Cancelling Australia, Papua New Guinea trip casting a ‘shadow’ over Biden’s G-7 trip: Rebeccah Heinrichs
Hudson Institute senior fellow Rebeccah Heinrichs discusses the G-7 summit, President Biden’s recent trip cancellations, and the war in Ukraine.
President Biden’s foreign policy decisions have emboldened American adversaries, with some experts saying the administration has deteriorated America’s roll as a global leader.
“I have always been a firm believer that the president of the United States is in charge of the world and Congress is in charge of domestic policy,” Fred Zeidman, co-chair and director of Council for a Secure America, told Fox News Digital. “We have a president right now that I think is totally focused on domestic policy and has totally ignored world policy.”
Zeidman’s comments come as Biden has faced several high-profile foreign policy crises since taking office, including the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and an increasingly hostile posture from countries such as China, North Korea and Iran.
According to Zeidman, the growing dangers confronting the world can be traced to Biden’s foreign policy strategy, which utilizes a similar strategy to former President Barack Obama that weakens U.S. ability to be a feared deterrence to the world’s aggressors.
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President Joe Biden (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
“This started under, not his direct predecessor, but under Barack Obama…. to destroy American exceptionalism,” Zeidman said.
Zeidman argued that not only has Biden “weakened our military,” but he also has pursued domestic policies that have limited the U.S. ability to project power. He pointed to Biden’s energy policies, arguing that moves to limit domestic oil production have left the U.S. dependent on foreign sources of energy and unable to fill the void for allies facing an energy crunch as a result of Russia’s war in Ukraine.
“Energy has been the source of every war, arguably, in the history of the world,” he said.
Zeidman also pointed to the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, arguing that the spectacle that played out for the world to see was incentive enough for American adversaries to pursue an aggressive path.
“I still believe that our response in Afghanistan is what precipitated the Russian invasion of Ukraine,” Zeidman said, noting that China may also see this moment as an opportunity to move on Taiwan as well.
These issues, Zeidman believes, can all be traced back to a foreign policy philosophy that started under Obama, ceding America’s leadership and place as the predominant world power.
Ukrainian military’s Grad multiple rocket launcher fires rockets at Russian positions in the frontline near Bakhmut, Donetsk region, Ukraine, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/LIBKOS, File)
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“President Obama was always philosophically a supporter of the underdog, and so he has always been a supporter of the countries considered to be the underdog, which would arguably be anybody other than American, anybody other than NATO,” Zeidman said.
James Phillips, the senior research fellow for foreign policy at the Heritage Foundation, also believes much of Biden’s foreign policy philosophy is a carryover from the Obama administration.
Phillips pointed out that much of the Biden administration is staffed with people who also served in the Obama administration, which has resulted in Biden chasing an “illusory deal with Iran at the expense of Israel, Saudi Arabia and other partners threatened by Iran.”
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamanei (Iranian Leaders Press Office – Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
“The Biden administration’s foreign policy essentially is a re-run of the Obama foreign policy, particularly in the Middle East,” Phillips told Fox News Digital. “Like Obama, he seeks to downplay the threats posed by Iran, while justifying a drawdown of U.S. forces in the Middle East as part of a ‘pivot’ to the Indo-Pacific, ostensibly to contain China.”
Phillips argued that the result has been not to contain China, but instead to invite their influence in a Middle East where the U.S. has traditionally been the predominant power.
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“China has pivoted to the Middle East to bolster relations with Iran, and cultivated much better relations with Saudi Arabia and other Arab states, which increasingly doubt that they can depend on the Biden administration,” Phillips said.
But Joel Rubin, a former deputy assistant secretary of state for the Obama administration, argues the Iran deal negotiated under Obama was the most effective way to contain Iranian ambitions to build a nuclear weapon.
“On Iran, what Trump did was destroyed a multilateral agreement on nuclear weapons,” Rubin told Fox News Digital. “The result of that is that Iran is now closer to a bomb than it’s ever been.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping toast during their dinner in Moscow on March 21. (Pavel Byrkin/Sputnik/Kremlin Pool Photo/AP)
While efforts to restore some sort of deal have been stalled, Rubin noted that it can be difficult to restore diplomacy once it is abandoned. However, he argued Biden’s push to return to the framework of the deal would be a better step toward containing a potentially nuclear Iran.
“If you want to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, the deal we had before was doing it,” Rubin said. “The maximum pressure Trump policy was enacted after he withdrew from the deal, and we see the results, which is that Iran is still making a mess in the Middle East, oppressing its own people, and by the way, has a much more advanced nuclear program.”
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Rubin argues that Biden’s foreign policy doctrine has been one aimed at restoring American leadership throughout the world, including repairing ties with NATO allies that often felt alienated under the Trump administration. He also pointed to Biden’s work forging new commitments and alliances in Asia, something designed to help confront the emerging threat China poses.
“Restoring and accelerating our multilateral alliances and putting American leadership at the top of that pyramid,” Rubin noted as one of the primary objectives of Biden’s foreign policy.
President Joe Biden shakes hands with Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu. (Gideon Marcowicz/TPS)
In addition to alliance building, Rubin pointed to Biden’s domestic agenda as being a pillar of Biden’s philosophy, calling it “building from the inside out.”
“The idea of investing in America and rebuilding it was an idea that Donald Trump had for four years and never figured out how to do it,” Rubin said. “Joe Biden’s now $2 trillion worth of spending on domestic industry… for the future as well as our infrastructure for climara and energy infrastructure, climate resilience, new technology, road, bridges… that didn’t happen under Trump, it happened under Biden.”
Rubin added that another key pillar of Biden’s foreign policy strategy is to invest in “hard power” infrastructure, pouring money into the Defense Department to build and repair what has long been neglected.
In this Aug. 21, 2021, image provided by the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Airmen and U.S. Marines guide evacuees aboard a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III in support of the Afghanistan evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan. (Senior Airman Brennen Lege/U.S. Air Force via AP) (Senior Airman Brennen Lege/U.S. Air Force via AP)
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“You have a mixture of economics, diplomacy and defense,” Rubin said. “It’s not just sales, Trump did a lot of sales of American military equipment, but not a lot of investment in the defense sector. We’re now learning of areas that need to be invested in largely because of this hot war we’re backing in Ukraine.”
Taken together, Rubin said Biden’s foreign policy strategy has been to rebuild America’s role as a leader.
“Are we leader or are we following? Are we isolated?” Rubin said. “How do you cover China when you’re alone? You don’t. You try, but just sanctions alone on China, when countries are running away, is no good. But now they’re not running away,” he added, pointing to Japan’s increase in defense spending “in partnership with the United States.”
New recruits of Chinese People’s Liberation Army assemble. (China Daily via Reuters)
However, Zeidman believes the U.S. has done anything but restore its role as a global leader under Biden.
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“All the countries that were dependent on the United States to defend them… they quickly came to the conclusion that they couldn’t depend on the United States anymore,” he said, pointing to the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and how it was perceived. “We have to have a strong military. The world has to understand that we have the capability and the will and the desire to support the countries that are friendly to us.”
Michael Lee is a writer at Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @UAMichaelLee