Biden Will Never Placate the Hawks

There is no way to avoid attacks from these critics, so it makes no sense to worry about what they will say

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Kori Schake faults Biden for not being belligerent and militaristic enough:

The administration appears to lack an effective strategy for the dangers posed by a nuclear-armed North Korea beyond the empty statements that we will not allow North Korea to have nuclear weapons, though experts believe the leadership in Pyongyang may have dozens of them. Or look to Iran, where the administration pursued a strategy known as “more for more” – more sanctions relief for more constraints on the Iranian nuclear program – and yet it cannot even get a return to the 2015 terms from Iran. Moreover, war with Iran is surely a non-starter for a president who abandoned Afghanistan, and is effectively indifferent to the fate of Iraq and Syria.

Some of Schake’s criticisms are fair enough, but most of the column is just a litany of problems, some of them intractable, that aren’t going to be solved by throwing more money at the Pentagon. She complains that “[w]e have let Russian threats determine our actions,” as if it were a bad thing that Biden has tried to limit the risk of direct conflict with a nuclear-armed state. The president’s stated desire to avoid WWIII is presented as a weakness rather than evidence of minimal sanity.

I agree that Biden lacks an effective strategy for North Korea, but the same could be said for every one of his predecessors going back at least to Bush. Schake does not say what she thinks Biden should do to manage the threat from North Korea, so we are left to guess what she thinks an “effective strategy” would look like. My view is that “maximum pressure” has obviously failed and the U.S. has to revise its goals downward to more achievable ends of arms control rather than disarmament, but presumably hawks would not find that solution appealing.

It is also true that there is a gap between Biden’s Taiwan rhetoric and US capabilities, but the right way to close that gap is to scale back the rhetoric. It is a mistake to try to back up unwise statements with even more military spending. It is much easier and smarter to amend the president’s statements than it is to spend a fortune to prepare for wars that the US shouldn’t be fighting. Instead of inventing a new security commitment that the US doesn’t need, the US should stop chipping away at the old status quo.

Read the rest of the article at SubStack

Daniel Larison is a weekly columnist for and maintains his own site at Eunomia. He is former senior editor at The American Conservative. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

9 thoughts on “Biden Will Never Placate the Hawks”

  1. Russia…China…Iran…North Korea…the constant stream of BAD GUYS OVER THERE, MUST PLAN, MUST DO SOMETHING, SOMETHIIIIIIIIIIIIIING, like killing them.
    Mostly to keep the MIC in cashola, and distracting the proles paying for it all.

    So, to be clear, the country that developed nuclear weapons, the only to use them on a civilian population, doesn’t want anyone else to have them, and therefore must have a plan to blow the fccc outta anyone who tries.

    It seems to me the only way to keep America from invading your country is to have nukes. Understandable why one would want them.

    No one should have them. But those cats have slipped the bag.
    How about more jaw jaw, instead of war war.
    We can start by just not being c**ts.

    Unfortunately, the world is run by c**ts.

    Maybe…we’re planning to wack the wrong people…just sayin’…not sayin’….

  2. Here’s your sign!

    Jul 14, 2020 Biden Getting Old ‘Militaristic’ Obama Foreign Policy Team Back Together

    Krystal and Saagar discuss foreign policy plans under a Joe Biden administration and why the campaign is looking at Rep. Karen Bass as a possible choice for Vice President.

    1. Biden is a clone of Ehud Barack Obama, George Warmonger Bush and Tony Blair Witch Project. If John McPain In The Ass were still living, he’d cheer Joe Biden’s wars and tension with Russia and China.

      1. Actually, they are clones of Biden. The fact Biden became president after them doesn’t mean they didn’t emulate him first. For some reason, it seems people think Biden was different when his mental acumen was greater than that of a head of cabbage. But good accurate names you gave them all.

  3. “…that Biden has tried to limit the risk of direct conflict with a nuclear-armed state.”

    On what planet has Biden tried to limit the risk of direct conflict??? He’s provoked it at every possible turn! FFS.

    1. This was the most nutsy line in a nutsy article. In Poland, Biden openly called for regime change.

  4. Trying to outhawk the are Republicans have always a terrible policy, and many tried to convince Biden to turn around. And yet he went down that path anyways and surrounded himself with only neocon advisors. Biden will go down in history as a warmonger.

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