The Biden administration reportedly has received no response thus far following their “behind-the-scenes” attempts to reach out to North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s government, another apparent setback that has sparked “questions” about the new administration’s effectiveness on the world stage.
“The disclosure of the so-far unsuccessful U.S. outreach, which has not been previously reported, raises questions about how Biden will address mounting tensions with Pyongyang over its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs,” Reuters reported. “It also adds a new dimension to a visit America’s top diplomat and defense secretary will make next week to South Korea and Japan, where concerns over North Korea’s nuclear arsenal are expected to be high on the agenda.”
The senior Biden administration official told Reuters that the Biden administration has made multiple attempts to contact North Korea “through several channels.” The official added, “To date, we have not received any response from Pyongyang.”
The Islamic Republic of Iran also shot down an offer in late February to hold direct talks with the United States.
“Senior Western diplomats said Iran’s response doesn’t quash the Biden administration’s hopes of reviving diplomatic efforts to restore the 2015 nuclear deal, struck between Iran and six world powers and abandoned by the Trump administration in 2018,” The Wall Street Journal reported. “But they said it seemed to set a deadlock: Iran wants a guarantee it wouldn’t walk away from a meeting with the U.S. without some sanctions relief, which Washington has so far ruled out.”
In mid-February, the Biden administration reversed the Trump administration’s position on U.N. sanctions on Iran and eased some of the stricter restrictions on Iranian diplomats traveling in the U.S.
National security expert Tim Morrison, who was on Trump’s National Security Council and is currently a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, told The Daily Wire in a statement that the Biden administration was giving up all leverage as it tried to restart the “dangerously flawed” deal.
“The Biden Administration is repeating the mistakes of the Obama Administration,” Morrison said. “It’s making concessions to get nothing more than a meeting. The Iran deal was dangerously flawed in 2015. In 2021, with key provisions expired, it’s simply national security malpractice to return to that deal. The Trump Administration bequeathed Biden tremendous leverage over Iran—it must not squander it.”
Biden has also struggled mightily in dealing with Saudi Arabia on a couple of issues. Biden promised on the campaign trail that he would go after the Saudi officials who murdered a Washington Post columnist. However, Biden cowered after the U.S. released a report that alleged that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman (MBS) “approved” the operation that resulted in the killing of the columnist. The New York Times wrote that Biden decided to not punish MBS because he was “fearing” Saudi Arabia.
Biden also has struggled with responding to the U.S.’s position to the Saudi-Yemen war, leading at least one expert to say that Biden’s actions with regard to the war might be making it worse.
One of the most notable foreign policy moments for Biden occurred when he was in office after just a few weeks. “If we don’t get moving, [China’s] going to eat our lunch,” said Biden. This comes after Biden has repeatedly downplayed the Chinese threat and has claimed that China is “not competition for us” and that China was not going to “eat our lunch.”
Former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe has expressed concern over the direction that Biden has taken on foreign policy issues, saying that, setting politics aside, it is important for all Americans that Biden is successful on intelligence and national security matters. Ratcliffe also noted that China wanted Biden to win because “the policies of the Trump administration were, frankly, somewhat confrontational to China.”
Ratcliffe said that China was already showing signs of testing the Biden administration for weakness by flying bombers over Taiwan, expanding their presence in the South China Sea, and sanctioning Republicans.