Last week, in their first presidential debate, Democrats described President Donald Trump as “hell-bent on starting a war with Iran.” This week, they are accusing him of “coddling of dictators at the expense of American national security and interests.”
They cannot decide if Trump is a warmonger or an appeaser. Their rule seems to be: if Trump did it, it was wrong. Or, as former vice president Joe Biden said Monday: “Everything this president does is backwards.”
Democrats seem unable to fathom a president who uses every instrument in the toolbox of American power. Trump is not only willing to meet with enemies or threaten them, as the circumstances require, but is also willing to use trade to gain leverage, something his predecessors were unwilling, to do. Moreover, when Trump uses the threat of force, he also offers to negotiate. Democrats do not understand that unless war is a credible option, negotiations go nowhere.
Biden’s statement on Trump’s historic meeting with North Korean Kim Jong-un on Sunday recited a laundry list of criticisms: that he “elevated” Kim; that Trump just wanted a “made-for-TV summit”; and that under Trump, “the situation has gotten worse.” These are all empty. Kim “elevated” himself with nuclear weapons. South Korea’s leader said in advance the meeting would be a “significant milestone.” And Kim is no longer test-firing long-range missiles.
The former vice president, who fancies himself a foreign policy guru, also complained that Trump had withdrawn from the Iran deal, and partly blamed the president for the fact that Iran has now stopped complying with it. But the deal was never going to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear power. It was the Obama administration that “elevated” the Iranian regime, that held “made-for-TV summits,” and that accepted a deal so one-sided that “the situation has gotten worse.”
The Obama-Biden administration sought to appease every American rival; President Obama literally bowed to foreign tyrants. The sole exception was Libya — which Obama attacked after the regime had moved in a pro-Western direction.
Biden’s own views are erratic. He voted for the Iraq War, but voted against the Gulf War. He claims to be a friend of Israel, but in 2010 condemned it for building apartments in a Jewish neighborhood of Jerusalem. When it comes to North Korea, Biden once advocated a unilateral strike on North Korea if it even developed “a missile system.” While the U.S. should retain a military option, would Biden’s policy have been better than where Trump has taken us today?
Democrats want diplomacy, until Trump meets with Kim. They want to stand up to tyrants, until Trump confronts Iran. As Trump’s policies succeed, the only direction Democrats have left to move — to paraphrase Biden — is “backwards.”
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.