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‘Humanitarian’ Concerns Increase Wars, Benefit Only Arms-Producers

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Unlike a regular corporation, the corporations that manufacture and sell weapons to their government are virtually 100% dependent upon their government and its military allies, for their own success; their markets are only those governments, not individuals (such as is the case for normal corporations). Consequently, either their government will control them, and those firms won’t have any effective control over their own markets, or else those firms will, themselves, control their government, and thereby effectively control their markets, via the government’s foreign policies — not only via expanding its military alliances (those firms’ foreign markets), but via its designating ‘enemy’ nations that it and its ‘allies’ (those arms-producers’ foreign markets) can then use those weapons against. 

In countries such as the United States, arms-producers are benefiting and controlled by the country’s billionaires, instead of (as in Russia, for example) benefiting and controlled by the government. These totally profit-driven arms-producers need to have market-nations that are called ‘allied’ governments, but they also need to have some target-nations that are called ‘enemy’ governments, so as to ‘justify’ more arms-production by these firms, against which to use these weapons. Only in nations where arms-producers are privately instead of publicly controlled are the government’s foreign polices predominantly controlled by the country’s arms-producers. That’s the way it is in America.

The main ‘ally’ of the U.S. is the Saud family, who own the government of Saudi Arabia. As a recent debate-brief said, “The US has been the world’s leading exporter in weapons since 1990 and the biggest customer is Saudi Arabia. The U.S. sold a total of $55.6 billion of weapons worldwide, and in 2017, cleared $18 billion dollars with Saudi Arabia alone.” Under Trump, those sales are set to soar, because on 20 May 2017 “U.S. $350 Billion Arms-Sale to Sauds Cements U.S.-Jihadist Alliance” — notwithstanding now the slaughter in Yemen and the slaughter of Jamal Khashoggi. Yet, Trump talks up his ‘humanitarian’ concerns for the people of Venezuela as ‘justification’ for his possibly invading Venezuela, and America’s military is preparing to do that.

The main and central ‘enemy’ of the U.S. is Russia’s government; and all of the other ‘enemies’ of America (the spokes of America’s ‘enemy’ wheel) are led by people — such as Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi, Viktor Yanukovych, Bashar al-Assad, Salvador Allende, Jacobo Arbenz, and Nicolo Madura — who are friendly toward Russia. The objective here is to force other nations to join America’s anti-Russia alliances or else to face the consequences of a likely invasion or coup by America to overthrow and replace those leaders. Therefore, America targets all nations that are/were friendly toward Russia, such as pre-2003 Iraq, and such as pre-2011 Libya, and such as Syria, and such as pre-1973 Chile, and such as post-1979 Iran — all of America’s various target-nations, which are the authorized targets for America and its ‘allies’ to invade or otherwise regime-change (change from being a target, to becoming instead a new market).

In order for privately controlled arms-producers to thrive, there is just as much of a need for ‘allies’ as for ’targets’, because without targets, there can be no authorized markets, since every weapon is useless if it has no authorized target against which it may be used. There consequently needs to be at least one ‘enemy’ for any country whose arms-production is privately instead of publicly controlled. Both ‘allies’ and ‘enemies’ are needed, in order for America’s arms-makers to continue flourishing.

By contrast, in Russia, where each of the arms-producers is majority-controlled by the government instead of by private investors, each arms-producer exists only in order to defend the nation, there is no need for any ‘enemy’ nations, and the best situation for such a government is to the contrary: to have as many allies, or buyers of its country’s weapons, as possible (so that it will be as safe as possible), and as few nations as possible that are enemies. For such a country, there’s no benefit in having any enemies. America has publicly been against Russia ever since the end of World War II, and privately and secretly remains against Russia even after the Cold War ended on Russia’s side in 1991. Whereas the billionaires who control America’s arms-makers profit from this military competition against Russia, the controlling interest in all of Russia’s arms-makers is Russia’s government, which simply suffers the expense of that competition and would greatly prefer to end that competition. It’s just a drain on Russia’s treasury. The profit-motive isn’t driving the arms-producers in countries that control their own arms-makers. The government leads the nation there, basically because the nation’s billionaires — even if they are minority stockholders of the armaments-firms — don’t. And the reason the billionaires don’t is that the arms-producers in Russia are controlled by the government, not by any private investors. 

Consequently, in countries that socialize arms-production, ‘humanitarian’ excuses don’t need to be invented in order to create new ‘enemies’. Instead, the goal is for the number of enemies to be reduced, so that the nation itself will be safer. Their arms-producers don’t need constantly to generate (by lobbying, media-propaganda, etc.) authorized targets (‘enemies’ such as Iraq, Syria, etc.), because such a nation, as this, has designed its system to be driven for protecting the public’s safety, and not for any investors’ profits. If an armaments-firm, in such a nation, goes out-of-business, that’s entirely okay, so long as that nation’s safety isn’t being reduced by ending the firm. The international policy of such a country is totally different from that of a country in which arms-makers’ profits, and not the entire nation’s welfare, is in the driver’s seat regarding all foreign policies.

If arms-makers are being driven for profits, then target-nations are needed in order to expand profits so as to serve their investors. Such a country is run actually for its investors, not for its public. But if the arms-makers are being driven to serve the government instead of to serve private investors, the government is controlling the armament-firms. The nation’s safety is the objective in such a land, because increasing profits for private investors in its weapons-firms is not the company’s objective. Any profits to such investors, are then irrelevant to the government. It’s truly sink-or-swim, for each of such a nation’s arms-makers — not socialism-for-the-rich, and capitalism (actually fascism) for the poor, such as is the case in the United States

In a nation such as the United States, the constant need for new wars is being constantly driven by investors’ needs for expanding both markets and targets. And — since in the arms-making business, all of the markets are one’s own government, plus all of its allied governments (no significant consumer-business whatsoever, which is why such firms are fundamentally different from the firms in all other types of fields) — the government needs to serve its armaments-firms, because those firms are totally dependent upon the government, and upon its international diplomacy (to increase the sales of its armaments, and thereby to serve the billionaires who control the armaments-firms). So: the government there naturally becomes an extension of its major “contractors” or armaments-firms. The politicians know this, though they don’t want to talk publicly about it, because they don’t want the voters to know who is actually in the driver’s seat. They know whom they are actually serving, which is the billionaires who control the armaments-firms. So: those politicians, whatever they might say in public (“America shouldn’t be the policeman for the world,” etc.), always actually vote to invade (Iraq, Syria, etc.), and to approve the first stage of any war, which is economic sanctions (such as against Russia itself, or Iran, or Iraq, or Syria, or Venezuela, etc.), and it’s always allegedly being done “to serve God, mother and country” at home, and “to expand freedom and protect human rights in that dictatorially ruled country” abroad. This is basically the marketing campaign for the owners of the armaments firms. The winning politicians in such countries are the ones that those billionaires support. In such a country, it’s almost impossible for any politician who is competing for a national office to succeed who isn’t being funded by those billionaires. And, the billionaires’ ‘news’-media support only such candidates. That’s why there’s almost no possibility for an honest person to be elected (or appointed( to any national public office in the United States.

If a nation’s sole reason for producing weapons is in order to protect the public — a public purpose — then there is no reason for the government to lie so as to demonize foreign leaders such as Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi, Bashar al-Assad, Salvador Allende, Viktor Yanukovych, and Nicolo Maduro. And this has nothing whatsoever to do with how bad (or good) the demonized leader actually is.

Why does the U.S. government demonize those people, while simultaneously serving (if not actually installing) barbaric dictators such as King Saud, Augusto Pinochet, Castillo Armas, and the Shah? The publicly stated reasons are always ‘humanitarian’ (when not ‘national defense’ — and often, as in 2003 Iraq — both at once). The alleged purpose is to ‘bring democracy to the people there’, and to ‘protect human rights, which are being violated’ by ‘the dictator’ — but it’s actually in order to make suckers out of their country’s own population, so as to serve the billionaires whose income can’t be boosted in any other way than to turn ‘enemies’ (targets) into ‘allies’ (markets) — to conquer those ‘enemies’. This is just a marketing campaign, and the voters are not the consumers of these products, but they are instead merely the gulls who have to be fooled in order for those profits to keep rolling in, to the (usually) offshore accounts of those billionaires. This is not the type of socialism in which the government controls the economy, but instead the type of economy in which the economy — actually the billionaires who control the armaments-firms — control the government. This is why it’s “socialism for the rich and capitalism for everybody else.” (The term “fascism” can be used for that.)

This is the New America. And here is the New America Foundation, which is one of the many ‘non-profit’ PR arms of this new America. (That one represents mainly Democratic Party billionaires. Here is one that instead represents mainly Republican Party billionaires.) These are taxpayer-subsidized public relations agencies for their businesses. These individuals are exceptionally gifted businesspeople, because they deeply understand how to fool the public, and they understand that the public never learns and so history just keeps repeating itself, such as in 1953 Iran, and then in 1954 Guatemala, and 1973 Chile, and 2003 Iraq, and 2019 Venezuela, and so many others, ad nauseum. And it goes on and on, for decades if not forever.

But how can the world be protected from such countries? If there is not widespread public recognition that ‘permanent war for perpetual peace’ is a vicious lie, then can there be any other way to do it? Maybe not. Apparently, constant lying by the government and by its (i.e., by its billionaires’) media — and by all of its successful national politicians — is required in any such country. This seems to be the only effective way to control the public in such a country; and, if the public there aren’t deceived, then the arms-firms’ control over the government won’t even be possible. So, regarding foreign policies, the lying in such a country is constant — especially about foreign affairs.

For example, that explains the stunning findings, in the recent study by a media-watchdog organization, that “Zero Percent of Elite Commentators Oppose Regime Change in Venezuela”. Having something like this happen after  Americans were lied into invading Iraq in 2003, is proof that (and it explains why) the public never learns. This is the way the system has been designed to function, siphoning off the society’s wealth into billionaires’ — largely offshore — accounts. The system is actually set up to operate that way. And the system’s owners (and their media) call this ‘democracy’, and are peddling that ‘democracy’ to the rest of the world.

This is a very successful trick, because — at least until now — the public never learns. (Of course, the system itself is set up so that they won’t.) The public never learns that the actual enemy is the domestic aristocracy itself. But one major American magazine recently made fun of this by headlining “In Billionaires Is the Preservation of the World” praising them as “nature’s own life-preserver” and closing by “With life itself depending on it, how do we determine which billionaires to kiss up to?” The enemy is within, but it’s no joke, and (as Trump makes so clear) ‘aliens’ get the blame, while the domestic aristocracy just get the money.

This type of racket has worked that way for thousands of years, and yet it has always remained “Top Secret,” or (at least) “Confidential” or etc.; but, anyway, very private — and not acknowledged in their ‘news’-media, but instead publicly denied (though, occasionally, also joked-about).

A more-serious phrase for this is “the Deep State.”

Author’s note: first posted at strategic-culture.org

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010

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Was Trump better for the world than Biden, after all?

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Joe Biden
Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz

Joe Biden and the State Department just approved a major deal with the Saudis for 500mln in choppers maintanance. Effectively, the US sold its soul to the Saudis again after the US intelligence services confirmed months ago that the Saudi Prince is responsible for the brutal killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The Biden administration is already much more inhumane and much worse than Trump. Biden doesn’t care about the thousands of American citizens that he left behind at the mercy of the Taliban, the Biden administration kills innocent civilians in drone strikes, they are in bed with the worst of the worsts human right violators calling them friendly nations. 

Biden dropped and humiliated France managing to do what no US President has ever accomplished —  make France pull out its Ambassador to the US, and all this only to go bother China actively seeking the next big war. Trump’s blunders were never this big. And this is just the beginning. There is nothing good in store for America and the world with Biden. All the hope is quickly evaporating, as the world sees the actions behind the fake smile and what’s behind the seemingly right and restrained rhetoric on the surface. It’s the actions that matter. Trump talked tough talk for which he got a lot of criticism and rarely resorted to military action. Biden is the opposite: he says all the right things but the actions behind are inhumane and destructive. It makes you wonder if Trump wasn’t actually better for the world.

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Biden’s worrisome construct of security and self-defense in the first year of his term

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Official White House Photo by Carlos Fyfe

US President Joe Biden’s foreign policy is failing so far. He can’t get the Iran nuclear diplomacy on track. The Afghanistan withdrawal was a disaster seen by all, placing an unusually high number of weapons and armaments in the hands of the Taliban and leaving everyone behind, to the point that one wonders if it was intentional. The US military has been able to accomplish far more impressive and bigger logistics tasks in the past, so when they want to they can do it.

More worrisome, however – and because it is also oriented towards future impacts – is Biden’s construct of vital concepts such as security, international peace and self-defense which has already displayed a consistent pattern during the first year of his term. The signs are already there, so let me bring them out to the surface for you.

Treating a counter-attack in self-defense as an original, first-move strike

This is a pattern that can be noticed already in Biden’s reading of what constitutes defense. It first struck me in a place where you might not think of looking. It originated from the criticism of the previous Trump administration’s support for the destructive Saudi Arabia campaign on Yemen, leaving Yemen as the biggest famine and disaster on the planet. To avoid the same criticism, the Biden administration decided to do what it always does – play technocratic and legalistic, and hope that people won’t notice. On the face of it, it looked like Biden ended US participation by ending the “offensive” support for Saudi Arabia. Then in the months after the February decision, reports started surfacing that the US actually continues doing the same, and now most recently, some troops from Afghanistan were redirected towards Yemen. Biden didn’t end Yemen; he set up a task force to examine and limit US military action only to defensive capabilities, which sounds good to a general observer. It reminds me of that famous Einstein saying that all the big decisions were to be taken by him and all the small decisions were to be taken by his wife, but there hasn’t been one big decision so far. So see, it just turns out that everything falls under defense, ask the lawyers. Usually no one would object to the well-established right to defend yourself. The problem with that is that the US is actually in Yemen. Treating any counter-strike and any response to your presence as an original, first-move attack is not only problematic but it also simply doesn’t work in legal terms. It goes along the lines of “well, I am already here anyways, so your counter-response in self-defense is actually an attack and I get to defend myself”. If the issue was only with terrorist or rebel organizations (because let’s face it, who cares about the Houthies in Yemen?) I don’t think we would be discussing this. But as you guessed it, this approach can already be traced as a pattern in Biden’s thinking and the way he forges alliances, draws red lines and allows things to happen, and it stretches to areas that most people definitely care about such as a possible military conflict between the US and China.

Let’s take the newest development from today. The US just announced that it has entered into a trilateral partnership with the UK and Australia in the Indo-Pacific, which is encirclement of China par excellence. Where it gets interesting is that the trilateral partnership is purported to be only for “advanced defense capabilities”. The equivalent of this is someone from another city squatting at the door step in your apartment, inviting two others to join, and then when in the morning you push them and step on them to go to work, the squatters claiming that you attacked them and calling the police on you in your own apartment. This is Biden’s concept of self-defense: since I am already here in your space, you are attacking me.

The US is trying to start something with China but it doesn’t know how to, and China seems completely unconcerned with the US.  Chinese leader Jinping doesn’t even want to meet Biden, as became clear this week. China doesn’t care about the US and just wants to be left alone. They already said that in clear terms by reading it out loud to Wendy Sherman last month. Biden didn’t have to ask for a meeting in that phone call this week because he already knew the answer. Wendy Sherman got a clear signal on her China visit that the US president won’t be getting that coveted red carpet roll-out any time soon.

So the story says that the US is going all the way to the other side of the world and staging military presence there but only to defend itself. The US has no choice but to move in to defend all the US citizens at risk in the Indian Ocean — that’s the stand-up comedy line of the week. It is staging military presence right at China’s doorstep — if not in Chinese waters, and the idea is “yes, that’s your turf but now that I’m here, if you push me to leave, you are attacking me”. This is the strategy of narcissists and those that are looking to point the finger to their opponent when they just don’t have anything, so they stage something. China is in the long-term game, playing against itself. The US is that number 2 that’s trying to create provocation. In the Indo-Pacific, the US is biting more than it can chew. China is not a big mouth or one to throw around military threats. That’s the US style: “be very careful, we might bomb you if you don’t do what we say”. A dog that barks doesn’t bite. On the other hand, China is more like a Ferrari — it will go from 0 to 200 in seconds and then it will go back to its business. The US and Biden will be left whimpering but no one will jump to save the US from its own folly because self-defense in the US packaging is not even bought by the US government itself. Even they don’t buy their own packaging. So why should anyone else?

Treating embarrassing discoveries and things that don’t go my way as a threat to international peace

This one is a big one. With this one, Biden is playing with the queen, namely action under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter in the name of international peace and security. A threat to international peace and security is grounds for action under Chapter 7 which includes military action, and it’s never to be spoken lightly. Words have consequences. The UN Security Council rarely specifies grounds for action under chapter 7 for threats to international peace and security but it’s enough to take a look at the practice: resolutions were passed when Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, in response to 9/11, against Kaddafi who was marching toward Benghazi to wipe out the people in 2011, in relation to genocide, etc. Grounds for a threat to international peace can’t be “because I don’t like the way things are turning out for me”.

Peace and security are not like beauty – in the eye of the beholder. There has to be an actual or imminent attack and actual military action or violence. Loose interpretations of threats to peace and security are a sign of weak leadership.

Leaders who construct dissent and criticism as terrorism in relation to the Black Lives Matter movement, as I have argued about the FBI previously in the left media, are weak leaders. In smearing Martin Luther King, the FBI argued national security. As director Oliver Stone said in Cannes this summer, when he was investigating the JFK assassination, every time he was getting close, he heard “national security”. 

You can see a lot about the character of a nation by the way it constructs security, and notice traits such as narcissism, weakness, cheating. The Biden Administration has to know that a threat to international peace and security can’t be “things that make my government look bad”. In 2001, the world followed the US in Afghanistan because there was an actual military attack. The world won’t follow the Biden administration on a bogus threat to international peace that can best be summed up as a major embarrassment for the US government. Suggesting a link is a threat to the fabric of international society. Not only is it a sign of national narcissism but also a sign of arbitrariness and authoritarianism. Treating criticism and the exposure of US government crimes as if it were a military attack is what horror movies are made of. What’s next? Droning journalists?

Treating issues which are a subject to treaties, rules and negotiations as a threat to international peace  

The Biden security construct stretches to various regions, including my own. This first struck me with Biden’s executive order regarding the Western Balkans when he tied blocking these countries from EU accession to a threat to international peace, which carries significant consequences. If a country, let’s say Bulgaria, is exercising its lawful right to veto EU processes, hypothetically, based on Biden’s understanding, the US could table a resolution for Chapter 7 action to punish an EU member-state for blocking the accession of an EU candidate because that’s a threat to international peace. That could hypothetically lead to military action against an EU country making use of its veto. Biden doesn’t have a veto in the EU. Do you know who does? Bulgaria. So until Biden becomes an EU country he doesn’t have a say.

Biden was visibly irritated that the process of EU accession has been stalling for quite some time, especially with N. Macedonia and Albania at the EU’s doorstep, so he decided to give it a go. Let’s not forget that the Balkans are a favorite Biden region and this goes back to the 1990s. I have written about it before: Biden is stuck in the 2000s when if you mentioned the Western Balkans the words international peace were a guaranteed association. Not anymore. Negotiations, rules and voting are the peaceful and reasonable way to resolve issues, agree or even not agree in some situations, and are the opposite of war and aggression. Treating these ways as a threat to peace is just the rhetoric of those who can’t get their way. But it’s also indicative of a worrisome trend with Biden that anything that the US government doesn’t like can be dressed as a threat to international peace, which carries the most significant of all consequences in the international arena.

Treating lawful counter-measures as a threat to national security

Perhaps the best and most fascinating example of lawful counter-measures I ever heard was brought by Andrew Clapham at the Graduate Institute in Geneva. Here is the story. The UK issued unlawful sanctions on a country. In response, lawful counter-measures by that country targeted jam exports because a jam factory in Scotland was the key to turning the elections. The targeted counter-measures worked, hit jam exports, discontent people in the region voted the other way and the government that put in place the sanctions to begin with was ousted. This was a brilliant example that you hit where it hurts and you do it lawfully. Counter-measures don’t have to be identical. The US likes to put tariffs on Louis Vuitton bags in retaliation when it deals with France, for example. In the Trump trade wars, Europe would hit bourbon and jeans exports as a counter-measure. You hit their signature product. Not all counter-measures are illegal and count as an attack. International law is full of examples.

Similarly, lawsuits against a government are a lawful counter-measure. This area reveals another part of Biden’s worrisome construct of national security. A threat to sue the US government cannot in and of itself be a threat to national security. Tortured reading of what is national security is a sign of weak leaders, narcissists, those on the losing end, or straight up losers – or all of the above. 

Treating lawful counter-measures as a cause for self-defense is not only a sign of a wrong understanding of self-defense, but is the ultimate sign of narcissism. Usually those who attack know better and brace for impact in anticipation of the counter-measures. Narcissists, on the other hand, cry that they are being attacked when they receive a counter-strike in response. Strategists know better.

Mistreatment of whistleblowers, critics and opponents as spies and as a threat to national security

This one is an easy one. Only losers treat whistleblowers and critics as spies and as an automatic threat to national security. Take the treatment that Gary Stahl has received at the hands of the Biden Administration and the FBI, for example. Again, the US government doesn’t get to construe a huge embarrassment (in what will soon be revealed to shows the true criminal nature of the US government) as a threat to international peace. This is a problem for America. Not only doesn’t China plan to attack militarily the US any time soon over what’s to come, but China is largely unconcerned with the US and would like to be left alone. Any talk about a risk of military conflict could only mean that it is the US that plans to attack because they are embarrassed they got caught red-handed and the world will see the US government’s true nature. Talk of threat to international peace has a very high threshold. No one cares about how America would feel – that’s your problem, not an issue of international peace. 

The Biden concept of security is that of an ugly, pretentious, old woman who is told she can’t enter because her ticket is not valid. She then throws a feat screaming she was attacked, beaten and insulted, expecting everyone to be on her side. But the world simply doesn’t care about the problems of this pain-in-the-ass anymore. The US government will have to try much harder if they want to present the issue as anything close to security and self-defense, let alone a threat to international peace. That tune is old and there are no buyers. 

The US surely thinks very highly of itself if they think that a scandal like that is worthy of a military conflict but literally no one else sees the US as this important anymore. This scandal will matter only to America in what it reveals about all the layers of the US government across rank, institutions and administrations. That’s it. It ends there. Any talk of Chapter 7 threshold is war mongering and no one will care. 

People talk about the Biden doctrine on Afghanistan but the Biden doctrine that will be sealed in history will be something along the lines of “Anytime I get caught, it’s a threat to international peace and security.” This is how Biden will be remembered in history: for creative writing endeavors in the security field and no substantial foreign policy achievements. 

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Biden’s credibility restoration plan

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Joe Biden
Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz

Although damages of the United States’ withdrawal from Afghanistan cannot be easily undone, by taking a series of wise steps, Biden can send a strong signal that America is coming back.

Joe Biden’s botched withdrawal from Afghanistan has shattered his reputation as a safe haven for allies. This is while, he pledged to restore U.S. leadership after Trump by confronting China’s and Russia’s growing totalitarian ambitions, restoring historic alliances with European allies, and ending the never-ending conflicts in Afghanistan and the Middle East.

But he is not the only President whose decision has eventually damaged the United States’ global reputation. Donald Trump’s capitulation deal with the Taliban, Barack Obama’s indolence in Syria, and George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq have all tarnished the United States’ credibility around the world. The question now; however, is no longer whether Biden and his predecessors should have acted differently. It’s how the United States can minimize the damage.

Biden should begin by speaking the truth. So far, the President has failed to admit the failure of his withdrawal plan. Biden ought to be straightforward with himself, the American people, and the whole world.

Biden’s policy should, of course, vary depending on the area and global conditions. To promote its interests in the Indo-Pacific area, the United States should station a few ambassadors, including a Navy or Coast Guard attaché, in the Pacific Island countries of Tonga, Tuvalu, and Kiribati. In addition, a considerable number of troops currently stationed in Afghanistan should be redeployed to the Pacific. Finally, Biden’s administration should engage with U.S. defense contractors to speed up the transfer of military equipment to Taiwan. Getting Taiwan its armaments swiftly would be a powerful show of support as a steadfast ally, as well as provide modern platforms to prevent a Chinese amphibious invasion.

The Biden administration should also do all in its power to rebuild relations with European partners. For the very first time, NATO invoked Article 5, which identifies an assault on one member as an assault on all. Since then, soldiers from a variety of countries have fought and died alongside US troops. Nonetheless, Biden decided to leave Afghanistan without consulting the governments of these countries, leaving them to plan emergency rescue efforts for their populations. Close allies of the United States are understandably enraged. America’s behavior is being chastised in Paris, Berlin, and the British House of Commons on both sides of the aisle.

Last month, at a meeting of regional leaders in Baghdad, Macron made it clear that, unlike the Americans, he was dedicated to remaining in the Middle East. “Whatever the American choice is,” he stated in public remarks in Baghdad, “we will maintain our presence in Iraq to fight terrorism as long as terrorist groups function and the Iraqi government requests our assistance.” It was a clear example of Macron’s idea of “strategic autonomy,” which implies European independence from U.S. security policy, and an attempt to use the United States’ humiliation to underline that Europe and Washington were not always on the same page. At an emergency G7 summit, Mr. Biden is said to have turned down allied requests to extend the August 31 deadline for exit.

The Biden administration’s recent decision not to penalize Nord Stream 2 pipeline participants has enraged Europeans as well. Poland and Ukraine underlined their worries in a joint statement about the ramifications of choices taken on the pipeline without the participation of nations directly impacted, claiming that Nord Stream 2 poses both geological and ecological risks to Europe.

As a result, whether it’s diplomatic recognition of the Taliban regime, humanitarian aid for the Afghan people, or any other major issue, the US should not take any more action without engaging partners. Mr. Biden should also dispatch senior members of his national security team to Europe and other regions of the world to reinforce America’s commitment to their security.

As to the Middle East, Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security advisor, in a Foreign Affairs article described “America’s opportunity in the Middle East,” suggesting that diplomacy may work where previous military interventions have failed. The United States’ involvement in the area is frequently portrayed in military or counter-terrorism terms, and as a binary option between going all-in or going all-out. Instead, Sullivan advocated for a strategy that relied more on “aggressive diplomacy to generate more long-term benefits.”

Accordingly, the President and his team in Vienna should get the new Iranian administration back to the negotiating tables and rejoin the JCPOA and ease the tensions in the Middle East. Also, the United States should do all possible in Afghanistan to secure the safe transit of Afghans who qualify for U.S. visas to the Kabul airport – and to keep flights flying until they are able to leave. This should apply to both Afghans who dealt closely with the United States’ military, and to those who engage with U.S. media and humanitarian organizations and must get visas from a third country. In addition to ensuring that the United Nations and humanitarian groups have the resources they need, the United States should cooperate with its Security Council allies to guarantee that the Taliban does not hinder the free flow of help.

Moreover, to follow any influx of jihadists to Afghanistan, intelligence agencies will have to rededicate resources and increase surveillance. They must be pushed to coordinate their efforts on the Taliban in order to keep the most threatening groups under control. The United States could set an example by agreeing to accept a fair share of any displaced Afghans. Neighboring countries like Iran and Pakistan, which already have millions of Afghan refugees, are closing their borders.

Biden may not be able to prevent all of the disastrous repercussions of the Afghan catastrophe, but he must act now before the harm to U.S. interests and moral stature becomes irreversible. By taking these steps, he can send a strong statement to the world that he has learned his lessons and that America is coming back.

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Africa Today11 hours ago

Africa faces 470 million COVID-19 vaccine shortfall this year

Africa needs around 470 million doses to accomplish the global of fully vaccinating 40 per cent of its population by the end of the year, the World Health Organization (WHO) said...

Human Rights13 hours ago

UN Women’s feminist roadmap tackles triple crises of jobs, care and climate

The UN’s gender equality and empowerment organization on Thursday published a flagship feminist plan for economic recovery and transformation, which...

Energy News15 hours ago

Strength of IEA-ASEAN energy cooperation highlighted at Ministerial meeting

IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol spoke today to Energy Ministers from across Southeast Asia about the latest global and regional...

Economy17 hours ago

A New Strategy for Ukraine

Authors: Anna Bjerde and Novoye Vremia Four years ago, the World Bank prepared a multi-year strategy to support Ukraine’s development...

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