Biden’s first trip to the Middle East seems meant to highlight the continuing inconsistency of his administration’s foreign policy.
Amid record gasoline prices in the United States, the administration of President Joe Biden announced that he will visit Saudi Arabia during his first trip to the Middle East as president. Biden’s decision to visit the kingdom, which is perennially accused of human rights violations, shows the inherent contradictions driving the administration’s foreign policy.
Biden’s foreign policy has two fundamental pillars, at least in terms of messages. The first is that US foreign policy should put human rights at the center, while the other is that US diplomatic relations should help average Americans, claiming that they fuse domestic policies and external. The application of these two has proven to be extremely challenging, which could be described as consistently inconsistent.
The trip to Saudi Arabia is aimed at lowering the average prices of Americans at the pump. That’s clear. But it is difficult to square this circle when Biden had previously said he would not speak to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom’s main power player, but now says he will meet him under these circumstances, though, he claims, neither. in one.
The prince, who goes by MBS, is credibly accused of being behind the brutal murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi-born American resident and Washington Post columnist who was dismembered at the Saudi embassy in Istanbul, Turkey. MBS is also believed to be the main orchestrator of the Saudi-led war in Yemen, which has featured one of the most brutal and indiscriminate bombing campaigns in living memory.
It’s hard to see how Biden can claim to be putting human rights at the center of his agenda while meeting with the likes of MBS. This after his administration had just concluded the last Summit of the Americas, which excluded the governments of Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela for human rights reasons, but also included countries like Colombia and Brazil, bastions of human rights. , definitely.
Speaking of Venezuela, while the US considers it a violator of human rights and democratic norms, and furthermore does not even recognize Nicolás Maduro as the legitimate president, Washington has begun to ease sanctions against Venezuela and even held high-level meetings with the government in Caracas. For example, Washington is reportedly planning to allow Venezuela to send oil to Europe to plug the holes left by the exclusion of Russian crude.
We can see that US foreign policy is consistently inconsistent, mainly because it tries to stay true to certain principles, but immediately betrays them when reality sets in. It shows that America’s proclaimed ideals are out of touch with geopolitical realities and would inevitably harm average Americans if really implemented to its logical conclusion.
At the same time, however, it is debatable to what extent helping average Americans is even a top foreign policy priority for Biden. In the Middle East, for example, the Biden administration is sacrificing progress made in implementing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, or the Iran nuclear deal) in pursuit of its latest Middle East peace plan.
But the details of this plan reveal that there is certainly nothing peaceful about it. On June 9, Congress introduced bipartisan legislation that would see the Pentagon coordinate air defenses with Israel and various Arab states against Iran. It will also see tons of weapons funneled into the region, even though a March report from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute showed that arms imports have begun to level off.
It’s hard to see how putting a wrench in a process that would help stop nuclear proliferation in the Middle East, opting instead to simply funnel weapons into the region and promote an anti-Iran military alliance actually helps the American people. Rather, it only appears to be beneficial to military contractors who inherently benefit from destabilization and catastrophe.
Biden’s foreign policy is consistently inconsistent. The administration claims to follow certain principles and norms, such as human rights, but abandons them when the political consequences would be too great. This is clearly the case, as Biden’s Democratic Party faces a stiff challenge from Republicans in this year’s midterm elections, all while the US economy grapples with record inflation and a imminent recession.
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