President Joe Biden is already showing early warning signs that he is struggling on the international stage, particularly in the Middle East, where a national security expert warns that Biden might be making a war in the region worse by his policies.
The Biden administration announced last month that it was reversing the Trump administration’s decision to designate the Yemeni Houthis as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.
The Council on Foreign Relations noted:
The main defense of the Trump administration decision to call the Houthis terrorists is that they repeatedly commit acts of terrorism. QED. And the main critique of the Biden administration’s revocation of that decision is equally simple: the Houthis have long committed, and continue to commit, acts of terror. They should be designated an FTO because they are an FTO.
Not only did Biden lift the terrorist designation on the Yemeni Houthis, he also announced last month that the U.S. would no longer support Saudi Arabia’s war against the terrorists.
Reuters reported last month:
Biden … declared a halt to U.S. support for a Saudi Arabia-led military campaign in Yemen, demanding that the more than six-year war, widely seen as a proxy conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran, “has to end.” …
“This war has to end,” the Democratic president said during a visit to the U.S. State Department in Washington. “And to underscore our commitment, we’re ending all American support for offensive operations in the war in Yemen, including relevant arms sales.”
The move is a reversal of a policy of both the Democratic Obama and Republican Trump administrations. Biden was vice president in the Obama administration.
However, the Biden administration signaled this week that it is growing increasingly alarmed over the acts of terrorism that the Houthis carried out against Saudi Arabia over the weekend, which included firing missiles and drones at a Saudi facility vital to oil exports, according to a separate Reuters report.
“We continue to be alarmed by the frequency of Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia. Escalating attacks like these are not the actions of a group that is serious about peace,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said. “We understand that they face genuine security threats from Yemen and others in the region…We will look for ways to improve support for Saudi Arabia’s ability to defend its territory against threats.”
Jonathan Schanzer, senior vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told CNBC on Tuesday that Biden’s desire to end Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen might be making the entire situation worse.
Schanzer said Biden’s move will not help end the war in Yemen because the U.S. does not have concessions to offer to the Houthis, who now have less incentive than before to make compromises.
“In fact, if anything, I think this is likely to make the conflict grow worse,” Schanzer said. “What the Biden administration has done is, it has taken the military option off the table for the United States, even by way of proxy through the Saudis.”
“The reality that we are now facing is that we’ve taken really all of our other leverage off the table, and we’re simply going to hope that an Iran-backed militia will come to the table and act reasonably,” Schanzer added. “Unfortunately, I think this is wishful thinking.”
Former Obama Secretary of Defense Robert Gates warned just a couple of years ago that Biden has “been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.”
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