Joe Biden’s hybrid hawk-dove-ostrich foreign policy is doomed to failure in a harsh world that demands constancy and strength.’
You’ve probably heard politicians with muscular and aggressive foreign-policy views called “hawks” and those with timid or hesitant views called “doves.” As a third avian category, I would add the “ostriches,” who stick their heads in the sand to ignore gathering threats. Most politicians belong to one of these flocks. But not Joe Biden.
Even by the low standards of a politician, Joe Biden has changed positions dramatically and frequently. Elected to the Senate in 1972, in his own words, “as a 29-year-old kid against the war in Vietnam,” he expressed dovish views for the last two decades of the Cold War. But after the Persian Gulf War and well into the Iraq War, he was reborn as an avenging Wilsonian hawk. After setbacks in Iraq, however, he reverted to his dovish past. Along the way, he has also exhibited ostrich-like tendencies, simply sticking his head in the sand about threats, especially those coming from Russia and China. Biden’s erratic, inconsistent views seem hard to square with a coherent, integrated worldview. “I wish I could say Biden was a student of history,” said one senior Obama administration official during the debates about the Afghanistan surge, but “that’s not Biden. He has gut instincts.” Unfortunately, these instincts tend to line up with Democratic political trends, not America’s national interest.