Former Vice President Joe Biden today said no American mourns the passing of Iran’s top general, but Biden told an audience in Dubuque this morning there’s no doubt Iran will respond with a vengeance.
“This is all happening against the backdrop of a region that’s on the edge of another major war,” Biden said in remarks at the start of the event. “The risk has been made much worse by President Trump’s own policies.”
Biden has emphasized his foreign policy experience throughout his campaign for the Democratic Party’s 2020 presidential nomination. Today, he suggested the risk of direct conflict with Iran is greater than it’s ever been.
“This morning, in the wake of Soleimani’s death, our government is directing every America in Iraq to leave immediately,” Biden said in Dubuque. “The threat to American lives and interests around in the region and around the world are enormous.”
President Trump tweeted last night that Soleimani should have “been taken out years ago” for killing or badly wounding thousands of Americans over an extended period of time. During an interview with Radio Iowa, Biden defended the Obama Administration’s approach to Iran.
“We had a policy that was designed to use diplomacy to keep us from getting into a war with a country of 40 milion people,” Biden told Radio Iowa.
Biden said the Iran nuclear deal that was negotiated by the U.S. and other world powers had diminished the threat Iran posed.
“Since Trump walked away (from the agreement) everything has gone to hell,” Biden told Radio Iowa. “U.S. personnel in Syria and Iraq have always faced a risk and that’s the nature of being in Iraq, but we don’t need to risk an escalation in the region.”
Biden said no tears are being shed in the west for Soleimani, but there’s no signal Trump has coordinated with allies in Europe and elsewhere for what’s next.
“The question is whether the president has thought through what the second and third iteration of this is going to be,” Biden said. “…Is this a path to war that we hadn’t planned.”
And Biden predicted the Iraqis will now seek the complete withdrawal of U.S. forces.
“They don’t want a proxy war fought on their territory,” Biden said. “Iran is responsible for its bad actions. We didn’t have this kind of continuing chaos and cycle of provocation while the Iran agreement was in place.”
Biden also told Radio Iowa that if he’s elected president, he’d seek to end the congressional resolution that’s given three presidents authority to use military force in the region since 2003.
Biden is campaigning in eastern Iowa today with Iowa Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer, a Democrat from Dubuque, who endorsed him yesterday. During an interview with Radio Iowa, both Biden and Finkenauer focused on their alliance beyond the February 3rd Caucuses.
“I think she is one of about five or six of the most impressive new members of congress and, quite frankly, they all happen to be women,” Biden said. “…The thing that I would hope most for is if I get elected president is to rely and get help from Abby in the House…I’m going to need to good, bright, smart allies.”
Finkenauer said Biden, as the party’s nominee, would be a benefit to other Democrats running in 2020.
“This isn’t just about primaries. This is about November,” Finkenauer told Radio Iowa. “…To have somebody also who is willing to unite us, not just Democrats, but our country, I can tell you after the last year in congress how desperately that is needed right now.”
Finkenauer will start her second year in congress next week. She worked on Biden’s 2008 Iowa Caucus campaign and Biden campaigned for Finkenauer in Cedar Rapids in late October of 2018.