Prof. ST Hsieh
Director, US-China Energy Industry Forum
October 22, 2023
Indeed, last week was a good week for President Biden, at least Biden has had a week of positive coverage on global TV. It was not a good week for the world, because despite Biden’s show in public, we face more dangerous crises. The real bad news is that Biden and his team have no idea what caused the current Israel-Hamas deadly conflict, thus they have no idea for an exit strategy. The crisis in middle east will only get worse, even without the potential participations of Iran and other players. Especially, if Biden administration jump starts any preemptive action against a perceived player in the middle east.
Another issue is that, now Biden volunteers to be on the front line for Israel with a strong presence of US military force, does Biden have any contingency plan for real actions? Because Biden’s reaction to the proxy war in Ukraine is clearly “no boots on the ground!” At least, Biden has the solid backing of NATO in Europe. However, if anything happens in middle east, the US forces will be in the harm’s way alone.
The real challenge for Biden is that he has no idea on how to manage the US domestic crises: the dysfunctional congress, the massive illegal immigrants, the social unrest…Of course, we have to remind him Trump is more powerful than ever!
Opinion: A good week for Biden, a bad week for the world
Opinion by David Mark
Fri, October 20, 2023 at 3:12 PM PDT
Editor’s Note: David Mark is a political journalist, author and public speaker. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his own.
Recent Democratic presidents have sought reelection by limiting overt campaigning and instead making sure they’re seen focusing on the nuts and bolts of their job.
A bit over a year out from Election Day 2024, President Joe Biden is taking a similar approach, by dint of a morbid and tragic pair of international crises. By taking a lightning-fast visit to Tel Aviv on Wednesday after a similar wartime visit to Ukraine a few months earlier, and making a primetime appeal to American voters Thursday to support both Israel and Ukraine in their wars against evil forces, Biden is reaping political dividends by playing the statesman.
Biden’s efforts stand out even more than usual since his likely 2024 Republican opponent, former President Donald Trump, has been clumsy and ineffective in trying to insert himself into these news events, as when he praised Hezbollah, the Iran-backed terror group based in Lebanon, in the wake of Hamas’ attack on Israel. At the same time, the Republicans in office are in disarray as an increasingly embarrassing Republican leadership struggle in the House has paralyzed Capitol Hill.
Biden, in contrast, appears capable and steadfast. For 20 months, he has been a stalwart defender of Ukraine in its defensive war against Russia. And for nearly two weeks Biden demonstrated steely support for Israel as the Middle East’s only democracy responds to Hamas’ October 7 attacks that claimed some 1,400 lives, among then 32 Americans. He noted during his TV address that his quick trip to Israel is the first of an American president to the country during war-time, while his touchdown in Ukraine in February was the first time a US president entered a warzone not controlled by the US.
Whatever effect they have on the diplomatic front, Biden’s Israel trip and Thursday night prime time television address can only help his reelection efforts at this point, especially if he faces Trump. Both show a confident, experienced commander-in-chief projecting gravitas and a deep knowledge of history, having made official visits to Israel going back to 1973 as a freshman senator from Delaware.
Biden made the long journey despite predictable criticism that he’s tilted too far in Israel’s direction at the expense of the Palestinians. Arab allies who he’d hoped to meet with instead snubbed him, and Muslim protesters have taken to the streets in cities around the world in opposition to Israel and its American backers.
Many observers also said he didn’t achieve much, but in Biden’s roughly seven-and-a-half hour Israel visit Wednesday, in which he met government officials, first responders and families of terror victims, among others, he was able to secure his two main goals: to reassure the Israeli public he stood with them and against terrorists, giving them strength for the fight as well as space to demand concessions if needed. And he also hammered out a limited plan for getting humanitarian aid into Gaza from Egypt for civilians effectively trapped in the small territory, which will hopefully serve as a template for more to come.
But Biden’s key audience was the domestic one. He wanted to win over the American public, and pro-Israel community specifically, which is why images of the president hugging Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are so politically potent. The Middle East trip by Biden, who turns 81 on November 20, also offered a none-to-subtle rejoinder to GOP criticisms that he’s too old for a second term. (Granted, having Air Force One at the president’s beck-and-call is an easier form of travel for the 12-hour Washington, DC,-to-Tel Aviv flight than an economy seat on El Al.)
Biden also drew some plaudits from the right over his television address, which directly appealed to Americans for support in the wars in Israel and Ukraine, including an $100 billion aid package he plans to send to Congress shortly (if there is a Congress). He also underscored America’s commitment to its leadership role in the world and the values it has historically promoted.
“It may be remembered as one of the best, if not the best, speeches of his presidency. He was firm, he was unequivocal, he was strong,” Fox News political analyst Brit Hume said of Biden, offering rare praise.
Of course, many prominent conservatives still found grounds for panning the Democratic president.
Nor has Biden been spared criticism from some Democrats. Members of the party’s far-left fringe have effectively blamed Israel for taking defensive military measures against Hamas in Gaza after its terror attacks ended in the highest Jewish casualty count since the Holocaust. And the progressive wing has been making inroads into the Democratic Party’s support for Israel as a whole. According to Gallup, Democratic support for Israel has been sliding for years. Per one CBS News poll, a majority of Democrats don’t favor sending extra weapons and supplies to Israel at this time.
More broadly, though, Biden is capitalizing on solid political ground. Massive majorities support sending humanitarian aid to Israel and a poll released by Quinnipiac University on Tuesday, roughly 61% said their sympathies lie with Israel. Even more voters (around 65%) agree with Biden that supporting Ukraine is in America’s national interest.
So, on balance, Biden’s resolute support of Israel is likely to help more than hurt, especially as it strengthens his centrist credentials. And swing voters are the ones Biden really needs to win reelection in 2024.
The foreign policy moves could particularly help with voters in swing states if they read it as him pushing back against his party’s most extreme elements, as some pro-Israel Democratic members of Congress have done.
Voters for now are giving Biden reasonably good reviews for his handling of both Israel and Ukraine. He has a year to make that stick — a challenging task since most presidential elections since the end of the Cold War have been decided on domestic issues, rather than foreign affairs. Moreover, the situation is volatile, and Biden could end up looking bad if suffering in Gaza increases, a wider war takes place, American forces are killed, there are terror attacks on American soil, or any number of other negative possibilities happen. But Biden, for now, is nailing a key part of the job, just as Clinton and Obama did before him: being presidential.
US amps up military posture in Mideast, warns against ‘escalation’
Sun, October 22, 2023 at 10:09 AM PDT
The United States warned Iran or its allies against any “escalation” in the wake of Israel’s war with Hamas, two top US officials said Sunday, hours after the Pentagon moved to step up military readiness in the region.