During his first public statement addressing the horrific terror strike by Hamas against innocent Israeli citizens, President Biden assured the nation, Israel, and the rest of the world, “We will stand with Israel”—which, depending on one’s point of view, could mean just about anything or absolutely nothing. The ambiguity of his language demonstrates timidity, vagueness, and uncertainty, hallmarks of a listless foreign policy and an administration unable to identify the nation’s true enemies and existential threats.
The president’s meaningless reassurance was, as most of his other remarks, predictable and completely forgettable. Yet, in a perverse way, they were quite revealing for anyone who listened carefully for what the president did not say and did not acknowledge. I heard a president who had no intention (or leadership capacity) to change course and move beyond policies of appeasement.
How did I come to this conclusion?
The president uttered not a single statement identifying or rebuking the Iranian regime as the primary sponsor of Middle Eastern terrorism, Hamas in particular—failing to shine a light on incontrovertible facts: that Iran is Hamas’s primary benefactor; that Hamas operates as a terror proxy of Iran; that Hamas’s terror activities support Iran’s publicly stated goal of annihilating the Jewish state.
Also missing from the president’s comments was an unambiguous demand directed at Iran to immediately cease all collaboration with Hamas; that Hamas must be militarily destroyed; that democracies should join the United States in supporting Israel’s efforts to do this even when this imperative results in civilian casualties; that surviving Hamas leadership must be hunted down and justice adjudicated by a Nuremberg-style court; and his insistence there is absolutely no moral equivalence between Hamas intentionally planning and carrying out the murder of innocent Israelis and innocent Palestinians being killed during the fog of war, particularly a war their own leaders started.
Also absent from Biden’s remarks was discussion on possibly restarting the maximum pressure campaign against Iran, including economic sanctions aimed at stifling the regime’s profiteering from the export of oil, that were in place at the start of his administration, but relaxed as part of an appeasement campaign. The maximum pressure campaign was working to isolate and impoverish the regime: Iranian reserve currencies had shrunk, and its people had become restive and began to rebel against the regime. Apparently, the president is suffering willful ignorance not only about the fact that the maximum pressure campaign was working as planned, but that his relaxation of it had backfired, resulting in a re-enriched and re-emboldened regime, eager to reinvigorate its terror campaign against the Jewish state.
And so, as the president of the United States refuses (or is incapable) of leading the free world against evil and tyranny, the slow but inexorable deterioration of the world order continues. First there was the Afghanistan debacle. Then the seemingly unresolvable Ukraine war. Now, the new war in the Middle East. What is next?
Ken Beckert Maryland