October 19th, 2023
In the aftermath of Hamas ’s deadly terrorist attack on Israel, it should be clear to everyone that the United States needs to rethink security policy in the Middle East and beyond. Adversarial regimes in China, Iran, and Russia want to take advantage of American weakness. The consequences have been tragic.
A good place to start when reassessing American policies would be the billions of dollars currently flowing from the U.S. into the coffers of our adversaries. At present, the U.S. government is far too careless about where American money goes, and this undermines our strategic interests. Funds intended for humanitarian relief, for example, are in fact being used to support vicious attacks on Americans and our allies.
Take the Biden administration’s 2021 move to send $235 million in “humanitarian aid” to Palestinians. On the surface, the decision was motivated by good intentions. Helping Palestinian civilians is a noble goal. But the Biden administration’s decision to send this money betrayed their fundamental naivete about who actually rules in Gaza.
Hamas has a chokehold on civil society in Gaza. The Islamist group has ruled the population of 2 million with an iron fist since it seized power in 2007. From utilities such as water and electricity to sectors such as education and healthcare, Hamas is in complete control. It even runs the local judiciary according to restrictive Islamist legal codes. Gaza is effectively run as a terror state by one of the most bloodthirsty Islamist organizations on the planet, and the Biden administration must reckon with that fact.
The sensible thing to do is simply to cut off all U.S. funds going to Hamas-controlled Gaza. Earlier this week, Advancing American Freedom, a nonprofit organization founded by former Vice President Mike Pence, sent a letter alongside dozens of other conservative leaders calling on Congress to do just that. “In light of the heinous war against Israel started by Hamas and supported by other Palestinian elements in the region, not one American taxpayer dollar should flow to or underwrite any Palestinian entity or person,” the signers wrote. Until Hamas is utterly destroyed and Gaza free from their brutal tyranny, the United States cannot trust that money sent to Palestinian groups will not be used in the war against Israel.
Unfortunately, Hamas is not the only terrorist organization the Biden administration is inadvertently funding. They also have been funneling money to Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. A year after a disastrous retreat from the country, the Biden administration announced it had set up a $3.5 billion fund “for the benefit of the Afghan people.” Again, helping the ordinary people of this war-torn region is a laudable goal. The fact of the matter is, though, that these funds will go toward supporting an enemy the United States fought for a decade. Terrorist groups such as the Taliban and Hamas are not potential diplomatic partners. They are brutal thugs who want to hurt Americans and our allies.
Even worse, the Biden administration could be funding the Iranian terror state. As part of a deal to release certain American prisoners, the Biden administration agreed to release $6 billion to Iran last month. The transfer has been put on hold in the aftermath of Hamas’s attacks, but President Biden should go further.
In the Senate, Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) has led an effort to permanently freeze the assets. Sens. Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Mitch McConnell (R-KY) have a similar bill for which they sought unanimous consent, but were blocked by Sen. Peter Welch (D-VT). There is absolutely no reason the United States should be funding terrorist regimes, especially those which may have been involved with planning the attacks in Israel.
The U.S. government is funding adversaries beyond the Middle East, too. Earlier this year, Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) and watchdog organization Open the Books identified more than $1.3 billion sent by federal agencies to Russian and Chinese entities in the last five years, including $2 million to the Wuhan Institute of Virology. As Vladimir Putin’s armies continue their bloody invasion of Ukraine and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army threatens to attack Taiwan, the last thing the United States should be doing is funneling cash into dictators’ hands.
The Biden administration’s foreign policy is failing. Their policies have largely been designed to appease and accommodate America’s adversaries. Biden naively believes if he gets the leaders of these hostile regimes to the negotiating table, he can reduce tensions and secure some kind of peace. But the anti-American zealots in the emerging Eurasian axis are not interested in a negotiated settlement. They want to roll back American influence as much as possible.
Instead of appeasing and funding our enemies, the Biden administration should focus on supporting our allies. Israel, Ukraine, and Taiwan all need America’s unwavering support. Providing our friends with arms and money will help them turn the tide against the forces of chaos and reestablish deterrence. Treating enemies like potential diplomatic partners or as recipients of foreign aid will only weaken America’s position in the world.
Read more at the WashingtonExaminer.com.