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EDITORIAL: Muddled messages coming out of the White House

President Joe Biden has been a lifelong politician, a product of a half century steeped in the culture and mores of Washington. And that makes the incoherence coming out of the White House in recent days concerning.

On Tuesday, Mr. Biden told reporters that he did “not regret” his decision to pull out of Afghanistan even as the Taliban have rapidly taken over several provincial capitals with their sights set on Kabul. Reasonable people can debate the wisdom of American policy regarding the nation and whether we should remain or leave. But officials in the White House, including the president, seem wholly unprepared for what was a predictable outcome of the retreat they embraced.

To make matters worse, The New York Times reported this week that the administration is resorting to bribery in order to stop Taliban forces from overrunning the American Embassy when they inevitably march into the Afghan capital. “American negotiators are trying to extract assurances from the Taliban that they will not attack the U.S. Embassy in Kabul,” the Times reported. To gain those “assurances,” they are offering financial incentives for a future Taliban government.

Does the president truly believe that this militant, tyrannical, authoritarian theocracy will suddenly join the world of civilized nations because the United States provides it with a few pieces of silver so that this nation won’t have another Iranian hostage crisis on its hands?

Meanwhile, one day later, the administration was on its knees begging OPEC to produce more oil in order to increase worldwide supply and drive down the price of gasoline.

Mr. Biden is clearly getting nervous about the political ramifications of prices at the pump exceeding $4 a gallon in some places, including Nevada. Yet during his eight months in office, this president has been overtly hostile to American oil and gas producers, killing the Keystone pipeline, moving more federal land off limits to energy exploration and using the administrative state to hamper U.S. drillers on private property.

So now we are treated to the spectacle of an administration that has handcuffed American energy producers under the guise of fighting global warming desperately asking foreign interests to “drill, baby, drill.” What conclusion can one draw other than that Mr. Biden’s rhetoric on climate is politically motivated and that he would prefer American motorists fill their tanks with imported products rather than gasoline produced in the United States?

Robert Gates, who served as secretary of state under President Barack Obama, famously wrote in his memoir that Mr. Biden had “been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.” It’s doubtful that he’s changed his mind.

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