Senator Joe Manchin has caved in to pressure by voting to advance the nomination of Colin Kahl to a post as undersecretary of defense.
Assuming Manchin votes the same way when the nomination hits the Senate floor, Kahl should be able to squeak through. And that would have disastrous ramifications for national security.
Kahl has been consistently wrong on foreign-policy matters, and his errors consistently end up favoring Iran, and targeting Israel.
He was a major opponent of sanctions against Iran, and pushed the Iran deal, which made Iran into a greater conventional threat while allowing the terrorist regime to remain on the long-term glide path toward nuclear weapons.
As somebody who has repeatedly opposed the U.S. alliance with Israel, Kahl warned at the time that Donald Trump moved the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to its capital city of Jerusalem that it would have catastrophic consequences for the region. He even claimed it would benefit Vladimir Putin:
As Trump’s Jerusalem decision further isolates the US in the Middle East, Putin is happy to fill the void (indeed, Trump likely wants him to). thttps://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/11/world/europe/putin-syria-russia.html
— Colin Kahl (@ColinKahl) December 11, 2017
In reality, what happened was that it helped improve U.S. standing in the region, and gave the Trump administration the credibility that helped it broker multiple peace deals between Israel and Arab countries.
What the pick signals is a broader effort by the Biden administration to resurrect the Obama era Middle East vision. Under that vision, the U.S. adopted a more hostile posture toward Israel and Saudi Arabia, and a more accommodating stance toward Iran. This, in turn, caused significantly more instability in the region.