Joe Biden’s Trump-Level Incoherence on Foreign Policy and Gaza

PalestineWhite House Joe Biden
Joe Biden’s Trump-Level Incoherence on Foreign Policy and Gaza

Joe Biden has done just as much, if not more, to destroy the United States’ international legitimacy as Donald Trump did. This is manifestly obvious to anyone paying attention to the Israeli genocide of Gaza backed by Biden’s State Department, especially when contrasted to the American-opposed Russian assault on Ukrainian civilians. It’s as good of an A/B test of political principles as any of us have ever seen.

The Biden administration has utterly failed it, and the whole world knows it. There is no principle aligning all these policies across both regions, only power. Some may think my “manifestly obvious” assertion is unnecessarily hyperbolic, but one of Biden’s own diplomats likely wouldn’t, as they told the Financial Times ten days after Hamas’s October 7th attack.

“We have definitely lost the battle in the Global South,” said one senior G7 diplomat. “All the work we have done with the Global South [over Ukraine] has been lost . . . Forget about rules, forget about world order. They won’t ever listen to us again.”

ProPublica reported yesterday that Secretary of State Anthony Blinken is sitting on a State Department recommendation to restrict arms sales to Israeli units who have been credibly accused of human rights abuses.

The incidents under review mostly took place in the West Bank and occurred before Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel. They include reports of extrajudicial killings by the Israeli Border Police; an incident in which a battalion gagged, handcuffed and left an elderly Palestinian American man for dead; and an allegation that interrogators tortured and raped a teenager who had been accused of throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails.

Recommendations for action against Israeli units were sent to Blinken in December, according to one person familiar with the memo. “They’ve been sitting in his briefcase since then,” another official said.

A State Department spokesperson told ProPublica the agency takes its commitment to uphold U.S. human rights laws seriously. “This process is one that demands a careful and full review,” the spokesperson said, “and the department undergoes a fact-specific investigation applying the same standards and procedures regardless of the country in question.”

This is pretty standard for Biden’s feckless and cowardly State Department, where they give some mealy-mouthed response about being patient and upholding norms while their actions prove they could give a shit about anything they claim to care about. The Intercept reported on leaked cables today which reveal that the Biden administration is pressuring the Security Council to oppose a measure to allow the Palestinian Authority full UN membership. They are not Hamas, this is the governing body in Palestine Biden says the United States supports.

He even brazenly lies to our face like Trump, and he wholeheartedly supports a regime willing to stoop to the lowest levels man can find, like using the cries of children to lure Palestinians to their deaths.

This Trump-style madness is demonstrated by the litany of State Department briefings where some really great journalists have asked difficult questions to Biden’s mouthpieces who all look wholly unequipped for the job of defending this monstrosity. I’ve embedded several videos of Biden’s State Department briefings below so you can see a window into the administration’s depravity. Credit to Assal Rad, author of State of Resistance: Politics, Culture & Identity in Modern Iran, for clipping all of these State Department press conferences and posting them to Twitter.

Trump-Style Logic

On March 11th, Said Arikat of Al Quds Daily DC (a terrific journalist who is one of the main protagonists in these videos) pressured State Department Spokesman, Matt Miller (of Trump-era Twitter semi-fame), over whether the Biden administration will restore funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), like our allies Canada and Sweden. Funding was pulled because Israel accused them of harboring terrorists, and like a good client state, the United States dutifully followed its master’s orders.

Note how Miller offloads responsibility to a United Nations organization that he claims to respect. This is the route the Biden administration’s reasoning takes to delve into Trump-style illogic. In the following videos they will demonstrate they do not give one scintilla of a fuck about what the United Nations thinks.

Miller isn’t the only flack who wakes up every day to shield the crimes of empire, as Vedant Patel is also tasked with defending the impossible. On March 18th, The Intercept’s Ryan Grim asked about UNRWA staff claiming they were tortured by Israel to extract confessions that led the U.S. to support pulling funding from UNRWA. Aagain we see the Trumpian United States giving lip service to an international organization they supposedly support, before closing the clip endorsing a bill in Congress that would defund UNRWA as Grim pointed out.

One reason I feel comfortable comparing this kind of foreign policy incoherence to Trump is how Matt Miller bizarrely explains how Biden’s “red lines” with Israel actually work and what that phrase even means (spoiler: nothing).

You can see Miller’s State Department programming kick in at the end when he has to pretend the administration cares about starving Palestinian children when he just described how Joe Biden’s “red line” won’t stop America from shipping bombs to Israel who is bombing starving Palestinian children. That same day, Patel unwittingly gave the game away when asked by an Al Jazeera reporter about all the reports from journalists that Israel is killing and torturing journalists, and he responded with “we’re aware of those reports and we have asked the government of Israel for more information.”

Another theme here is that Israel is apparently the United States’ chief fact-checker. After providing boilerplate nothingspeak about the importance of not killing civilians in hospitals, the United States State Department spokesman, speaking from the center of a city with nearly 5.5 million people in its metro area, again repeated the braindead trope where defenders of this atrocity say something to the effect of, “well Hamas hides within the population so of course civilians are going to die and hospitals will be destroyed and it’s not our fault.”

Per this logic repeated by both the Israelis and Americans and their dutiful lapdogs in media, both countries deserve to be bombed back to the stone age too over these evil regimes who have embedded themselves deep amongst their citizens. If one were to try to attack America’s chief political and economic centers, one would risk killing up to 30 million civilians around them. What kind of monsters embed themselves in the population like that?

The following day, Said Arikat asked a simple question: do Palestinians have the right to defend themselves? You would think this is an easy answer, but not for Donald Trump Joe Biden’s State Department. The first thing Patel spoke about in response was Israel’s right to defense and he never affirmed whether the United States believes that Palestinians have a right to self-defense.

The March 20th State Department briefing brought additional frustration to the fore, as Arikat demanded a strong response from the American government to protect journalists from repeated Israeli assaults, and all the United States spokesperson could offer up was very clearly looking down to read from prepared talking points in anticipation of being asked about the Biden Administration’s support for a regime committing war crimes. As far as Palestine is concerned, there’s no evidence Biden cares any more about journalists than Trump does.

On March 25th, The Associated Press’s Matt Lee pressured the State Department on the UN ceasefire resolution, and said that given the United States’s incoherence on this subject, “what the hell is the point of the UN?”

Prior to that exchange, Miller had a very revealing answer around the 40 second mark in response to Lee’s statement of the obvious, “that a ceasefire goes both ways, doesn’t it?”

“It could.”

If that were me up there trying to stammer through my boss’s twisted logic only to get bodied and beclowned in front of the whole world like that, I’d quit my job and wander into the mountains, never to be seen from again.

Instead, Miller came back for more abuse on the 26th, trying to explain how it makes any kind of sense that the UN Security Council, whose resolutions are theoretically supposed to be binding, all of a sudden become non-binding (but still kind of binding???) when it comes to stopping the immiseration of Palestinians.

Honestly the State Department might be more coherent under Trump in this situation. It would still be just as depraved, but it wouldn’t bother appealing to liberal ideals it doesn’t support and thus tie itself in logical knots that any 6th grade Model UN student could win a competition against.

On March 27th, Miller was asked about the UN Special Rapporteur’s report that the threshold for genocide has been met (and Elizabeth Warren agrees that it has, “with ample evidence”).

The Biden administration’s response was to accuse the Rapporteur of antisemitism. Of all the Trumpian clips here, this one is the Trumpiest.

I’ll believe that Trump will pay all his creditors back before I believe that Biden’s United States would give the UN a shred of influence over what happens with Israel and Palestine.

On the 28th, Prem Thakker of The Intercept brought up a litany of documented evidence and then asked “how is Israel not violating humanitarian law?” Miller again made it clear that the mighty State Department views Israel as one of the main arbiters of whether Israel is violating humanitarian law (even in the face of evidence of a State Department study, as ProPublica reported).

I wonder if they have that same standard for Russia!

On March 31st, Matt Miller refused to say whether the killing of Palestinian babies is a war crime and whether the United States itself would even try to investigate it.

On April 2nd, John Kirby, who is the most enthusiastic of American empire’s defenders in this crisis, was asked about the three strikes on World Central Kitchen workers that killed seven people including one American, and how the second and third strikes on marked cars traveling on pre-approved routes could possibly be considered “a mistake” like Israel (and their propagandists at The New York Times) asserted.

This smug fucking asshole. Part of me feels bad for guys like Miller who probably just wanted a cushy gig in a boring administration so he could ride off into the sunset on a cushier MSNBC gig in four to eight years. Instead he has now become one of the stammering and bumbling faces of an all-time incompetent State Department helping to perpetuate a genocide (this shitshow was too much for the weapons sales guy at the State Department to take, for Pete’s sake).

But Kirby’s press conferences have a different air to them, there’s a confidence and condescension to his depravity that Miller and Patel simply don’t have. If anyone has earned the right to be the American face of this barbarism (other than the president responsible for all this), it’s John Kirby.

We’ll close with an explanation that taken at face value, really drives home how the Biden administration is just as incompetent as Trump when it comes to foreign policy.

This was just two days ago, long after Israel bombed an Iranian consulate and Iran retaliated with an aerial bombardment of Israel that was almost entirely knocked out of the sky. One would think that Joe Biden’s State Department would know who bombed the Iranian consulate by now (especially as Matt Lee points out, they have already condemned Ecuador’s raid on the Mexican embassy), yet two weeks after the strike, Joe Biden and company supposedly have no idea who lobbed a missile into Syria.

Total mystery folks! No one knows! Don’t worry, we asked the Israelis if they know who did it and they said they didn’t either. What even is a cruise missile anyway?

So to all the Democratic partisans who credulously ask, “do you think this would be much different under Trump?”

No! I don’t! That’s the problem!

We have two Trumps when it comes to Gaza, and no amount of DNC-backed browbeating can get everyone to forget what they have seen and heard over these last six-plus horrific months wholeheartedly endorsed by Joe Biden’s historically incompetent State Department.

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