The Thomas-Greenfield Doctrine of U.S. Foreign Policy | Opinion

Taken at face value, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield's condemnation of the United States in a speech last week before Al Sharpton's National Action Network was one of the most bizarre statements made by a diplomat—from the U.S. or, indeed, from anywhere—in recent years.

In her remarks, Thomas-Greenfield castigated the U.S. as inherently, irredeemably evil. "I have seen for myself how the original sin of slavery weaved white supremacy into our founding documents and principles," America's woman at the United Nations said.

While bizarre to the uninformed, it turns out Thomas-Greenfield's remarks were simply her stump speech. She gave the same one—nearly verbatim—at the UN last month.

Speaking at the UN General Assembly's meeting marking the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Thomas-Greenfield insisted that America's "original sin" of slavery has not been expunged from American life. It has simply morphed into a new form.

There is "a direct line from slavery to lynchings to segregation to mass incarceration," she alleged. So as far as Thomas-Greenfield is concerned, slavery didn't end when hundreds of thousands of Union soldiers gave their lives to end slavery in the Civil War. It didn't end through constitutional amendments, or even during the civil rights movement. America's "original sin of slavery" continues to have a terrible impact "on our people today," she insisted.

The most basic job of a diplomat—for any country—is to put a good face on his or her country before the nations of the world. At the UN, an institution dominated by tyrannies, the U.S faces isolation as a matter of course. For the most part, the only U.S. initiatives at the UN that have succeeded have been those that directly support rogue actors—like then-President Barack Obama's decision to rejoin the dictator-controlled, anti-American and anti-Semitic Human Rights Council, as well as his decision to legitimize Iran's nuclear program.

By repeatedly attacking and condemning her own country, Thomas-Greenfield was telling her fellow UN ambassadors two things. First, they have no reason to take seriously anything the U.S. says about human rights in their own countries. By accusing her own nation of using private prisons to "warehouse young black and brown men," Thomas-Greenfield signaled to the regimes of Iran, Venezuela, Russia, China, Cuba and fellow tyrannies to go ahead and abuse their own citizens "just like America."

Second, Thomas-Greenfield signaled that the U.S. is surrendering its leadership of the free world and is instead reverting to the Obama administration's policy of "leading from behind" at the UN by adopting positions that are advantageous to U.S. foes.

The question is whether Thomas-Greenfield's trashing of the U.S. represents merely her personal policy, or whether it is an expression of the Biden administration's foreign policy doctrine. The answer becomes clear from a brief glance at the administration's handling of two key Middle East issues: Iran's nuclear program and U.S. financial assistance for the terrorism-financing Palestinian Authority.

Earlier this month, the administration began conducting what are referred to as "indirect talks" with Iran in Vienna about restoring both sides' commitment to the 2015 nuclear deal. Iran began breaching the limitations the deal imposed on its nuclear activities from the outset by, among other things, stockpiling more enriched uranium than was permitted under the 2015 agreement. In response to Iran's breaches and overall bad faith—as well as the inherent limitations of an agreement that permitted Iran to continue invading neighbors, supporting terrorist organizations and proliferating ballistic missiles, while legitimizing its nuclear program lock, stock and barrel when the deal expires in 2025—in 2018 Trump withdrew the U.S. from the nuclear deal and reimposed U.S. economic sanctions on the mullahs. In recent months, Iran significantly ratcheted up its nuclear activities, including, most recently, escalating its uranium enrichment to 60 percent.

The U.S.-Iran negotiations are taking place through European, Russian and Chinese intermediaries rather than face-to-face because Iran refuses to "stoop" to speaking with Americans.

In the past, American negotiators would have refused to be humiliated in this way. Certainly, they would have refused to accept this contemptuous treatment from the world's largest state sponsor of terrorism. But according to leaks from Vienna, far from taking umbrage at Iran's disrespect, Biden's team is capitulating to Iran's demands on all fronts.

U.S. Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield
U.S. Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield Spencer Platt/Getty Images

According to Israel's largest-circulation daily, Israel Hayom, Biden's team has agreed to rescind U.S. economic sanctions on Iran and allow it to reenter global commerce. The administration has also reportedly bowed to Iran's demand that the original deal be amended to legitimize Iran's breaches. On Sunday, it was reported that the U.S. chief negotiator in Vienna, Robert Malley, has agreed to Iran's demand that it be permitted to continue its unlawful uranium enrichment. The advanced centrifuges that Iran is now employing in contravention of the 2015 deal will be permitted to keep spinning.

At the same time, the Biden administration will drop all its own previous pledges to amend the deal to block Iran's missile program and support for terrorism, and to get Iranian occupation forces out of Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen. Iran will get its money and its nuclear program—and perhaps, the Biden administration hopes, Iran's dictators will be kind enough to end their malign behavior in the future out of the goodness of their hearts.

The same self-flagellation is the rule, rather than the exception, in the administration's dealing with the Palestinians. In open breach of U.S. law, such as the Taylor Force Act, which bars the U.S. from funding the Palestinian Authority due to its funding of terrorists, the administration announced earlier this month that it was restoring U.S. funding to the PA to the tune of nearly $100 million. To facilitate its effort, the administration has embraced subterfuge. It is pretending that Palestinian "NGOs," which are entirely controlled by the PA, are actually independent entities.

Biden's willingness to break U.S. law to reinstate funding for the corrupt, terror-supporting regime did not win him any plaudits from the Palestinian leadership. On the contrary, it elicited contempt. PA leader Mahmoud Abbas refuses to accept phone calls from Secretary of State Antony Blinken, holding out instead for an elusive call from Biden himself. And in a speech before the anti-Israel pressure group J Street earlier this week, Abbas demanded that the U.S. cancel laws sanctioning the Palestinians for their continued participation in, and support for, terrorism.

Trying to place the Biden administration's policy of national humiliation into a recognizable doctrine of foreign policy is impossible. All U.S. foreign policy doctrines, from the isolationist school to the liberal internationalist school, begin with their agreement that U.S. foreign policy should aim to advance U.S. interests, and that those interests reflect the fact that the U.S. is a moral and exceptional country. Instead, the Biden administration's policy begins with the assertion that the U.S is an immoral and unexceptional nation, without the right to expect or receive the respect of others, or to advance its own national interest.

America's allies are stunned by the administration's behavior. And America's enemies are quick to capitalize on it: China's $400 billion strategic partnership with Iran is a direct corollary of Biden's masochistic behavior in Vienna.

The only way to understand Biden foreign policy doctrine is by recognizing that it isn't a foreign policy doctrine at all. It is an extension of Biden's domestic genuflection to the radicals who control his own party. This genuflection takes the Biden administration's embrace of critical race theory in domestic law enforcement, public health, immigration and economic policies and projects it out onto the world stage. The purpose is not to advance America's interests in the world. Rather, the purpose is to signal to the fanatical progressives who run the modern Democratic Party that Biden is their man in the White House.

Throughout the Cold War, the view of both major parties was that "politics stops at the water's edge." That is, the debates over domestic issues would not influence America's policies toward the world or its commitment to protecting its interests and allies. The man who coined the phrase, Republican Senator Arthur Vandenberg, explained: "To me, 'bipartisan foreign policy' means a mutual effort, under our indispensable two-party system, to unite our official voice at the water's edge so that America speaks with maximum authority against those who would divide and conquer us and the free world."

When asked whether Biden would fire Thomas-Greenfield in light of her use of Chinese Foreign Ministry talking points to attack America, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki scoffed. "Most people recognize the history of systemic racism in our country," she said dismissively.

So, that's that. Politics no longer stops at the water's end—or in Tehran, or Beijing. Politics defines America, both at home and abroad.

Caroline B. Glick is a senior columnist at Israel Hayom and the author of The Israeli Solution: A One-State Plan for Peace in the Middle East, (Crown Forum, 2014). From 1994 to 1996, she served as a core member of Israel's negotiating team with the Palestine Liberation Organization.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.