With the G7 Summit and President Biden’s meeting with Vladimir Putin in Geneva in the books, we should now take a frank look at America’s foreign policy under the Biden Administration.
Gone are the days of dealing from a position of strength and unapologetically standing up for America’s interests. Instead, we have returned to the swampy old model of prioritizing the applause of the elites in Europe and joining meaningless global statements with empty rhetoric to feel good.
President Biden brags that the tone of his meeting with Putin was good and productive. It’s amazing what the gift of a pipeline will do for Putin’s mood. Nord Stream 2 will give the Russians power, leverage, and a lot of cash for decades to come. It is painfully obvious that Putin and the Russian Foreign Ministry will agree to mouth along to almost anything in a press statement at this point because they got everything they wanted.
Of course, America should try to get along with every nation, including our adversaries, like Russia and China. But convivial relations should never come at the expense of our real tangible goals. That isn’t putting America First; it’s putting European feelings first.
Russia does not respond to moral arguments or trite diplomatic niceties. It responds to tangible assets like money, trade, oil, and cash. With Nord Stream 2, Russia gets all of these plus the added bonus of economically vice-gripping Germany, a core NATO member, to Russia for the foreseeable future.
When the choice for the Russians is a few meaningless words on paper in order to receive gas and cash for 20+ years, it is a no-brainer for Putin. He loves the Biden reset.
Our allies in Europe share many of our values, but they do not share the same threat assessments. We should expect our NATO allies to not only pay their financial obligations freely and without being begged, but also be Western-facing in all their policies. But Europe wants greater trade with Iran and China with no strings attached, and views sanctions as a brutish impediment to that goal. We have seen this in these recent deals that Turkey and Germany have made with Russia.
This is a grave mistake. Temporary economic gain will never outweigh the risks of enabling these regimes to brutalize their people and destabilize the globe.
As the world’s indispensable leader, we should always try engagement – but we should benchmark our engagement regularly to see if that particular strategy is working. Diplomacy is a tactic, but not a goal within itself. When we confuse the means for the end, we end up in situations where enemies and allies alike can take what they want from us and we get nothing in return.
Unfortunately, European leaders have accomplished exactly that. They know they can get away with this behavior while President Joe Biden is at the helm, and they celebrated his election because they want a U.S. President who doesn’t demand results but celebrates consensus with European leaders. And in case you haven’t noticed, Europe doesn’t put America first.
At the ACLJ, we will continue to work to ensure that we put America first through our Government Accountability Project, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, lawsuits, and our work on Capitol Hill. Our dedication to religious liberty, freedom, and the Constitution should continue to guide our foreign policy.
Richard A. Grenell is the former Acting Director of National Intelligence and former U.S. Ambassador to Germany.
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