He may continually and unintentionally make ‘gaffs;’ He may get himself in trouble with the President by speaking before he thinks; considering that he represents the President, and he may not share the exact same opinion. But Joe Biden is not afraid to tell the truth; at least the way he sees it.
Speaking at the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum at the Institute of Politics at Harvard University on Thursday, Biden told students that allies of the United States in the Mideast are to blame for the rise of ISIS. He told them that Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar wanted Assad removed from Syria and provided the opposition with money and weapons, which now belong to ISIS.
Biden said that to believe the United States could have been involved in the battle against ISIS sooner was fiction. He said that we had to have our allies involved and that America could not engage in a solo war against another Arab nation in the Middle East.
Biden explained to the students the President Obama’s low approval rating is tied to what Republicans and some Democrats are calling a weak foreign policy. He claims that the administration’s policies are the result of thoughtful consideration and considering all available options. Biden insists that the President does not want to put ‘boots on the ground’ in Syria or Iraq.
He spoke for two-and-one-half hours and covered other major issues including the Ukraine. Biden informed the students that the United States will not be militarily involved, but Putin is directly responsible for the situation, and he must be stopped. He also reiterated the fact that Russia must not fail as a strong economic nation, but they must retreat from the Ukraine.
He said we must strengthen our alliances in Europe and Asia, and nurture budding Democratic nations such as India and Mexico.
When the subject of China arose, he said it was important to manage our relationship with them. Biden said that we should enhance our relationship when we can, and ‘push back’ when we must.
He also spoke about one of the most important matters in our own country; immigration reform. In what was a ‘put your money where your mouth is,’ Biden said it was fine to talk about establishing better relations with Central and South America, but we must solve our immigration problem in this country. Most of our neighbors to the south are Hispanic.
The students asked respectful and insightful questions about other topics such as AIDS funding and the reputation of the United States on the world stage.
Before Biden spoke some students took to microphone to express their mixed views on the administration’s foreign policy.
Lily Velona, who is a Harvard freshman and a Democrat talked of her concern that Obama did not seek Congress’ approval before taking military action against ISIS.
Auden Lawrence, a junior and also a Democrat said that he was impressed how the White House was handling foreign policy. He said that Mr. Obama had been faced with a multitude of challenges, and was taking each of them seriously.
Say what you will about the Vice-President, but Joe Biden is not afraid to tell the truth; don’t ask him a question if you don’t want to hear the answer.