President Joe Biden’s belated and reluctant attack on the Houthis in Yemen Thursday was a tacit admission that his policy of trying to appease the Iranian-backed terrorist group, which President Donald Trump had largely kept in check, had failed.
Under Trump, the U.S. sold weapons to Saudi Arabia and assisted it as it fought the Houthis, who launched terrorist attacks against Saudi industry and threatened global shipping through the Bab-el-Mandeb strait at the southern end of the Red Sea.
Democrats, whose hatred of Trump bled over into foreign policy, woke up to the fact that the Saudis have a poor human rights record and demanded that the U.S. cut off the weapons. They were backed by a small coterie of anti-war, isolationist Republicans.
But Trump vetoed congressional efforts to “stop the war” in Yemen — which Iran, not the Saudis, had started — and declared the Houthis were a terrorist organization.
Biden reversed that policy when he took office, promising diplomacy would end the war.
FLASHBACK: February 4, 2021: President Biden announces he is ending arms sales to Saudi Arabia for their war against the Houthis, says it will "end the war in Yemen". pic.twitter.com/RV0W91eU8x— Gabriel Noronha (@GLNoronha) January 11, 2024
The excuse the Biden administration gave was that it could not distribute humanitarian aid in Yemen if the Houthis were labeled terrorists. The Houthis seemed uninterested in that explanation and continued launching ambitious terror attacks in the region.
Biden also seemed unconcerned that through the Houthis, Iran could control one of the most important choke points in global trade — right across the strait from U.S. naval forces in Djibouti.
Then, after Iranian-backed Hamas terrorists attacked Israel on October 7, the Houthis joined the fight, despite being on the opposite end of the Arabian peninsula from Israel. They fired long-range ballistic missiles that Iran had given them, and began attacking international shipping, firing missiles and seizing ships.
The Pentagon announced Operation Prosperity Guardian, together with a coalition of other countries. But the coalition was so weak that one European country withdrew, and some Arab countries did not want to acknowledge that they were a part of it.
All the U.S. did was shoot down drones and sink pirate boats. It would not go after the Houthis directly until finally, after the scandal of the disappearance of the secretary of defense, and humiliation on the global stage, the Biden administration acted.
Biden has come full circle. He did not “end the war in Yemen,” which now threatens the entire world.
Under Trump, the war was fought by the Saudis. Under Biden, it is being fought by the U.S. military.
Appeasement failed. Peace through strength worked.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the 2021 e-book, “The Zionist Conspiracy (and how to join it),” now updated with a new foreword. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.