July 18, 2022

A Disgraceful Diplomatic Effort

Joe Biden’s weekend trip to Saudi Arabia was a miserable failure in every way.

Joe Biden’s visit to Saudi Arabia began with a fist bump, and it went downhill from there.

Now safely back home after wrapping up a four-day trip to the Middle East, Biden’s demonstration of incompetent diplomacy began in Israel, where he told our nation’s longtime allies that we “keep alive the truth and honor of the Holocaust.” He meant “horror.” Honest he did. Then, during a joint presser with Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid, Biden vowed “We will not, — let me say it again — we will not allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon.”

But no one believes that — least of all the Iranian mullahs. Hence Iran’s announcement Sunday that it is already capable of building a nuclear bomb.

Then it was on to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia to beg for oil from Mohammed bin Salman, a guy whom everyone knows ordered the murder and dismemberment of a Washington Post journalist back in 2018. How times change. Regarding the consequences Saudi Arabia would face for murdering Jamal Khashoggi, Big Mouth Joe had vowed during a Demo debate in 2019, “We were going to, in fact, make them pay the price, and make them, in fact, the pariah that they are.”

Surrrre you are, Joe. The truth about Khashoggi’s murder is that the Left’s outrage about it is entirely predicated not on who was killed, but when it happened. “Everyone acted as if Walter Cronkite was the person butchered,” columnist Matt Vespa writes. Even so, he argues, “The outrage was more intense because Khashoggi died while Trump was president. There would have been a more muted response if Hillary were at the helm.”

As a whole, Biden’s Middle East trip was an effort to shore up U.S. relations with our allies in the region, and thus an effort to limit growing Russian, Chinese, and Iranian influence there. But Biden’s mission, as the Washington Post editorial board noted, “inevitably clashed with his past promises to put the Riyadh regime at arm’s length, because of its fomenting of war in Yemen and ugly human rights record.” The Post editorial continued:

Mr. Biden’s face-to-face meeting with MBS — preceded by a cordial, and ill-advised, televised fist bump — conferred a much-coveted legitimacy on the crown prince. On a visit calculated to secure increases in the Saudi oil supply, this moment crystallized the damaging appearance of trading U.S. human rights principles — indeed the Saudi people’s legitimate aspirations for greater freedom — for help curing the president’s domestic political problems caused by expensive gasoline.

Indeed, gasoline sure has become expensive. If only we had oil reserves here in the United States that we could tap into. Were that the case, we could perhaps make ourselves energy independent. Then we wouldn’t have to send billions of dollars each year to countries that don’t particularly like us nor appreciate our stance on matters of liberty and human rights.

After that awful fist bump, which made the two leaders look like equals, Biden got down to the gritty business of getting the Saudis to open up those oil spigots. And he failed. The Saudis have repeatedly claimed to be at or near their production capacity. Then Khashoggi’s fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, posted a mock tweet that she suggested her late partner would have written in response to the ignominious fist bump: “Hey POTUS, Is this the accountability you promised for my murder? The blood of MBS’s next victim is on your hands.” Ouch.

When Biden arrived back at the White House early Sunday morning, he was confronted by journalists who naturally asked about whether he regretted the fist bump. “Why don’t you guys talk about something that matters?” he snapped. “I’m happy to answer a question that matters.”

We guess honor and dignity and the keeping of one’s word don’t matter to Joe Biden. He said he raised the issue of Khashoggi’s murder with the crown prince at the start of their meeting: “And it was exactly — I was straightforward and direct in discussing it,” Biden claimed. “I made my view crystal clear. I said very straightforwardly: For an American president to be silent on an issue of human rights, is this consistent with — inconsistent with who we are and who I am? I’ll always stand up for our values.”

We’re shocked — SHOCKED — to report that the Saudis don’t remember the exchange to have gone the way Biden described it.

So, suffice it to say that the American president’s trip to Saudi Arabia was disgraceful. Really disgraceful. Ultra disgraceful.

How disgraceful was it?

It was so disgraceful, it had us agreeing with Bernie Sanders. When asked by ABC “This Week” host Martha Raddatz whether Biden should have visited the country, the Vermont socialist senator who honeymooned in the Soviet Union replied: “No, I don’t think so. You have a leader of that country who was involved in the murder of a Washington Post journalist. I don’t think that that type of government should be rewarded with a visit by the president of the United States.”

Sanders then got back in touch with his inner commie and returned to form: “I happen to believe that we have to tell the oil companies to stop ripping off the American people, and if they don’t, we should impose a windfall profits tax on them.”

Oh, well. It was fun while it lasted.

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