In the opening days of 2024, events in the Red Sea provide an object lesson in the consequences of what many would characterize as a weak or ill-advised foreign policy.
On October 7th, 2023, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), two terrorist organizations based in the Gaza Strip, breached a fortified border and attacked Israeli civilians. More than a thousand Israelis were killed, and several hundred were taken back to Gaza as hostages. Both Hamas and PIJ receive the bulk of their financial and operational support from the Islamic Republic of Iran, which is widely recognized as the leading sponsor of international terrorism. Of course, blame for the October 7th attack, and subsequent efforts by Hamas and PIJ to exact a toll on Israel, falls entirely upon those groups and their sponsors. However, since Russia's February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, the Biden Administration's critics have suggested that America's withdrawal from Afghanistan, and President Biden's own long-term record, emboldened American enemies around the world. By October, domestic political pressure against a "blank check for Ukraine" was ongoing, caused in no small part by Biden's failure to build bi-partisan consensus for his foreign policy.