Former Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell took to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) stage to say the United States needs to get back to “muscular diplomacy” if we are to see “meaningful peace.”
The one-time US ambassador to Germany blamed President Joe Biden’s weakness for putting diplomacy “on its back.”
“Diplomacy isn’t a weak option,” Grenell said in his opening remarks, “but we all know that diplomacy without the credible threat of force invites contempt. However, diplomacy that sees military force as the first option rather than a last resort will result in war.”
“Diplomacy done right, however, is the opposite of war,” he continued. “This week, we witnessed a total collapse of diplomacy.”
In a double-jab to Biden and legacy media, Grenell placed the failure to deter Russian President Vladimir Putin from invading Ukraine at the feet of American diplomats.
“D.C. newsrooms won’t say it, but American diplomats failed,” Grenell said. “President Biden told us that he was going to bring diplomacy back. Instead, it’s on its back. We desperately need new, creative, visionary diplomacy — muscular diplomacy — to secure meaningful peace when a conflict arises.”
In a 15-minute speech that highlighted the successes of former President Donald Trump’s “America First” approach to diplomacy, Grenell reminded the riveted CPAC crowd of Biden’s disaster in Afghanistan.
“Last summer, we watched helplessly as our credibility, our deterrence, and our national honor crumbled in the retreat from Afghanistan,” Grenell stated. “Presidents Trump and Biden both were dealing with the same country, the same enemy, and had the same diplomatic and military tools at hand. Both shared the ultimate goal of withdrawal. But the difference is, President Trump had an unapologetic, pro-American diplomacy with a credible military option behind him.”
While the Taliban “respected and feared” Trump, said Grenell, Joe Biden “constantly radiated provocative weakness.”
“This Obama third-term crew left hundreds of US citizens behind,” Grenell stated, adding that the Biden administration “bragged that they brought 90 percent home.”
“Bringing 90% home means that you left 10% behind,” he said. “It was irresponsible, it was immoral, and it was un-American.”
It also put our weakness on full display for the entire world to see, Grenell claimed.
“Americans don’t leave Americans behind,” he stated. “Our allies and others feel the weakness coming from the White House.”
Still, said Grenell, the media and the Left disparage Trump’s America First approach.
“Is American diplomacy working?” Grenell asked. “Europe has seen its borders rewritten this week under Joe Biden — and in 2014 when Barack Obama was president. And yet the Left continues to mock the successful America First diplomatic strategy.”
“They pretend that Donald Trump’s unpredictability was harmful,” Grenell said. “Well, I saw firsthand that having a president putting American people first and calling out the Germans for their hypocrisy and not telling our enemies what our strategy is — that made America and Europe safer.”
“I’ve worked at the State Department for 11 years,” he continued, “and I believe US diplomats should be on the ground, resolving problems, even while the military moves into place. It’s vital now that we give our diplomats new tools and training in aggressive, preventative and creative diplomacy. We need diplomats who are willing to push back, without regard for the inevitable media attention or consequences, and we should protect them when they do it. Foreign service officers must not be afraid to challenge the status quo.”
“Politicians from both political parties are trapped into a cycle of sending in weak negotiators who are quickly shoved aside to make room for US troops,” he said. “The State Department is viewed and used as if they simply schedule meetings, deliver stale and recycled speeches, and then go enjoy a good meal. We’ve asked our courageous military members to win hearts and minds, when they should be brought in only after diplomatic negotiations have been completely exhausted.”
“Right now, we have political appointees at the State Department who are inept,” he stated. “There’s no other way to say it. We have witnessed an appalling waste of diplomatic capital these past four weeks, as the Biden team hyped a bloody war, shifting US troops around Europe, stoking paranoia in the West, destroying the Ukrainian economy, and utterly failing to deter Vladimir Putin.”
“Think about this,” Grenell urged, “Joe Biden promised unprecedented sanctions after a bloody Russian invasion. “If you want to avoid war, you need to impose crippling sanctions before the war starts.”
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