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Does Biden’s Experience Being Wrong Qualify Him To Be President?

Biden Foreign Policy
As we observed in our article “Biden Wrong On Foreign Policy And Lying About It (Again)” Joe Biden’s claimed experience in foreign policy and national security rests almost entirely upon a forty-year record of being wrong, as former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates put it, “on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue.”

Bizarrely, this record of being wrong, and Biden’s lies to rewrite history in his favor, do not seem to bother his establishment Democrat backers in the least.

As our friends at the Washington Examiner observed in their post-debate editorial:

This is the man who once tried to dissuade Obama from his operation against terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden; who supported the Iraq War and said in 2003, “I voted to go into Iraq, and I’d vote to do it again;" and who vocally opposed President Ronald Reagan's military buildup and the Strategic Defense Initiative, which helped bring down the Soviet Union.

In Tuesday night's debate, Biden claimed he had atoned for his Iraq War vote by spearheading President Obama's 2011-2012 withdrawal from Iraq. But that withdrawal was a disaster and it led to the rise of ISIS. Biden famously boasted at the time, “I’ll bet you my vice presidency [Prime Minister Nouri al] Maliki will extend the [Status of Forces Agreement]” with Iraq to maintain a military presence in the country. Lucky for him, no one took the bet, because Biden failed in his negotiations. Even if the entire thing wasn’t his fault, it was a consequential failure. The subsequent hasty withdrawal from Iraq led directly to the rise of ISIS.

Gates also points to Biden as a chief advocate of the Obama administration’s controversial dependence upon drone strikes and special forces raids as a substitute for a broader counterterrorism policy. This is controversial as a question of human rights, given that American citizens were targeted without trial and that many civilians were killed. It also raises doubts about Biden’s sincerity in condemning the strike on Soleimani. Where were these humanitarian instincts during the Obama administration?

And then, of course, there is the Iran nuclear deal. Biden defends the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with Iran. In excluding from negotiations Iran’s terrorist paramilitary activity in the region and its appalling human rights record, the abandoned deal was chiefly interesting in that it preemptively treated Iran as a nuclear power in negotiations before it even had a bomb.

While we question our friends’ assertion that Iran doesn’t have nuclear weapons (see our article Could The Confrontation With Iran Go Nuclear?) their point about Biden’s role in Obama’s disastrous nuclear weapons deal with Iran is right on target.

What’s more Daniel Bush, PBS NewsHour's Senior Political Reporter, found a lot of liberals who agree.

“You would think that Biden would be good or distinctive in this regard compared to the other candidates,” said Shadi Hamid, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and expert on U.S. policy in the Middle East told Mr. Bush. But “a long record isn’t [the same as] a good record, and I think that’s where it becomes complex.”

Mr. Bush wrote that critics argued that Biden’s reputation as a foreign policy expert with a record of accomplishment is overblown.

“His experience consisted of having voted for the Iraq War resolution, and generally being a fellow traveler of liberal interventionism. He hasn’t shown much original thought or initiative in foreign policy,” said Barnett Rubin, who served as a senior adviser to the special representative on Afghanistan and Pakistan under President Barack Obama.

Biden’s opponents may have less experience, Rubin added, but that doesn’t mean his rivals couldn’t tackle complex international issues. Rubin also questioned Biden’s premise that he could unite a deeply divided Congress around his foreign policy objectives.

“Biden comes from an era,” Rubin said, “of attempts at bipartisan national security policy, based on common threat perceptions” about enemies like the Soviet Union. But that Cold War mentality no longer applies, Rubin said. “The bipartisan consensus doesn’t exist.”

Paul Musgrave, a US foreign policy expert at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, told Alex Ward of Vox, “Biden explicitly offers continuity with mainstream, centrist US foreign policy thinking from the era before Trump… It’s not a vision that offers a radical or exciting critique. It’s one that sees the core tenets of establishment foreign policy thinking as responsible and necessary.”

But the world looks a lot different now than it did in the era before Trump. Which means Biden will have to convince voters outside the Democrat establishment that his experience of voting against the Gulf War, which quickly and successfully pushed out Iraqi forces from Kuwait, voting in favor of the invasion of Iraq that’s led to over a decade of war, thousands dead, and billions spent, nearly twenty years of failed nation building in Afghanistan and not sending a SEAL team to kill Osama bin Laden is the kind of experience that they want in their next President.

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