March 23, 2023
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, U.S. Senator Pete Ricketts (R-NE) questioned Secretary of State Antony Blinken for the Biden’s administration’s fumbled diplomacy with partners like the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and adversaries like Russia.
“In January 17, 2022, the Houthi rebels – backed by the Iranians – launched missiles and drones at Abu Dhabi and killed three people and injured six others,” said Senator Ricketts. “In our visit there last month, a number of officials in the UAE relayed to us that they’re unhappy with the administration’s response. President Biden didn’t call. There was a weak response from the United States. In fact, I think it was reported later that you called Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed and apologized for not having a stronger response. If you did indeed call to apologize, it did not do the trick. A year later, they are still very, very unhappy.”
“Instead having the opportunity to talk about how we can strengthen our relationship with the UAE and how we might be able to make sure that we’ve got a strong relationship versus the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), we were instead lectured about this fumbled diplomacy,” Ricketts continued. “This just leads to our allies in the region looking for others like the CCP for help.”
Senator Ricketts also criticized the Secretary of State for underestimating Putin’s ability to circumvent sanctions, causing the sanctions to have a lessened impact on Russia’s economy.
“Early in February 2022, President Biden warned Vladimir Putin that he has ‘never seen sanctions like the ones I promised to impose,’” said Senator Ricketts. “Soon after Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, the West did impose tough sanctions. The expectation was this would cripple the Russian economy… Instead, the Russian economy was weakened, but it certainly was not crippled… Clearly, we have to do better.”
Senator Ricketts’ comments came during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on “American Diplomacy and Global Leadership” and the State Department’s FY2024 budget request.
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