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Joe Biden ‘struggles to keep his head above water’ as US faces challenge from Iran and Russia – ‘and China and North Korea take notes’, experts say as they warn inaction now ‘will cost American lives later’

Joe Biden is «struggling to keep his head above water» as the US «ignores» threats from Iran and Russia continues to challenge them – while North Korea and China «take notes», experts have warned.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards confirmed yesterday that its forces fired ballistic missiles near the US consulate in the northern Iraqi city of Erbil – a move the US State Department condemned as «reckless».

Former military intelligence officer Colonel (Ret) Jonathan Sweet and foreign policy expert Mark Toth he called the U.S. response «as superficial as it was lacking» and said it was just the latest example of the Biden administration’s inaction in the region.

Iran’s so-called «axis of resistance» – including Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Yemen’s Houthi rebels – has been stepping up its attacks on Israel and commercial shipping lanes, prompting the US and UK to launch devastating air and sea strikes.

However, experts told MailOnline: «Despite the US military showing up in the Middle East, Red Sea and Gulf of Aden right now, Iran and its proxies have not been deterred.»

Meanwhile, as the war in Ukraine approaches its third year, Vladimir Putin’s rhetoric has become more aggressive, threatening Ukrainian statehood and warning that Russia will «never» abandon the gains it has made.

With the prospect of further involvement in the war effort in Ukraine or any conflagration in the Middle East deeply unpopular with voters in an election year, Toth and Sweet say The White House is «taking the path of least resistance» and avoiding the inevitable.

«Neither Russia nor Iran has any intention of backing down,» Toth and Sweet said. “Throwing the can down the road will only make the problem worse. That’s Biden’s dilemma — pay the political cost of kinetic intervention now or in American lives later.”

A residential building burns after being hit by a Russian drone, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Odesa, Ukraine on January 17, 2024

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Houthi fighters and tribesmen staged a rally against US and UK strikes on Houthi-run military sites near Sanaa, Yemen

They said the Biden administration is increasingly overwhelmed «a trifecta of regional conflicts that his National Security Strategy should not have supported.”

The Biden administration has emphasized de-escalation as its key goal in the Middle East, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken making four trips to Israel and the wider region since the war broke out following the October 7 Hamas attacks.

Each time, Biden officials have sought to emphasize their focus on de-escalation to prevent the war between Israel and Hamas from erupting into a wider conflict.

But as Hezbollah steps up its attacks across Israel’s northern border and Houthi rebels attack ships in the Red Sea, many analysts say it is too late and the regional conflict has already begun.

The US president said last week that the United States had delivered a private message to Iran about the Iranian-backed Houthis responsible for attacks on merchant shipping in the Red Sea.

«We’ve delivered it privately and we’re confident that we’re well prepared,» Biden told reporters.

With such strong words repeated regularly, Toth and Sweet say, ‘Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Al Khamenei continues to kinetically call President Joe Biden’s bluff across the Middle East.’

“The Biden administration does not want a direct confrontation with Iran, but that seems to be the calculated direction Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is taking them.

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Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei meets with a large number of elegists and braggarts in Tehran, Iran on January 3, 2024

Netanyahu is «prepared to go it alone without the US and told Biden as much,» Toth and Sweet say. Pictured: The Israeli Prime Minister and the US President met in Tel Aviv on October 18

«Khamenei keeps upping the ante — and the White House and Biden’s national security team keep ignoring it.»

The US is also trying to pour cold water on potential threats in the Far East after the election of William Lai in Taiwan angered China, from which the incumbent president has called for independence.

In response, Biden bluntly reiterated the US position, saying «we do not support independence», in an apparent effort to prevent escalation and maintain a dialogue between Taipei and Beijing.

Toth and Sweet describe it as an attempt to «appease» Chinese President Xi Jinping, calling his response «self-defeating».

Taiwan Vice President Lai Ching-te, also known as William Lai, left, celebrates his victory with fellow runner Bi-khim Hsiao in Taipei, Taiwan, Saturday, Jan. 13, 2024

Meanwhile in Europe, the governments of Estonia, Sweden and the United Kingdom warned that the prospect of full-scale war was on the horizon.

Alarm bells have been rung over leaked German intelligence documents that reveal a path to war with Putin using Belarus as a launching pad for an invasion.

At yesterday’s World Economic Forum, President Zelenskyy told Western leaders: «Strengthen our economy and we will strengthen your security.»

Biden’s effort to deliver a $106 billion aid package to Kiev has been blocked by Republicans in Congress, which his administration said it was working to resolve as quickly as possible.

But as the war with Russia drags on with limited Ukrainian gains, donor fatigue appears to be setting in for many policymakers.

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«Domestic politics come into play,» Toth and Sweet said, adding that «the White House appears to be on the path of least resistance» in the middle of the presidential election cycle.

«In doing so, Washington risks appearing willing to throw its partners — and service members deployed in the Middle East and East Africa — under the bus to avoid any direct military intervention for the next 10 months,» they warned.

“Zelensky and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are fighting for the very survival of their country – not some election cycle. Both are ready to go it alone without the US – Netanyahu has told Biden as much about this threat.

«Without US support, Ukraine and Israel may drag the US into wars that Biden is trying to avoid.»

«Biden is trying to keep his head above water — and other foes including China and North Korea are taking notes.»

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