President Biden’s trip to the Middle East last week showed that his administration has abandoned any pretense of U.S. leadership on addressing the crisis in Syria. That policy of neglect undermines U.S. and regional interests — and threatens to leave the region’s security in the hands of Russia and Iran.
Biden never mentioned Syria publicly during his four-day trip, which was billed as a demonstration of U.S. engagement in a region where powers such as Russia and China are making inroads. The president didn’t come up with any new ideas for solving the Syrian political crisis. He didn’t offer any public admonishments to the Gulf countries that have been slowly but surely ending the pariah status of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who continues to perpetrate mass atrocities on his people. In Biden’s Post op-ed explaining the rationale for his Middle East trip, he only mentioned Syria to tout a U.S. mission that killed a terrorist there.
During his candidacy, Biden heavily criticized President Donald Trump for not doing more to prevent Turkey from attacking U.S.-allied Kurds in Syria’s northeast. But as Turkey prepares for another such incursion, Biden has said nothing about it. That has left the diplomacy in the hands of Russia and Iran, who are meeting with Turkey this week on Syria, with the United States not at the table. [Continue reading…]