Foreign policy expertise


At the Tuesday-morning meeting with committee staffers, Biden launches into a stream-of-consciousness monologue about what his committee should be doing, before he finally admits the obvious: “I’m groping here.” Then he hits on an idea: America needs to show the Arab world that we’re not bent on its destruction. “Seems to me this would be a good time to send, no strings attached, a check for $200 million to Iran,” Biden declares. He surveys the table with raised eyebrows, a How do ya like that? look on his face.

The staffers sit in silence. Finally somebody ventures a response: “I think they’d send it back.” Then another aide speaks up delicately: “The thing I would worry about is that it would almost look like a publicity stunt.” Still another reminds Biden that an Iranian delegation is in Moscow that very day to discuss a $300 million arms deal with Vladimir Putin that the United States has strongly condemned. But Joe Biden is barely listening anymore. He’s already moved on to something else.

The parable about the possession of a hammer and its possessor’s perspective on problem-solving would seem to be applicable here. It appears that in Sen. Biden’s eyes, there is no problem that a little jaw-jaw and check-writing cannot solve. Yikes indeed.

And yet, precisely how this damning character portrait distinguishes him from the Republican politicians who have managed to spend their way into record-setting budget deficits is not explained by National Review.