One of my primary complaints against America’s pre-Trump international policies is that they were utterly ineffective. The last notable triumphs go back to President Nixon bringing China out from behind the Bamboo Curtain and President Reagan’s fight against state-sponsored terrorism (recall the bombing of Kaddafi’s palace in Libya), the collapse of the Soviet Union and the freeing of the captive nations (biggest thing since we won World War II). There was also the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT).
It has been all downhill since then. One may argue that in the post-Reagan era, the professional bureaucrats in the State Department took over. What we got was endless talk – frequent threats and condemnations – and no victories.
Russia became increasing aggressive – and successful – in the Middle East. North Korea continued to move toward becoming a nuclear nation no matter how much our diplomats pounded their fists and stomped their feet – and said it was “unacceptable.” We played patty-cake with the brutal Cuban regime – even opening a diplomatic office on the island nation only to see no change in the Cuban leaders’ anti-American posture. We lost in Syria – and caused the deadliest migration in modern history.
Then along came Trump.
That is when we strengthened NATO by adding new members and getting member-nations to pay more of their promised financial commitment. We crushed the ISIS califate. We formed an Israel-friendly coalition of Arab nations – three of which signed treaties with Israel. And we stopped Kim Jong-un’s production and testing of nuclear bombs and delivery systems and finally got action on the return of American soldiers missing in action on the Korean peninsula. We cut short Putin’s planned takeover of Ukraine – although we may see that soon.
Perhaps the greatest bungle of all was the Iran Nuclear Deal. Thanks to the negotiating skill of then-Secretary of State John Kerry, the United States ended sanctions and sent billions of dollars to fuel terrorism. And what did we get? A lip-service promise to not produce nuclear bombs for a few years.
We were told by Kerry & Company that the Deal’s strategy prevented Iran from being a nuclear power forever. That was just a bald-faced lie. Even if they had agreed to such a provision – which they did not — there was more than enough evidence to suggest they would not keep their word.
Now we have Kerry serving President Biden as the chief international climate change negotiator.
But it has not kept Kerry from dabbling into the Iran strategy. He seems to feel a certain parentage over our relationship with Iran. Biden is now talking about lifting the Trump-era sanctions on Tehran.
At this point, the negotiations to get back into the Iran Nuclear Deal are stalled – particularly on one very interesting point. The United States is calling for a stronger commitment from Iran to give up all future nuclear ambitions. Whoa! Let’s underscore that point.
The current Biden strategy is ensuring America has stronger guarantees that Iran will not become the Middle East’s newest nuclear power. Hmmmmm. That sounds like a backhanded admission that the original agreement was … not so good. It sounds like the criticisms of Republicans and Trump were spot on. It was NOT a good deal for the United States as Democrats have been claiming since the ink dried on the original documents.
I guess a backhanded admission is better than none at all. But there is plenty of time for the Biden administration to concede virtually everything for a symbolic agreement that has little to no benefit for the United States. We have seen that movie before.