My cautious optimism that President Biden’s deeds might have a chance to be consistent with his rhetoric on policy with the Chinese falls flat when it comes to policy in Iran. Even the rhetoric is bad. It looks like a return of Obama/Biden, where the courting of Iran continues as though that regime and its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps have shown any indication of changing their behavior. And the Biden team continues to eagerly move toward a return to the badly flawed 2015 nuclear deal with them and is even seriously discussing the removal of sanctions, presumably in negotiations to get a better deal. And this is happening as Iran has responded to our overtures by limiting access by International Atomic Energy inspectors. Go figure!
And now, just in the past few days, we get the report that Iran and China have signed what they are calling a 25-year strategic partnership, a significant strengthening of ties, in which China will invest hundreds of millions of dollars in a range of Iranian projects, infrastructure as well as oil and gas development and military technology. Obviously, this deal allows Iran to alleviate sanctions and ease the economic pressure on the ruling mullahs. This is huge.
Biden and his advisors refuse to recognize the changes for the better in the Middle East as a result of Trump’s landmark Abraham Accords between Israel and Arab countries and the containment of Iran due to the weakening of its ability to project power in the region. Now, particularly in view of the new China/Iran pact, why would we want to give on any sanctions until we get what we want? This would be a major strategic blunder, but what should we expect with a State Department loaded with liberal internationalists and John Kerry, who has never seen an appeasement agreement he doesn’t like, as cabinet-level ambassador at-large.
Former Obama/Biden Secretary of Defense Robert Gates famously noted that “Joe Biden has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades”. It appears that he is about to validate this observation once again.