Joe Biden’s disastrous foreign policy record will come back to haunt him – and could cost him the election

EDITORIAL

IT’S over.

It is a crushing disappointment for most on the American left. But we must face reality. Joe Biden is going to be the Democratic nominee to face Donald Trump in November.

After the early primaries and caucuses, it looked like the former Vice President’s campaign was past saving. He finished a mere fourth place in Iowa – a contest that is usually a bellwether in the Democratic nomination races.

Biden failed to make an impression at the New Hampshire and Nevada contests too. It looked like the establishment had lost. Against all the odds, Bernie Sanders – a self-proclaimed democratic socialist in a nation with historically deep hostility to such an ideology – was going to be the nominee.

But then South Carolina happened. Biden stormed to an overwhelming victory, taking just shy of 50 per cent of the vote. His cadaver of a campaign was back from the dead.

One by one, the establishment figures formed up in rank and file before him in time for the crucial Super Tuesday contests. Pete Buttigieg. Amy Klobuchar. Beto O’Rourke.

After sweeping victories both on Super Tuesday and since, Biden has secured a solid lead both in delegate count and the popular vote.

His status as frontrunner is indisputable. Barring a monumental change in circumstances, his path to the nomination is straightforward.

With this in mind, an examination of Biden’s record on foreign policy is overdue.

Let’s be abundantly clear – his record is not good.

The most obvious – and arguably most egregious – black spot in his past is his contemptible support for the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

It need not be said the horrors that this unnecessary conflict unleashed upon that nation and the wider region as a whole.

Hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths – both killed by occupying forces and the internal conflict that followed. Regional instability that still sees several neighbouring states locked in bloody and seemingly endless civil wars. Sectarian violence enabled by the occupying powers’ poor understanding of the region and its people.

Hillary Clinton’s support for this war came back to haunt her in 2016, and it seems reasonable to assume the same will be true for Mr Biden.

Biden has since opined that backing the Iraq War was a mistake. But the former VP’s horrendous record does not end there.

As Barack Obama’s vice, he was by his side during every foreign policy atrocity committed by that administration.

Obama was elected president voicing opposition to the Iraq War and committed to the withdrawal of troops. A noble goal, to say the least.

He even won the Nobel Peace Prize – an accolade that seems somewhat laughable in hindsight.

While he did pull troops out of Iraq, it was only a matter of time before the US was involved in the Middle East again.

The Obama administration oversaw the intervention to overthrow Gaddafi in Libya. It is not to excuse the atrocities of that regime to point out that the NATO no-fly zone to back the rebel forces helped plunge the nation into the violent chaos that grips it to this day.

Meanwhile, the United States government continued its cosy relationship with the murderous regime in Saudi Arabia.

This is in spite of repeated crackdowns on human rights and a murderous, genocidal intervention in the Yemen Civil War – a conflict that has impoverished the nation, killed thousands, and has left millions facing starvation.

Joe Biden was one of the highest office holders in the land throughout Obama’s eight years. As such, he will have to own this record. His past is one of a standard US imperialist, and, in spite of conciliatory rhetoric more recently, there is little comfort to be found in the prospect of him as commander-in-chief.

It is not difficult to envisage a Trump vs Biden debate on foreign policy.

Trump will strut onto the stage and ineloquently present himself as a master international negotiator.

He will boast that it was him who averted nuclear armageddon and brought Kim Jong-un to the negotiating table, succeeding where other presidents had failed.

He will claim that it was his actions that have brought the Iranian regime to its knees – and stopped it from exploiting previous administrations’ gullibility and misplaced good will.

He will say it was him who forced concessions out of China as a result of the trade war he initiated to stop the People’s Republic from ravaging US industry.

To even a cursory observer of international politics, these statements will obviously be outrageously misleading.

But on what ground will Biden be able to retort?

*****

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