A Counterproductive Strategy of Redlines and Rebukes

Two weeks ago during an MSNBC interview, President Joe Biden dropped the R-word – Redline. He didn’t do so in speaking against the ongoing genocide of the Uyghurs that has been implemented by the communist party in China. He didn’t do so against the ongoing war crimes in Ukraine perpetuated by Putin’s dictatorship in Russia. He didn’t do so against the ongoing aggression across the Middle East supported and green-lit by the radical regime in Iran. Instead, he did so against America’s long-term friend – Israel. It was a dangerous, precedent-setting event.

The following week, as if closely coordinated by the Democrat-elite in the United States, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer doubled down with his own precedent-setting event. From his position at the top of the US Senate hierarchy, Schumer initiated a call for regime change. The US President followed up by praising these comments. This wasn’t a call against the authoritarian regimes in China, Russia, or Iran. It wasn’t a call against the repressive regimes in North Korea, Syria, or Venezuela. Again, it was a severe slight against the democratically-elected government of America’s special friend – Israel – in the midst of a war against a terrorist force that has called for the elimination of the Jewish state and the genocide of the Jewish people. 

Setting aside the fact that the Obama-Biden Administration overlooked the brazen crossing of their redline in Syria in 2012. Setting aside the fact that the tactics used by Israel in Gaza are not substantially different than the tactics used by the American-led coalition against ISIS. Setting aside the fact that Schumer’s comments are an infringement of Israeli sovereignty that was rightfully described by Senator Joe Lieberman as crossing the redline itself. Setting aside the fact that such comments actually hinder the Israeli war efforts to defeat Hamas and secure the release of its hostages. Setting aside all of these important elements of such unwise comments, the Biden and Schumer statements are profoundly counterproductive to the stated humanitarian objectives of the United States in Gaza.

President Biden uttered his redline comment in the days before Ramadan. At the same time, the United States was striving to broker a ceasefire deal that would start at the beginning of the Muslim holy days with the aim of alleviating human suffering. Yet somehow, Biden was surprised that around the same time as his statements, Hamas defiantly walked away from the bargaining table and hasn’t looked back since. 

Since Biden’s and Schumer’s comments, this ruthless terrorist force has reinforced their human-shield strategy in Rafah. They have even begun to threaten any Palestinian leader who would help humanitarian efforts to assist their own people in Gaza. Hamas is doing what it can to actually increase and prolong the suffering of the Palestinian people as a key element of its strategy. They have no incentive to give any ground in negotiations when American pressure is providing the terrorists the top cover they need while undermining America’s Israeli friends.

Two weeks into Ramadan, American Secretary of State Antony Blinken returns from his sixth visit to the region since that fateful day – October 7th. He laments the human tragedy among the population of Gaza and further condemns the efforts of Israel. Yet, he fails to look in the mirror. At this point, by undermining Israel, the brewing famine in Gaza is partly the fault of President Biden and Majority Leader Schumer. They have prolonged the conflict by creating conditions that canceled all hope for a temporary ceasefire. They have hindered Israel’s attempts to complete their objectives by forcing Prime Minister Netanyahu to fend off friendly fire. Tragically, American rhetoric has incentivized and promoted Hamas’s strategy of suffering.

At this stage, every news report about the tragic conditions in Gaza should provide a stark reminder of the unfortunate precedent-setting comments of Biden and Schumer. By undermining its own objectives, the United States is sabotaging not only Netanyahu and its friends in Israel but also its own stated strategic interests. Redlines and rebukes have counterproductively furthered human suffering. The United States is now complicit in a conflict where American actions are supporting Hamas’s terrorist strategy that promotes suffering as its greatest advantage.

About the Author
United States Air Force Brigadier General John Teichert (ret) is a prolific author and a leading expert on foreign affairs and military strategy. He served as Commander of Joint Base Andrews and Edwards Air Force Base, was the U.S. senior defense official to Iraq, and recently retired as the assistant deputy undersecretary of the Air Force, international affairs. General Teichert can be regularly seen on NewsNation, Fox News, and Newsmax.
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