The Apology Tour Continues

Joe Biden is in Latin America. When he met with several Latin American leaders at the Progressive Governance conference in Chile, he continued the Obama administration’s policy of repudiating, and apologizing for, the United States’ past foreign policy:

“The time of the United States dictating unilaterally, the time where we only talk and don’t listen is over,” Biden said in Santiago after holding discussions with a clutch of Latin American leaders at a conference at a Chilean beach resort. …

“My visit here is just the beginning of a renewal of a partnership with the Americas. In the past, even when we engaged positively we tended to engage ‘for’ the (western) hemisphere. We’re not engaging ‘for,’ this is ‘with,’” Biden added.

What on earth is Biden talking about? When has the United States “dictated unilaterally” and refused to “listen” to Latin Americans? Is he criticizing President Kennedy’s Bay of Pigs invasion? President Johnson’s invasion of the Dominican Republic? President Reagan’s support for the Nicaraguan Contras? The Clinton administration’s support for NAFTA? The Bush administration’s entry into the Central American Free Trade Agreement? President-elect Obama’s opposition to the Colombia Free Trade Treaty? What, exactly, is this policy of “dictating unilaterally” that we are now going to abandon?

Apart from its incoherence, it is hard to understand why the Obama administration believes it is shrewd foreign policy to begin every conversation with a mea culpa. Of course, other countries are happy to agree that all past problems and disagreements are the result of faulty American policies (whatever those might be). How this serves our interests or strengthens our bargaining position is a mystery.

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