Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) will savage Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s track record on foreign policy issues in a speech at the Republican National Convention Thursday night, according to an advance copy obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.
The Arkansas senator, who has become a top ally of President Donald Trump’s, will focus on Biden’s decision making in three major areas: China, the Middle East, and his overall grand strategy. In the Middle East and otherwise, Biden’s caution and weakness on defense spending stand out to Republicans as places of Biden’s potential vulnerability. On China, Cotton sees Biden's record as even more shaky.
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"China’s not giving up—in fact, they’re rooting for Joe Biden," the speech reads. "America’s other enemies won’t give up either. But Joe Biden would be as wrong and weak over the next four years as he has been for the last 50. We need a president who stands up for America—not one who takes a knee."
Biden’s record includes a long list of left-wing positions, but particularly striking is his stance on China. For decades, Biden has aligned with engaging China, moving to reward it for behavior consistent with international norms, arguing for Beijing's status as "Most Favored Nation" in 2001. Biden has also repeatedly spurned prospects of a closer relationship with Taiwan in favor of the status quo in cross-strait relations.
Biden also opposed the killing of prominent terrorist leaders in the Middle East. In the days following the strike against Qassem Soleimani, Biden loudly opposed the operation. As vice president, Biden was one of the few in Barack Obama's decision room who opposed the strike that killed Osama bin Laden in 2011. Over the years, Biden has given differing accounts of his reaction to the strike, at times denying that he opposed it. Biden’s opposition is clearly documented, however, in the memoirs of former defense secretary Robert Gates and then-CIA chief Leon Panetta.
Biden showed similar reticence about Trump's decision to move the American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, telling PBS he "wouldn’t have done it" without a broader deal in place. Other Obama-Biden administration officials roundly criticized the decision, which has since opened the door to this month's historic peace agreement between Israel and the UAE, the first time in over two decades that another Middle Eastern nation diplomatically recognized Israel. Cotton is set to lambast Biden's record on these points as well.
Biden was first elected to the Senate when American troops were still stationed in Vietnam. Robert Gates said in 2014 that Joe Biden is "wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades."