Inflation Is the Least of the Repercussions of Biden’s Incompetent Diplomacy

When President Barack Obama received his Nobel Peace Prize less than 11 months after his inauguration in 2009, supposedly for, among other things, establishing “a new climate in international politics” in which “dialogue and negotiations are preferred as instruments for resolving even the most difficult international conflicts,” the young, new president with close to zero foreign policy experience correctly made a point of defending the practice of dealing with thuggish regimes.Human rights, Obama said in Oslo, “must be coupled with painstaking diplomacy. I know that engagement with repressive regimes lacks the satisfying purity of indignation.  But I also know that sanctions without outreach—condemnation without discussion—can carry forward only a crippling status quo. No repressive regime can move down a new path unless it has the choice of an open door.” The first example Obama chose to cite: “In light of the Cultural Revolution’s horrors, Nixon’s meeting with Mao [in 1972] appeared inexcusable.” Not only has President Joe Biden—famously teeming with foreign policy know-how, as chairman or ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for a dozen consecutive years and vice president of the United States for eight years—selectively defied his former boss’s exhortation, but his administration’s diplomatic ham-handedness toward a less-than-pristine U.S. ally has helped that same communist China’s aims toward global domination. Inflation months ago became much worse than the Biden administration, in its wishful thinking, believed possible. One way to lessen inflation might be to get the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to increase production, in particular to make up for oil from Russia now being shunned by the United States and Europe for invading Ukraine. But how do you do that when you’ve diplomatically dissed OPEC’s dominant member, Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest, most profitable oil exporter, for the brutal 2018 murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, carried out within the Saudi embassy in Istanbul and conducted by Saudi agents? Even a college political science major taking part in a mock diplomacy session would have known that the sight of 36-year-old Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in his shorts at his palace by the sea was a signal to keep things mellow. Yet at this inaugural meeting with the de-facto Saudi ruler last September, Biden national security adviser Jake Sullivan, boy-faced at 45, proceeded to practice the ill-advised “satisfying purity of indignation” and bring up Khashoggi. Not surprisingly, he got shouted at by the youthful crown prince—who also told him that the United States’s wishes that OPEC boost its oil production wouldn’t be happening. This incident only provides the crystallizing anecdote of the Biden administration’s stupidity in regard both to Saudi Arabia—a country that would become a major Islamist terrorist menace if its royal family were toppled by democratic vote—and toward the Middle East in general. For starters, during the presidential campaign Biden promised he was “not going to, in fact, sell more weapons” or provide “subsidies” and “material” to Saudi Arabia, and that he would “make them pay the price and make them, in fact, the pariah that they are.” Not content with that, Biden accused the Saudi royal family of “murdering children.” Since becoming president, Biden has almost purposefully been pushing the Saudis into friendlier relations with both China and Russia, both of which offer Riyadh the same consistency of policy never interfered with by real elections that the Saudi government enjoys at home. We can be sure that no Beijing or Moscow diplomat has ever botched private meetings with Salman by scolding him regarding Khashoggi; their regimes both have their own Khashoggis. First of all, Biden is reviving a significantly worse version of Obama’s Iran nuclear deal, which Saudi Arabia knows will fast-track a nuclear-armed Iran. It also took the Iranian-financed Houthis in Yemen off the official U.S. list of terrorist organizations, despite their routine targeting of civilians and refusing to reconsider after they resumed missile and drone attacks on neighboring countries. The Saudis lead a nine-nation coalition intervening in Yemen’s Civil War and the Houthis have repeatedly fired on Saudi cities. Demonstrating the devastating ripple effects that U.S. ineptitude can inadvertently set in motion, Saudi Arabia earlier this year began active talks with communist China to shift to conducting, at least partially, its oil sales to China in yuan instead of U.S. dollars, a change that could cause other oil-producing countries to follow suit, China now boasting the world’s largest economy. Saudi Arabia, whose biggest trading partner is China, is a key player in Beijing’s trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which seeks to extend China’s economic dominance throughout the world, often through debt-trap d

Inflation Is the Least of the Repercussions of Biden’s Incompetent Diplomacy

When President Barack Obama received his Nobel Peace Prize less than 11 months after his inauguration in 2009, supposedly for, among other things, establishing “a new climate in international politics” in which “dialogue and negotiations are preferred as instruments for resolving even the most difficult international conflicts,” the young, new president with close to zero foreign policy experience correctly made a point of defending the practice of dealing with thuggish regimes.

Human rights, Obama said in Oslo, “must be coupled with painstaking diplomacy. I know that engagement with repressive regimes lacks the satisfying purity of indignation.  But I also know that sanctions without outreach—condemnation without discussion—can carry forward only a crippling status quo. No repressive regime can move down a new path unless it has the choice of an open door.”

The first example Obama chose to cite: “In light of the Cultural Revolution’s horrors, Nixon’s meeting with Mao [in 1972] appeared inexcusable.”

Not only has President Joe Biden—famously teeming with foreign policy know-how, as chairman or ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for a dozen consecutive years and vice president of the United States for eight years—selectively defied his former boss’s exhortation, but his administration’s diplomatic ham-handedness toward a less-than-pristine U.S. ally has helped that same communist China’s aims toward global domination.

Inflation months ago became much worse than the Biden administration, in its wishful thinking, believed possible. One way to lessen inflation might be to get the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to increase production, in particular to make up for oil from Russia now being shunned by the United States and Europe for invading Ukraine. But how do you do that when you’ve diplomatically dissed OPEC’s dominant member, Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest, most profitable oil exporter, for the brutal 2018 murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, carried out within the Saudi embassy in Istanbul and conducted by Saudi agents?

Even a college political science major taking part in a mock diplomacy session would have known that the sight of 36-year-old Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in his shorts at his palace by the sea was a signal to keep things mellow. Yet at this inaugural meeting with the de-facto Saudi ruler last September, Biden national security adviser Jake Sullivan, boy-faced at 45, proceeded to practice the ill-advised “satisfying purity of indignation” and bring up Khashoggi. Not surprisingly, he got shouted at by the youthful crown prince—who also told him that the United States’s wishes that OPEC boost its oil production wouldn’t be happening.

This incident only provides the crystallizing anecdote of the Biden administration’s stupidity in regard both to Saudi Arabia—a country that would become a major Islamist terrorist menace if its royal family were toppled by democratic vote—and toward the Middle East in general. For starters, during the presidential campaign Biden promised he was “not going to, in fact, sell more weapons” or provide “subsidies” and “material” to Saudi Arabia, and that he would “make them pay the price and make them, in fact, the pariah that they are.” Not content with that, Biden accused the Saudi royal family of “murdering children.”

Since becoming president, Biden has almost purposefully been pushing the Saudis into friendlier relations with both China and Russia, both of which offer Riyadh the same consistency of policy never interfered with by real elections that the Saudi government enjoys at home. We can be sure that no Beijing or Moscow diplomat has ever botched private meetings with Salman by scolding him regarding Khashoggi; their regimes both have their own Khashoggis.

First of all, Biden is reviving a significantly worse version of Obama’s Iran nuclear deal, which Saudi Arabia knows will fast-track a nuclear-armed Iran. It also took the Iranian-financed Houthis in Yemen off the official U.S. list of terrorist organizations, despite their routine targeting of civilians and refusing to reconsider after they resumed missile and drone attacks on neighboring countries. The Saudis lead a nine-nation coalition intervening in Yemen’s Civil War and the Houthis have repeatedly fired on Saudi cities.

Demonstrating the devastating ripple effects that U.S. ineptitude can inadvertently set in motion, Saudi Arabia earlier this year began active talks with communist China to shift to conducting, at least partially, its oil sales to China in yuan instead of U.S. dollars, a change that could cause other oil-producing countries to follow suit, China now boasting the world’s largest economy.

Saudi Arabia, whose biggest trading partner is China, is a key player in Beijing’s trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which seeks to extend China’s economic dominance throughout the world, often through debt-trap diplomacy. Nineteen Arab countries have now agreed to BRI construction projects. China has long been selling weapons to Saudi and is apparently helping the kingdom build its own ballistic missiles.

In the wake of the European Union imposing a phased oil embargo on Russia over its aggression against Ukraine, boosting the global price of oil even further, “OPEC+,”  which includes Russia, will increase production by only 432,000 barrels per day in June, despite repeated pleas from the Biden administration for more. This despite Saudi Arabia alone among the oil-producing nations having extensive spare capacity for production and export. That oil production ceiling was crafted by Saudi Arabia together with its fellow major oil-producing power, Russia.

Is it any wonder amidst all this that the leader of the free world could not even arrange a phone call with Salman, or with United Arab Emirates president Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan? Last July visiting Washington, Prince Khalid bin Salman, the crown prince’s younger brother, canceled a dinner at the Saudi ambassador’s residence after being denied the amount of time he requested with Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.

Now Biden is reportedly seriously mulling visiting Saudi Arabia in hopes of securing a face-to-face meeting with the crown prince he called a child murderer. It is more likely such a trip will be used to humiliate Biden and America, with Salman gleefully standing him up.

Real leadership by the world’s lone superpower recognizes that evil is to be found in corridors of power all over the world. In defense of liberty, it weighs and evaluates the evils, in the end unavoidably dealing with, even sometimes allying with, thugs. The Saudis are a deeply flawed ally who prove invaluable in dealing with Iran, a theocratic menace that would cause at worst a regional nuclear war if so armed, at best the launch of a Mideast nuclear arms race. With China, Russia, and Iran to contend with, Biden ineptly aimed his ire at, as far as American interests go, a lesser evil.

Just how much “satisfying purity” will Biden and his band of diplomatic blunderers feel when they realize that with global dominance at stake they’ve been shooting in the wrong direction?

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.


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Thomas McArdle was a White House speechwriter for President George W. Bush and writes for IssuesInsights.com