Biden Says Stay in Mideast, Increase Military Spending

Biden wants refocus on fighting Russia

Former Vice President Joe Biden gave some of his first foreign policy-related positions in an interview with Stars and Stripes on Thursday, saying the “forever wars have to end” while seemingly ruling out any full-fledged withdrawals, arguing the US still has to worry about terrorism and ISIS.

Biden said the ongoing US wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria are so complicated he can’t promise a withdrawal. He also suggested he may increase military spending even beyond its current record levels as he shifts focus to what he believes should be the military’s priorities.

The priorities, as are so often the case for the US, are fighting Russia, who Biden identified as a “near-peer” power. The US spends more than ten times the amount on its military annually that Russia does, and it is unclear in what way they are a “near-peer.”

Either way, Biden intends to shift the focus toward unmanned drones and cyber-warfare, and suggests that is likely to boil down to not just a shift in where money is spent, but likely an increase in spending as well.

“First thing I’m going to have to do, and I’m not joking: if elected I’m going to have to get on the phone with the heads of state and say America’s back,” Biden said, saying NATO has been “worried as hell about our failure to confront Russia.”

Though the international community has faulted President Trump for being too close with Russia, the fear of that appearance has meant extremely limited diplomacy between the major nuclear powers. Biden’s plans for confrontation seem to offer more of the same, higher record spending, and avoiding peace overtures for fear of not looking sufficiently tough.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.