As the world awaits with bated breath the final outcome of the November 3, 2020, U.S. presidential election, many foreign policy experts are analyzing potential changes in U.S. policies that could impact foreign policy progress we have seen over the past four years, including progress in the Middle East.
Many are wondering how Joe Biden, if ultimately elected, would approach relationships with Iran, mostly because the former vice president did not provide much foreign policy information during his presidential campaign, suggesting instead that he would announce policies after the election.
The Trump administration made considerable progress in stabilization and support of its friends in the Middle East. It eliminated the head of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, aka "Jihadi John," and lead successful military joint operations with Iraqi and Kurdish forces. It also removed us from the flawed Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), aka the Iranian nuclear deal.
On the other hand, the Trump strategy bolstered Iran's extraterritorial military capabilities as attacks on U.S. interests increased in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere beyond Iranian sovereign territory. U.S. allies such as Israel and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia also saw an increase in Iranian or Iranian-backed attacks, some with significantly higher sophistication.
The war in Yemen continues with Iranian-backed Houthi forces launching attacks into Saudi Arabia, and attempts by Iranian forces to cross into Israel from Syria has increased, as have insurgent tactics to target Israelis along the border areas.
President Trump and his team held Iran accountable. For example, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo enforced the SnapBack provision of U.N. Resolution 2231, reestablishing financial sanctions against Iran.
The Trump administration took additional measures to sanction individuals responsible for funding attacks against America and its allies and it conducted a successful counterterrorism strike to eliminate former Quds Force Commander, Qasim Soleimani. At the same time, the Trump administration has developed and cultivated stronger ties with Iraq's new Prime Minister, Mustafa al-Khadimi.
These strategic moves have resulted in Iran having limited financial resourcing for its proxy militias, a fracture in the Hashd al-Shaabi proxy militia group in Iraq and further diplomatic isolation of Iran.
Through the Abraham Accords, President Trump has realized great successes in normalizing diplomatic relations with Israel, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. These historic accords not only enable diplomatic relations, but also security and military cooperation, shared intelligence and an ability to develop a stronger Middle East coalition to combat Iran's malign activities.
The Abraham Accords help to ensure that an Arab coalition in the Middle East will have the ability to work together to stop the largest state sponsor of terrorism, Iran, regardless of who wins the U.S. presidential election.
Former vice president Joe Biden has announced his intent to appoint Anthony Blixen as his National Security adviser should he become the 46th president of the United States. This announcement should concern many Middle East experts, considering that it was Blixen who helped mastermind the JCPOA nuclear agreement with Iran.
Blixen was also a member of the Obama National Security Council (NSC), which made no efforts to eliminate Baghdadi or Soleimani who were responsible for countless brutal murders of Americans and the sex enslavement of Yazidi women and children.
Additionally, it was Blixen who commented about then-President Obama's 2011 decision to target Osama Bin Laden, "I've never seen a more courageous decision made by a leader."
Blixen was also responsible for drafting and has been noted as a "key member," with regard to our foreign policy in Syria. Many Americans remember the empty words of "red line" that was used by the Obama Administration after Syrian President Asaad's regime used chemical weapons and other brutal methods on its own citizens.
It was also during the Obama administration when ISIS saw its largest and most sustained numbers in the region, even taking large swaths of Iraq.
My biggest concern is that it seems that Biden is proposing former Obama and Clintonites who failed to hold our adversaries such as Iran and China accountable. In fact, these former Obama and Clintonites did just the opposite and awarded China with more poor trade imbalances while putting billions into the hands of Iran's nuclear programs.
After great strides of President Trump in bringing home troops, formally ending endless wars, putting policies in place to stabilize a region that's seen turmoil for decades and holding our adversaries accountable, I share the concern of many who think all this progress could be erased if President Trump fails to secure re-election through his various court challenges and recounts.
President Trump not only made America Great Again, but also helped to make parts of the world previously riddled by war and turmoil much safer and more stable. We all continue to hold our breath as we await the final outcome of the U.S. presidential election.
Cory Mills is a highly decorated combat veteran with experience in multiple theaters of operation. He is Founder and CEO of PACEM Solutions International and PACEM Defense LLC, which acquired AMTEC Less Lethal Systems, Inc., in 2018. For most of his adult life, Cory Mills has honorably served U.S. military, diplomatic and USAID missions. After Mr. Mills was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army, he served as a subcontractor for the U.S. State Department from 2005-2010. During this time, he worked with thousands of diplomatic missions in the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and the U.S. Consul in Erbil. In 2016, the Republic of Iraq credited PACEM with assisting operations which led to the raising of Iraq's flag at the Fallujah Governor's Office for the first time in nearly three years. Prior to this, ISIS was flying the flag of the Caliph in Fallujah. Read Cory Mill's Reports — More Here.
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