There is no shortage of challengers seeking the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, with 23 candidates having announced so far. However, with former vice president Joe Biden finally throwing his hat into the ring, more moderate Democratic voters have begun to jump on the Biden bandwagon, perhaps without giving him much consideration. Though it’s still early to be tracking the polls, Biden is running away at amazing speed in key primary states like South Carolina, with more than triple the support of his next competitor.
One of the main reasons Biden is doing so well is that, unlike many of the other candidates, he doesn’t advocate socialist policies (talk about a low standard). Sure, it’s promising that Biden, supposedly a centrist, doesn’t support the Green New Deal or Medicare-for-All. But that’s no reason to forget all the other questionable and downright dangerous decisions he’s made—and none more so than on matters of foreign policy.
A six-term senator, Biden served many years on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, including as chairman. He was picked as former president Barack Obama’s running mate in part because of his wide experience in international affairs. But now that he’s running for president, it’s time to take a closer look at just what that experience entails.
His 2011 decision to advise Obama not to send a military team to kill Osama bin Laden. The mission was successful and is today seen as one of the biggest foreign policy wins of Obama’s presidency.
His support for Obama’s intervention in the Yemen civil war, which rages on today, as Saudi Arabia, backed by the United States, bombs schools, hospitals, weddings, funeral parties, and, worst of all, a school bus that was carrying 38 children.
His 2013 backing of airstrikes on Syria without proper congressional authorization.
His support for sending more troops into our failed conflict in Afghanistan even after Obama promised to end the war by 2014.
It’s clear that Biden is a hawk who still foolishly believes that America can—and should—be a global champion of democracy and the world’s policeman.
Whatever you think of Trump’s foreign policy and his desire to put “America First,” you would be remiss to think that the best alternative is Biden’s discredited interventionist mindset. The man is stuck in a pre-Trump world. Biden’s position is all too familiar—he certainly isn’t going to start bringing troops home from these wars.
During the campaign, Biden will likely claim that many of the above decisions were mere mistakes, but even if you dismiss them as such, it is nearly impossible to overlook the mindset Biden had when he made those decisions. This kind of attitude is not going to just disappear if he’s sitting in the Oval Office, or, even worse, the Situation Room. Biden has said that the United States maintains an “obligation to lead” on the global stage and that it is “within our power to make a better world.” As nice as that may sound in principle, it’s naive and it’s been derailing our foreign policy for decades.
It is time to seriously consider whether we’re ready for another four years of foreign interventions in places where we aren’t wanted and don’t belong. Don’t let Biden’s centrist veneer fool you. In reality, few other candidates have been on the wrong side of history so often.
Natalie Dowzicky is a researcher at a Washington, D.C. think tank and a Young Voices contributor. To keep up with her latest work in foreign policy and international relations follow her on Twitter @Nat_Dowzicky.