Democrat Joe Biden is reportedly seeking to de-emphasize using the U.S. Military, by far the most powerful military in the world, as a measure of national power in what is a clear reversal from the Trump administration’s peace through strength policy.
The claim was made in an Axios report that focused on several leading candidates that Biden is expected to choose from to be his secretary of defense.
“Biden is considering retired four-star General Lloyd Austin as his nominee for defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy,” Axios reported. “The Biden team wants to elevate diplomacy and de-emphasize the military as an instrument of national power.”
Biden’s judgment on foreign policy issues has come under increased scrutiny. Former Obama Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said in his memoir about the former vice president, “I think he’s been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.”
Gates also suggested during an interview with CBS News in May 2019, in which he said he stood by that statement, that Biden’s age was concerning because “I’m not sure you have the intellectual acuity that you might have had in your sixties.”
Biden is set to take office with numerous serious national security issues looming on America’s horizon, including rising tensions with Iran, an increasingly aggressive communist China, instability in Latin America, and a global order that has been uprooted by a pandemic.
Currently, the most recent development on the world stage was the killing of scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, who led Iran’s clandestine nuclear weapons program. The move comes as U.S. allies in the region have taken what appear to be last-minute actions against Iran while they still have the support and backing of the Trump administration. Biden’s past political stances and rhetoric indicate that his administration will be far weaker in confronting hostile nations like Iran. Some analysts have said that the strike against Iran’s top nuclear scientist was also a play to damage an attempt by Biden to reenter the failed Iran nuclear deal from the Obama-era.
The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board wrote:
The U.S. left the nuclear accord in May 2018 and embarked on a “maximum pressure” sanctions campaign. After restoring pre-deal sanctions, the Trump Administration has added new restrictions across the Iranian economy, which is rigged to enrich the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and elites in Tehran. The White House plans to announce more sanctions through Jan. 20.
The sanctions have succeeded in weakening the rogue regime. Today Tehran exports about a quarter of the 2.5 million barrels of oil a day it shipped when the U.S. was still in the deal. This deprives the government of $50 billion in annual revenue. The economy has shrunk, while the Iranian rial has lost 80% of its value against the dollar.
Iran has responded by increasing its violations of the nuclear deal. It now has 12 times the limit of enriched uranium allowed under the accord, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said this month. It also is enriching uranium to 4.5% purity, above the 3.67% allowed under the deal but far from the 90% concentration needed for a bomb.
That Iran was able to ramp up its nuclear production so quickly is a reminder of the agreement’s major flaws. The IAEA also said this month that Iran’s explanation was “not credible” after investigators found nuclear material at an undeclared site. “We continue to be extremely concerned by Iran’s actions, which are hollowing out the core non-proliferation benefits of the deal,” the United Kingdom, France and Germany said in a statement responding to the IAEA report.
Yet Mr. Biden has vowed to return to the deal if Tehran begins honoring its commitments. … But what kind of agreement? The original nuclear deal makes it easy for Iran to break out as its provisions sunset over the next decade. Meanwhile, it provided cash for Iran to expand its regional influence and terrorism. After signing the 2015 deal, Iran increased its military budget more than 30% between 2016 and 2018, and its proxies in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen benefited.
However, Biden will have the benefit of coming into office with multiple Islamic nations in the Middle East having recently entered into peace deals with Israel in part as a result of the Trump administration’s efforts.