Steve Rose

Only Hillary Clinton can save us from Joe Biden in 2016

Updated: 2013-09-28T23:21:29Z

By STEVE ROSE

Special to The Star

Run, Hillary, run.

Oh, please run.

Not that you will have my vote. You most probably will not.

But you have got to stop Joe Biden from winning the Democratic nomination, which very likely could lead to the presidency. And I cannot think of a worse candidate for that high office, especially when it comes to foreign policy.

Biden is clearly interested. He recently attended the famous Sen. Tom Harkins steak fry in Iowa, which is a traditional launching pad for presidential candidates. Biden gave what the media described as a presidential campaign speech for 2016.

The vice president and former U.S. senator from Delaware has made plenty of gaffes, enough to fill a book. But I am worried about character flaws far more serious and dangerous to the United States. I am referring to his patent lack of sound judgment, his failure to demonstrate political courage, and his goofy —and ultimately dangerous — ideas.

His most unforgivable lack of judgment came when Iraq, under Saddam Hussein, invaded neighboring Kuwait in August 1990. The interests of the United States were starkly in play. Hussein suddenly not only controlled a key oil-producing state, but his Iraqi army stood poised to invade Saudi Arabia to the south. If Hussein controlled that oil-producing behemoth, he could have brought western civilization to its knees.

George H.W. Bush fortunately recognized the immense threat to our national security and deployed a half-million troops to the region to take back Kuwait and attack Iraq. He asked for a resolution in Congress supporting his plans. He got it all right, but not with the help of then-Sen. Joe Biden. Biden, pacifist that he is, voted against going to war.

Here was a clear and present danger to America and our allies, and Biden took a pass. If that threat doesn’t meet the threshold for military action, what does?

Fast forward to the second gulf war.

George W. Bush asked Congress in 2007 to support a surge of 20,000 troops to bring security to Baghdad and Al Anbar Province. It resulted in a big drop in violence. Gen. David Petraeus called the surge a great success.

Biden, who was then chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee and pacifist that he is, vehemently opposed the surge and predicted it would be a failure. He was dead wrong. Again.

After years of war, Iraq was in need of fixing.

As vice president, Biden — who imagines himself a big thinker — came up with a truly nutty idea and wrote an op-ed essay in The New York Times spelling it out.

He called for partitioning Iraq into three regions — Kurdish, Shiite, and Sunni — and allowing each of these groups to run its own affairs.

Fortunately, Biden was dismissed by his colleagues and by the president. Today, we have a single, centralized government of Iraq, which functions as a single nation. It is not a perfect, harmonious nation, but it is far superior to the Biden idea of basically splitting Iraq into three countries. What was he thinking?

Today, Joe Biden likes to brag about how President Barack Obama ordered the Navy Seals to capture or assassinate Osama bin Laden. This truly was one of Obama’s finest moments, and one where he deserves great credit.

But where was Vice President Biden during the debate among close advisers as to whether to proceed with the attack on bin Laden?

According to The Washington Post, Biden was “alone among the president’s advisers, who opposed every option under consideration for killing Osama bin Laden.”

Reportedly, Biden warned Obama that if the president decided to choose either air or ground options, and if the effort failed, Obama could say goodbye to a second term in office.

There’s a profile in a lack of courage.

The 70-year-old career politician should hang it up when his term as vice president expires. But he will do that only if Hillary Clinton decides to run for president in 2016.

Hillary has her own flaws, to be sure. But I would far rather be led by Hillary Clinton than by a dangerous Joe Biden any day.

To reach Steve Rose, a longtime Johnson County columnist, send email to srose@kc.rr.com.

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