Peace Through Strength... or Surrender?

Updated: Mar 25

Joseph Biden has been president for a mere month, and his actions are already making the world less safe and endangering American interests abroad. While neglecting to reach out to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, our strongest ally in a chaotic Middle East, he has chosen to make his embrace of Iran extremely clear and very public, prioritizing the coddling of an enemy over the safety of an ally.

When Ronald Reagan didn’t get what he wanted from his Soviet counterpart, Mikhail Gorbachev in Reykjavik, Iceland in 1986, he walked out of the summit. Rather than take what he saw as a bad deal, he was willing to walk away with no deal. Gorbachev came back to the table, and he and Reagan worked out the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Reduction Treaty (INF) in 1987, with both nations agreeing to eliminate their intermediate and short-range ballistic missiles. A few years later, the Soviet Union fell and eastern Europe was liberated.

President Obama was obviously not of the same “peace through strength” school of thought from which Ronald Reagan hailed. His first Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, hit the famous “reset” button to start over with Vladimir Putin and Russia. The reset was Obama’s appeasement of Putin, reducing our arsenal while requiring nothing in return from the Russians (Medvedev was President, but we all know Putin was the real power). He appeased Muslims who wanted the United States out of the Middle East by withdrawing troops from Iraq against military advice, and in return we got an Islamic caliphate that took over much of Syria and Iraq and terrorized the Middle East.

Obama believed in what an Obama adviser termed, “leading from behind,” leaving other nations to fill roles he thought would be seen as offensive if taken by the United States. He was seemingly so averse to projecting American strength that he was willing to appease rogue nations and embolden America’s enemies. Whereas Reagan left the policy of détente with the Soviet Union in the past, and promoted the pursuit of peace through American strength, Obama revived détente with his embrace of the nuclear accord with the Iranian mullahs, attempting to promote peace through American weakness and appeasement. Reagan gave us an American Churchill; Obama gave us an American Chamberlain.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or the Iranian nuclear deal, gave Iran permanent benefits for temporary restrictions on nuclear development. There were no restrictions on Iran’s ability to develop the ballistic missiles required to carry nuclear warheads, conventional weapons, or their sponsorship of terrorism and destabilization in the region. The lifting of sanctions and plane full of cash contributed by the Obama administration allowed Iran to increase its military spending, increase military and financial support of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, and wreak further havoc in the Middle East. Iran brutally oppresses its own people, is involved in destabilizing neighboring nations like Iraq and Lebanon, and props up murderous tyrants, like Assad in Syria. The United States government under Obama, Biden, and Kerry, ever in opposition to the projection of American strength, was willing to appease an anti-American, anti-Israel, anti-peace regime responsible for countless deaths over the past half century. In their hasty efforts to avoid conflict, the Obama administration brought war, and a nuclear Iran, closer to fruition.

President Trump, the most pro-Israel American president in history, took us out of the deal and snapped back sanctions on the Islamic republic. President Biden now wants to take us back in. Rather than continuing to suppress Iran’s ability to build up its military capabilities, restrict its access to funds to export terrorism, and force them into nonproliferation, Biden seems to be recalcitrant about reinvesting in Iranian efforts to destabilize the Middle East and promote its “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” rhetoric, attitudes, and actions. Just as important, Iran’s eventual attainment of nuclear weapons will bring about the inevitable proliferation of these weapons of mass destruction, as Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and others will require an equal capability and expect the same leniency from the international community in their pursuits. Biden’s enthusiasm for rejoining the Iranian nuclear deal, coupled with his lack of interest in reaching out to Netanyahu, is a dangerous transformation of recent American foreign policy and forebodes turmoil, peril, and proliferation in the Middle East.

Former Obama administration Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who worked closely with then Vice President Biden, said that Biden has "been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades." He is continuing that streak with this colossal and potentially catastrophic blunder. Much as Neville Chamberlain and Édouard Daladier turned their backs on Austria and Czechoslovakia to appease Adolf Hitler in 1939, Joseph Biden is turning his back on Israel and Saudi Arabia to appease Ayatollah Khameini in 2021.

American presidents since the Cold War have advanced national interests with differing policies toward antagonistic nations. Truman had a policy of containment, Nixon pursued détente, Reagan utilized confrontation, and Obama embraced appeasement. After four years of Donald Trump reimposing sanctions and confronting Iran, President Biden is reverting to his mentor’s conciliatory embrace of the mullahs. Peace through strength is a memory and peace through surrender is becoming our new foreign policy. Although the 22nd amendment made it impossible for Barack Obama to run for reelection in 2016, it seems as though the American people are getting Obama’s third term in 2021


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