". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


Biden Administration Pampers Foes, Punishes Allies

May 14, 2024

The world is a dangerous place to be an American ally right now. The Biden administration announced last Tuesday that it has paused arms deliveries to Israel until its concerns over the planned invasion of Rafah are “fully addressed.” Earlier that day, the State Department informed Congress it was extending waivers for Qatar, Lebanon, and five other Islamic nations to receive American weapons.

In other words, the Biden administration will supply weapons to state sponsors of terror, but not to our closest allies.

It should seem obvious, but “ally” is not an empty phrase for a “country we feel positively toward.” No, an ally is a partner, one we have agreed to work closely with, and one with whom we have established contractual obligations. Allies develop such strong mutual bonds that they are willing to work through minor differences in order to preserve the relationship. Punitive actions, such as sanctions and embargoes, are reserved not for allies but for hostile powers, geopolitical rivals, or at best frenemies.

Israel is currently fighting Iran-backed Islamist terrorists on three fronts (Hamas to the southwest, Hezbollah to the north, other factions to the west), not to mention fending off missile and drone attacks launched by the Houthis in Yemen and from Iran itself. Israel is “our very closest friend and ally,” Senator Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) declared on “Washington Watch” Monday. “We have friends like Israel. We have enemies like Iran.”

On March 13, 2024 — after five months of attacks on Israel and U.S. forces by Iran-backed militias — the Biden administration renewed a sanctions waiver giving Iran access to $10 billion.

Congress understands which countries are America’s friends, and which are our foes. In 1994, Congress amended the Arms Export Control Act of 1976 (22 U.S.C. 2751) to prohibit the sale or lease of any “defense article or defense service” to any country known to participate in the “Arab League boycott of Israel,” although the State Department could grant waivers if America’s national security was at stake.

The State Department is now waiving this prohibition for countries directly aiding the terrorist groups trying to exterminate Israel. Qatar is “a political and financial supporter of Hamas,” Cramer noted, while Lebanon is “run by Hezbollah, Hamas’s first cousin and associated with Iran.” The Biden administration will “give them the benefit of the doubt,” but then “put an arms embargo on our friend Israel. It’s so absurd.”

Last month, Congress continued the American tradition of supporting our allies in wartime by passing a $95 billion aid package for Israel, Ukraine, and Taiwan, after months of gridlock. House Speaker “Mike Johnson [R-La.] did some rather incredible maneuvering” that “took tremendous political will” to pass it, Cramer observed. “The president himself spent a lot of his own capital getting it across the finish line, urging Republicans and Democrats to support the bill. … Even … former President Trump weighed in to help create a majority.”

All that hard work was blown up for no reason by “President Biden making this unilateral decision — after Congress appropriates funding for Israel — to withhold support to this critical ally at a critical time,” Family Research Council President Tony Perkins complained. “It’s just unfair at our [Congress’s] level,” Cramer agreed, “but it’s even worse on the geopolitical level. … It sends a chilling message to our closer Arab friends,” such as Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia.

The Biden administration has developed quite the track record of putting our friends in harm’s way while putting our foes on a firmer footing.

In fact, President Joe Biden pulled the very same move on Saudi Arabia in 2021, when he ended “all American support for offensive operations in the war in Yemen [against the Houthis], including relevant arms sales.” In the next breath, Biden promised “to support and help Saudi Arabia defend its sovereignty and its territorial integrity and its people” — all without allowing them to defeat the enemy — without, apparently, noticing the contradiction.

In the fall of 2021, Biden ordered American forces to precipitously withdraw from Afghanistan, abandoning both American citizens and native allies. The abrupt withdrawal sabotaged the democratic government America had supported, enabling the Taliban to quickly seize control of the capital — not to mention more than $80 billion in U.S. military equipment we left behind.

Months later, Biden stabbed another ally in the back when in January 2022 he suggested Russia would only face minor consequences for a “minor incursion” into Ukraine. Undeterred by Biden’s irresolution, Russia launched a full-scale invasion weeks later.

Withholding arms shipments to Israel is not the only hostile action the Biden administration has taken towards our once-fast friend. In February, Biden sanctioned Israeli citizens in the West Bank, and in April he considered sanctioning Israeli military units. Such moves increasingly associate Israel with other nations with sanctioned individuals — such as Russia — instead of other American allies — such as, say, Canada or Australia.

“They talk about all of this as a means of stabilizing the region. It does nothing of the sort. It creates chaos because it projects that weakness. It projects confusion about what exactly is the United States policy,” argued Cramer. By preventing our close ally from re-loading in wartime, “we send very mixed messages to the region.”

The worst part about it is, “none of it makes sense … intellectually, strategically, tactically,” lamented Cramer. “Some of the weapons systems that he wants to withhold are the very types of weapon systems … that make dumb bombs into smart bombs.” Biden claims to care about civilian lives in Rafah, yet these “are the kinds of things that actually save … civilian lives in Gaza,” he said. “I don’t understand it, other than [that] he’s got this very weird, anti-Semitic base.”

There was a time when American presidents declared, “America’s alliances are our greatest asset, and leading with diplomacy means standing shoulder-to-shoulder with our allies and key partners once again.” That time was 2021, and the speaker was President Joe Biden. The words Biden meant as a subtle rebuke of Trump’s foreign policy have become a glaring condemnation of his own.

Joshua Arnold is a senior writer at The Washington Stand.