What do you think of the apothegm “Better late than never?” I think it is often dubious. For confirmation, I adduce the airstrike the Biden administration just conducted against eighty-five targets in Iraq and Syria. The attacks, against infrastructure associated with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, are billed as the opening salvo in response to last week’s drone attack by Iranian assets in Jordan that left three Americans dead and more than forty injured. Taking a page from an earlier, square-jawed time, officials from the administration tersely commented that America’s “multi-tiered” response would continue at a “time and in a manner of our choosing.”
Spoken like a real administration. I wonder from what storeroom they got the script? Memo to the memo writers: if you are going to conduct a a military campaign, it’s generally advantageous to avoid telling your adversary when you are planning to strike. The Biden administration forgot that detail — or perhaps they were worried about causing too much damage to Iranian assets. For several days leading up to yesterday’s strike, the administration reported that a strike was in the works and that it would take place in just a couple of days. As it did.
Wasn’t it kind of Joe to tell the Iranians when he was planning to strike?
In fact, he has been the soul of courtesy, for he has also said that America would not be striking Iran itself.
The press has welcomed the strikes because it gives them something to report on with respect to Biden. “Hey, the old man woke up the other day and ordered air strikes against the bad guys, or at least against some hardware owned by the bad guys.”
The truth is, however, that Biden doesn’t do, he dithers. His action here is merely delayed reaction.
Having countenanced endless attacks by Iran backed Houthis in the Red Sea, he was finally moved to this feeble response when American lives were snuffed out by an unannounced drone attack. (Unlike Joe, the Iranians forbear to announce their attacks beforehand.)
What is actually happening here is that the administration’s ham-handed, dilatory response to Iranian aggression has pushed the world further down the path of likely military escalation and calamity.
Remember when Teddy Roosevelt said that America ought to “walk softly and carry a big stick?” His foreign policy revolved around “the exercise of intelligent forethought and of decisive action sufficiently far in advance of any likely crisis.” Joe Biden has reversed Teddy’s priorities. He waits. He dithers. When he finally reacts, it is with pinpricks that invite further aggression. It is dangerous behavior masquerading as policy. But it is obvious to friends and enemies alike that that is woeful state of things in America in the age of Biden.