Joe Lieberman to Newsmax: Biden Must Reassure Saudis 'We're on Their Side' (Newsmax/"Rob Schmitt Tonight")
By Jay Clemons | Thursday, 14 July 2022 08:45 PM EDT
Former U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., says President Joe Biden was wise to open his Middle East trip with a stop in Israel, given how many of the Israeli leaders have known Biden for years, dating back to his time as a senator and also vice president to then-President Barack Obama.
But now, here's where things could get sticky, reasons Lieberman:
For the Friday trip to Saudi Arabia, President Biden might be in the uncomfortable position of begging the Saudis for oil, just months after criticizing the country's leadership. Plus, Biden might have to answer some hard questions, in terms of how the United States will prevent Iran from building or acquiring a nuclear bomb.
"President Biden seems to think he can [curb nuclear tensions] in the Middle East, but that's not how" Iran, Israel and the Saudis see things, Lieberman told Newsmax Thursday night, while appearing on "Rob Schmitt Tonight."
"This [potential solution] has got to involve a military option, because the Iranians are not just going to give up their nuclear program to be nice to us — even if we bribe them; and it's naive to think that would be the case," says Lieberman, who's been busy promoting his latest book, "The Centrist Solution."
During an interview with Israel media on Wednesday, President Biden said the Trump administration "turned its back" on the Middle East a few years ago, although there was unprecedented peace in the region at the end of Trump's presidency.
The Abraham Accords — a joint statement of peace formally acknowledged by the State of Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States on Aug. 13, 2020 — "were one of the greatest achievement[s] of the Trump administration, certainly with foreign policy, and really one of the great developments since the modern State of Israel was established in 1948," says Lieberman.
As such, during his visit, the best thing President Biden can do is to "reassure the Saudis that we're on their side, and against Iran," says Lieberman, a former Connecticut senator in the Democratic Party) and onetime vice presidential running mate with Al Gore in 2000.
However, that's where the Biden administration has its shortcomings, warns Lieberman.
Every time U.S. officials cozy up to Iran — particularly amid reports of reviving the Iran Nuclear Deal from the Obama era — it makes the Saudis think that "we're not really allies to them," Lieberman said.
From Lieberman's standpoint, great relations with the Saudis are absolutely essential for maintaining peace in the region, and bringing down the price of oil in America.
"And [the Saudis] won't help us if they think we're doing business with Iran," says Lieberman.
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