Opinion: Biden’s Playing Dumb Politics With Threat to Cut Israel Military Aid

Opinion: Biden’s Playing Dumb Politics With Threat to Cut Israel Military Aid

Joe Biden is in the process of alienating his allies for the sake of adversaries he can neither win over, nor appease. This, as they say, is a rookie mistake.

I’m speaking, of course, about Biden’s threat that the U.S. will not supply weapons for Israel to invade Rafah, a city that the Associated Press describes as “the last major Hamas stronghold in Gaza.”

In so doing, Biden is being less than a loyal friend to Israel, an ally who rightly views Hamas as an existential threat. But he’s also alienating his political allies right here in America. And while we can debate the ethics of urban warfare in Gaza, what seems less debatable is the notion that this is a shrewd political move. Indeed, it strikes me as quite stupid.

To be sure, the Oct. 7 attacks and kidnappings all but guaranteed some portion of the progressive coalition in America would be divided for as long as the Gaza war lasted. Until this week, however, that portion could mostly be written off as young extremists.

Biden’s latest move has already disappointed lots of mainstream Democrats—including, but not limited to elected officials—who support Israel and make up a core portion of Biden’s constituency.

Meanwhile, does anyone seriously believe that the young radicals on college campuses—the same leftist protesters who refer to Biden as “Genocide Joe”—will be appeased by Biden’s latest half-measure?

It is axiomatic in politics that you cannot be all things to all people and that when you try to please everyone, you end up pleasing no one. By trying to split the baby, you end up with the worst of both worlds: Nobody is happy.

Biden seems unfamiliar with these laws of politics. He hasn’t traded normies for young radicals, he has simply chosen to offend both groups.

But it’s actually worse than that. Heading into what could be a very close election, Biden has also limited his appeal to Never Trump conservatives, who constitute a non-trivial percent of the Republican primary vote.

Biden’s Rafah comments drew an immediate rebuke from the likes of Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), who said it sent “a terrible message,” and former Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), who called it “wrong and dangerous.”

Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley called Biden’s decision “unforgivable,” adding that “Israel didn’t start this war, Hamas did. Withholding ammunition helps our enemies win and puts American lives at risk, including the hostages still held in Gaza.” If Haley is looking for an excuse to reluctantly endorse Donald Trump, she might have found it.

Why does this matter? Just this week, Haley (who hasn’t campaigned in months, yet continues to earn votes) garnered more than 21 percent of the vote in Indiana’s GOP primary. Granted, some of these Republican primary voters have probably already decided they won’t support Trump, and others will inevitably fall in line with the Republican standard bearer. But certainly some portion of these Never Trump conservative voters are—or were—gettable Biden voters.

That’s because traditional Republicans (and here, I’ll include myself) still believe in a strong national defense. We still believe in internationalism and an unwavering support of our allies. We still believe in moral clarity. And with the exception of his disastrous Afghanistan withdrawal (a big exception, to be sure), Biden was better positioned to be the candidate for people who hold these views. Until this week, that is.

As The Atlantic’s David Frum noted, “Biden will seek re-election in November on a foreign policy record that includes the fiasco of the Afghanistan exit, inconclusive wars in Europe and Middle East, no new trade agreements. He needed one clear success. Israel’s war could have been it. But no. Too simple.”

It’s almost like he’s trying to lose.

Then, rubbing salt in the wound, with zero self-awareness, Biden’s official X account tweeted out the following words: “On my watch, when we make promises, we keep them. And we leave no one behind.”

So how is it possible that a man who has been around politics this long can make such obviously stupid political errors?

One theory is that Biden is doing what he believes is the right thing from a substantive policy point of view. Unfortunately, “he has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades,” as former Defense Secretary Robert Gates said.

Another theory is that he is enamored by youth and captured by a White House staff that is decidedly more progressive than Biden.

Regardless, things are not looking good for an incumbent president who has already lost the confidence of many Americans. If he hopes to correct this in time to defeat Donald Trump in November, Biden will have to quit trying to throw the game in Trump’s favor.

My friend and former boss, Morton Blackwell, a top leader of the conservative movement, likes to say, “You cannot make friends of your enemies by making enemies of your friends.” At 81 years-old, this is a truism that President Joe Biden has still not learned.


The Daily Beast

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