The Politics of Joe Biden’s Fear

E. Rowell:  The US foreign policy establishment has enabled Iran to hold the US and the Middle East hostage since the Iranian Revolution, apart from the years during which Trump was President.  Biden’s protection of the Iranian Nuclear Program now is exactly what Obama’s goal was all along, to give the Iranians nuclear capability.  The “dialogue” was always for show.  For a US President like Biden to act or not act towards Iran based upon fear of retaliation implies that the US has helped create a monster it can no longer control.  The deeper goal all along was the destruction of the United States.

By Seth Mandel, COMMENTARY    27 May 2024

Usually when we talk about a campaign based on the politics of fear we mean the candidate is trying to scare the public into voting for him. “If you don’t vote for me, this will be America’s last election” etc. But with President Biden we’re seeing a campaign dominated by a different kind of fear: Joe Biden’s.

The Associated Press has the numbers on Iran’s growing illicit nuclear program. According to an International Atomic Energy Agency report seen by the AP, the Islamic Republic has increased by about 17 percent its stockpile of uranium that is enriched to 60 percent, “just a short, technical step away from weapons-grade levels.” The IAEA report “also said Tehran has not reconsidered the agency’s September 2023 decision of barring the most experienced nuclear inspectors from monitoring its nuclear program,” though it claims to expect that to change.

That story pairs wonderfully with a big Wall Street Journal scoop today: Biden has been pressuring European allies to let Iran get away with it. According to the Journal:

The U.S. is arguing against an effort by Britain and France to censure Iran at the International Atomic Energy Agency’s member state board in early June, the diplomats said. The U.S. has pressed a number of other countries to abstain in a censure vote, saying that is what Washington will do, they said…

European diplomats have warned that failure to take action would undermine the authority of the IAEA, which polices nonproliferation of nuclear weapons. They say it also weakens the credibility of Western pressure on Iran. And they are frustrated over what they see as U.S. efforts to undermine their approach.

The Biden administration appears to be letting Iran hold American policy hostage. The president fears any attempt to hold Tehran to account for its violations will be followed by Iranian retaliation. That, in turn, could lead to a more “volatile” status quo. And volatility is bad for an incumbent president’s reelection prospects.

A few points. First, it undermines the president’s own case for reelection if he must allow antagonistic foreign powers to become even more powerful just to return himself to office. The claim that the other guy will bring about a more dangerous world order isn’t as convincing if a candidate feels pressured to begin ushering in that more dangerous world on his own.

Second, if the U.S. is protecting Iran from consequences, there is no diplomatic process at all anymore—no matter how many times the administration claims it seeks a “diplomatic solution” to the Iranian nuclear crisis. Censuring Iran at an IAEA meeting is the diplomatic process. And if the U.S. is going to humiliate France for its mild attempts to hold Iran accountable, that will be the end of the accountability regime entirely. Yet that is exactly what Biden is proposing by having his team pressure other countries to torpedo the UK and France’s efforts to censure Iran. It goes without saying that getting these countries back on board for future sanctions will be an uphill battle.

Third, this is not an isolated incident. You’ll remember that, last month, the Biden administration told Ukraine to stop attacking Russian oil refineries. These types of strikes were one of the few ways the Ukrainians could actually hurt Russia’s ability to bleed Ukraine out with a slow and steady forever war. But the president was worried about a possible spike in oil prices in an election year. Ukraine’s very existence as a sovereign state is at risk here, and yet we are apparently asking it to forgo trying to win the war for the better part of a year. Perhaps Biden plans to be more generous to whatever is left of Ukraine in 2025.

Meanwhile, the president is emboldening Iran for the same reason, despite the fact that Iran is the engine behind a Middle East war (those things can be pretty volatile too, Mr. President!) and has recently murdered U.S. troops in the region. None of that stops to wait until after election season. Whoever wins the U.S. presidential election will take office not in May of 2024 but in January of 2025, when all these trends will have worsened.

The presidency has no pause button. Biden must remember that there are worse things to fear than losing an election.

May 28, 2024 | 1 Comment »

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  1. What are the so-called US concerns that Europe has to consider!!!
    A third front is a recipe for losing the 2024 elections!