President Biden’s opinion piece published in The Washington Post over the weekend reveals how disconnected he is from reality. Biden makes a peculiar analogy by suggesting that Putin and Hamas are “fighting to erase their ‘democratic neighbors’ from the map.” This is, at the very least, a strange comparison. Biden claims that these actors hope to benefit from the chaos they create by undermining regional stability and integration. However, it’s evident that Biden fails to accurately contextualize Russia’s invasion of Ukraine or Israel’s actions in Gaza.
Biden insists on equating Russia’s attempt to invade a sovereign state like Ukraine with Israel’s attacks on Gaza, where Hamas organizes in the occupied territories and continues to engage in the occupation of Palestine. In doing so, Biden overlooks the fundamental values of the ‘rules-based international system’ that he constantly advocates for in the name of American interests, seemingly unaware that these values are being violated.
In Biden’s piece, his assertion that the U.S. leads in acting together with allies against aggressors highlights his unawareness of how isolated he is on the issue of Palestine in the international system. Biden fails to recognize the loss of credibility his leadership claim suffers due to the support extended to Israel. It seems Biden assumes that his success in rallying the West against Russia over Ukraine translates to a similar success against Hamas. However, he fails to realize that the U.S. can no longer speak about human rights and democracy in the Middle East or on the global stage, and even if it does, no one is listening.
After expressing empathy for the suffering and trauma of Israeli hostages, Biden indicates anguish for the plight of Palestinians. However, by stating that the main goal is not just to stop the conflict today but to end the war permanently, he downplays the urgency of preventing civilian deaths in Palestine. Biden, seemingly lacking a vision that could articulate what needs to be established as “something stronger” to break the cycle of endless violence in Gaza and the Middle East, falls into the mistake of aligning with Israeli policies and avoiding formulating policies on behalf of America.
While the intentions behind Biden’s words may be to prevent history from repeating itself in Gaza and the Middle East, his statements inadvertently confess that American policy is being reduced to an acceptance of Israeli policy.
Biden, in his announcement at the G20 summit in September, argues that the trade route extending from India to the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Israel, and then to Europe, holds promise for the region’s integration. He contends that there is no place for Hamas in this future. While advocating for a two-state solution as the safest future for both Palestine and Israel, Biden emphasizes that Gaza should be governed by the Palestinian Authority and should not be reoccupied. Biden suggests that the international community should focus on rebuilding Gaza, essentially attributing the sole problem in Palestine to Hamas. However, he overlooks the expansion of Israel’s occupation in the West Bank, governed not by Hamas but by the Palestinian Authority, where hundreds of Palestinians are killed every year. In practice, Biden’s two-state solution seems to envision a Palestinian state not truly sovereign but under Israel’s control.
The American President repeats Israel’s talking points, asserting that Hamas uses civilians as shields, aims for destruction, utilizes tunnels under civilian structures, targets innocent lives from both sides, and claims that if Hamas wanted peace, it would release the hostages. Biden maintains a stance that dismisses domestic calls for a ceasefire, using the phrase “ceasefire is not peace,” indicating full support for Israel’s policy of not stopping until Hamas is eliminated. It appears that Biden lacks the will to demonstrate serious leadership on America’s part.
It seems Biden is either unaware or unconcerned that his support for Israel has significantly diminished his approval among his own constituents due to his stance on the Israel issue. At a time when public opinion polls show that the percentage of those who believe Israel should agree to a ceasefire and negotiate has reached the 70s, Biden’s unwavering support for Israel does not seem politically prudent. Therefore, it becomes evident that Biden is trapped in a strategic impotence when it comes to Israel, displaying an almost ideological blindness, and showing no serious intent to formulate a policy for either his political interests or America’s international reputation. Despite demonstrating political resilience in some areas, such as the withdrawal from Afghanistan and rallying the West on the Ukraine issue, Biden’s strategic weakness in handling the Israel matter could come at a high cost for America.