Israel Today, July 14, 2022
Ahead of US President Joe Biden’s trip to Israel and Saudi Arabia, the president published an op-ed in The Washington Post, in which he placed his trip in the context of his overall Middle East policy. A few days later, Israel’s opposition leader, former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, made a brief statement on Biden’s then upcoming visit that spoke directly to the claims Biden made in his article. Taken together, the two communications explain why Biden’s visit was a failure before it even began—and what a successful policy looks like.
Biden’s article, “Why I’m going to Saudi Arabia,” was a political communication to his party’s progressive base. It served a twofold purpose. First, it was an apology to progressives, who are hostile to both Saudi Arabia and Israel. Second, Biden assured progressives that he was not changing course. His Middle East policy to date will remain his policy going forward.
That policy has three major pillars:
- Hostility towards Saudi Arabia and particularly Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS);
- Financial, nuclear and strategic appeasement of Iran; and
- Support for the Palestinians, at Israel’s expense.
Biden insisted in his op-ed that he remains true to these positions, but as president also has Russia and China to keep at bay.
As he put it:
“As president, it is my job to keep our country strong and secure. We have to counter Russia’s aggression, put ourselves in the best possible position to outcompete China, and work for greater stability in a consequential region of the world.”
He promised his progressive readers that he would keep the heat on Saudi Arabia (and Israel). As he put it:
“My views on human rights are clear and long-standing, and fundamental freedoms are always on the agenda when I travel abroad, as they will be during this trip [to Saudi Arabia], just as they will be in Israel and the West Bank.”
Caroline Glick is an award-winning columnist and author of “The Israeli Solution: A One-State Plan for Peace in the Middle East.”