Daniel Larison writes that Joe Biden’s foreign policies are probably worse than Trump’s:
Joe Biden’s foreign policy record as president in his first six months has been as bad as his non-interventionist and antiwar critics feared it would be. Biden has made one significant and correct decision that he appears to be following through on, and that is the withdrawal of the last remaining U.S. troops from Afghanistan, but even here there is reason to worry that US forces may be relocated to other nearby countries and the war against the Taliban will continue from afar. On almost every other front, Biden has not only failed to undo some of his predecessor’s worst and most destructive policies, but in many cases he has entrenched and reinforced them.
Biden has failed to stop the U.S./Saudi war on Yemen. He is keeping troops in Iraq and Syria. His retreat from Afghanistan turns out to be fake. He is sabotaging a return to the nuclear with Iran.
The U.S. has, in contradiction to its Doha agreement with the Taliban, restarted its bombing campaign against them and is likely to continue it for years to come:
The top American general overseeing operations in Afghanistan declined to say Sunday night whether U.S. airstrikes against the Taliban would end Aug. 31, the date previously given by officials as a cutoff for such attacks.
Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., the head of United States Central Command, refused to commit to ending the United States last remaining military leverage over the Taliban: airstrikes.
The Taliban reacted furiously to the strikes, saying they were in breach of the 2020 agreement negotiated between the militant group and the United States.
The concentration of strikes against the Taliban reflected a new sense of urgency in Washington about the imperiled Afghan government.
“I’m just not going to be able to comment about the future of U.S. airstrikes after Aug. 31,” General McKenzie told reporters after meeting with Afghanistan’s president, Ashraf Ghani, and his aides earlier in the day.
The Taliban have recently done a lot of diplomacy with visits to Moscow, Beijing and Tehran. Together, with Pakistan, which continues to supply the Taliban with weapons and manpower, those countries are planing for a future where the Taliban will have total control of, or at least a significant role in. the Afghan government. They have promised to invest in a Taliban led Afghanistan.
But the U.S. will not allow a rebuilding of the silk road between China and Iran. It will not allow for safe 'Belt & Road’ investments in Afghanistan. Instead of controlling Afghanistan for its own purpose, as it did with its occupation, the U.S. will, from now on, do its best to deny others to benefit from the country.
After first pressing the Afghan president to make room for an interim government, Biden is now again backing him. In a phone call last Friday Biden pledged full support for Ghani’s continued hardline:
President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. spoke today with President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan. President Biden and President Ghani discussed the situation in Afghanistan and reaffirmed their commitment to an enduring bilateral partnership. President Biden emphasized continued U.S. support, including development and humanitarian aid, for the Afghan people, including women, girls, and minorities. President Biden and President Ghani agreed that the Taliban’s current offensive is in direct contradiction to the movement’s claim to support a negotiated settlement of the conflict. President Biden also reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to continue supporting the Afghan security forces to defend themselves.
But Ghani’s government has no way to survive. The Taliban control Afghanistan’s borders and can finance themselves with customs duties and taxes. Ghani thereby lacks the income to run the state. Now Biden is promising him to give $4 billion per year to the Afghan army while having few control over how that money will be spent. Ghani and his circle will do their best to loot the stash.
Instead of leaving Afghanistan alone and letting it find a new balance Biden is revamping the Great Game in which Afghanistan will be again the foremost casualty.
During his campaign Biden had promised to rejoin the nuclear deal with Iran. But no action has followed. Talks with Tehran started too late and were filled with new demands that Iran can not accept without diminishing is military defenses.
The arrogance of the Biden administration is at full display in its believe that it can dictate the terms to Tehran:
If the U.S. determines that Iran is not prepared to return to full implementation, or that Iran’s nuclear program has advanced to the point that the non-proliferation limits in the deal cannot be recaptured, it will explore options, including for tightening enforcement of economic sanctions, but he hopes it does not come to that, he said.
“We will see whether they are prepared to come back,” the senior US diplomat said.
It is not Iran that left the UN endorsed JCPOA deal. It was the U.S. which went back on it and re-introduced a 'maximum pressure’ sanctions campaign against Iran. Iran has said it is willing to again reduce its nuclear program to the limits of the JCPOA deal if the U.S. removes all sanctions. It is the Biden administration that is unwilling to do so while making new demands. That is obviously not going to work.
Today Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei met with the outgoing government of President Rohani and warned the incoming government against any hope that the U.S. will change its unreasonable position:
Khamenei.ir @khamenei_ir - 9:20 UTC · Jul 28, 2021
Others should use the experience of Mr. Rouhani’s govt. One experience is distrusting the West. In this administration it became clear that trusting the West isn’t helpful. They don’t help and they strike a blow wherever they can. When they didn’t, it was because they couldn’t.
Administrations should utterly avoid tying their plans to negotiations with the West, for they’ll certainly fail.
This administration too, wherever it relied on negotiations with the West & the US, they were unsuccessful, & when they relied on domestic potential, they succeeded.
In the recent nuclear talks, the Americans staunchly insisted on their obstinate stance. When making promises & on paper they say they’ll remove sanctions, but in practice they didn’t & won’t. Then they say new articles should be added to the deal that already exists.
The West & the US are totally unjust & malicious in their negotiations. They have no hesitation in breaching their commitments at all. In the previous agreement, they breached their commitments & they give no guarantee they will abide by their commitments in the future either.
If the U.S. does not come back into the JCPOA deal, without any further conditions, Iran will eventually leave the deal and proceed with its nuclear program as it wants. That would be an utter failure of Biden’s hardline tactics. One wonders what the Biden administration has planned to do when that happens.
As Larison summarizes:
Biden’s foreign policy so far is largely made up of failures to achieve his stated goals and failures to overturn the worst policies that he inherited from Trump. In some cases, Biden has not even made the effort to overturn them. The Biden administration likes to use the phrase "America is back" as its foreign policy motto. Judging from Biden’s first six months this just means that America is back to more of the same destructive and inhumane policies that we have had for decades.
Instead of ending the 'forever wars’, as Biden promised during his campaign, he is prolonging old ones while preparing the path for new ones.
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