Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said Tuesday that President Donald Trump’s escalation of tensions with Iran proves him to be “dangerously incompetent” and puts the U.S. on the brink of war.
Speaking in New York, Biden said Trump used a “haphazard” decision-making process to order the killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani and has failed to communicate the rationale to Congress or U.S. allies around the world. Biden said Trump instead offered “tweets, threats and tantrums” that prove the Republican president to be “dangerously incompetent and incapable of world leadership.”
“Trump’s impulsive decision may well do more to strengthen Iran’s position in the region than any of Soleimani’s plots would have ever accomplished,” Biden predicted.
He criticized President Trump for having “no strategy” and “no endgame.” He said that the president’s “constant mistakes” and poor decision-making have left the U.S. with limited options.
The former vice president argued that the only way out of the Iran crisis is through diplomacy.
“No one wants war,” he said, adding that it would take hard work to make sure we don’t end up there “by accident.”
The remarks gave Biden the chance to flex his foreign-policy chops at a time when the U.S. is bracing for possible retaliation from Iran following Soleimani’s death.
Biden criticized Mr. Trump in his speech for bringing the U.S. “dangerously close” to starting anew in the Middle East, despite campaigning on bringing an end to so-called endless wars.
“I have no illusions about Iran. The regime has long sponsored terrorism and threatened our interests. They’ve ruthlessly killed hundreds of protesters, and they should be held accountable for their actions,” the former vice president said. “But there is a smart way to counter them — and a self-defeating way. Trump’s approach is demonstrably the latter.”
Biden, who served in the U.S. Senate for more than three decades before he was vice president, also stressed the need for the Congress and White House to come together “to advance our national interests — not the political interests of one person or one party.”
“We need to restore the balance of powers between the branches of government. We need checks and balances that actually serve to check and balance the worst impulses of our leaders — in any branch,” he said. “We need to use our system to bring us together as a nation — not abuse it to rip us apart.”
“That’s not a naïve or outdated way of thinking,” Biden added. “That’s the genius and timelessness of our democratic system, which has, for more than 240 years, allowed us to remake ourselves, reckon with our shortcomings, and move ever forward.”
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