The past twenty-four hours are probably the most disastrous day for American diplomacy since — well, I can’t quite think of anything this fraught in my lifetime. The closest thing might be the infamous 25 July 1990 meeting between United States Ambassador April Glaspie and Saddam Hussein, which purportedly gave the dictator his green light for the invasion of Kuwait, except that the popular version of that event is likely untrue. You probably have to go further back, perhaps to the Iran-Contra affair of the mid-1980s, to find comparable self-inflicted damage. But even that doesn’t quite measure up, because the machinations of Iran-Contra were purposeful, and reflected the clear priorities of an Administration with a defined agenda. What the Biden Administration has managed today is beyond all that. It is an Administration that has committed itself to a series of genuinely radical policies without having thought them through, and without having decided upon the end which they ought to serve.
So we get what we have now.