Joe Biden’s Foreign Policy Record Just Gets Worse.
Yet another reason to question his leadership and character.
While a few other candidates have had their surges here and there over the months, now a couple weeks out from Iowa it is once again looking as though the fight for the nomination will in fact be between former Vice President Joe Biden, and Senator Bernie Sanders. Understanding this, Bernie Sanders and his team have amplified their efforts to point out the flaws in Joe Biden’s decades long political record. With Republicans planning on cutting social security and already slashing disability insurance coverage, Bernie’s team made the politically savvy decision to point out videos of Joe Biden in the past saying that he would do the same.
Of course, Social Security is not the only area where Joe Biden’s record has been questionable, and Bernie has pointed this out as well.
While we are all now fully aware of the Vice President’s infamous Iraq War vote and his defense of it later, unfortunately Mr. Biden’s foreign policy record just continues to get worse the more we learn.
I recently came across a clip on Twitter of a filmed sit down discussion between Joe Biden and staff of the Des Moines Register.
“Look what’s going on in Venezuela right now. What are we doing? We’re being irresponsible. I’m the guy that put together Plan Colombia. Straightened that government out for a long while.”
“I’m the guy that put together Plan Colombia.”
So what exactly is this Plan Colombia then, and how did it “straighten that government out”?
Plan Colombia was an extension of United States drug war policy, and as one might have guessed had devastating lasting effects on the people and communities of Colombia that are still felt to this day.
A piece in the American Prospect from 2007 by Jens Gould says:
“Seven years ago, the U.S. government launched a $4.7 billion anti-drug effort in Colombia, which provides more than 90 percent of cocaine that enters the United States. The program’s pride and joy is an aggressive aerial spraying campaign to destroy coca, the raw ingredient in cocaine that ends up on American streets. Just three days before I arrived, U.S.-funded airplanes had dumped chemicals on La Balsa’s crops, and, in some areas, even on the village structures themselves.”
Joe Biden, twenty years after this operation took place, is touting a plan he “put together” that used $4.7 billion dollars worth of tax payers money to spray farmers and villages with poisonous chemicals that are not only banned here in the United States, but has had detrimental, criminal effects on the community health and food supply in the region.
Gould goes on to write that:
“Coca farming persists in La Balsa because selling the plant remains practically the only way to make a living. In fact, farmers told me the aggressive spraying campaign actually encourages them to continue cultivating the illegal crop because it makes them dependent on coca profits to buy basic food staples. This is because the planes’ toxic herbicides, in addition to hitting coca plants, often kill off less-resistant legal crops such as plantains, cassava, and sugar cane — the community’s main sources of food. Even aside from that risk, producing legal crops is a losing prospect here because there is no infrastructure to make transporting them to the cities cost effective.”
Not only did this “Plan Colombia” operation fail to discourage the growth of coca in Colombia or prevent cocaine from entering the United States, the lives of people, plants, and animals throughout the region are being impacted in horrific ways.
Imagine being a farmer responsible for the food supply of neighboring communities, knowing that there are children who will go hungry because these chemicals are destroying the less resistant vegetation. Imagine having your livelihood dependent on your Tilapia farm, having those fish die off by the thousands thanks to these chemicals, and once again knowing that not only will you lose that income, but people will go without food as a result.
Now imagine being a politician responsible for this, completely unable to see the kind of impact this could have across the board. Hunger, sickness, unrest, and environmental destruction — needless to say — are a recipe for disaster.
Which leads us to the next piece of Joe Biden’s statement.
“Straightened that Government out for a while.”
What exactly does the Vice President mean?
Noam Chomsky wrote about Plan Colombia, and discusses the link between United States Military aide to Latin American governments and abysmal human rights records.
In 2000, he wrote:
“Each year, some 300,000 new refugees are driven from their homes, with a death toll of about 3,000 and many horrible massacres. The great majority of atrocities are attributed to paramilitary forces. These are closely linked to the military, as documented in considerable and shocking detail once again in February 2000 by Human Rights Watch, and in April 2000 by a UN study which reported that the Colombian security forces that are to be greatly strengthened by the Colombia Plan maintain an intimate relationship with death squads, organize paramilitary forces, and either participate in their massacres directly or, by failing to take action, have “undoubtedly enabled the paramilitary groups to achieve their exterminating objectives.” In more muted terms, the State Department confirms the general picture in its annual human rights reports, again in the report covering 1999, which concludes that “security forces actively collaborated with members of paramilitary groups” while “government forces continued to commit numerous, serious abuses, including extrajudicial killings, at a level that was roughly similar to that of 1998,” when the report attributed about 80 percent of attributable atrocities to the military and paramilitaries. The picture is confirmed as well by the Colombian Office of UN Human Rights Commissioner Mary Robinson. Its director, a respected Swedish diplomat, assigns the responsibility for “the magnitude and complexity of the paramilitary phenomenon” to the Colombian government, hence indirectly to its US sponsor.”
Is this Joe Biden’s idea of “straightening a government out”?
If anything epitomizes the devastation and the disaster that was and continues to be the United States’ war on drugs, it is Plan Colombia. It is difficult to believe that a top contender for the democratic nomination for the Presidency in the year 2020 is bragging about his role in getting this plan together. The security of not just the United States, but the world at large are dependent upon electing someone with the empathy and foresight that our foreign policy must require in order to ensure a safe and secure world. Whether it’s in the Middle East or Latin America, time and time again Joe Biden has clearly displayed that he does not possess those qualities that we need in a leader.