Biden on Nat’l Security

Joe Biden came out today with a blistering shot across the bow at (his friend) John McCain. Biden is the guy to do this and really deeply understands that the Democrats should not cede any ground on National Security to the Republicans or John McCain. None.

Take McCain. He wanted a massive ground invasion in Bosnia. He criticized Clinton’s approach with North Korea, supported Bush in pulling out of the talk (North Korea gets a nuke and now we are back essentially to where Clinton was). He supported the Iraq War and now the surge and now wants to further entrench and extend the war to Iran.

What exactly has he gotten right on major foreign policy in that time period?

The text of Biden’s speech is here. Video here.

On Iran in Iraq:

What about Iran? Would drawing down increase its already huge influence in Iraq? Or would it shift the burden of helping to stabilize Iraq from us to them and make our forces a much more credible deterrent to Iran’s wider misbehavior?

The idea that we could or even should wipe out every vestige of Iran’s influence in Iraq is a fantasy. Even with 160,000 American troops in Iraq, our ally in Baghdad greets Iran’s leader with kisses. Like it or not, Iran is a major regional power and it shares a long border – and a long history – with Iraq.

Right now, Iran loves the status quo, with 140,000 Americans troops bogged down and bleeding, caught in a cross fire of intra Shi’a rivalry and Sunni-Shi’a civil war.

The challenge for us is not eliminating all Iranian influence in Iraq, but forcing Iran to confront the specter of a disintegrating Iraq or all-out war between different Shi’a factions.

By drawing down, we can take away Iran’s ability to wage a proxy war against our troops and force Tehran to concentrate on avoiding turmoil inside Iraq’s borders and instability beyond them.

Iran told the US prior to the invasion that they (Iran) would help if the US let them be part of the conquering parade. The US was not keen to do this because A)it wanted to shock and awe Iran (and still had regime change on the table) and the world writ large (unilateralism) and B)because the Sunni allies like Saudi Arabia would not have supported such a move.

Iran promised that if the US did not allow them in on the war, they would leave the US holding the bag and ultimately have a veto in Iraq. They have exercised that veto and that fact along with a multitude of others has expressed itself in the post-war disasterf–k that is Iraq.

Biden is suggesting I think that the script be flipped. President Mahmoud you get some kisses in Iraq–be our guest, have the the national building onus. Shia Iraq could be as Barnett has argued, Iran’s Poland (to the Soviet regime in Tehran).

Biden is going to be giving a series of these speeches in his capacity as the Chairman of the Foreign Relations in the Senate. I’ve pushed for other Dems to endorse Obama (especially Gore and Richardson), but not Biden. Biden is cagey and I think playing this properly. But not yet endorsing he has a gravitas and he can take on McCain directly and not be accused of being a surrogate for X or Y candidate. He keeps saying (as in his interview on Countdown tonight) that he doesn’t want VP or SecState. I tend to believe him, but that equation could also change.

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Published in: on April 15, 2008 at 9:19 pm  Comments (1)  
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  1. […] Readers of this blog will know of my long standing affection for Joe Biden–including but not limited to the Biden-Gelb Plan, his […]


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