May 3, 2023 | FDD Tracker: April 4-May 3, 2023

Biden Administration Foreign Policy Tracker: May

May 3, 2023 | FDD Tracker: April 4-May 3, 2023

Biden Administration Foreign Policy Tracker: May

Trend Overview

By John Hardie

Welcome back to the Biden Administration Foreign Policy Tracker. Once a month, we ask FDD’s experts and scholars to assess the administration’s foreign policy. They provide trendlines of very positive, positive, neutral, negative, or very negative for the areas they watch.

After over two years in office, the administration still wants for a clear strategy toward China, as lack of direction from the Oval Office has resulted in poor interagency coordination and logjam. Inefficiency also plagues U.S. efforts to deter Chinese military aggression against Taiwan: The U.S. Navy in April finally awarded a contract for 400 sorely needed anti-ship missiles for Taiwan — over two years after the Pentagon approved the potential sale. In better news, the United States last month made progress in strengthening ties with key Indo-Pacific allies and partners, such as the Philippines, India, and South Korea.

In Europe, Washington hopes Ukraine can leverage Western military aid to liberate additional territory in a counteroffensive expected to begin in the coming weeks. However, the administration continues to withhold key weapons that could bolster Kyiv’s chances. The administration also still refuses to address critical flaws in the Western coalition’s sanctions targeting Russian oil exports, although the Biden team deserves credit for its efforts to improve enforcement of Western sanctions and export controls.

China and Russia continue to score diplomatic victories in the Middle East and Latin America. Arab normalization with Syria’s Assad regime is accelerating thanks to quiet encouragement from the Biden administration.

Check back next month to see whether the administration manages to correct course.


The Biden administration still lacks a clear China policy. Instead, the administration has several policies that often appear to be in conflict with one another. To date, President Joe Biden has yet to deliver a single speech articulating his views on U.S.-China relations. The resulting leadership vacuum has contributed to internal jockeying for influence between the secretaries of state, treasury, and commerce over China policy and has led to a fractured policymaking process that often produces seemingly contradictory pronouncements.

For instance, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen recently suggested that national security concerns trump economic considerations vis-à-vis U.S.-China relations. But she also stated that security-related restrictions imposed by Washington are not intended to provide the United States with a “competitive economic advantage” or to stifle “China’s economic and technological modernization.” Other administration officials, such as Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, have clearly hinted otherwise. Similarly, while the administration announced technology export restrictions on China six months ago, it has yet to release final rules related to these new controls. This and other unexplained inconsistencies almost certainly reflect interagency logjam.

Meanwhile, Chinese leader Xi Jinping seeks to promote a new international order that eschews universal values and purposefully excludes the United States. This emerging construct aims to legitimize Beijing’s authoritarian control at home and to facilitate its revisionist ambitions abroad. Even worse, Beijing’s vision resonates across the Global South. Thus far, the Biden administration has been slow in responding to Xi’s chess moves, even though they take direct aim at America’s geopolitical standing.


The Biden administration continued to focus on bolstering cybersecurity and emerging-technology resilience. Specifically, the administration in April emphasized one of the key pillars of the recently released National Cybersecurity Strategy: fostering public-private and international partnerships.

Nate Fick, ambassador-at-large for the State Department’s Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy, announced that the bureau aims to set aside a special cyber assistance fund to help allies and partners build cyber capacity. This flexible fund would expedite the bureau’s capacity building efforts, bypassing the need for case-by-case congressional appropriations.

In addition, Washington and its “Five Eyes” allies — Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom — released new guidance on cybersecurity best practices for smart cities. The document addresses securing artificial intelligence-powered systems used to collect data. The guidance specifically focuses on three areas, including secure planning and design, supply chain risk management, and operational resilience.

The White House also unveiled plans for its Internet of Things labeling effort, aimed at raising consumer awareness of potential vulnerabilities in devices. Initially announced last October, the program will take place in May. It will build on the existing work of the National Institute of Standards and Technology and will include various industry and international partners, but the administration has yet to identify the agency that will lead the program.

Finally, Acting National Cyber Director Kemba Walden announced that the administration may publish an implementation plan for the National Cybersecurity Strategy within the next few months. The document would outline the roles and responsibilities of the policy implementation process.


A large quantity of reportedly classified Pentagon documents were discovered on social media in early April. Prosecutors accused Massachusetts Air National Guard Airman Jack Teixeira of posting the documents online and attempting to cover up his actions. In light of the airman’s record of troubling behavior, members of Congress are asking good questions regarding security clearance screening and who should have access to classified information. The leaks have damaged U.S. relations with allies and partners, provided a boon for adversaries, and potentially endangered American intelligence sources and methods.

On April 7, the Pentagon announced that the Navy had awarded a procurement contract for 400 much-needed Harpoon anti-ship cruise missiles for Taiwan. The contract award came almost 2.5 years after the administration notified Congress of the possible sale. To put that delay in context, completing the paperwork to begin work on the missiles took almost as long as the U.S. military’s preparations for the D-Day landings after entering World War II. The missile deliveries for Taiwan are not expected to be completed before March 2029. The Chinese Communist Party might control Taiwan before then.

The Biden administration announced two significant security assistance packages for Ukraine last month. Together, they are worth almost $3 billion, including $825 million worth of weapons drawn directly from U.S military stocks. The rest will come from industry under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI). The aid packages focus on artillery ammunition, air defense munitions, anti-armor capabilities, and other weapons that could support Kyiv’s much-anticipated counteroffensive, although the aid provided under USAI may not arrive until after the offensive has begun.


Fresh off a document leak that caused frustration in Kyiv and other allied capitals, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley traveled to Germany for an April 21 meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group. The U.S. officials touted Western support for Kyiv’s upcoming counteroffensive, likely set to begin in the coming weeks. But internal Pentagon assessments cast doubt on Ukraine’s prospects. In anticipation of failure, some administration officials have reportedly begun discussing incentives to encourage Kyiv to engage in peace talks with Moscow, even though Russian President Vladimir Putin has shown no readiness for genuine peace.

Ukraine will certainly confront serious challenges during its counteroffensive and beyond, including well-entrenched Russian forces. But policymakers must not forget that Kyiv’s prospects hinge largely on the level of support it receives from the West. Washington can and should still do more to maximize Ukraine’s chances. For example, ATACMS missiles would allow the Ukrainian military to strike Russian logistics nodes and other high-value targets far beyond the range of its current Western-supplied rocket artillery, undermining Russia’s ability to resist Ukrainian advances. Likewise, Washington could help alleviate Ukraine’s shortage of artillery ammunition by sending Kyiv DPICM artillery-fired cluster munitions. Finally, the United States and its allies should strive to meet Ukraine’s need for more Western-made tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, and armored personnel carriers, along with additional bridging and mine-clearing equipment. Rather than charity, this additional aid would represent a prudent investment in U.S. and allied interests.


The Biden administration has rarely shied away from wagging its finger at Saudi Arabia, whether over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the war in Yemen, or OPEC oil production cuts. But when it comes to Saudi rapprochement with Iran and Syria, Washington has remained silent.

Following a Chinese-brokered deal to restore diplomatic relations between Riyadh and Tehran, the Saudi and Iranian foreign ministers met in Beijing. They agreed to resume flights and intergovernmental and private-sector visits between their two countries. Then, following Russian-brokered talks between the Saudis and Iran’s ally Syria, Riyadh and Damascus hosted each other’s top diplomats for the first time in over a decade

In a visit to Saudi Arabia, CIA chief Bill Burns reportedly expressed frustration with Riyadh’s outreach to Tehran and Damascus, telling Crown Prince Muhammed bin Salman (MBS) that Washington felt blindsided. But the administration appears to be concerned primarily by China’s and Russia’s roles in the Saudi diplomatic maneuvers, not the outreach itself.

Indeed, the administration publicly welcomed the Saudi-Iran normalization deal as a means to resolve the war in Yemen. Likewise, the Biden team has quietly encouraged Arab normalization with Damascus even as the administration insists it remains committed to achieving peace and democracy in Syria. During an April 11 phone call with MBS, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan did not raise Riyadh’s restoration of ties with Assad, according to a White House readout. Instead, Sullivan praised “Saudi Arabia’s extraordinary efforts to pursue a more comprehensive roadmap for ending the war” in Yemen.


Days after China concluded military drills simulating a naval blockade of Taiwan, the United States and Philippines held their largest-ever joint military exercise. The annual, two-week-long drill — dubbed Balikthan, Tagalog for “shoulder-to-shoulder” — involved some 17,000 international troops, 12,000 of them from the United States. With this exercise, Washington seeks to strengthen one of the key alliances that the United States could potentially call upon during a military confrontation with China. The exercise follows Washington and Manila’s agreement, signed in February, to establish four new U.S. naval bases near waters contested by Beijing. U.S. efforts to strengthen alliances in the Indo-Pacific are vitally important as China “continues to conduct coercive military activities in the Taiwan Strait, the South and East China Seas, and beyond,” as Jedidiah P. Royal, principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for Indo-Pacific affairs, testified last month.

At the same time, the Biden administration has smartly focused on deepening U.S.-India ties, including efforts to offset China’s dominant position within global supply chains. To that end, Secretary of Commerce Raimondo held a virtual meeting with Indian Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal. The two sides plan to hold follow-on meetings in Singapore in May. Meanwhile, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai stated while in Tokyo that Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) trade negotiations are progressing “at a very quick pace,” adding that she expects the talks to wrap up as early as late 2024. IPEF is certainly no substitute for the now-defunct Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement. However, if executed correctly, IPEF could help loosen China’s economic grip on the region — which tightened further in 2022.

International Organizations

In a major victory for Beijing, the Chinese director-general of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has emerged unopposed for re-election after two would-be rivals — one from Iraq and the other from Tajikistan — withdrew their candidacies. After the United States suffered a stinging defeat against China for the FAO’s top post in 2019, Beijing has worked to align the UN agency’s work to support China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Surprisingly, the Biden administration has remained silent regarding the upcoming FAO election, in stark contrast to its concerted public campaign to elect an American to head the International Telecommunications Union last year. President Biden’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2024 requests more than $100 million for the U.S. contribution to the FAO.

In a more positive development, Maria Van Kerkhove, the World Health Organization (WHO) technical lead for COVID-19, published a column in the journal Science blasting China for concealing data on viral samples from Wuhan since January 2020. The piece calls on Beijing to immediately turn over those samples and any other data related to COVID-19’s origins. But while welcome, the column is toothless, as the WHO under Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has made no meaningful attempts to hold China accountable for the concealment of pandemic data. The United States could have leveraged its financial support for the WHO to push the agency to do so, but the Biden administration instead backed Tedros for an unopposed re-election without first securing any such assurances.


Despite dispatching a guided-missile submarine to the Persian Gulf amid tensions with the Islamic Republic, Washington’s approach toward Tehran remains centered on “de-escalation” and “diplomacy,” according to Secretary of State Antony Blinken. This strategy, however, continues to produce policy failures. Iran continues to enrich uranium to levels near weapons-grade while blocking international inspections of key nuclear facilities. In April, Tehran also reportedly orchestrated coordinated rocket and terror attacks against Israel from Lebanon, Syria, Gaza, and the West Bank during Passover, Easter, and Ramadan. On April 27, Iran seized a U.S.-bound tanker in international waters. Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal reported that Tehran is sending artillery shells and other ammunition to Russia in addition to the Shahed drones Moscow has used to target Ukrainian critical infrastructure. These Iranian arms augment Russia’s dwindling munition stockpiles, helping the Kremlin prolong the war.

On the sanctions front, despite a reported uptick in Chinese purchases of Iranian oil, the Treasury Department opted against issuing sanctions targeting Iran’s illicit oil and petrochemical shippers and customers. Instead, Treasury designated an Iranian drone procurement and supplier network and Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) officials who engaged in violent crackdowns on protestors. The administration also imposed sanctions against the IRGC’s intelligence branch for taking American hostages, although no individual officials were designated. While these measures are all welcome, the administration must rigorously enforce sanctions against Iran’s major economic sectors, particularly oil, if the clerical regime is to pay a real price for its aggression.


Palestinian militants reportedly launched 34 rockets from Lebanon, and dozens more from Gaza, at Israel on April 6. In a briefing later that day, State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel condemned the rocket attacks and reaffirmed America’s “ironclad” commitment to Israel’s security. On April 7, Patel issued an unequivocal condemnation of terrorist attacks in the West Bank and Tel Aviv.

The Biden administration in early April reportedly prevented the UN Security Council from releasing a statement on the recent uptick in Israeli-Palestinian tensions. The statement was expected to draw parallels between actions by Israeli security forces and Palestinian terrorist groups. Later in the month, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield noted that Washington was upset by violence on the Temple Mount, adding that she was pleased that Jerusalem remained relatively calm during the end of Ramadan.

U.S. Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Rashad Hussain traveled to Israel and the West Bank on April 13-18. Hussain ruffled some feathers by urging Israel to implement a plan to guarantee the right to non-Orthodox Jewish prayer at a section of the Western Wall, one of Judaism’s holiest sites. At the same time, the Biden administration toned down its public commentary on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s controversial plans to overhaul Israel’s judiciary. Washington had previously criticized the initiative, which has stalled for now.


North Korea conducted a single missile provocation in April, testing a solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) for the first time. Dubbed the Hwasong-18, the missile is assessed to be capable of reaching the continental United States.

ROK and U.S. forces continued to conduct combined military exercises to ensure readiness. These included naval and Marine maneuvers, a 12-day air exercise, and trilateral missile defense cooperation with Japan.

On April 25-26, President Biden hosted South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol for a state visit to honor the 70th anniversary of the ROK-U.S. alliance. They signed the Washington Declaration, which aims to enhance U.S. extended deterrence of North Korea, including through the periodic deployment of a U.S. ballistic missile submarine to Pusan. The Washington Declaration also establishes a bilateral Nuclear Consultative Group and pledges that Seoul will remain non-nuclear. However, some conservatives in South Korea are criticizing the agreement because they want South Korea to develop a nuclear deterrent of its own.

During a joint press conference, Biden reinforced extended deterrence by reaffirming the U.S. policy that North Korean nuclear use against the United States or its allies would spell the end of the Kim regime. In addition to the declaration, Biden and Yoon signed a Joint Statement that heralded their “Global Comprehensive Strategic Alliance.” They also inked 23 memorandums of understanding on technology cooperation. Finally, Yoon gave a very well-received address to a joint session of Congress, in which he emphasized the alliance’s regional and global role and the danger authoritarian regimes pose to democracy.

Latin America

The Biden administration seems unable to persuade key Latin American leaders to look out for U.S. interests. Brazil’s newly elected president, Ignacio Lula da Silva, is a case in point. President Biden hosted Lula in February, hoping to fix strained bilateral ties. Yet upon his return to Brazil, Lula allowed Iranian warships to dock in Rio de Janeiro. In April, Lula, who refuses to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, sent his foreign policy advisor to Moscow to offer Brazil as a peace mediator while shunning Kyiv. Brazil then received Russia’s foreign minister as the latter toured Latin America to shore up support for Moscow.

In mid-April, Lula made a state visit to China, where he advocated the de-dollarization of world trade and took steps to promote bilateral commerce with China using the renminbi. The visit coincided with the inauguration of former Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff as the new chair of the Shanghai-based New Development Bank, established by BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa). Rousseff is set to push a de-dollarization agenda as the BRICS nations seek to develop an alternative to Western-led international economic governance.

Washington’s problems do not stop with Brazil. On April 20, Biden hosted his Colombian counterpart, only for Bogota to immediately expel longtime U.S. ally Juan Guaido, a Venezuelan opposition leader, as he was entering the country to attend a peace conference. Meanwhile, Chile decided to nationalize its lithium mining sector, a setback for the U.S. electric car industry and the Biden administration’s green energy agenda.


The Treasury Department, building on its 2019 designation of Hezbollah financier Nazem Said Ahmad, blacklisted additional members of his network. Treasury also sanctioned two politically connected Lebanese brothers who operate in the energy sector for “undermining Lebanon’s democratic processes or institutions” and profiting from public corruption.

Yet even as it penalizes Lebanese actors for supporting Hezbollah or engaging in corruption, the Biden administration continues to pour resources into Lebanon, effectively subsidizing the terrorist group and Lebanon’s corrupt political elite. The administration also continues to push its scheme to send Egyptian gas to Lebanon via Syria, in violation of a U.S. law mandating sanctions against the Assad regime.

On April 17, the administration announced it had begun implementing a legally dubious program to make direct salary payments to Lebanon’s Internal Security Forces (ISF). The announcement is part of a larger payment scheme that includes salary payments to the Lebanese Armed Forces. Under the program, the administration will repurpose $16.5 million that Congress originally appropriated for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement, funneling the funds to the ISF through the UN Development Program. The ISF is responsible for running counter-intelligence operations against alleged Israeli spy networks in Lebanon on behalf of Hezbollah.

In addition, the administration continues to promote business ties with Lebanon. Keith Kirkham, regional minister-counselor for commercial affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, visited Lebanon in April and met with local business leaders, accompanied by the U.S. ambassador.

Nonproliferation and Biodefense

The G7 Non-Proliferation Directors Group issued a statement in mid-April vowing “never” to accept North Korea as a nuclear-weapon state. The group also committed to diplomacy with Iran over its nuclear program but warned that the International Atomic Energy Agency’s board “must be prepared to take actions to hold Iran accountable” if Tehran fails to uphold its Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty commitments. A separate agreement among five G7 members — the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Canada, and Japan — pledged to work to replace Russian nuclear fuel supplies and sideline Moscow’s nuclear sector.

At the United Nations, the United States chastised Russia late last month over Vladimir Putin’s plan to deploy tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus. The Russian Ministry of Defense announced on April 14 that Belarussian pilots had completed training to use such weapons.

Responding to recent U.S.-South Korean military drills, North Korea vowed to expand its nuclear weapons arsenal with “increasing speed” and in more “practical and offensive” ways. The United States and South Korea later issued the Washington Declaration during President Yoon Suk-yeol’s state visit in late April. Seoul reconfirmed its nonproliferation commitments and faith in the extended U.S. nuclear deterrent, and the two nations pledged to work together on nuclear contingency planning. America will increase the visibility of strategic assets on the peninsula, including deploying a U.S. nuclear ballistic missile submarine. While the declaration is an important step, the administration must couple it with efforts to address Pyongyang’s expanding weapons programs and critical revenue streams.


Even as Washington and its allies work to support Ukraine’s upcoming counteroffensive, Kyiv’s transatlantic backers are debating next steps on potential membership and other security guarantees for Ukraine. After NATO’s secretary general visited Kyiv, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged the transatlantic allies to grant Ukraine “a well-deserved political invitation” to join the alliance at its July summit in Vilnius. Short of that, Kyiv seeks “a political decision to put forward a timetable for Ukraine’s accession,” along with security guarantees in the interim. Around one-third of NATO members, mainly in Eastern Europe, have publicly supported Ukraine’s initiative. But the United States, Germany, and Hungary oppose the idea.

Meanwhile, Washington is working to bolster enforcement of Western sanctions and export controls against Russia. In mid-April, American, British, and EU officials briefed financial institutions on Russian evasion efforts. The Treasury Department released an advisory highlighting tactics used to circumvent the Western-imposed cap on Russian oil exports, and the administration sanctioned individuals and entities helping Moscow dodge Western restrictions. Senior Treasury officials traveled to Central Asia, Armenia, and various countries across Europe to promote stronger enforcement. In late April, Treasury’s and Commerce’s deputy secretaries, along with Japan’s vice finance minister, convened a meeting of the G7 Enforcement Coordination Mechanism, which was established earlier this year. Yet while these efforts are all welcome, the Biden administration continues to refuse to impose measures that could truly cripple the Kremlin’s finances: lowering the oil price cap and establishing a secondary-sanctions regime to force Moscow’s top customers to pay that lower price.

Sunni Jihadism

Washington has funneled more than $8 billion in humanitarian and financial aid to Taliban-controlled Afghanistan since the U.S. withdrawal, according to John Sopko, the special investigator general for Afghanistan reconstruction (SIGAR). “[T]he Taliban is using various methods to divert U.S. aid dollars,” Sopko told Congress. The Biden administration continues to thwart SIGAR’s efforts to account for the aid.

According to the U.S. military, the Taliban killed the Islamic State-Khorasan Province (ISIS-K) commander responsible for the August 2021 suicide attack that killed 13 U.S. soldiers and 170 Afghans at the Kabul airport. The Pentagon did not name the commander, and the Taliban has not announced his death. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby indicated the White House continues to pursue its policy of relying on the terrorist Taliban regime to fight other terrorists, including its ally al-Qaeda.

Separately, the Taliban killed the military leader of the Afghanistan Freedom Front and five other resistance fighters in Parwan province. The U.S. State Department has said it does not support the Afghan resistance and encourages it to negotiate with the Taliban.

The U.S. military continues to target Islamic State leaders and networks in Iraq and Syria. After killing eight ISIS operatives and detaining 18 more in March, the United States killed three senior ISIS leaders in April. Two were involved in terror plots in Europe and the Middle East. In addition, the State Department listed a Syria-based al-Qaeda leader as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist. However, the Islamic State’s West Africa branch continues to expand its influence in Mali.


The diplomatic rehabilitation of the Syrian regime continued apace with quiet support from the Biden administration. Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad visited Saudi Arabia, the first time in over decade that Riyadh has welcomed a Syrian foreign minister. A week later, Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad received the Saudi foreign minister in Damascus, the first official visit to the Syrian capital by a Saudi official since Riyadh broke off relations in 2012. After a stop in Algiers, Mekdad also visited Tunis, where he met with President Kais Saied. In early April, Saied ordered the appointment of an ambassador to Damascus following the latter’s decision to re-open its embassy in Tunis. The one setback for Assad was an effort by several Arab governments to prevent Damascus from rejoining the Arab League, which suspended Syria and imposed sanctions on the Assad regime in 2011.

On April 24, the European Union announced the imposition of sanctions on 25 individuals and eight entities for supporting the Assad regime. The sanctions focus on those who facilitate the production and distribution of Captagon, an amphetamine-like illegal drug that has become a key moneymaker for Damascus. In late March, under pressure from Congress, the Biden administration sanctioned five of the same individuals for narco-trafficking, along with three other targets. The narrower scope of the U.S. sanctions is consistent with the administration’s persistent effort to avoid the use of pressure tactics against the Assad regime. This policy is directly at odds with the bipartisan Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act, designed to hold the regime accountable for its atrocities.


The Biden administration on April 17 formally approved a possible Turkish purchase of up to $259 million worth of “defense articles and services to support upgrading” Ankara’s F-16 fighter jet fleet. The administration likely greenlit the sale due to Turkey’s March 31 approval of Finland’s application to join NATO, which Ankara had been blocking for months. Congress had a 15-day window to stop the sale but did not do so.

In addition to upgrading its existing F-16s, Ankara wants to acquire 40 additional F-16s. The White House supports that sale but is likely withholding approval until Turkey ratifies Sweden’s NATO accession bid, which Ankara continues to block. Ankara will likely ratify Sweden’s application following Turkey’s May 14 elections, in which President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will seek to extend his 20-year-long rule.

Securing congressional approval of the F-16 purchase will likely require progress on other issues in the U.S.-Turkish relationship beyond just Finland’s and Sweden’s NATO accession. On April 22, Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, reiterated his opposition to the deal. Menendez has long argued against the F-16s sale, citing Ankara’s aggressive stance toward NATO ally Greece, poor human rights record, and purchase of the Russian-made S-400 air defense system, in addition to Erdogan’s blocking of NATO enlargement. Washington may also seek a Turkish commitment to stop military activities in Syria that endanger U.S. troops, such as a November 2022 airstrike against Kurdish forces who were within 300 meters of U.S. servicemembers.


The analyses above do not necessarily represent the institutional views of FDD.