Joe Biden: What is the meaning of “ironclad”?

President Joe Biden is facing a kobayashi maru problem, which Star Trek fans recognize as a choice with only bad outcomes.

While a trainee, James T. Kirk solved the unsolvable

On the one hand, he has made Israel “ironclad” promises of support. This is because Israel is a long, valued ally, now fighting Hamas, a terrorist organization pledged to Israel’s destruction.

Biden has said America’s position is that Hamas must be removed.

On the other hand, Biden has paused delivery to Israel of 1,000- and 500-pound bombs, as well as artillery shells, he told CNN Wednesday night. Other reporting says he also is denying Israel “smart bomb” technology.

Last week, Biden said the U.S. would not approve of an attack on Rafah, Hamas’ remaining stronghold in Gaza, without an Israeli plan to evacuate civilians. Now the U.S. position seems to have shifted to oppose any attack on Rafah. (This is subject to change at any moment.)  

As it stands, Biden has created a paradox: Israel can’t achieve the goal of removing Hamas — which the U.S. wants — without attacking Rafah, which the U.S. doesn’t want. This has confused everyone, including Israeli Prime Minister Benyahim Netanyahu, who says Israel will go it alone if it must. He has noted before that when the chips are down, Jews can depend on no one but themselves.

Biden has been pro-Israel his entire life, but he is going wobbly because he is being called “Genocide Joe” by students who don’t know the legal definition of the term, and because of the small but perhaps decisive Arab vote in Michigan and Minnesota.

He has tried straddling the line, hoping to placate both sides.

It has not worked. He has pissed off both sides. 

And now he appears to be slithering away from his “ironclad” promise.

Almost 60% of Americans support Israel’s right to attack Hamas, although many, including myself, are disturbed by the civilian deaths, in a late April Pew poll.

The deaths are the single greatest cause of world opinion turning against Israel, which has not been as scrupulous as it has in past wars in protecting civilians. The Oct. 7 massacre radicalized them.

Here’s an eternal truth: The longer a war goes on, the less popular it becomes. This requires that military operations should be executed as quickly as possible.

Before the remaining battle of Rafah, Israel must allow civilians to escape. It also should allow humanitarian relief to arrive.

What Joe Biden must do is state without equivocation that the United States stands with Israel’s military’s effort to grind Hamas into the dust. Only victory will eliminate the threat of Hamas to Israel, and will lead to the return of hostages, however many remain alive.

The students won’t like it, but once the war ends, they will melt away. Biden’s far-left progressive base won’t like it, but so what?

Will they vote for Donald J. Trump?


Worm brain Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.? Possibly, but RFK matters only in a few states.

Stay home? And elect Trump?

No matter how distasteful Biden might be to progressives, they won’t “bring an end to democracy” by staying home.

As much as Democrats hate Trump, his candidacy has drawn record numbers of pro- and anti-Trump voters to the polls.

Biden needs a “Sister Souljah moment” to put the unruly students and unrealistic far left members in short pants. 

It’s binary, Biden. Pick a side, and stick with it, with no equivocation. That is how to solve the Catch 22 of  kobayashi maru.  

26 thoughts on “Joe Biden: What is the meaning of “ironclad”?”

  1. Biden cannot be reelected. The chaos and destruction he has caused around the world in mine boggling. We are involved in 2 wars that would never had happened under Trump. All we had was peace and prosperity during the Trump administration Do you really want 4 more years of this reckless incompetent fool. And stop this bullshit of democracy ending if Trump is elected. Biden and the democrats are destroying this country right before your very eyes.

    1. You continue to be deluded, a puppet of the Faux “News” Newsmax right-wing information propaganda network. You characterize Biden as “reckless and incompetent” in the face of MASSIVE, easily obtainable evidence that Trump is all those things, in addition to being against the rule of law, the Constitution of the United States, the police, NATO, social security, and Medicare. Additionally, he has CLEARLY STATED that he WILL do things to destroy Democracy. We’ve heard this from his own mouth. Open your eyes, Daniel, read the tea leaves, and get your head out of Trump’s orange ass. The man is, and always has been, a criminal, a menace, and a horrible human being. And that makes you either incredibly ill-informed or an incredibly bad human being.

      1. The American people who pay attention and have common sense know Biden is reckless and incompetent. Hopefully we still out number the hateful uninformed people like you

    2. You’re right Daniel. Trump would have never have gotten America involved in Ukraine and Israel. He would have simply turned his back on them given how much he worships Putin and the Saudi government in the form of Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud. To say nothing of the financial support he and his family have received.

  2. Stu- on an unrelated matter, have you seen any local TV reporting on the Trump rally in Wildwood? I have not heard a mention of it anywhere. Regardless of your feelings about Trump, isn’t it newsworthy that a small shore town is hosting a rally with 40,000 people? Or is the media deliberately ignoring this story?

    1. Stories in Thursday and Friday Inquirer, I saw something on local TV. I am sure TV has mentioned it as it is a very big deal. Wildwoodmhas even turned in its parking meters. 😁

    2. No one covered?? Try searching for these headlines
      Fox News – “Trump supporters flock to massive New Jersey campaign rally to hear former president speak amid ongoing trials”

      CNN- “Trump to hold beachfront rally on Jersey Shore amid criminal trial in New York”

      New York Post – “Donald Trump flies VP contender Doug Burgum with him to massive rally in Wildwood, NJ”

  3. Captain Kirk always found a triangulation solution for the Kobayashi Maru moments. Here’s mine for the Israel Hamas war as it’s less binary then on the surface. Israel could agree to end military operations in Gaza. The two sides would mutually agree to a phased release of hostages and Palestinian prisoners. Israel could then pursue a completion of its diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia, who would then sideline Hamas and take over running Gaza. Israel would continue to be free to pursue top Hamas officials. The US doubts the wisdom of a full scale invasion, but not the value of eliminating Hamas. Kobayashi Maru indeed.

    1. Kirk cheated to beat Kobayashi Maru. Israel will NOT leave Hamas in place, and U.S. is the same.
      FIRST, drive Hamas out, THEN proceed with your scenario.

      1. Impressive, not to many familiar with the Kobayashi Maru program understand it,. Outside of the military and Star Trek fans.

  4. I’m starting to believe that Biden is only responding to the needs of Israel by the ratings he gets from the polls ,after he say’s what he might do. His intentions are he really dosen’t care unless it is in his interest. He becomes more invisible everyday. No national stand on the protests, except on digging his toe in the sand. Just letting muntions sit while Hamas thinks of a new move. It’s thime to shit or get off the pot Joe, or move along! At least do something to let us know, that you know what is going on.

  5. Let’s not be too hard on Biden, a man who doesn’t want more blood on his hands than perhaps he already has. Israel cannot eliminate HAMAS although it has a presence in Raffah. Biden is worried about a million people who will be used as human shields. Never mind the hypocrisy of the gotcha Republicans on this. BE assured that Netanyahu has a great deal more to fight with than his fingernails. He’s got the nuclear bomb. Biden is to be commended for trying to dissuade him from using that. What Biden is considering is not jeopardizing Israel’s military strength in the least. Israel is by no means in the kind of need that Ukraine is.

    1. When is Biden going to be hard on Hamas. They started this war . They are the ones using human hostages. The Biden administration is constantly condemning Israel but gives Hamas a pass. Biden is trying to dictate how the war should be run and Chuck Schumer is calling for regime change in Israel in the middle of a war. When will he ask for regime change in Iran, China, North Korea Russia. War is ugly and the sooner we eliminate Hamas the better off the whole region will be.

      1. If you were President of the U.S. how would you “punish” Hamas without using U.S. military assets or putting boots on the ground? We tried regime change in Iraq and Afghanistan remember how that worked out?

    2. Bibi has not mentioned the A-bomb and no one should. You are right that Israel has sufficient arms to take down Rafah, which it should, but carefully, even at the cost of Israeli lives.

      1. When the Israeli military starts the offensive in Rafah what happens to the remaining hostages? Is Netanyahu writing them off in his goal to eradicate Hamas? Nobody is talking about them (except their relatives).

        1. Given that Hamas could not even meet the minimum hostage exchange requested by Israel you have to ask how many of them are still alive.

        2. One thing we know for sure — Hamas’ campus pals aren’t taking about hostages.
          Not to be callus, but what about the lives of IDF troops? The hostages’ families want peace at any price, even leaving Hamas intact to kill more Israelis. Individual good versus national good? National security prevails. This is war.

  6. ‘Kobayashi Maru,’ when translated from the Japanese, means “Throw Israel under the bus.”

    1. Vince, there’s always a third way if one cares to dig for it. I came of age when Mike Mansfield and Everett Dirksen always found a way to get things done. Later you had Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill working out differences over a scotch or three. Somehow we’ve lost the ability to compromise, which has become an ugly word in some circles. That’s not just nationally but its global.

  7. I agree with the last (or second) statement of Daniel. I also listen to some podcasts of Alan Dershowitz. He said Israel caused less civilian casualties than any other nations during a war. Indeed, the Israelis dropped pamphlets over Rafah to warm the civilians to leave before entering the area. Did Russia do that when it invaded the Ukraine? No. I can think of no other nation that warned a civilian population to leave before its military entered to tackle a murderous terrorist agency that caused such harm and bloodshed. Remember: Hamas caused the war. Hamas was freely elected by the people of Gaza to run their nation.

  8. Sorry, but I think all here are misreading the situation.

    First, let’s go back to the 1973 “Yom Kippur” war. The U.S. saved Israel’s bacon (so to speak) with a massive air lift of arms and supplies after the surprise attack by Egypt and Syria.

    Israel turned the tide, and ended up encircling and cutting off Egypt’s entire 3rd Army, with the ability to completely annihilate it. The US put tremendous pressure on Israel not to do so, threatening to support a UN resolution demanding that Israel withdraw to its previous positions. Kissinger told the Israeli ambassador that the destruction of the Egyptian 3rd Army “is an option that does not exist.”

    Given our “ironclad” commitment, why stop them from utterly destroying their enemies who had initiated the war with a sneak attack? Several reasons, that are applicable to this situation. Kissinger reasoned that it would be a good thing to make Egypt dependent on the US to prevent the destruction of its army, reducing Soviet influence over Sadat. It would also prevent Egypt from becoming so embittered that it became an implacable enemy. As we all know, a mere 5 years later, in 1978, Egypt made peace with Israel under United States auspices–making Israel tremendously safer than destruction of the Egyptian forces would have.

    Second, Reagan suspended delivery of F-15s to Israel twice. The first suspension was after Israel bombed the Iraq reactor. As a now declassified intelligence assessment stated: “On balance, this attack has hurt US interests. It has complicated the search for a coherent strategic approach,,,strengthened the hand of the more radical Arabs, provided more grist for Soviet propagandist, and driven a potential wedge between the United States and its moderate Arab partners.” Five F-15 fighters were withheld and the US also voted for a UN Security Council resolution condemning the raid.

    The second Reagan suspension was of 75 F-15s to get Israel to stop bombing Beirut and pull out of Lebanon.

    Third, let’s go back to 1991, when George H.W. Bush conditioned $10 billion in loan guarantees on an Israeli commitment to stop using U.S. money to build Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Gaza. The backstory is that Bush and secretary of state Baker were working on the secret talks between Israel and the PLO, and knew that the settlements were an obstacle, and that they needed Arab support for peace. As we know, the Oslo Accords came out of those talks, and got close to peace that could have been, had Arafat agreed.

    Obviously today’s situation is different. First of all,let me say there is no one who wants Hamas obliterated more than I do. But what does that mean?

    Its political leadership is safely headquartered in Qatar. Hamas fighters do not wear uniforms and can simply blend into the population. There are Hamas in the West Bank territory. There are Hamas sympathizers and supporters elsewhere. What, exactly, constitute “victory conditions” as they say in the war-gaming world?

    Thus, it seems to me that Biden’s decision is more geopolitical than for domestic consumption. American policy is to mobilize the region against Iranian proxies and influence. To do so, we need our Arab allies, and we need to make the Israel-Saudi agreement a reality. Netanyahu’s approach has been overly heavy-handed, and has been giving Israel an international black eye that the US has had to share. The apparent absence of any sort of relief from the Palestinians current predicament helps Hamas’ argument that only “armed struggle” can resolve it.

    To the extent that US steps up on a humanitarian basis as an advocate for peace, that can serve to move Palestinians away from Hamas and Iran–the only way Hamas will ever be truly obliterated. As with Nixon’s insistence on Israeli restraint with respect to Egypt, this opens a door that shows another way.

    As Stu pointed out in an earlier column, Hamas is already losing popularity in Gaza, and as I pointed out in the comments, support for the two-state solution has jumped from a minority to a majority view. (I guess
    as in, “this armed struggle stuff is not working out well. Let’s forget about ‘from the river to the sea.'”

    If Israel is dissuaded, it is the US, not Hamas or Iran, that the Palestinians will have to thank. Just as Sadat came to realize that Russia wasn’t its only way forward, that could happen with the Palestinians.

    Also, if nothing else, Biden’s announcement eases relations with our Arab allies. If the invasion of Rafah is equally heavy-handed as the rest of the invasion–say by using the large bombs Biden is withholding in a densely populated urban environment–any agreement with the Saudis will not happen. Jordan, which has a large Palestinian population (about 20%) might not shoot down Iranian missiles heading for Israel, as it did recently. The US wants stability and a united front in the region against the Iran-Russia-China axis.

    Biden has been trying to get Israel to moderate its approach to no avail. He asked for a Rafah plan that would be narrowly targeted and minimize civilian casualties. He didn’t get it. Reportedly, Netanyahu has been ignoring everything the US wants, so much so that it has angered Biden. That was dumb. When talking softy doesn’t work, you have to use the big stick that has been in plain sight all along.

    We guarantee Israel’s existential interests. That is and ought to be “ironclad.” In exchange, it owes us consideration of our strategic interests.and Netanyahu has ignored this. An alliance is a two-way street, and that should be “ironclad” as well.

  9. Regarding agreements any nation makes with Israel (especially the USA), Louis B. Mayer famously said, “A verbal agreement is not worth the paper it’s printed on.”

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