Biden speaks with forked tongue on Israel and Ukraine
The United States faces an existential threat from the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the Hamas attack on Israel. The national security and world leadership of the United States hang in the balance of those two conflicts.
The loss of Ukraine to Russian dictator Putin would be a major blow to the United States and allies. Ukraine is an allied democracy and potential future member of NATO. As such, Ukraine is critical to the balance of power in eastern Europe. If Ukraine wins, the west has an incredibly important ally on the current Russian border – and another major country for the Alliance.
If Ukraine loses, Russia will border on Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania. It would give Russia hundreds more miles of shoreline on the Black Sea. In addition, Putin will acquire strategic geographical advantage – and the enormous natural and agricultural resources of Ukraine. That would give Putin leverage over nations that rely on Ukrainian food exports.
It would be another blow to America’s leadership – signaling that the United Sates has neither the resolve nor the ability to protects its own interests – or the security of allies. Just as the surrender in Afghanistan set the stage for increased anti-American activities – including the invasion of Ukraine, the attack on Israel, North Korea’s return to its long-range nuclear missile program, the Russian/Chinese detente, Iran’s increase in sponsoring international terrorism and a general lack of trust among allies, the loss of Ukraine would further exacerbate America’s decline in world leadership. Make no mistake about it, the Ukraine invasion occurred because Putin perceived a general weakness in American leadership and resolve – a especially with the Biden administration.
Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East – and America’s strongest ally. It has been the foundation of American influence in that region. It is the centerpiece of American strategy to create stability through a series of accords and treaties. That process has been remarkably successful. Trump – through Jared Kushner – was able to negotiate the unprecedented Abraham Accords. Through the negotiation and establishment of those Accords, the United States has been exerting increasing influence in the region. The success of the American policy was so threatening to Russian and Iranian influence that Iran felt it necessary to promote the Israeli-Hamas War to change the trajectory.
A failure to wipe out Hamas and push back on Iran’s effort to dominate the region will give Iran and Russia — and China – free reign over the Middle East. Nations with quasi-allied relationships with the United States would be drawn into a closer alliance with Russia and China. That is already happening.
The outpouring of anti-American sentiment that is resulting from America’s support of Israel would worsen. The autocratic axis of evil would expand in power and influence. The loss in Israel would be yet another example of American weakness and vulnerability.
American ability to support Ukraine and Israel
Critics of supporting the war effort in Ukraine and Israel argue that America cannot afford to continue to support those nations and finance the America’s internal domestic needs – such as closing and defending the southern border or funding more social welfare programs.
Actually, the United States has more than enough resources to do all of the above. It is not a matter of the size of the budget but the prioritization of spending. House Republicans have passed a bill that would provide Israel with meaningful support, but with compensating cuts from other areas of the budget – in this case by taking back SOME of the money recently appropriated to the Internal Revenue Service. There is more than enough fat, waste, pork barrel and lower priority spending to compensate for the emergency needs of Ukraine and Israel.
There is a significant minority of Republicans in the House who oppose further support for the Ukraine War. Because Republicans have only a razor thin majority, these Republicans are punching beyond their weight – largely because of their ability bring down the Speaker. They were able to remove Kevin McCarthy and block the election of Congressman Steven Scalise. The are attempting to block Ukrainian funding – and are only lukewarm on supporting the Israeli-Hamas War.
If the GOP hardliners prevail in Ukraine, it will be an unmitigated disaster for that nation, the United States and the western world. One can appreciate their legitimate concern over the level of federal spending, taxing and borrowing. The answer is to support those conflicts financially and militarily, ideally with budget cuts in other areas. That is the responsible approach.
Unfortunately, Democrats abhor the word “cuts.” They bear responsibility for the rankling overspending by not being willing to consider shifting money from less critical portions of the federal budget. For them, the resolution of every issue is … more spending.
With the majority of members in both congressional chambers in support of funding for Ukraine and Israel, it would be more than unfortunate if the minority members are able to block adequate funding through technical use of House rules. It is bad enough that Biden has been pursuing his “too little/too late” support policy on Ukraine for more than a year. Further reduction in support will be devastating.
Biden’s duplicitous policies
President Biden has promised support to both Ukraine and Israel in the strongest of statements – especially at the onset of those wars. Unfortunately, his actions have not only not lived up to his words, but his wavering commitment and “too little/too late” policies have prolonged the conflict in Ukraine and undermined Israeli execution of the War by backing away from unwavering support. His admonitions to Israel to minimize civilian casualties suggests that Israel is not already doing that – and gives fodder to Hamas propaganda.
Biden did nothing as Russian built up its invasion army on three sides of Ukraine. His assurance that the United States would not put boots on the ground … his removing American military advisors in advance of the invasion … his refusal to establish a no-fly zone over Ukraine … his refusal to provide advanced weaponry and fighter jets … and his dribbling out ineffective sanctions … all gave Putin the confidence to launch the invasion and prosecute the war with massive attacks and war crimes without fear of meaningful repercussions.
Biden’s statements in support of Israel in the aftermath of the barbaric Hamas attack were some of the strongest statements he could have made – and he backed them up at the moment with the immediate shipment of weapons. He sent aircraft carriers and battleships to the region.
It was not long, however, until Biden undermined his support and the legitimacy of Israelis pursuit of Hamas with admonitions to Israel to limit the impact on the civilian population. By repeatedly calling on Israel not to do what they were not doing, the Biden administration provided unwarranted credibility to Palestinian propaganda. Biden and Secretary Antony Blinken made it appear that Israel was – or would – needlessly or purposely attack Palestinian civilians. One does not warn others against doing what they are not doing and would not do.
Blinken states an obvious truth when he said too many civilians and children are dying. That is literally true – but it leaves the implication that the responsibility falls on Israel. The Biden administration’s repeated statements are part of Israel’s public relations problem – including with the American press.
The level of civilian injury and death is the fault of Hamas – first for attacking Israel and provoking a necessary response and second for conducting military operations in civilian locations. By using the people of Palestine as shields in their established war zones, Hamas is committing war crimes.
Hamas has spent billions of dollars in creating its terrorist infrastructure without any consideration of civilian defense. When Israel provided warnings and opportunities for civilians to leave the war zone, Hamas prevented their departure. Hamas hoarded food, water and fuel even as civilian facilities were deprived – especially the hospitals and schools.
Because of the manner in which Hamas uses the people as a defense, there will be higher than necessary death and injury among civilians. Israel is doing the best it can to get civilians out of the target areas – and to limit their strikes to military targets as much as possible. What is happening to the people of Palestine is tragic – but it is Hamas that has caused ALL the death and suffering … period. Biden should not be implying otherwise.
In addition, Biden’s refusal to address Iran as the puppet master for virtually all the regional terrorist activities is akin to fighting against Hitler in World War II but refusing to involve Germany in the conflict. American assets and military personnel in the Middle East have been attacked more than 60 times by Iranian surrogates so far. Biden’s response has been “measured” – which Iran and others have every reason to see as weakness and lack of resolve.
There is a question raised in the Bible: “For if the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare for battle?” In terms of Ukraine and Israel, Biden is sounding an uncertain trumpet. And who is heeding it? No one. America has not provided confidence and trust among allies – and has certainly not promoted fear or dissuaded escalating actions America’s adversaries across the globe.
The United States must lead the free world in supporting Ukraine and Israel. Anything less than victory is an existential threat to America’s leadership in the world – and to America’s own national security.
So, there ‘tis.