Biden courts enemies and punishes allies
Recently, the Houthi rebels in Yemen, a Shia Islamist terrorist group backed by Iran, struck targets in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates using drones and missiles. The attacks, on two of America's erstwhile allies, prompted Saudi Arabia's oil chief to say markets are going through a "jittery period" and that cross-border attacks have put to question "our ability to supply the world with the necessary energy requirements." Oil prices, already at their highest in years, shot up further as a result of these strikes.
These incidents represent another piece of evidence pinning at least part of the blame for the rise in oil prices on President Joe Biden. To paraphrase the famous sticker — he did that!
The Biden administration's decision to delist the Houthis from those designated as foreign terrorist organizations — intended to entice Iran into a new nuclear deal — directly emboldened the Houthis to continue their terror attacks. They were also emboldened by U.S. criticism of Saudi actions in the Yemeni civil war, where the Saudis are backing the official Yemeni government, which is led by Sunni Arabs.
The U.S. also criticized the Saudi government over the death of U.S. resident Jamal Khashoggi. Relations are so bad between the once allied nations that, reportedly, the Saudi leader refused to take a recent (and likely panicked) phone call by Joe Biden.
This is just one instance of the Biden administration acting to court its enemies while punishing our allies.
Another example is the administration's nuclear deal negotiations with Iran. The Iranian regime is a longtime enemy of the U.S., which it often calls the "Great Satan." Yet the deal rewards Iran (and others) and is incredibly dangerous for our allies Israel, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and other Sunni Arab states. Delisting the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and giving the Iranian regime up to $130 billion in new funding would supercharge the level of terrorist attacks coming from the Iranians and their allies, including the Houthi, but also the Assad forces in Syria, Hezb'allah in Lebanon, and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. And it would provide the Iranian regime with a pathway to a nuclear bomb, which, coupled with their continuing development of ballistic missiles, will allow them to threaten the entire Middle East, and even the U.S. and Europe.
At the same time, the U.S. is also empowering Russia in the Iran deal negotiations. Reportedly, the U.S. will allow the Russians to build a nuclear site in Iran and also exempt Russian-Iranian trade from the sanctions just placed on Russia because of its invasion of Ukraine.
And prior to that invasion, the administration courted Russia when it waived sanctions on Russia's Nord Stream 2 pipeline, despite congressional disapproval and warnings that it could endanger Ukraine.
The administration has also reached out to another enemy, this one in our own hemisphere. While looking for more oil supplies following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Biden's people courted the Maduro regime in Venezuela. Venezuela under Maduro is a hub for the convergence of transnational organized crime and international terrorism, including particularly strong ties to Iran and Hezb'allah.
Then there is Afghanistan. The previous Afghan government depended on U.S. assistance, which was cut off last year. The U.S. closed the Bagram Air Base without prior notification to the Afghans, which demoralized their fighters. It ceased to maintain the Afghan air force, despite a warning that this would take the air force, arguably the Afghan government's main edge in its fight with the Taliban, out of the fight. In the end, after the U.S. withdrawal, the Taliban rebels regained control of the country, while the U.S.-backed Afghan government fled. The U.S. didn't even make sure to evacuate all of our countrymen and allies from Afghanistan; most of the Afghans whom America had promised to rescue were actually left behind. The signal sent to many of our allies in difficult regions of the world: We may not be there when you need us.
It would be nice if the Biden administration behaved more rationally, rewarding its friends and punishing its enemies. It would be nice, but for now, it just isn't the case.
Adam Turner is the director of the Center to Advance Security in America.