BIDEN MUTE AS PROTESTS DEMAND FREEDOM AROUND THE WORLD
What does the United States stand for? With Joe Biden in the White House, absolutely nothing.
Apparently, we don’t stand for freedom. As brave citizens in China desperately protest that country’s heinous lockdowns and censorship, a spokesman for the Biden administration says that the White House is “going to watch this closely.”
We don’t stand against human rights abusers. As crippling energy prices threaten the president’s approval ratings, Biden’s emissaries travel to Venezuela, allowing an easing of sanctions and resumed oil exports from a murderous regime that happens to have the world’s largest oil reserves.
Amnesty International has called out the Maduro government for “extrajudicial executions, excessive use of force, arbitrary detentions and torture and other ill-treatment against those perceived as critical of the government” but the Biden government needs oil.
Just not our oil – he hates that.
We don’t stand for peace in the Middle East. Too small-minded to accept the extraordinary success of the Abraham Accords achieved under President Trump, which created new alliances in the region and ring-fenced Iran, the Biden team continues its pursuit of a new nuclear deal with Tehran.
The Biden White House resolutely ignores Iran’s past history of cheating on its nuclear commitments; astonishingly, it allows Russia to act as an intermediary.
We also seemingly don’t stand with women’s rights. Violent and widespread protests in Iran over the killing of a young woman arrested for not wearing a hijab have reportedly resulted in hundreds of deaths and the blinding of hundreds more by rubber bullets and metal pellets fired by security forces.
The White House, other than issuing the usual supportive pablum, has been largely AWOL. Biden inadvertently boasted on the campaign trail that “We’re going to free Iran” but his team soon walked back the comment, saying that we merely “stood in solidarity” with the protesters.
In his first meeting with EU countries, President Biden cockily announced that “America is back.” He says our allies asked, “For how long?” Americans should ask, “To what end?”
Yes, the Biden administration has stood up to Russia after Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked and despicable invasion of Ukraine. But, only to a point. Heaven forbid we actually make Putin angry by giving Ukraine the weapons they need to resist a much larger adversary.
Heaven forbid we actually declare an intention to help Ukraine win the war – a goal never once expressed by our president — even as he asks taxpayers to shell out tens of billions of dollars.
Biden wants to be popular. He strives to differentiate himself from his predecessor; there is no question that Trump sometimes offended our allies as well as our adversaries, but in most instances, he was spot on.
Take the EU, which has relied on the U.S. for decades to provide for the common defense. In 2017, Trump blistered NATO nations for failing to spend the agreed-upon 2% of GDP on defense. That year, only the U.S., U.K., Greece, Poland and Estonia met that target. Germany, the richest country in Europe, forked out less than 1.5% of its GDP in defense spending.
Michael Fallon, a former UK Defense Minister, supported Trump’s charge, telling CNBC “Half the alliance — 16 of the 29 countries — don’t even spend 1.5 percent (of gross domestic product) let alone 2 percent that we all agreed on four years ago…”
Today, NATO allies have resolved to support Ukraine, but as usual, it is the United States that is doing the heavy lifting. So far, the U.S. has committed $68 billion to aid Ukraine; President Biden has asked Congress for another $37.7 billion.
In contrast, EU countries have to date sent Kyiv 3 billion Euros, in addition to a separate 1.2 billion Euros loan. In addition, they have promised Ukraine 1.5 billion euros per month in aid through 2023; the IMF estimates that is a fraction of Ukraine’s needs.
To remind, Russia’s aggression threatens the EU; they are at the border. We are not. Also, the GDP of the EU is roughly $15 trillion, roughly 65% of the U.S. at $23 trillion. Proportionately, once again, the EU is not holding up their end.
President Biden recently met with Chinese President Xi Jinping. According to the White House readout, Biden “raised concerns about PRC practices in Xinjiang, Tibet, and Hong Kong, and human rights more broadly.”
Today, tanks are rolling into Xuzhou in eastern China, likely preparing to squash unprecedented demonstrations in numerous cities that have alarmed the authoritarian regime. Protesters elsewhere have been arrested, some detained with violence, reminding the world of the Tiananmen Square massacre that took place 30 years ago.
Biden’s response? Assurances from a spokesman that “We’ve long said everyone has the right to peacefully protest, in the United States and around the world.”
That muted support flies in the face of Biden’s oft-expressed assertion that our competition with China, as the New York Times reports, is “the first example” of what he calls a struggle between “autocracy and democracy.” The Times notes that Biden “has insisted that he will call out abuses by authoritarian governments around the world.”
Biden is especially concerned not to offend Xi, because he needs his help to control the changing climate. We know this is a high priority from his meeting last month, where he avoided sensitive topics such as the origin of COVID, which China has banned the world from investigating.
Indeed, many of Biden’s most foolish international missteps stem from his addiction to a climate agenda that prevents ramping up domestic energy production and consequently sends the White House scurrying for oil from enemies like Venezuela, even (as columnist Mary O’Grady notes in an excellent Wall Street Journal piece) at the expense of our friends.
To stake out a coherent foreign policy, a president must have an ideological north star. Trump had “America First.” Biden has a 40-year history of being, as former Defense Secretary Robert Gates put it, “wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.”
Liz Peek is a Fox News Contributor as a weekly guest on several Fox Business shows. She is first woman president of the National Association of Petroleum Investment Analysts, and is a CFA.