European election results a wake-up call for Biden

European election results a wake-up call for Biden

European election results a wake-up call for Biden
It is time for Biden to take decisive action, otherwise he will be paving the way for Trump to return to the White House. (AP)
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The European Parliament election results announced last week were shocking for many. In France, the electorate chose the far right. President Emmanuel Macron subsequently dissolved parliament and called for new national elections. All the polls show that Marine Le Pen and her National Rally party could win. This should send a message to the US and to President Joe Biden.
The moral of the French story is that, when so-called moderates or the center disappoint the public, the public will shift to the right. Across Europe, the reasons for the success of the extreme right differ from one country to another. In the case of France, voters migrated rightward mainly because of policies imposed on farmers. For Poland, it was the Ukraine war. For Germany, immigration. However, those countries’ electorates have one thing in common: they are dissatisfied with the incumbent parties. To deliver and to satisfy the constituency, one has to take bold decisions.
In the case of Biden and the US, there has been no bold decision-making. Biden is facing elections in a few months’ time. Many voters are worried about his age. He needs to prove himself to his electorate. The Gaza war has been a tough test in an election year. The president is facing a preelection dilemma.
On the one hand, he needs donors’ money to finance his campaign. For decades, it has been a fact that pro-Israel groups are the top funders of US elections. So, Biden cannot afford to upset these donors. On the other hand, the bulk of his voters — the progressive Jews, Blacks, Hispanics, Muslims and Arab Americans — do not want this war. So far, Biden has tried to strike a balance. He would criticize Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu but still pledge full support for Israel. He said he would stop sending some bombs to Israel if it invaded Rafah. However, Israel still invaded Rafah and America’s support remains unchanged.
Biden needs money to finance his campaign, but people are more important. An advertisement campaign funded by donations will not garner his constituency’s support if they are unhappy with his policies. People are more important than money, especially as election day is nearing. Biden needs to show decisiveness. So far, Netanyahu has emasculated Biden. He has gone against Biden on every statement he has made. Yet there has been no repercussions for Netanyahu’s insubordination. This will definitely not help in the November elections.
Biden is banking on the fact that his constituency, even if unhappy with him, will vote for him to prevent Donald Trump from returning to the White House. The results of the European elections show us this is unlikely to be the case. The European results are as such not because the majority of people love the far right but because the moderates are disappointed with those who represent them. They did not vote for them, hence the far right emerged.
To win in November, Biden has to show decisiveness. He needs to stop the war and stop humoring Netanyahu and his far-right government, especially now that the so-called moderates Benny Gantz and Gadi Eisenkot have left his war Cabinet. The UN Security Council passed a resolution calling for an end to the war. Though the US said that Israel had accepted the terms of a ceasefire agreement, the Israeli government did not say so. Netanyahu wants to continue the war. He will not accept a ceasefire unless the US pushes it down his throat. Maybe it is time to take some decisive action against the Netanyahu government and do just that. It is time to stop all arms transfers to Israel. 

To win in November, Biden has to show decisiveness. He needs to stop the war and stop humoring Netanyahu and his far-right government.

Dr. Dania Koleilat Khatib

This will be heartbreaking for Biden, who has strong emotional ties to Israel. He does not want a break in US-Israel relations to happen on his watch. However, this bond with Israel might make him lose the elections. More importantly, it will be a big loss for the Democrats, as it will display the rift between the party’s politics and the people’s aspirations.
It is time to show Israel some tough love. It is time for Biden to stop catering to what Israel and the Israelis want and to do what is good for America and his party. The more his administration tries to cover for Israel, the more it loses credibility, such as with the statement by Secretary of State Antony Blinken on the UN resolution. He said that Israel had accepted the ceasefire even though it had not.
The Middle East is at a crossroads. It could reach a regional compromise, with Saudi Arabia recently reiterating its offer for regional normalization in return for a Palestinian state along the pre-1967 borders. This would severely weaken Iran. It would remove the card of Palestine from Tehran. Up to now, it has been using the Palestinian issue to justify its regional interventions. Meanwhile, a Palestinian state that satisfies the Palestinian people’s aspirations would offer Iran — if it has any intention to change course and reach a compromise with the region and the West — a graceful exit from its belligerent policy without losing legitimacy in the eyes of its constituency.
Biden can use the current conflict to craft a landmark regional agreement. If a ceasefire was established and negotiations were on course to draft a comprehensive regional arrangement, this could be an important incentive for Americans to vote for Biden. You would not want to vote out a president who is in the middle of crafting a landmark peace deal. It is time for Biden to take decisive action, otherwise he will be paving the way for Trump to return to the White House. After all, no one is blaming Trump for the ongoing conflict in Gaza. On the other hand, people do now blame Biden for the war in Gaza. He should take that seriously.

Dr. Dania Koleilat Khatib is a specialist in US-Arab relations with a focus on lobbying. She is co-founder of the Research Center for Cooperation and Peace Building, a Lebanese nongovernmental organization focused on Track II.

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