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Sunday, March 07, 2010

Where does Biden stand?

When President Obama was in the Senate, he frequently voted 'present' to avoid establishing a record on controversial issues. His Vice President, Smilin' Joe Biden, was much more clever. In an earlier post, I noted that the supposedly pro-Israel Biden was actually one of the most pro-Iran members of the Senate. Two years ago, Shmuel Rosner gave a hint of how Biden manages to maintain his pro-Israel bona fides while being pro-Iran.
Is he a dove? About.com seems to think so: "Biden's Middle East policy aligns closest to that of Jimmy Carter." Is he a hawk? The New Yorker called him the leader of "the most hawkish members in the Democratic Party." But the Los Angeles Times dubbed him "a liberal internationalist who generally hews close to his party's center." Is he a realist? Not on Darfur. Is he a liberal? Not on Iraq. Is he a neocon? Of course not, although at times he comes surprisingly close. As, for example, when he said, "I for one applaud President Bush's vision" of the need to democratize the Middle East.

Biden, you see, is a man of many tastes and positions. So, pinning down his approach to foreign affairs, presumably his future portfolio in an Obama administration - the Cheney comparison is inescapable - can be tricky. Especially for Middle East leaders.


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