Bad Biden Foreign Policy

Posted by Yves  Smith – Naked Capitalism

Yves here. While Rosser is correct to depict Biden foreign policy as an ongoing train wreck (Rahm to Japan? Hard to imagine anyone temperamentally less well suited to dealing with that culture), he oddly neglected to highlight the latest splat: AUKUS.

This deal was not just a diss of India but also a threat. Indian diplomats have said not in diplospeak but plain noun-verb sentences that this move made clear the US wasn’t much of a friend and maybe getting cozier with China would be a smart move. And that’s before Biden eating a ton of crow for blindsiding France. The White House call report shows Biden initiated the conversation with Macron, offered to meet in Europe in October (double pronto given how crowded presidential calendars are) and effectively endorsed a pet Macron initiative, an EU army.

Oh, and unlike the other Biden mistakes, AUKUS isn’t a continuation of Trump policies.

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Bad Biden Foreign Policy

By Barkley Rosser*

I have posted on this previously, but not for awhile. The main meme is that for reasons I mostly do not get, Biden has been carrying over a lot of bad Trump foreign policies. Some of them I understand for political reasons, even when they damage the US and world economies. But others seem to be just plain stupid. I am not sure who in his admin are behind these failrures: SecState Blinken? NSA Sullivan? Of course in the end this stuff comes down to Biden himself, someone with much greater foreign policy experience than those two or anybody else in the admin. So failures really come down to him.

The worst, although it gets little news attention, is Iran. Biden ran on getting back into the Obama-negotiated nuclear JCPOA deal. He should have done so quickly. Yes, there were timing details to negotiate, but apparently those were negotiated. Somehow somebody decided that they should push for crap that Trump wanted but which was dumped when the deal was originally negotiated with great effort, stuff like missile restrictions and Iran support for groups abroad. Anybody who knew anything about this, like me, knew that this stuff was still non-negotiable. So why on earth Blinken et al insisted on Iran caving on any of this was utterly insane and stupid. They could have gotten this deal early, and it would not have triggered anywhere near the negative response the pullout from Afghanistan got (which I supported, but there was no way that was going to happen without a lot of bad publicity and damage in the polls, which has happened). He could have done this cleanly early with minimal fuss. But, no, and now it looks not to be done anywhere in the foreseeable future, and Iran has now accumulated nearly enough U fuel to make a bomb. And I read the admin is now looking to Israel for advice on this? This is a serious and massive failure on Biden’s part. I do not agree with Hannity that he is outright senile, but this border line there, really seriously awful and stupid.

Another is the trade issue. Yeah, this is complicated, and I get that Biden is being domestically political. So Obama and Biden negotiated the anti-China TTP, but Trump pulled out, and Hillary would have also, under domestic pressure. Now China is asking to join this actually existing trade group, with the US unbelievably stupidly out. So indeed many in the Dem Party are protectionist, especially those associated with AFL-CIO. And Biden is very close to this faction. But steel tariffs hurt autoworkers in Ohio, with the shutdown at Lordstown partly due to Trump’s steel tariffs. But the idiot workers there still supported Trump for standing up for them or whatever. So in OH it is steel producing Youngstown and Cleveland versus auto producing Lordstown, Akron, and Toledo, but no way any of them will not support protectionism and Trump. So why does Biden support this idiocy? I think in the end it is Pennsylvania, his home state, which is the ultimate steel producing state, with no autos. So, in political terms understandable given what a key state his original home is.

There is much more unfortunately.

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*Professor of Economics at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Originally published at EconoSpeak