Yemen Is the Latest Example of the Failing Biden Doctrine

Yemen Is the Latest Example of the Failing Biden Doctrine

Weakness and interventionism are a bad mix.

Credit: Muhammad Aamir Sumsum

President Joe Biden ordered air and missile strikes last Thursday against Yemen, a country that, although consumed by civil war, had hereto been spared much direct American wrath. The country’s Houthi rebels had been menacing Red Sea shipping, seizing an Israeli-owned ship outright and lobbing missiles at American ships. The anti-Houthi action followed Biden’s strikes against Iranian-backed militants in Iraq, retaliating for recent attacks that severely injured three American soldiers. Joe did not consult Congress or anyone else before ordering any of the strikes, and of course there is no declaration of war. Yet no one believes the militias, Houthi or Iraqi, following their spanking, will disappear or stop harming Americans.

That sums up the Biden administration’s foreign policy. Call it a doctrine if you’d like: a series of geopolitically unsuccessful, inconsequential, mostly reactive unilateral actions, with no end game. Underlying it all is the sense that no one is particularly frightened, respectful, or even wary of American power anymore. Let’s see how this has worked on a global scale over the last three bloody years.

The disastrous evacuation of Kabul in August 2021 should have warned all of us we were dealing with foreign policy amateurs. The rush for the last planes was an expected unexpected event. Yet the Biden administration did not quietly start the evacuation in February with high-value personnel, nor did it negotiate ahead of time for third-country landing rights.

There is a clear record of what not to do when evacuating cooperative locals that stretches back to Vietnam; yet the administration did not start processing SIV visas for translators and others until literally the last flights were scheduled out. The entire evacuation appeared to be an unplanned free fall—just “land some planes and see if that works.” No endgame, really; simply a unilateral decision to cap the evacuation off at a certain point in time and declare it over no matter who was or was not saved.

Ukraine is some yellowed vision of the Cold War. The Biden plan was based on a Wonka-like act of imagination, that American arms wielded by amateur fighters backed up by intelligence, space-based targeting, and special forces infiltrated on the ground would hastily defeat a determined opponent. (See Afghanistan, failure of the same strategy, 2001–2003.) When the miracle cure strategy failed, there was no Plan B except to continue to pour arms into a war that has no clear end game, that is not winnable, only sustainable.

Meanwhile, Biden restrictions on domestic mining mean the United States is still the largest purchaser of Russian-enriched uranium. If the Russians are scared of American power, they hide that well.

The results have not been better elsewhere. The 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine preceded what one pundit described as “the 2023 brazen Chinese spy balloon’s uncontested trajectory over the United States, the recent Hamas invasion of Israel, the serial Iranian-fueled terrorist attacks on U.S. installations in Iraq and Syria, and the terrorist Houthis’ veritable absorption of the Red Sea. America’s enemies had become opportunistic, not deterred.” Biden took the bait at each open-ended opportunity, and now Joe is dangerously close to letting Gaza and Yemen spiral into a global conflict.

Another “coalition” fight, this time in Ukraine with NATO, ended up a U.S. primary. It is NATO mostly walking away from the meat of the Ukraine struggle, and the breakdown of the baby NATO coalition of France, Italy, and others that was supposed to control the Red Sea. It is a thin gruel of happy talk about caring for civilians backed up by unlimited arms to Israel, handled so poorly diplomatically that the U.S. has acquired pariah status globally. 

The modern version of American power was demonstrated when Jordan, Egypt, and the Palestinian Authority snubbed Joe Biden’s visit over the mess in Gaza. The question of Palestine, always simmering, is now another major issue to divide Red and Blue and further polarize domestic society. In addition to receiving $6 billion in frozen oil funds from Biden as a ransom for five American hostages, Iran controls the playbook, attacking with impunity via its proxies across Iraq, Syria, and southern Lebanon. Iran’s partners carried out more than 100 attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq, Syria and the Red Sea. They decide if and when the 1:1 conflict with Israel goes regional, and the U.S. will be again forced to react. The Houthis, Iran-backed, have dragged the U.S. into a broad promise to keep the Red Sea open to shipping. 

The world rolls its eyes; Pax Americana once again looks like a punchline. Can anyone say we are still indispensable?

Another Biden foreign policy disaster has come home, literally, in the immigration crisis. For reasons too vague to enunciate, the Biden administration did away with any semblance of immigration law and flung open the southern border to anyone interested in wandering in.

Already more than eight million illegal entrants have come across, with another quarter-million entering each month. As in Ukraine and elsewhere, there is no endgame. When will the border close? How much will caring for the millions cost? New York City processed more than 160,000 migrants; some 70,000 remain in the city’s care. In Denver, caring for the new migrants has consumed 10 percent of the city’s budget.

The United States has now exceeded, both in real numbers and in percentages, all past numbers of non-native born American residents. What impact on our greater society will such an influx have, especially given how it is targeted at a handful of cities? The Russians look unlikely ever to surrender—what about the immigrants?

Three years ago, there was no war in Ukraine and certainly no U.S. military involvement in the Crimea and Donbas. Israel and Hamas existed in their tinderbox-like stasis condition—no brutal massacres, no invasion of Gaza. Iran and the U.S. cooperated on fighting ISIS in Iraq, uneasy partners for certain but not shooting at each other. The Houthi struggle was confined within Yemen’s borders. 

And it’s not just Ukraine and the Middle East. Efforts were being made to encourage diplomacy with North Korea, which instead is now test firing missiles aplomb once again. Biden has made little progress on China either to limit their aggressive military stance or reduce their economic hold over America. Biden has largely ignored most of Africa and South America, as well as the world’s most populous democracy (and nuclear power) India. It is impossible to call it progress and all too easy to call it, sadly, the Biden Doctrine.

The post Yemen Is the Latest Example of the Failing Biden Doctrine appeared first on The American Conservative.

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