The U.S. Government (with France and a few other U.S. allies) bombs Libya, Syria, etc.; and the U.S. regime refuses to accept any of the resulting refugees — the burdens from which are now breaking the EU, and the EU is sinking in economic competition against America’s international corporations. America’s corporations remain blithely unscathed by not only the refugees that are breaking up the EU, but also by the EU’s economic sanctions against Russia, Iran, and other allies of governments that the U.S. regime is trying to overthrow in its constant invasions and coups. The U.S. Government makes proclamations such as “Assad must go!” — but by what right is the U.S. Government involved, at all, in determining whom the leaders in Syria will be? Syria never invaded the U.S. In fact, Syria never invaded anywhere (except, maybe, Israel, in order to respond against Israel’s invasions). Furthermore, all polling, even by Western pollsters, shows that Bashar al-Assad would easily win any free and fair election in Syria. The U.S. Government claims to support democracy, but it does the exact opposite whenever they want to get rid of a Government that is determined to protect that nation’s sovereignty over its own national territory, instead of to yield it to the U.S. regime, or to any other foreigners. The U.S. regime has virtually destroyed the United Nations.
The U.S. regime even refuses to provide restitution to Syria for its bombings, and for its arming and training of the jihadists — the fundamentalist Sunni mercenaries recruited from around the world — who are the U.S. regime’s “boots on the ground” trying to overthrow Syria’s Government
. Al Qaeda has led the dozens of jihadist groups that have served as the U.S. regime’s “boots on the ground” to overthrow Assad, but Al Qaeda is good enough to serve the purpose, in the U.S. regime’s view of things. The U.S. regime says that there will be no restitution to Syria unless Syria accepts being ruled by ‘rebels’ whose leadership is actually being chosen by the U.S. regime’s chief ally, the fundamentalist-Sunni Saud family, who already own Saudi Arabia, and who (along with the CIA) have been unsuccessfully trying, ever since 1949, to take over the committedly secular, non-sectarian, nation of Syria. In fact, the CIA perpetrated two of the three Syrian coups that were carried out in 1949.
The U.S. regime, and its allies, have used the Muslim Brotherhood, in order to recruit into Syria the 100,000+ jihadists from around the world to fight to overthrow Syria’s secular Government. Even the BBC’s 13 December 2013 detailed report, “Guide to the Syrian rebels”, made clear that the “Syrian Rebels” were, in fact, overwhelmingly jihadist and largely recruited from abroad. These were hardly democrats. Even a Tony-Blair-founded anti-Assad NGO’s study concluded that “Sixty per cent of major Syrian rebel groups are Islamist extremists” (not just “Islamists” but “Islamist extremists”) and yet the Blair outfit still supported the overthrow of the committed secularist Assad (just as Blair had earlier participated himself in the U.S. regime’s destruction of Iraq).
The fundamentalist-Sunni royal Thani family own Qatar and have been the top international funders of the Muslim Brotherhood, just as the fundamentalist-Sunni royal Saud family, who own Saudi Arabia, have been the top funders of Al Qaeda. The main difference between the Sauds and the Thanis has been that whereas the Sauds hate Shia (and that means especially Iran), the Thanis don’t. Thus, for the Sauds, this is a war against the Shia center, Iran, and not only against Syria. This war against Syria was a coordinated U.S.-Saud-Thani operation, in which the fundamentalist-Sunni group, Al Qaeda, provided the leadership but the (pan-Islamic) fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood provided the largest recruiting website. This entire hyper-aggressive operation was internationally coordinated. The Obama Administration started planning this operation, under Hillary Clinton, in 2010. As even the neoconservative (i.e., U.S.-empire advocating) Washington Post reported, on 17 April 2011, from Wikileaks, “It is unclear whether the State Department is still funding Syrian opposition groups, but the cables indicate money was set aside [by the Obama Administration] at least through September 2010.”
That article mentioned only “former members of the Muslim Brotherhood,” not the Muslim Brotherhood itself; and no mention was made in it to Al Qaeda, in any form.
Then, in 2013, the neoconservative Foreign Policy magazine headlined “How the Muslim Brotherhood Hijacked Syria’s Revolution” and was oblivious regarding the neoconservative Obama Administration’s having planned that “hijacking,” starting in 2010 (but going back even as far as Obama’s inauguration; this operation was a key part of his secret anti-Russia agenda, which preceded even his coming into office). But if Obama wasn’t neocon-enough to suit that magazine’s editors, then Trump certainly should be, because Trump continues Obama’s foreign policies but with an even more hostile thrust against the Sauds’ chief target, which is Iran. Above all, the U.S. alliance’s goal has been for the Saud family’s selected (rabidly anti-Shiite) people to take over and run the Syrian Government
. As Global Security has phrased this matter, “The High Negotiations Committee [which is the group who are negotiating against Assad’s government at the U.S.-sponsored ‘peace’ talks] is a Saudi-backed coalition of Syrian opposition groups. The High Negotiations Committee (HNC) was created in Saudi Arabia in December 2015.”
So, this war in Syria has actually been the Sauds’ war to take over Syria. And it actually started in 1949, but the U.S.-backed Muslim-Brotherhood-led “Arab Spring” in 2011 gave the U.S. and its allies the opportunity to culminate it, finally.
And Europe receives the fall-out from it. This fall-out has been hurting European corporations, in international competition against U.S. corporations. It’s not only political.
The U.S. regime has continued this thrust, under Obama’s successor. U.S. President Donald Trump demands European corporations to end their business with Shiite Iran (which the Saud family is determined to take over), and to end their business with Russia, which America’s own billionaires themselves are determined to take over, just like the Sauds are determined to take over both Syria and Iran.
And Europe receives refugees not only from places where the U.S. and some of its NATO allies have recently been bombing, but even from Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan, and other places where NATO has bombed in the past, and even from Ukraine, where the U.S. regime perpetrated a bloody coup in February 2014, followed there by an ethnic-cleansing campaign to kill the residents in areas which had voted the heaviest for the overthrown President
America is no actual ally of Europe. The Marshall Plan is long-since finished, and America has been taken over by psychopaths who are Europe’s main enemies, not Europe’s friends, at all. (They’re friends of some European aristocracies, but not of any European public, not of even merely one public.)
Iran and Russia should be Europe’s allies — they didn’t cause any of Europe’s problems. America did. America’s intelligence agencies tapped (and probably still tap) the phones of Germany’s Chancellor and practically everybody else, and yet the U.S. regime has the gall to blame Russia for interfering in the political affairs of European countries. If that isn’t the pot calling the kettle ‘black’, then what is? If anything, the EU’s sanctions should be against doing business with American firms — not against doing business with Russian firms, or with Iranian firms. European politicians who support the U.S. support Europe’s top enemy.
Russia is, itself, a European country, which additionally traverses much of Asia, but America is no European country, at all, and yet now is so brazen as to demand that Europe must do America’s bidding — not only against Russia, but also against the Sauds’ main target, which is Iran (the same main target as Israel’s).
Why are Europeans not asking themselves: Who is Europe’s enemy in all of this — what causes this refugee-crisis? The refugees certainly didn’t.
It’s not Russia, and it’s not Iran, and it’s not China; it is America — which is the true enemy of them all, and of us all — including even of the American people ourselves, because the U.S. Government no longer actually represents the American people. These invasions, and military occupations, and coups, do not serve America’s public; they serve America’s aristocracy. The U.S. is no longer (if it ever was) a democracy. The U.S. Government now is the U.S. aristocracy — not the U.S. public. It’s a dictatorship. And, it has the type of ‘news’media that any dictatorship has.
On June 30th, the U.S. aristocracy’s New York Times headlined “Bavaria: Affluent, Picturesque — and Angry”, and reported “the new angry center of Europe, the latest battleground for populists eager to bring down both Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and the idea of a liberal Europe itself.” Their elitist (pro-U.S.-aristocracy) ‘reporter’ (actually propagandist) interviewed ‘experts’ who condemn Europe’s politicians that are trying to assuage their own public’s anger against the EU’s open-door policy regarding this flood of refugees from what is actually, for the most part, the U.S. regime’s (and its allies’) bombings — air-support of the boots-on-the-ground jihadist mercenaries. The combination of this air-support, and of the jihadists, has been the backbone of the U.S.-Saudi-Israeli effort to overthrow and replace Syria’s Government.
Libya was a similar case, but was only friendly toward Russia, not allied with Russia, as both Syria and Iran are.
These are ‘humanitarian’ bombings in order to replace a ‘barbaric’ Government — but replace it with what? With one that would be chosen by the Sauds. And this propaganda-campaign is also funded by the U.S.-allied aristocracies. All of the major ‘news’media, in U.S. and allies, receive their ‘expert’ ‘information’ from these privately-funded and government-funded propagandists, who are treated by ‘journalists’ as being objective and experts (which they’re not).
The NYT article says — and I add here key explanatory links: “This is not about economics,” said Gerald Knaus, the director of the European Stability Initiative, [and though unmentioned by the Times, “The Open Society Institute was a major core funder” of the ESI, which is] a Berlin-based think tank. “It is about identity and a very successful populist P.R. machine that is rewriting recent history.”
So: the Times was secretly (and they didn’t include any links to help online readers know who was actually funding their ‘experts’, at all) pumping NATO propaganda, as if it were authentic and neutral news-reporting, instead of craven service to the U.S. aristocracy that controls the U.S. Government and its NATO military alliance. This is the New York Times, itself, that is “rewriting recent history.” That’s how they do it — constantly (as ‘news’).
And here is some of that “recent history” the Times is “rewriting” (by simply omitting to so much as even just suggest, but which is essential backgound in order to understand the real history behind this important matter):
House of Commons, Research Paper 01/50, 2 May 2001
“European Security and Defence Policy: Nice and Beyond”
On 7 February 2001 the Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, emphasised the ESDP’s [European Security and Defence Policy’s] tie to NATO during a press interview, following his meeting in Washington with US National Security Adviser, Condoleeza Rice. He said:
I have stressed that the European Security Initiative will strengthen the capacity of Europe to contribute to crisis management and therefore is welcome to a Washington that is interested in fairer burden sharing, and that Washington can be confident that Britain will insist that the European Security Initiative is firmly anchored on NATO. We are both determined to see that happen, we are both determined to make sure that the European Security Initiative carries out its promise to strengthen the North Atlantic Alliance.119
Though the Sauds, and also Israel’s aristocracy, are mainly anti-Iran, the U.S. aristocracy are obsessed with their goal of conquering Russia. Since Iran, and Syria, are both allied with Russia, the U.S. regime is trying to overthrow those Russia-allied Governments, before going in for the kill, against Russia itself. That’s what all of these economic sanctions, and the bombings and the backing of Al Qaeda for overthrowing Syria’s Government, are really all about.
Is this what today’s Europeans want their Governments to be doing — and doing it for that reason, the U.S. aristocracy’s reason? Despite the huge harms it is certainly causing to Europeans?
Here, then, is a debate between, on the one hand a retired CIA official who thinks “Our relationship with Israel causes us war with Muslims,” versus Representatives in the U.S. Congress who are actually representatives of Israel’s Government and definitely not representatives of the American people. Both sides in that debate are acceptable to the aristocrats who control the U.S. Government, because neither side argues that the apartheid theocratic Government of Israel is an enemy of the American people (as is documented actually to be the case, here and here), nor that the entire problem of Islamic terrorism is fundamentalist-Sunni, and that only Israel gets hit by terrorism that’s from both Sunnis and Shiites — that Shiites (the U.S. alliance’s targets) are no terrorist threat, at all, to Europeans (nor to Americans) — the “Islamist” threat is actually only from fundamentalist Sunnis, which are the very same groups that are secretly allied with America’s aristocracy and the Sauds. Neither side of the ‘debate’ acknowledges that both the Sauds and Israel (and Israel’s lobbyists represent internationally also the Sauds’ interests) are enemies both of the American people, and of the peoples of Europe.
As the world’s greatest blogger, the former UK Ambassador (but too honest to stay in that business) Craig Murray, recently said under the headline, “No Trump, No Clinton, No NATO”: “The destruction of Libya’s government and infrastructure directly caused the Mediterranean boat migrant crisis, which has poisoned the politics of much of the European Union.” But, of course, the U.S. regime and its allies have also destroyed other countries than that — and thus caused refugees to Europe from many nations. And, finally, even the U.S. Government (though as quietly as possible) acknowledges that it has destroyed Afghanistan. Ironically, that’s the very nation where America and the Sauds, in 1979, had started their war against all Governments that won’t buckle to them.
Furthermore, the U.S. regime intends to keep it up. In case a reader might happen to think that, surely, the U.S. regime and its allies are going to quit this rousing of hornets’ nests; Sharmine Narwani, who is one of the very few non-“embedded” journalists who reports in The West about — and (which the mainstream ones don’t) from — the war in Syria, headlined, on June 25th, “Are al-Qaeda Affiliates Fighting Alongside U.S. Rebels in Syria’s South?” and she found that the answer to this question is a resounding yes:
Despite its U.S. and UN designation as a terrorist organization, Nusra [Al Qaeda’s main name in Syria] has been openly fighting alongside the “Southern Front,” a group of 54 opposition militias funded and commanded by a U.S.-led war room based in Amman, Jordan called the Military Operations Center (MOC). …
Sources inside Syria — both opposition fighters and Syrian military brass (past and present) — suggest the command center consists of the U.S., UK, France, Jordan, Israel, and some Persian Gulf states. … In practice, the U.S. doesn’t appear to mind the Nusra affiliation — regardless of the fact that the group is a terror organization — as long as the job gets done.
These wars, which pour Middle Eastern (and also Ukrainian) refugees into the EU, are inter-aristocratic conflicts reflecting inter-aristocratic competitions; and the publics everywhere suffer enormously from them. The gainers from it are very few but very rich (and they hire very powerful agents in Europe and elsewhere). Those billionaire gainers, and their agents, should be Europe’s targets — not Russia and Iran. NATO must end now. Europe needs to be freed, at last, from America’s permanent-war-for permanent-‘peace’ grip. For Europeans, who are the indirect victims, to be blaming the refugees, who are the direct victims, won’t solve anything, but will simply please the victimizers, as is the public’s ancient habit (to please the powerful). A break must be made, away from that ugly past. European publics must lead the way, or no one will.
PS: Since this article asserts such a large number of things that contradict what the U.S. Government and its agents assert, I have sought out and here linked to the highest-quality, least-contested and most highly authenticated, sources and also to sources that link to such sources; all of which, taken together, constitute a book-length proof of the title-case here, that “America Bombs, Europe Gets the Refugees. That’s Evil.” Furthermore, this online virtual “book” is tracking back to the most unimpeachable documents, all of them available merely by means of clicking, and thus without the reader’s needing to visit a huge scholarly library (which might be quite distant); so, the reader can here easily branch out to this entire, and otherwise largely hidden, world of reliable sources, which the U.S. regime wants the public not to know, and certainly not to understand. It’s no longer necessary to be an intelligence-professional in order to come to understand what the regime wants the public not to understand.
Author’s note: this piece first published at strategic-culture.org
Afghanistan and Beginning of the Decline of American Power
Has America’s disgraceful withdrawal from Afghanistan spoiled its global standing? The pictures of retreating American soldiers at Kabul International Airport have certainly reinforced the notion that the United States had lost control of the situation in Afghanistan. The Taliban takeover of the capital has also led many around the world to question America’s basic competence as a great military power.
At the end of the WW2 victory, the US became the dominant power in the international system. The new era was heralded as the harbinger of the ‘American Century’. The fall of communism in eastern Europe and the rest of the world allowed the West— and particularly its leaders, the United States, to go in any direction that it wanted.
After twenty years of war, the image, clout and confidence of the sole superpower go down in history, buried in the debris of destruction of Afghan war, which has lived up to its reputation as the ‘graveyard of empires’, Britain and Soviet Union were earlier in the 19th and 20th century.
The cost of Afghan war brings nothing for its future. Brown University’s cost of war report says that, “since invading Afghanistan in 2001, the United States has spent $ 2.313 trillion on the war, executing expenditure on life time care for American veterans of the war and future interest payments on money borrowed to fund the war”. CNBC writes, “yet it takes just nine days for the Taliban to seize every provincial capital, dissolve the army and overthrow the US backed government”.
Since the beginning of the 21th century, American’s contributions to global GDP have been decreased from 30% to 15% in 2020. A new power has emerged on the world stage to challenge American supremacy—China— with a weapon the Soviet Union never possessed. The Formal Bilateral Influence Capacity (FBIC) index, a quantitative measure of multidimensional influence between pairs of states. Its report shows the erosion of US influence relative to Chinese influence across nearly every global region. Chinese influence outweighs US influence across much of Africa and Southeast Asia and has increased in former Soviet states. Chinese influence has also eroded the US advantages in South America, West Europe and East Asia.
US has also become more inward-looking country. Biden has made clear that US foreign policy should serve only US interests. Even its military involvement will be scaled down even more.
The last two decade have brought significant shifts in global geopolitical dynamics. As Indian-American political commentator Fareed Zakariya argued in his 2008 book The Post-American World, “the fact that new powers are more strongly asserting their interests in the reality of the post-American world”.
As the US came to dominate the globe, the order it was morally underpinned by its belief in Manifested Destiny and economically underpinned by the US dollar as the reserve currency. The global order has unraveled mostly at the hands of the US itself. Its moral dimension started to come apart, when the US invaded Iraq in 2003, not only disregarding the UN but also propagating lies about Saddam Hussain regime possessing weapons of mass destruction. The credibility of the economic order was damaged by the great recession of 2008, when major US financial institutions collapsed one after the other.
All of this coincides with the resurgence of Asia and emergence of China as the global economic power house. The rise of Trump, the glowing racial injustice the triggered the Black Lives Matter Movement and the near collapse of the health system amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
America’s competitors like Russia and China now hold the space in Afghanistan. Another bar for the American influence in the region. The lost military credibility in Afghanistan has global ramifications for the U.S.
American intelligence agencies even could not assess the capability of Afghan National Army. The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction 2016 report noted massive corruption and ‘ghost soldiers’ in Afghan army.
Back to the question: Does the return of the Taliban in Afghanistan represent the end of the American era? It can certainly be said that the international image of the United States has been damaged. The U.S. retreat from Afghanistan represents part of a larger inward turn, or the U.S. may soon reassert itself somewhere else to show the world that it still has muscle. Right now, it feels as if the American era isn’t quite over, but it isn’t what it once was, either.
Early Elections in Canada: Will the Fourth Wave Get in the Way?
On August 15, Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister of Canada and leader of the Liberal Party, announced an early parliamentary election and scheduled it for September 20, 2021. Canadian legislation allows the federal government to be in power up to 5 years, so normally, the elections should have been held in 2023. However, the government has the right to call early elections at any time. This year, there will be 36 days for the pre-election campaigns.
At the centre of the Liberals’ election campaign is the fight against the COVID-19 epidemic in Canada and the economic recovery. The coronavirus has also become a motivator for early elections. In his statement, Justin Trudeau emphasised that “Canadians need to choose how we finish the fight against COVID-19 and build back better. Canadians deserve their say, and that’s exactly what we are going to give them.” Thus, the main declared goal of the Liberals is to get a vote of confidence from the public for the continuation of the measures taken by the government.
The goal, which the prime minister did not voice, is the desire of the Liberal Party to win an absolute majority in the Parliament. In the 2019 elections, the Liberals won 157 seats, which allowed them to form a minority government, which is forced to seek the support of opposition parties when making decisions.
The somewhat risky move of the Liberals can be explained. The Liberals decided to take advantage of the high ratings of the ruling party and the prime minister at the moment, associated with a fairly successful anti-COVID policy, hoping that a high level of vaccination (according to official data, 71% of the Canadian population, who have no contraindications, are fully vaccinated and the emerging post-pandemic economic recovery will help it win a parliamentary majority.
Opinion polls show that the majority of Canadians approve Trudeau’s strategy to overcome the coronavirus pandemic. Between the 2019 elections and the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Trudeau’s government was unpopular, with ratings below 30%. Unlike Donald Trump, Trudeau’s approval rating soared after the outbreak of the pandemic to 55%. During the election campaign, the rating of the Liberal Party decreased and was 31.6% on September 16, which reduces the chances of a landslide victory.
Trudeau left unanswered the question of whether he’d resign if his party fails to win an absolute majority in the elections.
Leaders of opposition parties—the Conservative Party, the New Democratic Party, Bloc Québécois, and the Green Party—criticised Trudeau’s decision to call early elections, considering the decision inappropriate for the timing and situation with regard to the risk of the fourth wave of the coronavirus epidemic. They stressed that the government’s primary task should be taking measures to combat the pandemic and restore the economy, rather than trying to hold onto power.
The on-going pandemic will change the electoral process. In the event of a fourth wave, priority will be given to postal voting. Liberal analysts are concerned that the registration process to submit ballots by mail could stop their supporters from voting, thereby undermining Trudeau’s drive to reclaim a majority government. However, postal voting is the least popular among voters of the Conservative Party, and slightly more popular among voters of the Liberal and New Democratic parties. The timeframe for vote-counting will be increased. While ballots are usually counted on the morning after election day, it can take up to five days for postal voting.
One of the key and most attractive campaign messages of the Liberal Party is the reduction of the average cost of childcare services. Liberals have promised to resolve this issue for many years, but no active action has been taken. Justin Trudeau noted that the pandemic has highlighted the importance of this issue.
As in the 2019 elections, the Liberal Party’s key rival will be the Conservative Party, led by new leader Erin O’Toole. The Conservative Party’s rating a five days before the election was 31.3%. Conservatives suggest a different approach to childcare—providing a refundable child tax subsidy that covers up to 75% of the cost of kindergarten for low-income families. Trudeau has been harshly criticised by the Conservatives in connection with the scale of spending under his leadership, especially during the pandemic, and because of billion-dollar promises. In general, the race will not be easy for the conservative O’Toole. This is the first time he is running for the post of prime minister, in contrast to Justin Trudeau. Moreover, the Conservative Party of Canada is split from within, and the candidate is faced with the task of consolidating the party. The Conservative will have to argue against the billion-dollar promises which were made by the ruling Liberals before the elections.
The leaders of the other parties have chances to increase their seats in Parliament compared to the results of the 2019 elections, but they can hardly expect to receive the necessary number of votes to form a government. At the same time, the personal popularity of Jagmeet Singh, the candidate from the New Democratic Party, is growing, especially among young people. The level of his popularity at the end of August was 19.8%. Singh intends to do everything possible to steal progressive voters from the Liberal Party and prevent the formation of a Liberal-majority government. Singh will emphasise the significant role of the NDP under the minority government in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and highlight that it was the New Democratic Party that was able to influence government decisions and measures to support the population during the pandemic.
Bloc Québécois leader Yves-François Blanchet, whose popularity level was 6.6%, intends to increase the Bloc’s presence in Parliament and prevent the loss of votes in the province of Quebec in favour of the Liberal Party. According to him, it is fundamentally important to protect the French language and the ideas of secularism. The Bloc Québécois is also not interested in the formation of a majority government by the Liberals.
Green Party leader Annamie Paul is in a difficult position due to internal party battles. Moreover, her rating is low: 3.5%. Higher party officials have even tried to pass a no-confidence vote against her. Annamie Paul’s goal is, in principle, to get a seat in Parliament in order to be able to take part in voting on important political issues. The Greens are focused on climate change problems, the principles of social justice, assistance to the most needy segments of the population, and the fight against various types of discrimination.
Traditionally, foreign policy remains a peripheral topic of the election campaign in Canada. This year, the focus will be on combating the COVID-19 epidemic, developing the social sphere, and economic recovery, which will push foreign policy issues aside even further.
The outcome of the elections will not have a significant impact on Russian-Canadian relations. An all-party anti-Russian consensus has developed in Canada; none of the parties have expressed any intention of developing a dialogue with Russia.
From our partner RIAC
Interpreting the Biden Doctrine: The View From Moscow
It is the success or failure of remaking America, not Afghanistan, that will determine not just the legacy of the Biden administration, but the future of the United States itself.
The newly unveiled Biden doctrine, which renounces the United States’ post-9/11 policies of remaking other societies and building nations abroad, is a foreign policy landmark. Coming on the heels of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, it exudes credibility. Indeed, President Biden’s moves essentially formalize and finalize processes that have been under way for over a decade. It was Barack Obama who first pledged to end America’s twin wars—in Iraq and Afghanistan—started under George W. Bush. It was Donald Trump who reached an agreement with the Taliban on a full U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021. Both Obama and Trump also sought, albeit in strikingly different ways, to redirect Washington’s attention to shoring up the home base.
It is important for the rest of the world to treat the change in U.S. foreign policy correctly. Leaving Afghanistan was the correct strategic decision, if grossly overdue and bungled in the final phases of its implementation. Afghanistan certainly does not mean the end of the United States as a global superpower; it simply continues to be in relative and slow decline. Nor does it spell the demise of American alliances and partnerships. Events in Afghanistan are unlikely to produce a political earthquake within the United States that would topple President Biden. No soul searching of the kind that Americans experienced during the Vietnam War is likely to emerge. Rather, Washington is busy recalibrating its global involvement. It is focusing even more on strengthening the home base. Overseas, the United States is moving from a global crusade in the name of democracy to an active defense of liberal values at home and Western positions abroad.
Afghanistan has been the most vivid in a long series of arguments that persuaded Biden’s White House that a global triumph of liberal democracy is not achievable in the foreseeable future. Thus, remaking problematic countries—“draining the swamp” that breeds terrorism, in the language of the Bush administration—is futile. U.S. military force is a potent weapon, but no longer the means of first resort. The war on terror as an effort to keep the United States safe has been won: in the last twenty years, no major terrorist attacks occurred on U.S. soil. Meantime, the geopolitical, geoeconomic, ideological, and strategic focus of U.S. foreign policy has shifted. China is the main—some say, existential—challenger, and Russia the principal disrupter. Iran, North Korea, and an assortment of radical or extremist groups complete the list of adversaries. Climate change and the pandemic have risen to the top of U.S. security concerns. Hence, the most important foreign policy task is to strengthen the collective West under strong U.S. leadership.
The global economic recession that originated in the United States in 2007 dealt a blow to the U.S.-created economic and financial model; the severe domestic political crisis of 2016–2021 undermined confidence in the U.S. political system and its underlying values; and the COVID-19 disaster that hit the United States particularly hard have all exposed serious political, economic, and cultural issues and fissures within American society and polity. Neglecting the home base while engaging in costly nation-building exercises abroad came at a price. Now the Biden administration has set out to correct that with huge infrastructure development projects and support for the American middle class.
America’s domestic crises, some of the similar problems in European countries, and the growing gap between the United States and its allies during the Trump presidency have produced widespread fears that China and Russia could exploit those issues to finally end U.S. dominance and even undermine the United States and other Western societies from within. This perception is behind the strategy reversal from spreading democracy as far and wide as Russia and China to defending the U.S.-led global system and the political regimes around the West, including in the United States, from Beijing and Moscow.
That said, what are the implications of the Biden doctrine? The United States remains a superpower with enormous resources which is now trying to use those resources to make itself stronger. America has reinvented itself before and may well be able to do so again. In foreign policy, Washington has stepped back from styling itself as the world’s benign hegemon to assume the combat posture of the leader of the West under attack.
Within the collective West, U.S. dominance is not in danger. None of the Western countries are capable of going it alone or forming a bloc with others to present an alternative to U.S. leadership. Western and associated elites remain fully beholden to the United States. What they desire is firm U.S. leadership; what they fear is the United States withdrawing into itself. As for Washington’s partners in the regions that are not deemed vital to U.S. interests, they should know that American support is conditional on those interests and various circumstances. Nothing new there, really: just ask some leaders in the Middle East. For now, however, Washington vows to support and assist exposed partners like Ukraine and Taiwan.
Embracing isolationism is not on the cards in the United States. For all the focus on domestic issues, global dominance or at least primacy has firmly become an integral part of U.S. national identity. Nor will liberal and democratic ideology be retired as a major driver of U.S. foreign policy. The United States will not become a “normal” country that only follows the rules of realpolitik. Rather, Washington will use values as a glue to further consolidate its allies and as a weapon to attack its adversaries. It helps the White House that China and Russia are viewed as malign both across the U.S. political spectrum and among U.S. allies and partners, most of whom have fears or grudges against either Moscow or Beijing.
In sum, the Biden doctrine does away with engagements that are no longer considered promising or even sustainable by Washington; funnels more resources to address pressing domestic issues; seeks to consolidate the collective West around the United States; and sharpens the focus on China and Russia as America’s main adversaries. Of all these, the most important element is domestic. It is the success or failure of remaking America, not Afghanistan, that will determine not just the legacy of the Biden administration, but the future of the United States itself.
From our partner RIAC
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Afghanistan and Beginning of the Decline of American Power
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As a tradition in the modern world the Middle East remains unstable. Continuous political turbulence in the region extinguishes all...
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At the recent United Nations’ general Assembly session, India was furious at mention of Kashmir by Pakistan’s prime minister Imran...
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Top UN officials met in the margins of the 76th General Assembly on Thursday, with a strong call to action...
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