Foreign Policy

Biden Cuts Support for Saudi War in Yemen, But It Should Only Be the First Step

What should come next for the U.S.-Saudi Arabia relationship

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Speaking at the State Department this week for the first foreign policy speech of his term, President Joe Biden laid down a marker: the United States will no longer be doing Saudi Arabia's bidding.

The offensive military support Washington has provided to the kingdom during its ongoing air war in Yemen is now coming to a halt. "This war has to end," Biden told the staff and diplomats assembled in the Benjamin Franklin Room. The announcement was a belated but welcome shift in policy for those who have long believed that showering Riyadh with air-to-ground munitions and diplomatic backing was exacerbating Yemen's conflict, hindering the United Nations-facilitated diplomatic process and violating U.S. interests and values.

How the announcement will impact the bilateral U.S.-Saudi relationship as a whole is yet to be determined. As Biden reiterated, Washington will continue to assist the kingdom on defensive security measures, which suggests that the basic tenets of the 76-year-old arrangement will survive to some extent. Biden's change in Yemen policy, however, is an opportunity for the administration to conduct a comprehensive review of U.S.-Saudi relations. While it would be a mistake for the U.S. to arbitrarily throw its entire relationship with the Saudis overboard, there is no question the old oil-for-security transactionalism that was first cemented between President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and King Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud near the end of the Second World War is past its sell-by date. As geopolitics change, America's security partnerships must change along with it.

The Biden administration should rest its review of U.S. policy on Saudi Arabia upon three pillars.

First, Washington needs to place relations with Riyadh on an accurate baseline. As much as Saudi officials may wish otherwise, the monarchy is not a formal treaty ally of the United States and is thus not entitled to unconditional U.S. security privileges whenever it finds itself in trouble. Regrettably, if the monarchy believes it holds special status with the U.S., it's because Washington has done little to disabuse Riyadh of this assumption. The U.S. has been all too willing to give Saudi Arabia the benefit of the doubt across successive administrations—in the case of Yemen, this took the form of mid-air refueling of Saudi combat aircraft, providing intelligence on Houthi targets, diplomatic cover at the United Nations, and the export of the bombs and spare parts needed to prosecute the war. The Biden administration's contention that the U.S. will cooperate with Riyadh when U.S. and Saudi interests coincide and "not shy away from defending U.S. interests and values where they do not" is an encouraging evolution in Washington's approach that must be operationalized if it's to have any meaning.

Second, the U.S. should stop approaching the Middle East through a black-and-white frame. The common perception in the Beltway is that in the broader regional power struggle between Saudi Arabia and Iran, the former is irreplaceably good while the latter is indisputably bad. The real answer, however, is that Saudi Arabia and Iran have both done their fair share to destabilize the Middle East. Tehran's material support for proxies in multiple Arab countries is a key facet of its foreign and security policy, while Riyadh's multiple infractions during the era of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman—kidnapping the former Lebanese prime minister, launching a misguided military stalemate in Yemen, and boycotting neighboring Qatar for over three years—have introduced serious fissures into the region's security architecture. The U.S., therefore, should stay out of the Middle East's internal squabbles as a general principle, avoid picking winners in those fights, and begin the process of diversifying its diplomatic relationships with other states so the Saudis don't have an undue influence over U.S. policy.

Third, the Biden administration should support critical voices in the region who are seeking a new security architecture for the Middle East—one that relies less on the force of arms and more on direct diplomacy and confidence-building measures. On January 31, Saudi researcher Abdulaziz Sager and former Iranian diplomat Hossein Mousavian put forth an approach calling for exactly that. "The first step toward a tolerable modus vivendi would be for each side [Saudi Arabia and Iran] to recognise the other's threat perceptions…and embrace a set of foundational principles upon which to build." Those principles would include a joint commitment from Riyadh and Tehran that sovereignty will be respected, a prohibition on the use of force to resolve disputes, and dropping the pursuit of hegemony as a policy objective. A stable balance of power is the system that best serves U.S. interests. While establishing a workable security architecture in the region should ultimately be left up to those who live in the region, Washington can offer assistance in such discussions if deemed helpful.

The Biden administration's decision to pull the United States out of Yemen's six-year-long civil war was a highly prudent act. But it's merely a first step. Washington's Middle East policy must be anchored in restraint and humbleness. This simply won't happen until U.S. policy makers realign the U.S.-Saudi Arabia relationship with the realities of the world today—not on how the world looked during the Cold War.

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  2. Won’t happen the warmongers and neocons are running the military and intelligence branches no matter who’s in the white house and congress. Biden is too weak to stop them.

    We had many opportunities to stop the warfare and welfare bullshit but it’s too late. Better to let it crash.

    1. Don’t be confused by delusional journalists.

      Selling hardware to Saudi Arabia and the UAE was the alternative to the U.S. fighting against Iran and its allies in the region directly. The Biden administration is shutting down arms sales because the neocons in the Biden administration want to fight these wars themselves.

      And me calling this article delusional is giving the author the benefit of the doubt. The next most likely explanation is outright misinformation.

      Biden has no intention of following through on the peace deal Trump signed with the Taliban to get us out of Afghanistan, and he has no intention of letting Saudi Arabia and the UAE fight a war against Iran and its proxies without the USA being involved directly.

      P.S. Anyone who thinks the Houthis are going away because Biden cut arms sales to Saudi Arabia is delusional twice over.

      1. ” the U.S. fighting against Iran and its allies in the region directly. The Biden administration is shutting down arms sales because the neocons in the Biden administration want to fight these wars themselves.”

        Do you believe this nonsense? Say what you want about progressive Democrats but they are really not into a war with Iran, they’re still quite angry about Iraq.

        1. Are you high? Are you that ignorant of Biden and Harris’ records?
          Biden plumped for every single foreign entanglement to US has been in. From Vietnam to Libya.

          1. Biden is a weathervane, and he’s well aware which way the wind is blowing on war in the middle east for progressives.

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              3. ???
                What are you trying to say? Progressives want war against the Arabs? They want to help Iran?

                I’m not catching what you’re trying to say.

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            1. The Democrats don’t have an anti war wing. Tulsi was the last one and she walked away from their shitshow. Every single one of Biden’s foreign policy nominees is a hardcore neocon. What’s left of any anti war constituency voted for Trump.

              1. Tulsi was the last one and she walked away from their shitshow.

                Walked away is a generous interpretation. She was accused of being an asset of the biggest threat facing our nation (unless MItt Romney’s the one saying it) and tossed out on her ear. She was the only anti-war part of the party and they overtly excommunicated her.

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          2. Joe Biden has always been for more nuanced policies for troop deployments. In most cases he has always been on the sidelines and not the position to make the decisions. He opposed sending more troop to Afghanistan in favor of smaller groups to address potential terror threats.
            The fact is we are in a quagmire in the Middle East and it will be difficult for any President to get our troops out. President Biden is now in the decision makers chair and I am will to give him the chance to try.

            1. “Joe Biden has always been for more nuanced policies for troop deployments…”

              A real laugh riot, here.

              1. And by nuanced he means more boots on the ground and bullets in the air.

            2. You really are special.

            3. Who the hell do you think you’re kidding?
              Biden has been in politics for a half a century. He does have a record you know.

              1. Yes does have a record and if you look at that record you can see what I am talking about. In 2009, then VP Biden was reluctant to surge troops into Afghanistan. But it was not his decision to make.

            4. “Joe Biden has always been for more nuanced policies for troop deployments.”

              And nothing says nuance like 25,000 troops deployed in DC, but not a mortar emplacement or machine gun crew in sight.

              New Caesar should commend you for your moderation.

              1. Those troops are there for a reason. Sadly the former President could not accept his loss and send his minions to attack our seat of government. Hopefully we can forget Trump, move on, and open up our Capital.

      2. Holy shit, Ken truly is the master of ideological twister. The contortions he goes through to convince himself the Republicans are morally right always end with his head up his own ass.

        1. Youre simply ficking retarded. He is correct. The SA arms sales are one of the items asked biden to look into before reentering the Iran deal. Iran backs the rebels in Yemen. They use them as a proxy. Seeling weapons to SA keeps our troops the fuck out of there.

          You’ve really gone all in on leftist ignorance the last couple of years.

          1. You are too stupid to recognize the false dilemma that Ken posits.

            1. Ken is correct.

            2. Ken didn’t put forward a false dilemma, and he’s totally right you know.

        2. All Ken needs now is the MAGA hat.

          1. Then you can pull out your pussy hat and Sanders mittens and try and fight him, huh?
            He’d probably kick your obese ass back down into mom’s basement lickety-split though.

        3. I didn’t see Ken defending Republicans. He’s talking about Trump’s strategy to extract us from wars in the ME. It was a very successful strategy that Biden has promised to reverse. With a few exceptions, like Rand Paul, the DC Republicans will be all in with Biden.

    2. “Biden is too weak to stop them.”

      Don’t confuse with weak with don’t want to do so.

    3. Biden is not interested in stopping them. Never was.

  3. “The announcement was a belated but welcome shift in policy for those who have long believed that showering Riyadh with air-to-ground munitions and diplomatic backing was exacerbating Yemen’s conflict, hindering the United Nations-facilitated diplomatic process and violating U.S. interests and values.”

    The legitimate purpose of government is to protect our rights. The legitimate purpose of foreign policy is to protect our rights from foreign threats.

    The legitimate purpose of foreign policy is not to project American values. If protecting our rights from foreign threats is best served by making an alliance with Joseph Stalin, then that’s exactly what we should do.

    Using the government to project values into the outside world is neocon horseshit, and if you still haven’t abandoned that stupid idea after the miserable failures of the Bush Jr. and Obama years, then how bad do the negative consequences need to get before you finally learn?

    1. The US was founded and built on values.

      1. Some of those values included things like avoiding foreign entanglements. Ii certainly didn’t include using a standing army to project our values into foreign countries. The idea that we should fight the Middle East’s wars fir them because we have values is absurd.

        You’re not one of those neocons who assumed that the Iraqis wanted us to bomb, invade, and occupy their country because of our values, are you? Do you imagine the Vietnam War was a good idea because it was about spreading American values? I suspect the Iraqis and Vietnamese might have been better off if more Americans understood the value of minding our own business.

        1. I’m no fan of either of those interventions, but the US has always been about being an ideational project of declared universal values, a city upon a hill-the eyes of all people are upon us type of thing.

          1. Until WWII the US was instinctively isolationist. They need to fire your middle school history teacher.

            1. Lol, do you know how many times we intervened militarily in Latin America alone before WWII? You might want to seek out my middle school history teacher.

              1. And that all panned out just great, didn’t it?

              2. The banana wars were to preserve American companies and banks not spreading democracy. As was the Monroe Doctrine.

          2. Do you think making an alliance with Stalin to defeat the Nazis and chase Imperial Japan out of China was a bad thing–because Stalin didn’t share our values?

            Using the coercive power of the state to inflict your values on people in other countries is ethically wrong at a fundamental level, for the same reason that forcing other people to do what you want–against their will–is ethically wrong. And it really doesn’t matter whether your values are good. Sending millions of police into African-American community to free them from the grips of crack cocaine was wrong.

            Oh, and by the way, much like the Iraq War, it was also futile.

            Because we have values doesn’t mean we need to project them into foreign countries with our military or foreign policy, and in this case, we really are talking about mutually exclusive alternatives. If the Saudis don’t have the means to defend themselves adequately, that doesn’t mean Iran will stop attacking them or that the Saudis will roll over for them. It mostly just means that they will continue to depend on the United States to defend them–which is what they’ve done since before we guaranteed the security of Kuwait.

            Being the guarantor of security in the Middle East is not in the best interests of the American people. The legitimate purpose of foreign policy is to protect our rights from foreign threats. It is not to make sure that the people of Saudi Arabia or their rulers share our values. If you want to share your values with people in other countries, I suggest you join a charitable organization and leave the U.S. military out of it.

            1. “Do you think making an alliance with Stalin to defeat the Nazis and chase Imperial Japan out of China was a bad thing–because Stalin didn’t share our values? ”

              We were in that war largely because of our values, we wanted to defeat fascism and preserve democracy, and the idea was that at the time Stalin was less of a threat on those fronts than was Hitler. You could say we made the deal with Stalin because of our values, it was the sensible thing to do in promoting them.

              “Using the coercive power of the state to inflict your values on people in other countries is ethically wrong at a fundamental level”

              Who is advocating that? I’m applauding this move by Biden exactly because it gets us *less* involved in using force against foreigners.

              1. We were in that war because Japan attacked us, Germany attacked our allies, they both represented long term threats to our rights, and we couldn’t defeat them both alone.

                The alliance with Stalin saved hundreds of thousands of lives. We might have either had to accept Nazi Germany’s contained existence, the Japanese presence in China on an eternal basis, or dropped a whole lot more nuclear bombs to win without Stalin.

                Making an alliance with Stalin was the right thing to do. And refusing to free all those millions of people from the Nazis and domination by the Imperial Japanese because shaking hands with Stalin was icky? That would have been immoral.

                1. “Making an alliance with Stalin was the right thing to do. ”

                  Yes, it was almost demanded by your values.

                  1. If you’re talking about my statement that the legitimate purpose of government is to protect our rights from foreign threats as if that reflects my values, then you might be right with a couple of caveats.

                    1) The legitimate purpose of government being confined to protecting our rights isn’t just a value. It’s a fundamental prerequisite for living in a free and just society.

                    2) Honest and smart people can disagree about these things. I’d be willing to listen to arguments that making nice with Stalin or Saudi Arabia isn’t in the best interests of protecting our rights. The arguments I’ve heard to that effect so far either aren’t being made here in threat or are wrong.

              2. “We were in that war largely because of our values, we wanted to defeat fascism and preserve democracy, and the idea was that at the time Stalin was less of a threat on those fronts than was Hitler. ”

                Considerable arguments can be made to say they were equally terrible.

                We also had WAY more Communist spies than Nazi spies in those days.

                1. Well, just because it was in our best interests to make nice with Stalin doesn’t mean every deal we made with Stalin was excellent or necessary. Big mistakes were made in regards to Stalin at Yalta and afterwards, too. That doesn’t mean allying with Stalin to defeat the Nazis and Imperial Japan wasn’t the right move.

                  1. Water under the bridge, but more importantly, your reasoning is sound, even if damikesc and I may quibble with specific weightings in your methodology. US foreign policy should be to benefit the United States and Americans. Period.

                    Cutting arms sales to the Saudis is a prelude to sending troops to the Saudis to bolster their defensive issues. Which will lead to a fight with Iran.

                    I predict a big schism behind the Left’s facade between those elements that seek to make the Islamic Republic of Iran the major power in the MidEast/Central Asia, and those that wish to go to war with it. I further predict some seemingly schizoid behavior in near-future American policy towards the region because of this tension.

                    Totally agree with you Ken that, now it’s not a question of if Iran gets a nuclear deterrent, but when. We’re about to see a really bad bloodletting there, as I have zero faith the parties involved: the Sauds/GC, the Iranians and Qataris, the Israelis, and a Susan Rice-advised State Department, can manage such a perilously balanced situation.

              3. wtf kind of stupid are you talking? The US entering WW2 had ZERO to do with fascism or any other form of government. The Japanese attacked us, stupid.

                We made a deal with Stalin as the power of the Axis was so large we could not win it alone. Wow are you brainwashed.

            2. Did you think the Lend-Lease program was a bad or good thing? Because that was almost certainly stemming more from our values (our affinity with England a fellow democratic nation) than our interests.

              I don’t think you can separate our values from our interests given that we are an ideational nation built on the premise of certain natural, universal rights for all men. Of course I don’t think forcing other countries to be like us a value or interest for us, but I do think that its legitimate to weigh our values when we do foreign policy.

              1. Are you really not getting the distinction between having values and spreading them at gunpoint?

                1. No one here is arguing we should spread them at gunpoint, you’re arguing with an imagined Biden neocon. I think we should weigh our values when acting *and* I think it’s contrary to our values to spread them at gunpoint.

                  1. There’s nothing imaginary about the statement by the author of this piece praising the Biden administration for bringing foreign policy in Saudi Arabia more in line with our “values”.

                    Fuck that noise.

                    And there isn’t anything imaginary about neocons being priggish when it comes to making common cause with less than savory characters–even when it’s in the best interests of the United States to do so. Their tendency to see everything in terms of good or evil is a fundamental feature.

              2. Here’s an excellent example of the neocons in the Biden administration letting our values get in the way of doing the right thing–getting out of Afghanistan.

                This is from a story about why Biden has already, more or less, decided to break Trump’s agreement with the Taliban to withdraw all of our troops by the end of April.

                “In another break with the former administration, Biden’s team also has made a point of underscoring the importance of human rights and women’s rights in Afghanistan. The Taliban, known for their draconian rule and repression of Afghan women during their reign from 1996-2001, made no pledges on the status of women in their agreement with the United States.”

                —-NBC News, January 30, 2021

                https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/national-security/biden-signals-tougher-line-taliban-n1256227

                The Taliban hasn’t targeted a single American in Afghanistan for ten months–since the day Trump signed the peace deal with the Taliban. Biden is tearing up the agreement, refusing to pull our troops out, and going back to war with the Taliban–until the Taliban agrees to stop being Islamic fundamentalists and treat women the same as men?!

                It’s not your values that are the problem. It’s your insistence on using foreign policy to project them militarily that’s the problem.

                1. It’s not your values that are the problem. It’s your insistence on using foreign policy to project them militarily that’s the problem.

                  And we should be clear about the redundant retardation wrt to the article. Biden isn’t projecting American values militarily, he’s *projecting the projection* of American values militarily. Continuing to combat the Taliban in 2021 for transgressions from 2001 is pretty unequivoally perpetuating a forever war. Like declaring war on Israel, Jordan, and Egypt for the various occupations of Palestine.

              3. Lend-Lease had nothing to do with values and everything to do with supporting an ally in a time of war.

              4. Which is similar to selling arms to the Saudis except we get paid for them.

        2. “You’re not one of those neocons who assumed that the Iraqis wanted us to bomb, invade, and occupy their country because of our values, are you?”

          No, because that was Bush 2’s (R) war.
          But Libya and Syria were totes virtuous.
          The Libyans especially. They’ve even opened up new markets there…

          1. As Sevo, here can tell you, within the context of an argument within Congress about whether to authorize Obama’s war in Libya, I argued in favor of that. Because the war was entirely unconstitutional, however, I opposed it on that basis alone.

            The differences between Libya and Iraq are enormous, starting with the presence of troops on the ground. The reason it was so easy to withdraw our troops from Libya is because we never sent troops there–so there were none to withdraw. As soon as troops die in a place like that, leaving becomes practically impossible.

            You can avoid quagmires by not sending troops into them. So, Obama was right about something. It had to happen eventually even if by accident. It should be noted, however, that even when he was right about something, he went about it in a completely unconstitutional way. So, he was actually wrong.

            1. Libya was BY FAR the worst foreign policy decision since Wilson conned us into World War I.
              You know why North Korea and Iran (or anyone else) will never give up their WMD programs?
              Because Qaddafi did, and Obama promptly stabbed him in the “back” (I’m sure everyone is familiar with the actual location).
              Libya proved to the world for the future that the absolute last thing to do in the face of Western pressure to give up a WMD program is comply.
              Even Saddam met a better end…

              1. Weren’t there zero American casualties?

                Didn’t Libya cost us a tiny fraction of a rounding error of what it cost to occupy Iraq?

                Strategically, once the people of Libya decided to rise up and overthrow him, once the Qataris decided to invade Libya on the ground and equip and organize the anti-Qaddafi resistance, once the Brits and the French decided to run air support for the Qataris–with or without us?

                The question was no longer whether there would be a revolution in Libya. Qaddafi would have been gone with us or without us. To the extent that we provided logistical support in the air, we made the revolution part of the war end quickly. And that was a good thing.

                Incidentally, disaffected Libyans were a huge portion of the foreign Jihadis that flooded to terrorist groups like Al Qaeda all during Qaddafi’s reign. Qaddafi practically made it impossible for many of them to live a decent life in Libya. With that gone, those terrorist recruits are staying closer to home now. It will take time for their society to normalize, but Libya is no longer a giant source of the problem, and that’s a good thing.

                1. There were at least 4 casualties. They made a movie about it.

                  Do you really not see the message sent by overthrowing a regime just a few years after he gave us his WMD program???

                  Let the British and French do whatever they’d decided- Qaddafi hadn’t agreed to give them his WMDs.
                  We didn’t have to protect him, but we damn sure didn’t have to stab him in the back right after he shook our hand for all the world to see.

                  1. Are you talking about the 2012 Benghazi attack? That happened on September 11 of 2012.

                    The Libyan revolution was over by October of 2011.

                    Those deaths weren’t because of the war. If that’s what you’re talking about, that’s an excellent reason not to put people on the ground. We shouldn’t have had people on the ground after the fact either.

                    And Iraq had more than 35,000 U.S. casualties and cost the U.S. taxpayers over a trillion dollars. In return for our money, we didn’t become more secure. Saddam Hussein was not a significant threat to the United States, and there was virtually no terrorist presence in Iraq when we invaded. When he was removed from power, Iran–a state sponsor of terror with a real WMD program–became the dominant force in the region, and Iraq itself became a hotbed of terrorist activity. Whole new terrorist organizations have sprung up in the aftermath of the Iraq War. What a disaster!

                    I’d take ten Libyan revolutions rather than one Iraq War any day.

                    1. You’re ignoring the lesson other countries drew from Libya, Ken: if you give up your WMD programs, the West will feel free to fuck with you. If you keep them, they won’t. I don’t agree with Nardz’s statement that Libya’s the worse FP disaster since WW1, but that’s his point for stating such. Libya drove home that lesson, not Iraq.

                      In fact, if Iraq actually had nukes, we don’t invade. Which is weird, given all the whining about yellowcake, but it’s the truth. Ask yourself, February 2003 and you’re in Cheney’s shoes: you really want to trade a potential airburst over D.C., NY, LA—you pick the cities—in order to let the dipshits in your advisory group like Wolfowitz getting to stroke their war boners by invading Iraq? Yeah, that would work. W thought he was hated before…

                      Christ, we haven’t even meaningfully invaded KP next to Afghanistan, and Pakistan doesn’t even really run the place. We don’t fuck with people who have nukes. As Iran is about to find out.

                      (Aside, South Africa would still be under apartheid and still be a pariah, if De Klerk hadn’t gotten rid of their nukes. Nowadays, the Chinese would be eager to supply them—on the Boers’ terms—with anything RSA wanted.)

                    2. Not worst disaster, worst decision.
                      Iraq had far more direct consequences for us, but the decision to invade was more reasonable than the decision to participate in the overthrow of Qaddafi.
                      Hell, the Iraq invasion is what convinced Qaddafi to turn over his WMD program.
                      The 2011 US bombing of Libya proved to everybody in the future that the absolute last thing you should do with your WMD program is give it up.

                    3. It’s interesting how little terrorism there was during Trump’s term.
                      I expect that will change under Biden.

      2. That’s rich coming from a Wokist who was telling everyone that America was built on racism.

        1. Who said America was built on racism?

          1. You, Tony, wk, jeff, NYT, BLM, 1619 project…

          2. you did, stupid.

        2. But now, finally the right racists are in charge!

      3. P.S. If you see the Biden administration do anything to project the values this country was founded on, like opposition to taxes, support for the First and Second Amendments, federalism, the separation of powers, etc., please be sure to point them out to me. I haven’t seen any evidence to suggest that the Biden administration supports any of those values–much less that he plans to project them overseas.

        1. See my comment above, he’s projecting the projection. He’s staying in Afghanistan to defend women’s right to privacy that’s plainly printed in The Consitution under… uh…

          Half of Europe is “worse” with regards to “women’s choice issues” than we are, should we (more) forcibly occupy them as well?

    2. We have to project our “moral power” throughout the world. Obama knew this, Biden knows it.

      1. Yes, if there is anything that foreigners enjoy, it’s being lectured to by American know it all’s.

  4. How is it in America’s interest to stop taking money from Saudi Arabia so they can have weapons to fight a proxy war against our regional adversary for us?

    1. It was in the best interests of the United States to let Saudi Arabia fight their own wars without us.

      They’re going full retard, and isn’t going neocon the final step in that process?

    2. Tariffs on China stealing from us…. bad. Full arms embargo on SA weapons good despite it keeping is from proxy wars in the region. The new Reason.

  5. “showering Riyadh with air-to-ground munitions”

    Weren’t the Saudis buying those directly from weapons manufactures themselves, and the US government just wasn’t interfering?
    This wasn’t like the US was giving the weapons to them.

    Banning sales seems like they’re planning to do China and Iran’s dirty work again.

    If the Bidenis are truly concerned about Yemen I hope they don’t try and assist Iran instead.

    1. Don’t facts distract you from “the truth”.

      1. I hate it when Reason tries to gaslight us, but it’s even worse when it’s for anti-libertarian reasons.

    2. The idea is that the war there has been a humanitarian nightmare and we don’t want to be complicit in it any further.

      1. I cool with no diplomatic support, I’m not cool with embargoes of sales to Arabs.

        Also, is that Iranian cock we smell on your breath Amalthea? We’re not blind to the real intentions here you know.

        1. Methinks its you who would like a war with Iran rather than Ken’s imagined Biden neocons.

          1. The Biden administration going back to a state of war with the Taliban and citing their lack of respect for women’s rights as an excuse to not withdraw–that isn’t my imagination.

            https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/national-security/biden-signals-tougher-line-taliban-n1256227

          2. I don’t want a war with Iran.
            However, I’m pretty damn sure you, Biden and the neocon crowd want an Iranian-Arab war that you can intervene in, as long as the combatants don’t turn Riyadh, Tehran and Tel Aviv into glass parking lots first.

      2. “The idea is that the war there has been a humanitarian nightmare and we don’t want to be complicit in it any further.”

        I hope you see the contradiction there. I suspect you simply don’t see the alternatives clearly. You’re trying to limit our complicity by rejecting the means to extricate ourselves from the situation, and that doesn’t make sense.

        If Saudi Arabia is perfectly capable of defending themselves against Iran, then we don’t need to defend them. Let that sink in for a second, and then realize that this is why the neocons in the Biden administration are killing these arms sales–because they want to be the guarantors of Saudi security.

        You aren’t limiting our complicity by selling them arms. You’re accepting the responsibility of defending the Saudi government against their enemies–and if you listen to Osama bin Laden–you’re in charge of defending the Saudi royal family from the wrath of their own people.

        There are so many good reasons not to take responsibility for defending Saudi Arabia, it’s amazing and probably unnecessary to point them out. I suspect you’re just missing the point that by refusing to sell them the arms to defend themselves, we’re taking on the responsibility to defend them ourselves–whether we like it or not.

        The neocons in the Biden administration like it.

        1. Everything I’ve seen so far makes me think Biden is going to be quite a bit tougher on Saudi Arabia than the previous administration. The Saudis are super-disliked by most progressives and, again, Biden is a weathervane.

          I think you’ve got a false dilemma going here as well, either we have to defend Saudi Arabia from imminent attack by Iran or we have to sell them arms to do that fighting themselves. If those were the only two options then your argument is pretty good, but I don’t buy that premise.

          1. Be careful, Ken is going to call you stupid because you won’t agree with his false dilemma.

            We have more than Ken’s two choices, of either sell arms to Saudi Arabia, or fight an endless war in the Middle East. We could, you know, not fight wars in the Middle East, AND not sell weapons to them either.

            1. So now you’re for a complete embargo of sales .. what did you say about China again?

              1. I think JesseAz and I disagree on trade, immigration, and Section 230–at the very least.

                I’ve never called JesseAz stupid, and that’s because he isn’t.

                1. Jesse is stupider than a box of rocks. All he knows what to do is to parrot right-wing talking points and spout whataboutisms and crude insults. He has the reasoning ability of a gnat. I am not surprised you overlook all of this just because he is a right-winger just like you are becoming.

                  1. Lol

                    You’re a train wreck

                  2. A retarded pig-ignorant cunt like you Jeff, is pretty much the last person here who should be calling Jesse “stoopid”.

                  3. Oh, and calling you out on your incessant hypocrisy isn’t actually “whataboutism”.

                  4. project much?

            2. Most of the people in this thread know that the reason I describe ChemJeff as stupid isn’t because he disagrees with me.

              There’s another more obvious explanation.

              1. Jeff’s not sarcasmic or White Knight level dumb, but he’s not brilliant.
                More so however, he’s habitually dishonest and is a paid shill who largely just parrots whatever talking points he received that day. This gives him the appearance of being more erratic and inconsistent than he might be in real life. That’s not to minimize the fact that he’s a giant hypocrite though.

                1. Yesterday, I pointed out ChemJeff’s straw man. I linked him a definition for a straw man and everything. He couldn’t understand any of it. He responded by doubling down on the straw man.

                  ChemJeff is far dumber than anyone else who regularly posts here.

                  It seems like dishonesty because it’s hard to believe someone is that stupid, but the reason he’s being so dishonest is because he genuinely doesn’t understand what he reads or what you’re talking about. It’s all a mystery to him.

                  1. He’s not high-spec by any means, but I’m still convinced he’s paid to shitpost and misdirect which accounts more for his dishonesty than just plain ignorance.

                    1. If someone on the left is paying him to make the left look stupid, they’re really getting ripped off.

            3. Why would we not sell arms to them?

              I thought you dislikes embargoes and all…

          2. “Everything I’ve seen so far makes me think Biden is going to be quite a bit tougher on Saudi Arabia than the previous administration.”

            Why does that matter? Is this a response to something I wrote?

            “I think you’ve got a false dilemma going here as well, either we have to defend Saudi Arabia from imminent attack by Iran or we have to sell them arms to do that fighting themselves.”

            Regardless of whether you don’t want the United States to be the guarantor of security for Saudi Arabia and our allies in the Middle East, that’s what we’ve been since Kuwait at least–and going back to the Iranian revolution in 1979 really.

            If you think there should be other option, that’s great. In the real world, selling the Saudis the means to defend themselves against Iran is the alternative to the U.S. being the guarantor of their security–as we have been since 1979. Because you don’t want that to be the reality, doesn’t mean it simply goes away.

            Meanwhile, Biden has no intention of abandoning Saudi Arabia’s defense. There’s is no good reason to think that the Biden administration is cutting these sales off in anticipation of abandoning Saudi Arabia. That’s just wishful thinking and make believe. Can you link to the Biden administration saying they’re planning to abandon Saudi Arabia militarily?

            1. If you think there should be other option, that’s great.

              There are an infinite number of options, Ken. The only reason you are stuck within the boundaries of your false dilemma is because you are stuck within the boundaries of the two-party system itself. The two options in your false dilemma line up exactly with the two party positions, and like the knee-jerk rightwinger that you are turning into, you embrace the Team Red one instead of thinking for yourself. You are a pompous small-minded man with a huge ego and a dictionary.

              1. Someone needs another tub of ice cream

              2. And just how is what Ken’s saying a false dilemma, you retarded cunt.
                It’s time for you to come up with an adequate counter-argument or fuck off.

              3. straw man alert

                1. I pointed out to ChemJeff what a straw man is the other day.

                  https://reason.com/2021/02/03/marjorie-taylor-greene-presents-republicans-with-a-sadly-familiar-choice-between-blind-loyalty-to-trump-and-a-basic-respect-for-reality/#comment-8740258

                  This is probably the biggest reason why people keep calling him a liar, dihonest, etc.–because he consistently says things about other people’s statements that are false. My competing hypothesis is that ChemJeff simply isn’t smart enough to understand what other people are saying.

                  ChemJeff still doesn’t know what a straw man is, why they should be avoided, or why he should be embarrassed for making them over and over again–and that’s in spite of having it explained to him over and over again. There is a word for people like ChemJeff, who can’t understand what they read and don’t learn from their mistakes.

                  And that isn’t an ad hominem fallacy; it’s a syllogism.

                  Premise: Stupid people don’t understand what they read and don’t learn from their mistakes.

                  Premise: ChemJeff doesn’t understand what he reads and doesn’t learn from his mistakes.

                  Conclusion: ChemJeff is a stupid person.

      3. Biden is reviewing the China genocide declaration halfwit.

      4. Because there aren’t any more American teenagers to drone while they’re eating in a crowded restaurant?

    3. Be careful about how the money flows, and who’s “allowed” to purchase arms from American arms manufacturers.

      Aid is given to the Saudi’s with the expectation that they purchase arms from domestic manufacturers. It ends up being a sop to corporate interests which have jobs in certain congress member districts.

      Plus, it’s not like any foreign nation can just ring up Lockheed and ask for a couple of F-15s. This is all borne out of mutual back scratching.

      As for the specific conflict the Saudi’s are fighting, I have no doubt the Saudi’s wage that conflict with the level of discretion and care that we would.

      But also, as Ken notes, our alliances are supposed to protect the interests of the American people, not simply be humanitarian offerings to random foreign countries in some kind of geo-political virtue-signaling game.

      I don’t know much about this particular conflict so I won’t make any grand, sweeping statements about it. I have a natural distrust of the Saudis for various reasons, not least of which is 9/11.

      1. As for the specific conflict the Saudi’s are fighting, I have no doubt the Saudi’s wage that conflict with the level of discretion and care that we would.

        Should be, … I have no doubt the Saudis DON’T wage that conflict with the level of discretion and care that we would.

      2. The American people are quite a bit interested in not being complicit in humanitarian disasters.

        1. Like Iran throwing gays off of roofs?

          1. Obama stopped that with The Deal. Trump made it happen again.

        2. “The American people are quite a bit interested in not being complicit in humanitarian disasters.”

          Quite a few of the American people are tired of lying lefty shits like you.

        3. Unless it’s locking people with COVID in old folks homes to die by the tens, if not hundreds of thousands, then they’re all in until 2022, if not longer.

  6. Or… Biden is simply shifting ME foreign policy to be more friendly towards Iran. Biden will also likely reenter the Iran Deal in some capacity, as well.

    Biden is not some dove, and his cabinet is stacked with neocons.

    1. If the Biden administration wants a direct confrontation with Iran, giving them the means to enrich their own uranium is probably the best way to accomplish that goal.

      Actually, Iran launched a new multistage rocket with solid fuel four days ago. It has a range of about 3,100 miles, which means they can’t hit the U.S. yet, but it won’t be long . . .

      https://www.wsj.com/articles/iran-launches-new-rocket-showing-advances-in-potential-missile-technology-11612214948

      If they can launch satellites into orbit with multistage rockets with a decent payload using solid fuel, then ICBMs are on the way. It is critical that they not be allowed to enrich their own uranium.

      The next Cold War may not end the same way the last one did–without a nuclear exchange.

  7. I don’t believe either Biden nor his cabinet want a war with Iran. For whatever reason, the left at large in this country treats Iran as sympathetic victims of US imperialism. As noted above, the left hates Saudi Arabia, though, despite SA being for more “liberal” than Iran.

    I view this more as a realignment of whom we’re deciding to hitch our horses to in the ME more than anything else.

    1. The point was that if and when Iran becomes a nuclear power, that won’t mean peace in the Middle East. With a nuclear deterrent, they will have an even freer hand to engage in conventional wars without much fear of retaliation. That’s what happened during the Cold War, which was a never ending series of conventional wars between 1948 and 1991–including Angola, Cuba, Afghanistan, Nicaragua, Korea and Vietnam. The Soviet Union and the U.S. generally avoided direct confrontation, but once the Soviets had a nuclear deterrent, the negative consequences of initiating new wars with conventional forces became less of a concern for a leadership that didn’t need to face the voters.

      In other words, if and when Iran obtains a nuclear deterrent, they are likely to become more belligerent, not less so. The chances of this eventually leading the U.S. into a conventional war with Iranian proxies is virtually 100% over a long enough period of time. Why shouldn’t the Iranians move to take Mecca and the Saudi oil fields at that point–once they have a nuclear deterrent? Will the U.S. risk a nuclear exchange to defend Saudi Arabia by engaging Iranian forces directly–even with conventional weapons? Why shouldn’t Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Iran’s other enemies seek a nuclear deterrent of their own at that point–especially if the U.S. isn’t willing to launch a nuclear strike on their behalf?

      The road to massive wars in the Middle East and the United States having the role of guarantor of Middle Eastern security during that conflagration is allowing the Iranians to enrich their own uranium. You may not think that Biden wants to go to war with Iran, but we know he favors a deal with Iran that allows them to enrich their own uranium and we know that he doesn’t want the Saudis or the UAE to have the hardware necessary to defend themselves against Iran. The results of that combination over the long term shouldn’t by a mystery to anybody.

      Keeping Iran from enriching their own uranium and letting the Saudis defend themselves is the path to the U.S. exiting the region, and letting the Iranians enrich their own uranium and refusing to allow our Saudi allies to arm themselves is both the path to the U.S. guaranteeing security in the region and the path to Iran using conventional forces to come after our allies. Biden favors a deal with Iran that lets them enrich their own uranium and opposes letting the Saudis and the UAE arm themselves. If Biden doesn’t want to go to war in the Middle East, he’s doing what needs to be done to guarantee that outcome anyway.

  8. Just three months ago, peace treaties for the ME were being signed. Man, I’m going to miss actual peace treaties.

    1. I think the Arabs are finally on board with the idea that Israel is less of an existential threat than Iranian Mullahs looking to immanentize the advent of the Mahdi.

  9. “Biden Cuts Support for Saudi War in Yemen,…”

    Hint to the TDS-addled: Weapons are fungible, and Biden does not direct Saudi foreign policies.
    The US cutting weapons sales to the Saudis has zero effect on any effort they are currently pursuing; they will simply buy weaponry elsewhere.
    This is a symbolic move by droolin’ Joe, hoping to fool people into thinking he’s changed from the war-monger he is.

  10. The Left loves Iran because like them, they hate America.

    While I don’t think we should be providing air support, not selling arms to the Saudis in what essentially is a defensive war is a mistake. Yemen is its neighbor. It would be like China or Russia arming rebels in Canada or Mexico, rebels who have a goal of invading the US.

    Beyond that, Saudi oil is going to be far more important in the future with Biden banning fracking and killing the Keystone pipeline.

  11. No sweat, Reason! New Caesar will commence bombing Iran concurrent with his crackdown on domestic terrorism.

    Once those pallets of cash start falling, the mullahs won’t even know what hit them.

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