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Foreign (To Him) Policy

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.

Yet.

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.


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Comments (6)

Don't forget about Biden's ... (Below threshold)
Eric:

Don't forget about Biden's plan to split up Iraq. A plan that had one benefit, it was one thing that all of the groups in Iraq could agree on as a bad idea.

So he's a "unifier", then..... (Below threshold)

So he's a "unifier", then...

Now who the hell are you go... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

Now who the hell are you going to believe - the historical record or what Joe Biden tells you?

You know, somehow that just isn't as funny down in a comment as I thought it would be. Sure seems like a lot of people don't really CARE what the person actually did or said - it's all about how they're projecting themselves NOW. So - you were against it back in the day, or for it? And now the contrary position would 'help' - so suddenly the record changes. Realistically, most people won't bother to check - because we tend to believe that people are basically honest and won't lie to gain an advantage.

But then you've got politicians... who know that, and won't hesitate to take advantage of it.

The candidates have a major... (Below threshold)

The candidates have a major difference in their leadership styles: McCain tends to say, "Follow me because the other guy can't get it done" while Obama says, "Follow me because I can get it done." Ideally, the candidates should say, "Follow me because i will help you get it done" ... in any case, of the two of them Obama demonstrates a better leadership mentality

"of the two of them Obama d... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

"of the two of them Obama demonstrates a better leadership mentality"

Um, I just don't see that. Admittedly he's great at rhetoric, what has he DONE?

Annenburg challenge? $150 million spent with no result. His state senator time? Google up Grove Parc - and shudder. His community organizer cred? He QUIT because he wasn't making any difference.

His 200 days in the Senate? Oh, yeah - that's REAL leadership.

He's been pushed way above his pay grade - and all the handwaving in the world can't disguise that. Neither can a thin Biden overlay - there's just nothing in his record that shows he could run a 7/11 effectively, much less the country!

Totally agree, especially o... (Below threshold)
jp2:

Totally agree, especially on the Russian points. Let's put in Bible Spice and turn this ship around.




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