Tuesday, June 09, 2020

Biden's Natsec Record is Fair Game

For months, the news cycle has been dominated by COVID-19, China, and now riots – which is understandable – but this is an election year in the USA and there has been a dangerously small amount of coverage about what the policy background is of the person who has a solid chance of replacing Donald Trump.

Those who have followed me for any length of time know my position on Trump since 2015. It has not changed. Some here are big Trump supporters, some #NeverTrump, and even some of you brave souls are pro-Biden.

All are welcome here, but one thing I will not cotton to is the idea that to say anything contra-Biden, then you must love Trump.

No. Adults must be able to talk to each other, and one of my favorite adults, Kori Schake, has put out a marker over at The Atlantic saying what all knowledgeable people cannot deny; Joe Biden is a highly problematic person in the areas of foreign and defense policy.

Read the whole thing, but here’s some pull quotes;
Joe Biden has been wrong a lot on foreign and defense policy. A lot. This year’s presumptive Democratic presidential nominee voted against the 1991 Gulf War, in which the United States and a broad multinational coalition quickly achieved their goals, and in favor of the 2003 Iraq War, and regretted both votes. Years into hostilities, he opposed the troop surges that brought some stability to both Iraq and Afghanistan and even insisted that “the Taliban per se is not our enemy.” He argued for carving Iraq into sectarian statelets even as Iraqis voted for cross-sectarian political lists. And he opposed the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. These stances suggest not only that he lacks a philosophy of how to use military force effectively, but also that his instincts on when to use it are often faulty.

Robert Gates, who served as the secretary of defense under George W. Bush and Barack Obama, wrote in his 2014 memoir that Biden “has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.” Last year, Gates reiterated his concerns. “I think that the vice president had some issues with the military,” he declared on CBS’s Face the Nation.

…Trump’s and Biden’s positions on Afghanistan are indistinguishable: Both vow to “end the forever wars” by withdrawing American troops, but neither has a plan for what happens after that. Biden said last year that Trump’s withdrawal from Syria was “a complete failure,” yet he advocates the same policy for other places. When talking about Syria, Biden rightly asks, “Who will stand with us if the United States is reduced to an unreliable partner?” But he neglects to apply that standard to abandoning Afghanistan, where 60 allies have fought alongside the U.S.

As for defense policy, neither Trump nor Biden appears to have a view about what the size and sticker price for U.S. forces ought to be. Biden seems to think America has spent too much on “traditional warfare” while also believing we need to retain military superiority. He merely waves his hands and vaguely supports more emphasis on America’s space and cyberdefense capabilities.
Finally, Kori puts out a challenge to fair-minded people in the natsec arena to explore;
But Biden’s continued advocacy of muddled and mistaken foreign policies shouldn’t be overlooked, and he can best help his cause by quietly rebooting them.

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