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Gate's Slams Biden the headline read... In it the paper went directly to the money quote by Bob Gates:  “I think he has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.” Four decades is a long time.  Going back from today it would begin in 1974.

Of course making decisions invites controversy.  In any decision, there are those who agree, those who don't.  The only effective judge of any action plan, is how it stands up historically.  One can be on the least popular side, and be proven right as perhaps one considers those who protested the Vietnam War in the 60's and 70's for example.  Or one can be on the more popular side and be proven wrong, such as our move into the War in Iraq in 2003.

I quickly found an account that outlined Biden's foreign policy over 4 decades and simply listed what was forthcoming.  You can judge for yourself, the right and wrong choices Biden made...  I predict you will find that unless you yourself are one who consistently chooses wrong when it comes to our nation's future (as in Conservative), you will find that Gate's exaggeration is a bit overblown....

Biden in the beginning focused on arms control issues.  In response to the refusal of Congress to pass the SALT II, Biden took the initiative to meet the Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko, educated him about American concerns and interests, and secured several changes to address objections of the Foreign Relations Committee.
When the Reagan administration wanted to interpret the 1972 SALT I Treaty too loosely in order to allow the Strategic Defense Initiative (Star Wars) to proceed, Biden was who argued for strict adherence to the treaty's terms.
Biden clashed again with the Reagan administration in 1986 over economic sanctions against South Africa.  Reagan was against them.  Biden for.
Biden can be classified generally as a liberal internationalist in foreign policy;  he collaborated effectively with important Republican Senate figures such as Richard Lugar and Jesse Helms and sometimes went against elements of his own party
Biden was co-chair of the NATO Observer Group in the Senate. Biden met with some 150 leaders from nearly 60 countries and international organizations; three times he chaired the Subcommittee on European Affairs..
Once the Bosnian War broke out, Biden was among the first to call for the "lift and strike" policy of lifting the arms embargo, training Bosnian Muslims, and supporting them with NATO air strikes, and investigating war crimes.
In 1999, during the Kosovo War, Biden supported the NATO bombing campaign against Serbia and Montenegro,and co-sponsored with his friend John McCain the McCain-Biden Kosovo Resolution, which called on President Clinton to use all necessary force, including ground troops, to confront Milosevic over Serbian actions in Kosovo...
In 1998, Congressional Quarterly named Biden one of "Twelve Who Made a Difference" for playing a lead role in several foreign policy matters, including NATO enlargement and the successful passage of bills to streamline foreign affairs agencies and punish religious persecution overseas...
Biden had voted against authorization for the Gulf War in 1991 siding with 45 of the 55 Democratic senators
Biden was a strong supporter of the 2001 war in Afghanistan, saying "Whatever it takes, we should do it."
The Bush administration rejected an effort Biden undertook with Senator Richard Lugar to pass a resolution authorizing military action only after the exhaustion of diplomatic efforts before the Bush invasion of 2003.
Biden argued repeatedly that the Iraqi war should be internationalized, that more soldiers were needed, and that the Bush administration should "level with the American people" about the cost and length of the conflict.
Biden's stance had shifted, and Biden opposed the troop surge of 2007, saying General David Petraeus was "dead, flat wrong" in believing the surge could work....
Biden was a leading advocate for dividing Iraq into a loose federation of three ethnic states.... similar to how the US is formed.
Biden lost an internal debate to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton regarding his opposition to sending 21,000 new troops to the war in Afghanistan.
Joe Biden became the administration's point man in delivering messages to Iraqi leadership about expected progress in the country.
Biden's January 2010 visit to Iraq in the midst of turmoil over banned candidates from the upcoming Iraqi parliamentary election resulted in 59 of those candidates being reinstated by the Iraqi government two days later.
In a controversy arising over how much influence Russia still had on a global scale, Secretary of State Clinton quickly disavowed Biden's remarks disparaging Russia as a power.
Biden led the successful administration effort to gain Senate approval for the New START treaty.

So what was your score?  By my count and it should differ by each person's outtake and priorities, I count him wrong on five out of the list of the above. (and even two of them were very hard choices)

So .... why the contrarian role announced by Gates?   This may well be the reason.

Biden's most important role within the administration has been to question assumptions and playing a contrarian role. 

Obama said that, "The best thing about Joe is that when we get everybody together, he really forces people to think and defend their positions, to look at things from every angle, and that is very valuable for me."  
Another senior Obama advisor said Biden "is always prepared to be the skunk at the family picnic to make sure we are as intellectually honest as possible."

Simply based on an apolitical history across his lifetime, it now seems obvious that when someone makes a disparagement over the effectiveness of one former Senator and current Vice-President Joe Biden , what they are really saying, is a rather negative commentary about a lack of their own astuteness, and not a disparagement against the real Joe Biden....

Originally posted to kavips on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 12:30 AM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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