Biden’s Poor and Partisan Objection to Missile Defense

#MSM Unsurprisingly Doesn’t Cover Biden’s Years Opposing Missile Defense

The conflict between Iran and Israel escalated to an unprecedented level over the weekend, with the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Houthis launching a combined 120 missiles at Israel and hundreds of suicide drones. The attack injured just one Israeli and caused minimal damage to an airbase. Many thanks to American missile defense capabilities. President Joe Biden is now taking credit for ensuring Israel’s safety. He does not deserve it.

As former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates once observed, Biden has been wrong on every major foreign policy issue of his career, as a senator, vice president, and now president. One of the earliest instances of getting it wrong was missile defense.

In 1987, when Biden was running for president for the first time, he led the fight in the Senate against the Ronald Reagan administration’s Strategic Defense Initiative. The Strategic Defense Initiative was intended to make Soviet ballistic missiles obsolete, protecting the U.S. homeland against nuclear missiles. Even though the end of the Cold War imprudently ended the pursuit of a missile defense system, it still led to the development of many missile defense technologies that safeguarded Israel on Saturday.

He continued this misguided view. Before 9/11, the George W. Bush administration was pursuing a two-track policy with China, Russia, and Iran. Even though the administration sought better relations with the first two and avoided conflict with Iran, it still pursued the development of safety-valve defense technologies, including missile defense under the leadership of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

Biden opposed it. He believed that “Missile defense has to be weighed carefully against all other spending and all other military priorities.” In other words, future security was not as important as welfare spending.

This is not to say that Biden’s strategic view was fundamentally wrong. Rather, he lacks any understanding of strategy, and his only driver is politics.

Biden is a better politician than people give him credit for. His biggest consideration for foreign policy matters has always been how it could harm Republicans and benefit his party and himself. He became the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, benefiting from his partisanship, which won him the approval of his fellow Democratic senators and launched him to become Barack Obama’s vice president and eventually the president of the United States.

And that is why he opposed missile defense systems as a senator: Because the Republicans wanted it. But life is unfair. Reagan is dead, and Bush has retired from public life. And Biden is skilled enough a politician to take credit for succeeding in defending Israel in spite of himself.

Note: the opinions expressed herein are those of Chuck Warren only and not his co-host Sam Stone or Breaking Battlegrounds’ staff.

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