Although the razor-thin 2020 presidential election has not yet been decided, there already are worrisome signs about the foreign policy of a potential Biden administration, especially concerning peace in the Mideast.
President Trump made major strides promoting Mideast peace by establishing trust with Israel and Arab states. Trump officials used these strong relationships to convince the UAE, Bahrain, and Sudan to normalize relations with Israel.
More of these agreements reportedly are on the way.
A driver of these agreements was President Trump’s leadership on the threat from Iran.
He withdrew from the Obama administration’s fraudulent Iranian nuclear deal and significantly increased economic sanctions.
This isolated Iran and denied it funds for its military, missile, nuclear programs, and terrorism sponsorship.
Arab states agreed with the Trump administration that their enemy today is Iran, not Israel.
A Biden administration would put Trump’s progress toward peace in the Mideast at risk.
A former Biden aide recently told an Israeli newspaper that Biden would seek to rejoin the 2015 the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (Iran nuclear deal) “within months,” but with some changes to the expiration date.
Defenders of President Trump’s Iran policy argue that the agreement’s flaws can’t be fixed. Tehran withdrew from its commitments under the agreement, and there is growing proof of Iranian cheating.
Nevertheless, Biden rejoining the nuclear deal looks likely for three reasons:
First—Iran has steadfastly refused to agree any changes to the deal. Either Biden rejoins it as is or the U.S stays out. The Iranian Foreign Ministry said this week that it will not reopen the nuclear deal for discussions with a Biden administration and considers the agreement “signed, sealed and understood.”
Second—Biden strongly craves the approval of European leaders. They strongly back the nuclear deal as is and Biden will do what they tell him to do. This may be Biden’s first step to reestablishing the Obama administration’s subordination of U.S. sovereignty to Europe and the U.N.
Third—Democrats regard the Iran nuclear deal as one of President Obama’s most significant achievements. They overwhelmingly believe President Trump’s withdrawal from it was to spite Obama, not due to the agreement’s flaws. If elected, Biden is likely to name Obama administration retreads like Susan Rice, Antony Blinken, Nicholas Burns, Jake Sullivan, and Colin Kahl to top national security posts. Iranian and European leaders know this, and it may be the most important reason Biden will quickly rejoin the nuclear deal without changes.
There are other reasons a Biden presidency would be a step backward for peace in the Mideast.
Biden’s campaign has made it clear it plans to return to “traditional diplomacy” in the Mideast. This will mean restoring a Palestine veto over the peace process and starting multilateral talks that include European states and Russia, all of whom will advocate for the Palestinians over Israeli security interests.
Saudi Arabia is worried about a Biden presidency because of the former vice president’s statements about treating it as a “pariah” due to its human rights record and his intention to “reassess” U.S.-Saudi relations.
Add to this the Democratic Party’s dislike of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, which grew worse over the last four years because of his close relationship with President Trump.
These potential policies bode very poorly for security and stability in the Mideast.
While a Biden presidency would likely follow the tried and failed advice of the foreign policy elite, I hope he instead listens to experts with a better understanding of Mideast security like former Sen. Joe Lieberman, former Rep. Jane Harman, and former Rep. Eliot Engel.
I also am hopeful about Sen. Chris Coons who may be on the list to be Biden’s secretary of state.
President Trump’s progress toward peace in the Mideast is significant but fragile.
Let’s hope that if Joe Biden becomes our next president, he recognizes this and adopts Mideast policies that build on what the Trump administration has accomplished instead of reverting to the failed Obama Mideast policies of “leading from behind” and appeasing Iran.