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The Biden ‘Don’t’ Policy Fails Miserably Again

When the most powerful country in the world is not credible, conflict is inevitable.

President Joe Biden thinking he can stop enemies of the United States from harming it and its allies by sternly admonishing “don’t” has become widely discredited. It is a symbolic billboard message on a dangerous road for US national defense. The air strike by 310 Iranian one-way attack drones, cruise missiles, and ballistic missiles was Tehran’s way of saying, “We saw your billboard and could not care less.” Biden’s deterrence failed.

As Bill Gertz explained in The Washington Times:

“President Biden and his administration knew for days that Iran was preparing a major military strike on Israel, but they were unable to stop it. It marked the second high-profile failure of the administration’s diplomacy-oriented policies over the past two years. In both instances, the administration could not deter a serious regional conflict despite advance warning of impending attacks.”

The article was charitable, concluding, “They were unable to stop it.” The truth is Biden and his national security team were unwilling to do so. Just as Biden has been unwilling to support Israel’s obligation to hit Iran with a counterstrike in response to what could have been a devastating attack on the Jewish homeland. The massive Iranian air strike may have been only 1% effective, but that does not excuse the fact that the mullahs intended the attack to be 100% effective.

Biden Telling Iran ‘Don’t’ Is a Silly Punchline

Deterrence, which involves persuading an enemy not to attack, is based on three factors: the appropriate motivation, the capability to exact terrible consequences, and the will to act. The United States unquestionably possesses the first two elements of deterrence. Biden is desperately deficient in the third, which puts the country in danger.

On Fox News Sunday, a White House spokesman extolled the lengths to which Biden has resolved to demonstrate the enormous military capability of the United States. He pointed to two aircraft carrier strike groups with accompanying warships Biden deployed to the Middle East to dissuade Iran and its proxies from attacking US forces in the region, to stop Iran-backed Houthi terrorists from launching missiles and drones at merchant vessels in the Red Sea, and to deter Iran and its proxies from attacking Israel.

The result:

  • Iraq militia proxies continued drone and rocket attacks on US military forward outposts and bases.
  • Houthi terrorists stepped up their anti-ship missile attacks on commercial vessels and US and allied warships.
  • Iran attacked Israel directly with 170 one-way drones, 30 cruise missiles, and 110 ballistic missiles.

Biden’s deterrence failed. His timid approach to the Houthi terrorists attacking Red Sea shipping and US warships has hobbled US military capability. The US Navy and Air Force units deployed in the region have been prevented from carrying out a concentrated air campaign against the Houthis that would put an end to the hundreds of anti-ship missiles and drone attacks. Instead, US forces have been allowed only to attack Houthi missiles and warehouses on a limited basis. The result is US Navy ships are in constant danger.

In a world where America’s enemies have nuclear weapons, Biden’s failure to deter even a third-rate military like Iran from attacking US military forces calls into question a much broader global worry. Can Biden’s defense and foreign policy team preserve US national security? Americans are seeing in real-time the Biden administration’s lack of will, resulting in a dangerously failed approach to deterrence on the international stage.

Iran Does Not Take US Deterrence Seriously

So what is China thinking? What is Russia thinking? Since the nuclear age began nearly 80 years ago, the potential of an adversary unleashing the power of an atomic weapon has been held in check because of a mutually explicit understanding of deterrence. Now, that understanding is showing cracks.

Biden’s failure at deterrence in the Middle East cannot be narrowly viewed. That uncertainty of America’s determination could prompt China to act on its inclination to attack Taiwan. Having seen Biden’s lack of will to deter even a modest threat, an overconfident Beijing may be convinced the risk is worth it. “As China’s leaders watch display after display of American diffidence, they must be viewing the next four years as an unmissable opportunity,” The Wall Street Journal observed.

The Iranian attack on Israel and the persistent belligerent acts of Iran proxies in the region with Tehran’s now-certain knowledge it can behave with impunity are part of a narrow view of Biden’s failure to maintain deterrence. The broader perspective of failing to deter nuclear-capable enemies is a far more ominous future reality.

The views expressed are those of the author and not of any other affiliate.

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