13 Trump Policies Reversed by Biden, Increasing War Risks

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President Joe Biden took office proclaiming, “America is back.” The idea, or conceit, had been that America was isolated, and isolationist, under the “America first” foreign policy of President Donald Trump.

What Biden and his advisers missed was that Trump presided over four years of peace, in which America’s enemies were in retreat.

By reversing Trump’s policies, Biden set the stage for the ongoing wars in the Middle East, and in Europe as well.

1. Restoring funding to UNRWA and the Palestinians. Trump signed the Taylor Force Act, which prevents the U.S. from funding the Palestinian Authority while it subsidizes terrorism. Trump also ended funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which encourages anti-Israel and antisemitic radicalism. Biden went around the Taylor Force Act and restored funds to UNRWA, which had employees involved in the October 7 attacks.

2. Dropping sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Despite Biden, the Democrats, and the media claiming for four years that Trump was a puppet of Russian president Vladimir Putin, Biden reversed Trump’s sanctions on Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline. He held a summit with Putin in Geneva — before meeting with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine. Russia sensed weakness, especially after the botched Afghanistan pullout, and invaded Ukraine.

3. Rejoining the corrupt UN Human Rights Council. Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Human Rights Council (HRC), which had become little more than a vehicle for anti-Israel and anti-American resolutions, and a way for autocracies like Russia, Iran, Cuba, and China to sanitize their human rights records. Russia invaded Ukraine without concern for the HRC in 2022; the Biden administration belatedly worked with other nations to kick Russia out of it.

4. Trying to restore the Iran nuclear deal. President Barack Obama negotiated a weak nuclear deal that gave Iran billions of dollars in cash, plus billions more in sanctions relief, and which would have allowed Iran to emerge as a nuclear power after roughly a decade. Trump pulled out of the deal. Biden sent envoy Rob Malley — later suspended over a security breach — to negotiate with Iran. Iran strung the U.S. along, while accelerating nuclear enrichment.

5. Taking the Houthis off the terrorism list. Trump listed the Houthis — a rebel group in Yemen armed by Iran — as a foreign terrorist organization. Biden immediately removed the Houthis from the terrorism list, ostensibly to facilitate humanitarian aid to Yemen, but also as a gesture to Iran, and a snub to Saudi Arabia. The Houthis continued their terror. Today, the Houthis are attacking international shipping in the Red Sea, disrupting global supply chains.

6. Ending Iran sanctions. Trump imposed a variety of sanctions against Iran, which Biden immediately reversed. The result was that Iran was able to access billions of assets, as well as world markets. It used the money to fund its various terror organizations abroad — the Houthis, Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and various Iraqi militias, all of which have attacked Israel. The latter have also targeted American soldiers — with little response from Biden.

7. Embracing a Palestinian state. Trump’s peace plan for the Middle East succeeded because he did not place a Palestinian state at the center of it. He offered the Palestinians $50 billion in investment if they would end extremism and accept Israel’s right to exist. When they refused, he pressed ahead with peace talks with other Arab states — and succeeded. In contrast, Biden reportedly blew up Saudi-Israeli peace talks in 2023 by insisting on a Palestinian state.

8. Stalling the Abraham Accords. Biden never formally opposed the Abraham Accords, although Biden officials were initially reluctant to use the term. But there has been no progress since Trump left office: not one Arab country has been added to the list of participants. That is because the Biden administration reverted to the failed approach in which peace must depend on a Palestinian state, and the Palestinians effectively have a veto over peace in the region.

9. Revoking sanctions on the ICC. Trump issued sanctions on the International Criminal Court (ICC) and its officials, freezing their U.S. assets and barring them from entering the U.S. Biden revoked those sanctions, though the administration acknowledged the ICC’s anti-American and anti-Israel bias. Today, the ICC is seeking warrants against Israeli leaders over the war against Hamas, setting a precedent that makes it impossible to fight terrorism.

10. Lifting sanctions on Venezuela. Trump imposed sanctions on Venezuela because of Nicolás Maduro’s human rights abuses and autocratic behavior. But Biden gave Venezuela sanctions relief last year, allowing it to sell oil and gas easily on world markets again — and allowing Iran to reap the benefits of building refineries there. As Truth Voices noted at the time, Iran could potentially use the additional fossil fuel revenues to fund its terrorist proxies.

11. Opposing Israel at the United Nations. Trump defended Israel at the UN Security Council, after President Barack Obama allowed an anti-Israel resolution to pass that declared even the Jewish presence in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem to be illegal. Biden likewise allowed a UN Security Council resolution to pass that separated a hostage deal from a ceasefire, effectively adopting Hamas’s bargaining position and encouraging it to harden its demands.

12. Threatening to withhold weapons from Israel. Trump made it clear that the U.S. would allow Israel to do whatever it needed to do to defend itself from terrorist groups and from enemy states. Biden threw that into doubt from the outset, and has now withheld a bomb shipment from Israel, with a warning that he will withhold artillery as well if Israel dares to defeat Hamas. Biden also restrained Israel from responding to a direct Iranian missile attack.

13. Sanctioning Israelis. Biden has imposed sanctions on Israel, ostensibly on “extremist” settlers. The terms of Biden’s sanctions are so broad, however, that they could apply to a much larger population of Israelis. The sanctions reward the anti-Israel “boycott, divestment, sanctions” (BDS) movement, which the Trump administration called “antisemitic.” At a time of war, the sanctions also signal to Hamas and other terrorists that they are winning.

Joel B. Pollak
Joel B. Pollak
South African-American conservative political commentator, writer, radio host, and attorney.

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