Joseph Klein, Negotiating with adversaries from a position of weakness.
Biden’s foreign policy doctrine in dealing with America’s adversaries is simple. Appease or concede first and then try to negotiate.
Take Iran, for example. Former President Donald Trump had the Iranian regime on the ropes with his maximum pressure policy of increasing economic sanctions until the regime blinked. But when Biden came into office, he blinked first.
Biden is extremely anxious to reenter the disastrous nuclear deal with Iran known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The Biden administration sent signals that it was willing to negotiate the lifting of some economic sanctions in concert with Iran’s steps to reverse course and reduce its uranium enrichment to levels in compliance with the JCPOA. Biden all but begged for the U.S. to be indirectly involved in negotiations between Iran and the other remaining JCPOA participants – China, Russia, Germany, France, and the United Kingdom. Iran’s delegation was meeting with representatives from these five countries in the same room, while messages were sent back and forth with U.S. representatives sitting separately at a different location.
Iran’s thugs thumbed their noses at the Biden administration after the talks had begun by announcing that the regime was going to increase its uranium enrichment level to its highest ever, at 60 percent. That is a stone’s throw from the 90 percent purity level needed to produce a nuclear bomb. The Iranian regime dramatically changed the dynamics of the negotiation process in its favor by giving itself more leverage. As one Israeli official put it, “The Iranians smell that the Americans want an agreement at any price.”
Biden should have pulled the U.S. out of these phony talks immediately. He also should have responded forcefully to Iran’s provocative move by slapping the Iranian regime and its leaders with more burdensome sanctions. Instead, Biden pathetically expressed displeasure with Iran’s enrichment of uranium to 60 percent purity while saying that he was pleased with the JCPOA talks.
“We do not support and do not think it’s at all helpful that Iran is saying it’s going to move to enrich to 60 percent,” Biden said during a joint news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga. “We are, though, nonetheless pleased that Iran has continued to agree to engage in discussions – indirect discussions – with us and with our partners on how we move forward and what is needed to allow us to move back into the (nuclear deal) … without us making concessions that we are just not willing to make.”
Biden has already made a major concession by allowing the Iranian regime to increase its negotiating leverage dramatically by leaping ahead to the 60 percent purity level without suffering any consequences. This means that just to get Iran to return to the level of uranium enrichment purity prior to its increase to 60 percent, Biden would have to agree to roll back sanctions already in place. And to make things worse, the Biden administration had already rescinded Trump’s declaration that the United States was re-imposing UN sanctions on Iran under the JCPOA’s sanctions snapback provisions. The Trump administration took this action after Iran’s previous violations of the JCPOA’s uranium enrichment restrictions. The Biden administration took that bit of negotiating leverage for the U.S. away without receiving any concession in return.
Moving on to China, Biden once again got played – this time on climate change. On his first day in office, Biden declared that the United States would rejoin the Paris Agreement to combat global climate change, from which Trump had withdrawn the U.S.
Biden said that he was pleased with China’s stated willingness to cooperate with the United States on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Biden is even more gullible than his former boss, Barack Obama. China’s original commitment under the Paris Agreement was to just start leveling off its emission of greenhouse gases by 2030. That has not changed. China today is the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases – nearly double the rate of the United States and growing.
Even Biden’s climate czar John Kerry admitted back when Biden announced the U.S. would be rejoining the Paris Agreement that reducing U.S. emissions to zero would make little difference in combating climate change. “Not when almost 90 percent of all of the planet’s global emissions come from outside of US borders. We could go to zero tomorrow and the problem isn’t solved,” Kerry said.
China’s President Xi Jinping participated in the virtual summit of world leaders that Biden hosted beginning on Earth Day (April 22nd). Xi made a meaningless gesture of cooperation in the fight against climate change, while offering no new ambitious commitments to begin cutting greenhouse gas emissions immediately, let alone to stop increasing them. Not only will China’s emission of greenhouse gases continue to increase during this decade. Its consumption of coal – the dirtiest of fossil fuels – will continue to increase at least through 2025.
Biden, on the other hand, put the United States out on a limb with an outlandish pledge, while not receiving anything remotely comparable in return. On top of the cuts in emissions that the United States has already made during the last several years, Biden pledged that the United States would cut greenhouse gas emissions further by 52 percent below 2005 levels by the year 2035.
Biden’s embrace of the Green New Deal will place tremendous burdens on the U.S. economy and on the average American with little to show for it. Meanwhile, China will keep laughing all the way to the bank as it continues to increase its greenhouse gas emissions for the next several years, generate more than half the world’s coal-fired power with the world’s dirtiest fossil fuel, and open even more coal plants.
While Kerry admitted that China was not doing enough in the battle against climate change, he appeared willing to let them off the hook for now. “They have a massive coal dependency,” Kerry said on Friday. “We have to try to get them to move further and we have to also ask China not to be funding the building of new coal-fired power plants in other parts of the world.” These are not the words of a hard-nosed negotiator. These are the words of a pitiful supplicant.
To add insult to injury, China has conditioned its cooperation in dealing with the climate change problem on how the Biden administration addresses other issues of importance to China such as Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the treatment of the Uyghurs in Xinjiang Province. China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Friday that “[I]f the United States no longer interferes in China’s internal affairs, then we can have even smoother cooperation that can bring more benefits to both countries and the rest of the world.”
Like the Iranian regime, the Chinese Communist government is showing increased contempt for the United States as the Biden administration continues to knuckle under.