The advance of Islamic militants across Iraq has brought fresh criticism for the Obama administration — but may also deliver a grim measure of vindication to one very prominent White House official: Vice President Joe Biden.
In recent months, former officials and pundits questioned and even ridiculed Biden’s foreign policy acumen.
Former Defense Secretary Bob Gates wrote in his memoir that Biden “was wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue of the past four decades.”
And former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s new book “Hard Choices” notes that Biden “remained skeptical” about launching the raid that killed Osama bin Laden in 2011 — and that others in the administration were at odds with Biden. “I thought we should go for it,” Clinton states, a contrast she has also drawn attention to on the road since leaving office.
This week paints Biden’s judgment in a far different light.
Recent events in Iraq call attention to his prediction nearly a decade ago that the war-torn nation was heading towards a break-up along sectarian lines — and to a prescription he offered to try to manage that reality by granting Sunnis, Shia and Kurds greater autonomy over various parts of the country.
In other words: while Biden may have taken a beating repeatedly in recent years for some foreign policy calls he’s made, his judgment on Iraq’s capacity to stay united now looks almost prescient.
“Some will say moving toward strong regionalism would ignite sectarian cleansing. But that’s exactly what is going on already, in ever-bigger waves,” Biden wrote in a 2006 New York Times op-ed he co-authored. “Others will argue that it would lead to partition. But a breakup is already under way. As it was in Bosnia, a strong federal system is a viable means to prevent both perils in Iraq.”