If President Biden knows precisely what the administration’s strategic goals are in the Middle East, it would be nice to hear about it.

Some of the White House’s plans can seemingly be deciphered by its actions, though administration officials give increasingly garbled explanations of those actions.

And then there are the times they offer clear answers on some questions but fail to follow through in reality, despite having the power to do so.

Here’s an example of the latter. In late February, Internet service in India, Pakistan, and parts of East Africa dropped suddenly and dramatically. The reason: Three undersea Internet cables that run through the Red Sea were damaged. The likeliest cause of the rupture, according to telecom experts interviewed by the Wall Street Journal, is a cargo ship that was attacked by Houthis and abandoned by its crew, eventually sinking about a week after its anchor dropped. The owner of the damaged cables told the Journal that fixing them requires “a fair amount of logistics coordination,” including permits and navigating weather reports. The cost to insure cable lines has skyrocketed.

So I was not too surprised to see these Red Sea traffic charts, which paint a bleak picture. Since December there’s been a steep drop in cargo ships of just about every kind, and the year-over-year numbers of natural gas containers have dropped off the table.

So the trouble in the Red Sea isn’t just about “stuff,” as though we were talking about Amazon traffic (which would be bad enough, to be clear, because it would still mean a grinding of the global economic gears). Energy and now Internet connectivity are suffering.

All this comes nearly two months after a U.S.-led coalition formed and began hitting back at the Houthis. “The United States and our partners will not tolerate attacks on our personnel or allow hostile actors to imperil freedom of navigation in one of the world’s most critical commercial routes,” Biden said on January 11. “I will not hesitate to direct further measures to protect our people and the free flow of international commerce as necessary.”

Well, what’s the holdup? Does anyone think the U.S., UK, and other major Western powers are incapable of quieting the Houthis? It seems to me the president laid out an utterly attainable goal that remains… unattained.

Then we had yesterday’s bizarre remarks from Vice President Kamala Harris in which she announced that U.S. policy on Israel and Gaza was one of everything on the menu. Given the immense scale of suffering in Gaza, there must be an immediate ceasefire,” Harris said to loud cheers, as the crowd heard the words so many Democrats have longed to hear. But that wasn’t the end of the sentence. The ceasefire call was immediately followed by “for at least the next six weeks, which is what is currently on the table.” Thus did she make it clear it was a ceasefire but not, you know, the ceasefire. It would be temporary, and also her remarks were not intended to introduce any new information but simply reiterate what was already on the table.

The speech had something for Israelis, too. “Hamas claims it wants a ceasefire. Well, there is a deal on the table. And as we have said, Hamas needs to agree to that deal,” she said, seemingly placing the ball in Hamas’s court and making it clear who would be held responsible for blowing up the deal were the deal to be blown up.

Finally, she summed it all up: “Let’s get a ceasefire. Let’s reunite the hostages with their families. And let’s provide immediate relief to the people of Gaza.”

Let’s do everything that everybody wants, and then go for pizza.

Joe Biden’s support for Israel in its just war against the terrorists of Hamas has been, of late, mostly in deed rather than in word. That is the highly preferable choice, if Americans had to pick one. But supporting Israel in word isn’t anything to sneeze at, and it remains unclear what’s behind the inconsistency between message and policy.

America is capable of doing what it says it will do, and it ought to be capable of explaining itself when it does. That’s up to the president—and he’s clearly not going to get any help on that front from his veep.

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