The Corner

The Biden Myth

I’m puzzled why many press reports about Joe Biden touting his foreign-policy expertise and using as example the plan he supported to divide Iraq into three ethnic enclaves. This was a terrible notion, and would have led to far more violence in Iraq than anything we have seen there, along the lines of the Balkan wars of the 1990s, but worse. It would have taken one security challenge and given us three or more even more difficult challenges. Furthermore the plan was opposed by 90 percent of Iraqis, and was being pushed only by a small group of inside-the-Beltway intellectuals who were certain they knew better what the Iraqis needed than the Iraqis themselves. It bespoke of a very unselfconscious type of imperialism. The partition plan was seen as the alternative to the Surge strategy, which once fully implemented turned out to be a highly effective means of reducing violence and increasing cooperation between the various ethnic and sectarian factions. The Surge was a more sophisticated approach than partition, surely. But why analysts cite the partition plan as evidence of Senator Biden’s national-security chops is a little perplexing since the plan was never implemented, never needed, and if attempted would have been a disaster.

James S. Robbins — James S. Robbins is a political commentator for National Review and USA Today and is senior fellow for national security affairs on the American Foreign Policy Council. He is a ...

Most Popular


The Deflation of the Academic Brand

Trumpism is sometimes derided as an updated know-nothingism that rejects expertise and the input of credentialed expertise. Supposedly, professionals who could now save us tragically have their talent untapped as they sit idle at the Council on Foreign Relations, the economics Department at Harvard, or in the ... Read More

My Journey into the Heart of Obama-Trump Country

After eight years of displeasure with Barack Obama’s presidency, Carla Johnson was ready for a drastic change. The 41-year-old lab technician from Cresco, Iowa, fell for Donald Trump very early in the 2016 primary season. She loved his “take-no-[sh**]” style, his conservative stances on gun control and ... Read More