President Biden seems determined to go down the same path as his former boss, which will no doubt strengthen America’s foes to the detriment of the country.
By Helen Raleigh for The Federalist
President Biden says his foreign policy goal is to promote American values. Yet serious questions deserve to be raised as to whether these were only empty words following the Biden administration’s recent controversial moves on China and Iran that seem all too eager to appease America’s adversaries.
In a recent CNN town hall, when asked about the genocide of the Uighur Muslims enacted under Chinese Communist Party leader Xi Jinping, Biden sounded like a spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry, repeating the CCP’s talking points, and explaining the CCP’s treatment of the persecuted Uighur population as a different cultural “norm.”
Tony Blinken, Biden’s secretary of state, stated in his Senate confirmation hearing that he agrees China is committing “genocide” in Xinjiang but had a change of heart after Biden dismissed the CCP’s actions. Following his boss’s lead, the State Department now claims “insufficient evidence to prove genocide.”
The intrinsically discernible fact is that no cultural norm could ever justify the systematic elimination of the identity, culture, and religion of an entire group of people. As the numerous news reports about the plight of Uighurs in China indicate, more than 1 million have been “systematically dehumanized, humiliated, and brain-washed” in prison-like internment camps.
Uighur women reportedly have suffered the worst, including rape, sexual assaults, forced sterilization, and forced abortions inside the camps. Besides these unspeakable physical sufferings, Uighurs are losing their religious sites and cultural heritage.
Refusing to Hold the CCP Accountable
Under the Trump administration, the United States took a series of actions to hold the CCP accountable for its human rights abuses, such as sanctions targeting senior CCP officials. On his last day as the U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo officially declared that the Chinese Communist Party’s actions against Uighur Muslims and other minorities in Xinjiang constitute “genocide” and a “crime against humanity.”
By doing so, Pompeo removed a challenging barrier for his successor, making it easier for the Biden administration to take tough actions to hold Beijing accountable while providing the new administration powerful leverage to use in future negotiations.
In its zeal to erase all things Trump-related, the Biden administration is giving up the leverage gifted by the Trump administration and relinquishing America’s legal responsibility and moral leadership. If this appeasement is being done in hopes of a change in the CCP’s behavior, it’s both ignorant and arrogant. Already, there are now credible reports regarding the CCP’s deployment of identical tactics it used in Xinjiang against the Uighurs to populations in Tibet and Inner Mongolia.
The Biden administration’s moral cowardice will only drive allies further into China’s sphere of influence, emboldening the CCP to intensify its domestic aggression, and accelerating the rise of a dangerous Sino-centric new world order.
Rewarding Iran’s Bad Behaviors
Former President Obama, along with then-Vice President Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry, handed the American people and the rest of the world a bad Iran nuclear deal in 2015. Since then, the deal has provided Iran millions of dollars, enabling Iran’s mullahs to fund menacing activities to regain and expand their influence in the Middle East.
Most importantly, the deal never served its intended purpose: stopping Iran from pursuing nuclear weapons. Last November, the Institute for Science and International Security released a report stating Iran’s low enriched uranium stock exceeds the limit set by the 2015 Iran nuclear deal by 12-fold:
[Iran] now has sufficient low enriched uranium to produce enough weapons-grade uranium for a second nuclear weapon, where the second one could be produced more quickly than the first.
Since the foundation of the 2015 nuclear deal was the Obama administration and the European Union’s willful ignorance of and blind trust in the Iranian government, no one should be surprised with this finding. The Trump administration pulled out of this bad deal and re-imposed economic sanctions on Iran in 2018. The idea was to weaken Iran’s clerical authoritarian regime so the United States could negotiate a more effective nuclear deal.
The sanctions worked as they were intended. Along with the Iranian regime’s mismanagement and corruption, Iran’s economy crumbled. Its currency lost 80 percent of its value to U.S. dollars. The overall unemployment rate reached 15 percent, and between 40 and 50 percent among young people.
Fed up with economic hardship, Iranians staged mass protests demanding political change from late 2017 into 2018, and then again between 2019 and early 2020. The coronavirus pandemic further weakened Iran’s clerical authoritarian regime.
With the Trump administration’s facilitation, Israel and several Arab nations in the Middle East signed historic peace agreements last year, partially driven by their collective concern about Iran’s menaces in the region. As Brian Hook, the U.S. State Department’s special envoy for Iran under the Trump administration, stated: “Peace between the Arabs and the Israelis is Iran’s worst nightmare.”
The Biden administration should have taken advantage of the leverage gifted by the previous administration, demanded the Iranian regime indefinitely abandon developing nuclear weapons, and make real progress toward establishing long-lasting peace in the Middle East. Instead, President Biden acted as if the much-weakened Iran is the one that has a stronger hand than the United States.
Even before he was sworn into the office, Biden’s team reportedly partook in covert talks with Iran about returning to the 2015 nuclear deal. Biden’s appointment of Robert Malley as his special envoy to Iran — a man with a long history of sympathy to Iran’s authoritarian regime and of overtly anti-Israeli sentiments — signals that appeasement of the mullahs will be the new foreign policy of the United States.
Last week, Iran threatened to limit international agencies from monitoring its nuclear activities. A day later, an Iran-backed militant group fired rockets into the U.S. military base in Iraq, injuring at least one U.S. serviceman. Rather than making it clear to Iran that the United States will neither tolerate nor be intimidated by such attacks or threats, the Biden administration demonstrated that its desperation to appease the mullahs has only grown.
In the latest troubling developments from last Thursday, the Biden administration made what the administration calls “goodwill gestures“ to Iran. First, the United Nations Security Council was informed the United States was rescinding a Trump administration claim that all U.N. sanctions had been re-imposed on Iran. Second, the U.S. state department publicly announced it will return to nuclear negotiations with Iran with no pre-set conditions. Last but not least, the U.S. lifted “severe movement restrictions“ on Iranian diplomats in New York.
None of these concessions were made because Iran’s regime did anything to earn them. All were made after the Iran-backed militant group attack on the Iraqi US. base. Iran never offered any “goodwill gestures” in return. When asked why the administration rewarded Iran for its displeasing behavior, a State Department official elaborated that “these are not concessions to Iran. These are concessions to common sense.”
Reading the Signs
When our adversaries perceive American desperation, they will take advantage of the situation and extract maximum concessions. That’s exactly what Iran is doing. As Frontpage Magazine reports, “Javad Zarif, Iran’s Foreign Minister, has shown he believes that the Biden Administration can be threatened into rapidly submitting to Iran’s demand that it lift all sanctions on Iran without there being any change to the 2015 nuclear deal.” It seems Iran’s read on the Biden administration, which is full of veterans from the Obama administration, is far more accurate than the Biden administration’s read on Iran.
Former American hostage in Iran Xiyue Wang tweeted: “The US can’t exchange goodwill with IRI, because U.S. goodwill is regarded as a sign of weakness and IRI will exploit it. IRI’s compliance with JCPOA is not goodwill. It is a necessity, as IRI’s nuclear file is itself a gigantic tool for extortion.”
The Biden administration’s appeasement of Tehran will not only harden Iran’s resolve to demand maximum concessions from the United States without giving up its nuclear ambitions but also will send a clear message of weakness to all of America’s adversaries around the world that all talk from the Biden administration about promoting and defending American values are nothing but a fig leaf.
Biden’s foreign policy is clearly a potentially worse retread of Obama’s foreign policy, rarely backing up lofty rhetoric with needed tough actions. The foreign policy of the Biden administration looks poised to treat America’s foes with kid gloves, both ignorant of the true uncharitable nature of our adversaries and too arrogant to learn otherwise. It’s an ideology that mistakes wishful thinking as sound policies that will somehow induce desired changes.
From the South China Sea to the Middle East, Obama weakened U.S. global leadership, accelerated American decline, and alienated some of our most important allies while empowering our rivals. It seems President Biden is determined to retake the same path as his former boss, which will no doubt strengthen antagonists to American interests at the expense of peace and security of the United States and our allies.
Helen Raleigh, CFA, is an American entrepreneur, writer, and speaker. She’s a senior contributor at The Federalist. Her writings appear in other national media, including The Wall Street Journal and Fox News. Helen is the author of several books, including “Confucius Never Said” and “Backlash: How Communist China’s Aggression Has Backfired.” Follow her on Parler and Twitter: @HRaleighspeaks.