August 25, 2023

Senator Ricketts’ Weekly Column: President Biden’s Failed Foreign Policy

August 25, 2023

Two years ago this week, the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan was pure chaos. The city fell to the Taliban as the Biden administration hastily withdrew from the country. We were overwhelmed by the stories of thousands of Americans and Afghans attempting to flee the country. Images of people climbing over fences, mothers giving their babies to strangers, and desperate Afghans chasing planes down the runway shocked the world. Amid the chaos on August 26th, a suicide bomb exploded at Abbey Gate killing 13 American service members and an estimated 170 Afghans. Among them was U.S. Marine Corporal Daegan Page, a Nebraska native, who was just 23 years old.

As the last American plane took off, hundreds of Americans and countless Afghan partners were left behind. More than $7.1 billion in U.S.-funded military equipment was left in the hands of the Taliban. Among that equipment were weapons that have already turned up in other armed conflicts. Despite all this, President Biden declared victory, calling the evacuation an “extraordinary success.” It was not. The Afghanistan pullout was an extraordinary failure. This tragic and shameful event should not have happened.

Sadly, no one has been held accountable for these failures. The first few reviews released by the Biden administration tried to avoid responsibility by claiming the attack was “not preventable.” A later State Department report did cast blame on the president and his senior team. This report found they failed to consider how quickly the security situation might deteriorate. It also found decisionmakers failed to develop a crisis plan to address those issues if things did not go as expected. In a blatant attempt to bury the report, the administration released it the Friday before a long July 4 weekend.

The embarrassing display months into President Joe Biden’s administration was just the beginning of a major shift in global views of America’s role in the world. Since then, we’ve seen numerous unacceptable examples of fumbled or botched diplomacy and appeasement-first foreign policy. It has left our allies seriously questioning America’s commitments to our friends. In some cases, it has even led our partners to look elsewhere for help. Even worse, our adversaries like regimes in Russia, Iran, and North Korea, and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) are questioning our resolve. 

Biden administration officials bow to CCP leaders in pursuit of a climate deal. They also refuse to call Xi Jinping a dictator. Biden has opened the door to allowing the CCP a role in the mediation of Putin’s war in Ukraine. He begged a Venezuelan dictator for oil while attacking domestic energy production. He tried to revive the disastrous Iranian Nuclear Deal. This deal released billions of dollars to a leading state sponsor of terrorism. He has been forced to evacuate staff and families from five American embassies abroad. Americans deserve better than the weakness and appeasement we have seen from this administration.

On the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, I’m conducting essential oversight to hold Biden’s State Department accountable. I question nominees who want to serve as Ambassadors to ensure they are aligned with our values. I examine and question funding of foreign aid and am fighting to make oversight of those funds even stronger. I’m also continuing to take the fight for our interests overseas. I did this on trade missions as governor as well. President Biden may skip dinner with global leaders because he is tired, but it is essential we always have a place at the table. That’s why I’ve continued to meet directly with partners in Europe and the Middle East to express our commitment to freedom and insist they pay their share.
American freedoms and way of life depend on peace. Peace must be maintained through strength. I voted to give our troops a well-deserved 5.2% pay raise, modernize our nuclear deterrent, and reject the president’s reckless plan to shrink our Navy. I supported the authorization of critical funding for the 55th Wing and 557th Weather Wing at Offutt Air Force Base. I’m a strong supporter of the Sentinel ICBM weapon system that will be based here in Nebraska.

Providing for the common defense is a core responsibility of the federal government. I will continue doing all I can to ensure our women and men in uniform have the resources they need to keep us safe.