Politics Is Biden’s foreign policy really different from that of Bernie Sanders?

19:25  17 september  2021
19:25  17 september  2021 Source:   washingtonexaminer.com

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After Joe Biden won the Democratic nomination for the presidency, he sought to reassure mainstream Americans concerned about his party’s leftward tilt. "I beat the socialist," Biden reassured, referring to runner-up Sen. Bernie Sanders. "Look at my career — my whole career. I am not a socialist."

Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden are posing for a picture © Provided by Washington Examiner

On foreign policy especially, Biden sought to draw a line between himself and Sanders. Whereas the Democratic Party platform incorporated a host of liberals' policy goals, foreign policy remained untouched. Politicians’ promises are ephemeral and their reassurances fleeting. More than a year on since Biden made his at the Democratic Convention, just how different is his foreign policy in practice than that proposed by Sanders?

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On Afghanistan, not much. Biden’s withdrawal, both in its substance and manner, was a sharp departure from past practice. His stubborn rejection of military advice or reality suggests Biden prioritizes ideology over reality. Nor is Afghanistan likely alone: Both Iraqi and Iraqi Kurdish authorities say Biden will announce a complete U.S. withdrawal from Iraq after their next elections. Syrian Kurds? Forget it.

There is also not much daylight between Biden and Sanders with regard to Iran. Both seek to unravel Trump’s "maximum pressure" campaign and rejoin the 2015 nuclear deal. Biden threw Saudi Arabia under the bus on day one as Sanders would have and effectively empowered Houthi terrorists.

Perhaps the biggest difference in the Middle East policy might be with regard to Israel. While national security adviser Jake Sullivan, his deputy Jon Finer, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken keep their cards close to their chest, Sanders's chief foreign policy adviser Matt Duss does not hide his antipathy toward the Jewish state and its basic security demands. Then again, the Biden team’s basic policy does not differ much as it seeks to restore cash to the Palestinian Authority despite its pay-to-slay history. They're also considering a reversal of Trump’s move of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. Perhaps the difference is simply the speed of implementing policy. Biden’s team is more polished if less honest than Duss.

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Then there is Russia: President George W. Bush looked into Russian President Vladimir Putin’s eyes and saw his soul. President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton sought a reset. For all the conspiracy theories surrounding Trump, he was tougher on Russia than Obama. What little pressure Russia felt, Biden relieved. Lifting sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline gave Russia a generation win, a concession that not even Sanders counseled.

Every president invariably faces the foreign policy crisis he never saw coming. For Biden, this might have been Cuba. But, when Cubans took to the streets to demand freedom from more than six decades of communist tyranny, Biden was largely silent. What Cubans demanded was ideologically inconvenient. That said, Biden has kept sanctions in place, something Sanders would have reversed on day one.

There are good people working on Asia on Biden’s team, and some quietly seek to continue their immediate predecessors' efforts. Still, defense cuts undercut any substance behind the Pacific pivot. Sanders would be more forthcoming about his desire to slash the defense budget, but, as Congress might not be as radical as he, the end result would likely be the same.

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Similarly, as Sanders showed little interest in Africa, Biden follows suit.

Biden once assured independents and Republicans uneasy with Trump’s erratic behavior that he would be a steady hand on the wheel, uninterested in any sudden jerks to the left. Simply put, he lied. There may be some differences between a Biden foreign policy and that which Sanders would have embraced, but these are mostly of speed and style. Biden’s team all harbor career ambitions beyond their present positions and recognize that their agenda is more radical than that with which most Americans are comfortable. Unlike Sanders and Duss, they are loathe to stating openly where they stand or to where they want to steer, but the evidence today shows that Sanders won.

If not the presidency, then control over the Democrats' foreign policy agenda.

Michael Rubin (@Mrubin1971) is a contributor to the Washington Examiner's Beltway Confidential. He is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

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Original Author: Michael Rubin

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Bernie Sanders among lawmakers to meet with Biden at White House .
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usr: 0
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