Biden Admin Officials Worry About Middle East Escalations

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While Israel prepares their population to do what must be done in Gaza, the rest of the world is watching with a mixture of anticipation and horror — not least of all, the United States.

Never before have we talked to so many top government officials who, in private, are so worried about so many overseas conflicts at once.

Why it matters: We don’t like to sound dire. But to sound a siren of clinical, clear-eyed realism: U.S. officials say this confluence of crises poses epic concern and historic danger.

Behind the scenes: Officials tell us that inside the White House, this was the heaviest, most chilling week since President Biden took office just over 1,000 days ago.

  • Former Defense Secretary Bob Gates — who ran the Pentagon under presidents of both parties, George W. Bush and Barack Obama — tells us America is facing the most crises since World War II ended 78 years ago.
  • He explains the White House’s system overload like this: “There’s this gigantic funnel that sits over the table in the Situation Room. And all the problems in the world end up coming through that funnel to the same eight or 10 people. There’s a limit to the bandwidth those eight or 10 people can have.”

I’m skeptical about the idea that Iran, China, or Russia will become directly involved in this conflict. The distances are too great for military intervention; China’s vaunted Navy has a lot of ships but little in the way of at-sea replenishment, which restricts them to the western Pacific near their ports. Russia has its hands full in Ukraine. The two powers may be able to provide financial and some logistical support to Hamas, but little more than that. Iran is a somewhat greater concern; they can reach Israel and Gaza with some of their missiles. But Iran is a Persian, Shia nation while Hamas is a Sunni Arab organization; they may be allies of convenience and useful to Iran for feces-stirring purposes, but Iran probably won’t enter into a major war because of Hamas.

Jordan, however, has a greater reason to be concerned.

Jordan’s foreign minister said on Thursday the country feared the worst was yet to come in the Israel-Hamas war, with no signs of success in efforts to de-escalate tensions.
A deadly rampage on Oct. 7 by Palestinian Islamist group Hamas killed 1,400 people, prompting Israel to bombard the Gaza Strip in strikes that have killed thousands and made more than a million homeless.
In remarks at a press conference with his German counterpart, Ayman Safadi said the war would have “catastrophic repercussions” and urged “protecting the region from the danger of its expansion”.
“All the indications are that the worst is coming.. The catastrophe will have painful consequences in coming periods,” Safadi said, adding that diplomatic efforts were not yielding any results in ending the conflict.

Jordan, unlike most of the majority-Muslim nations of the Middle East, has diplomatic relations with Israel. Jordan is also a U.S. ally. They have reason to be concerned about Hamas, but they are also a buffer between Israel and the two major opposing regional powers, Iraq and Iran. The Druze in the southern part of Syria poses a problem for any nation wanting to move supplies through Syria, and that nation is embroiled in a civil war that doesn’t help matters any. So, it would be difficult, at best, for the various factions to coalesce into a conventional regional conflict.

That’s not to say that the Israel-Hamas conflict cannot escalate. It certainly can, whether or not outside forces intervene. Hamas has shown itself very capable of all manner of atrocity, and it’s certainly possible, if not probable, that Hamas has embedded operatives, or at least allies, in Western nations — including the United States. Our porous southern border has all but laid a welcome mat down for people who intend to do our people harm. 

If the Israel-Hamas conflict were to escalate, it would likely be an unconventional regional conflict, with non-uniformed irregulars (which is what Hamas is) carrying out unconventional warfare against Israel and its allies — including the United States. As Nick Arama informs us, this is already happening.

Which brings us back to Washington.

When one examines the history of the Biden administration, what rapidly becomes apparent is the weakness of the figures at the very top — the ones who represent America to the world. The administration is people with executives and staff who were all too often chosen to check “diversity” boxes rather than for their actual capability, and drinking from the fire hose that is the current geopolitical situation clearly has them flummoxed.

None other than Barack Obama once famously said that it was unwise to “…underestimate Joe Biden’s ability to f*** things up.” He was right; now, in American foreign policy, we see not only feckless and weak responses to political crises but now near-panic on the part of administration officials who are utterly incapable of dealing with more than one threat at a time.

That, as much as anything else, is the threat that the United States faces.

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