uses the Logan Act, we should just repeal the thing. But it’s incredibly inappropriate for anyone — especially a sitting United States Senator — to attempt to subvert negotiations between the president and a foreign nation. It’s also a gross violation of the separation of powers as spelled out in the Constitution, where the role of Congress is ot “advise and consent,” not “individually engage in their own negotiations aimed at undercutting the president.”
This is NOT the “change we need.” This is an abomination.
And when it is pushed by people who have such remarkable track records for being appallingly wrong, it’s a recipe for disaster.