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The Democrats’ War in New Hampshire

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Sanders, Biden, Warren and Harris face tough competition in the primary. Many US analysts believe that the victory or defeat of either candidate in Iowa’s New Hampshire can change the equation completely in the Democratic Party. If one of these candidates wins the Iowa primary in New Hampshire, his run in the presidential election will be paved. In recent days, all four Democratic candidates have been trying to garner votes in Iowa and New Hampshire. Here’s a look at the latest analysis of the Democratic primary:

 New Hampshire voters are torn between Sanders and Warren

The Vox reported that New Hampshire is a rare state where Joe Biden doesn’t hold a commanding lead over the Democratic presidential field, creating an opportunity for Northeasterners Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren to not only take the state with the first-in-the-nation primary but potentially emerge as the field’s progressive favorite. It’s a bona fide race already. Sanders carried the state by a wide margin in 2016, but voters aren’t so sure they’ll support him again in 2020 with Warren on the ballot.Voter Mallory Langkau of Groveton, New Hampshire, is torn between the two. Langkau voted for Sanders in the 2016 Democratic primary and was leaning toward him again in 2020. But after she watched both Sanders and Warren speak back to back during their recent swings through the state, her decision became more difficult.

“I’m more confused,” she told me. “As a voter, I’m really stuck. In a perfect world, they’d be running mates.”

Recent New Hampshire polls show Sanders slightly ahead of Warren; an August Suffolk University poll of 500 likely primary voters showed Biden at 21 percent, Sanders around 17 percent, and Warren around 14 percent. A July CNN/UNH Survey Center poll had Sanders and Warren each tied at 19 percent, with Biden leading at 24 percent. Some earlier polls even had the Vermont senator ahead of Biden, but he and Warren have settled into a close competition for second place.

National polls have shown Biden is typically the second-choice candidate for Sanders supporters and vice versa. But in New Hampshire, 34 percent of Sanders voters said Warren was their second choice, compared to 18 percent who selected Biden, per the July CNN/UNH poll. Sanders was the second choice for nearly 40 percent of Warren voters, and the poll showed Warren and Sanders competing for second among Biden voters.

I interviewed more than 35 voters at Sanders’s and Warren’s most recent New Hampshire campaign events and found many people trying to make up their minds between the two. Some undecided voters were attending back-to-back Warren and Sanders campaign events to suss out the differences between the candidates.

A few fervent Sanders supporters told me that Warren’s dogged stance on anti-corruption and corporate responsibility made her the only other candidate they’d even consider.And few of these progressive voters said they were considering Biden, even with his lead in state and national polls. Many said he was a last resort; they’d vote for him if he was the Democratic nominee, but they wanted to support a candidate they genuinely believed in during the primary. Others said Biden was a nonstarter.

“Biden is Hillary Clinton dressed up in a man’s suit,” 80-year-old Sanders supporter Fletcher Manley told me outside a campaign event in Berlin, New Hampshire.

New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary and second major presidential contest is a crucial contest for Warren and Sanders. For one thing, the two candidates are from neighboring states (Sanders from Vermont and Warren from Massachusetts). It’s also high-stakes for Sanders because he won the New Hampshire primary by a historic 152,000 votes in 2016 when he faced off against Clinton. The question is how many of his 2016 supporters he can hang on to, and how many Warren can scoop up.

At one stop in North Conway, a voter asked Sanders point-blank why they should support him over Warren.

“Elizabeth is a friend of mine, and you will make that decision yourself,” Sanders replied.

New Hampshire voters still have six months to do so. But many of them know all too well: In order for Sanders and Warren’s progressive ideas to win, one of the candidates will eventually have to lose.

A close competition between Sanders and Warren in New Hampshire

In New Hampshire, the competition among these two progressives is fierce — if still largely for second place. Sanders has typically polled a few points ahead of Warren in New Hampshire, and at times has even polled ahead of Biden. But national pollsters have noted a problematic trend for Sanders: He seems to have more of a ceiling on his base, causing some doubts he can expand beyond his fervent core supporters. Warren is still third in most New Hampshire polls but has shown herself more able to grow — nationally, and here in the Granite State too.

“In terms of trajectory, it’s all in Warren’s favor,” said Patrick Murray, director of Monmouth University’s Polling Institute. “I think you see it on the ground, Sanders still has his core support, which is huge support, but you don’t see him expanding on that. Warren … you see her drawing out new people at each event.”

Because Sanders and Warren’s policy positions are so similar, New Hampshire voters are considering a number of other factors not so easily quantifiable when deciding whom to vote for. Bernie supporters talk about their love for the Vermont senator’s passion and longtime advocacy of progressive issues. Warren supporters say they are drawn to her intelligence, relate to her personal story, and appreciate her clear, detailed plans.

“They love Bernie’s message, but they can individualize with Elizabeth,” said Arnie Arnesen, a progressive radio host and longtime political figure in New Hampshire (Arnesen hasn’t endorsed either candidate). “People walk out of a room with Elizabeth and realize she has a plan for me. Not for the generic worker, not for America, for me.”

Langkau, the Groveton voter who’d attended both candidates’ events, would be personally affected by their proposed policies. A third-year school teacher, she makes $37,000 per year and is bogged down by $80,000 in student debt. She likes Sanders’s proposal to raise teachers’ starting salaries to $60,000 but also appreciate’s Warren’s background as a public teacher and her plan to erase student debt for most Americans.

“I want to see what makes them different,” Langkau told me. “They’ve linked themselves together. If they had to separate themselves, how would they do so?”

How New Hampshire voters are choosing between Sanders and Warren

New Hampshire voters gave Bernie Sanders his first big win during his scrappy 2016 run against Hillary Clinton. Sanders’s decisive primary victory shocked the political establishment and helped drive lasting momentum for his “political revolution.”

The 2020 primary is a far cry from the binary choice between the establishment-backed Clinton and the anti-establishment Sanders. With more than 20 Democrats still running, voters are overwhelmed with choices. But a few hardcore Sanders supporters told me the only other candidate they’d consider taking a look at is Elizabeth Warren.“I’m looking at Bernie … he surprised me, he’s on top of his game,” said voter Mike Lydon of Lancaster, who voted for Sanders in 2016. Lydon had hopped between a Sanders ice cream social and an outdoor Warren town hall against a picturesque backdrop of New Hampshire’s White Mountains.

“I think Elizabeth and Bernie have very similar ideals. She’s a dynamic candidate; she’s taken on corporate elites,” Lydon said.

A Sanders supporter from the senator’s home state of Vermont, Richard Balzano, said he thinks Bernie is the only candidate “not held down by corporate responsibility.” Balzano even floated the idea of Sanders running as a third-party candidate if he doesn’t win the Democratic nomination. But he also said he’d be open to Warren, even with his lingering frustration that she endorsed Clinton in the 2016 general election (Warren stayed neutral during the primary).

“I would consider Elizabeth Warren if he didn’t get the nod,” Balzano said.

Bernie supporters like Lydon and Balzano still see Sanders as the truest representative of progressive ideas and the more electable candidate against President Donald Trump. Sanders himself is fond of mentioning head-to-head matchup polls that show him beating Trump in a general election. But importantly, the animosity many Sanders supporters harbored towards Clinton in 2016 just isn’t there with Warren, which could give the Massachusetts senator an opening with his base. Progressive voters in New Hampshire are parsing the two candidates’ personal narratives, and whom they connect with more.“I’m kind of interested in Elizabeth Warren, but Bernie’s forever like this — no wavering,” said Sanders supporter Kacey Marsh of Whitefield, New Hampshire. “He cares about the people; he’s not corporate. We don’t deserve him.”

And with a Democratic electorate obsessed with beating Trump, it’s worth noting the gendered “electability” concerns dominating 2020 cut both ways. Just as many voters told me they’re concerned about Sanders’s age (he’s 77, compared to Warren’s 70) and want to see a woman take on Trump.

“I think he’s too old,” said Warren supporter Lizzy Berube of Campton, New Hampshire, who added she thinks the same of the 76-year-old Joe Biden. “I think it’s time for a woman. Picture Elizabeth Warren on a debate stage with Donald Trump. She will eat him alive.”
Other voters said they see Warren’s personal story as more relatable.“There’s something about Bernie I’m not excited about,” said Nashua resident Rory O’Neil. “Warren has that track record. Her personality feels more genuine to me.”

One thing’s for sure: Sanders and Warren supporters alike told me they’re excited by two candidates railing against corporations and corruption, who are not taking PAC money or holding high-dollar fundraisers. The fact there is so much overlap in New Hampshire voters considering both Sanders and Warren speaks to something else: Both campaigns are trying to build a larger progressive movement.

“What they’re doing by tag-teaming, they’re enhancing their position, solidifying their solutions, and attracting more people to their base,” Arnesen told me. “That’s the goal.”

For the progressive ideology to win, either Sanders or Warren will eventually have to lose

Though the competition between Sanders and Warren is still friendly, the fact remains that they have many of the same policy ideas and are competing for the same voters. Eventually, those voters will have to make a choice; in order for this progressive agenda to win, one candidate will eventually have to make way for the other.

As the current Democratic frontrunner, Biden is holding on to his lead primarily with an argument about electability: that he is the best candidate to take on Trump and return the country to pre-Trump “normalcy.” Sanders and Warren, competing for second place, have a vision for a future that goes beyond that. Both of them have far wider-ranging progressive plans to shape the future of the United States. But with a general election with Trump looming in everyone’s minds, is there room for two progressives in this lane?

“They’re both very progressive, [but] the only issue that matters to everyone is electability,” said voter Nancy Hirschberg of Wolfeboro, New Hampshire.

Biden’s electability message is resonating in New Hampshire, too, but not overwhelmingly — according to RealClearPolitics, he averaged a 1.7 percent lead over Sanders from July to early August. Some New Hampshire progressives think Warren and Sanders can focus on building a movement bigger than either of their respective campaigns.

“I think they can certainly work together, whether intentionally or by virtue of their positioning, to advance a progressive agenda,” said New Hampshire immigration attorney Ron Abramson, a Sanders delegate in 2016 who is now supporting Warren. “I don’t view them as much as competitive [rather than] collaborative or complementary.”

But voters will also eventually have to make a decision, and the race is on. Warren’s and Sanders’s campaigns are both hard at work in New Hampshire. Warren has established a formidable ground game in the state, texting, calling, and emailing voters after they show up to an event to connect them with organizers. Sanders’s state team has mounted a widespread door-knocking campaign to get face time with thousands of New Hampshire voters well before the primary. Voters are taking notice; nearly 35 percent of 500 likely New Hampshire voters polled by Suffolk University said they’d gotten outreach from the Sanders campaign, while nearly 32 said they’d been contacted by Warren’s campaign.

As Warren has become known for making herself accessible to voters at events, Sanders has noticeably changed his campaign strategy from the huge rallies of 2016 to small, intimate events where he has a long dialogue with voters. Contrary to recent reports that Sanders is still grumpy and inaccessible, the Vermont senator is clearly trying to shed that image as he mounts his second presidential campaign. Sanders often reminds voters that the very ideas driving the policy debates in 2020 — Medicare-for-all and tuition-free college — were his ideas in 2016, and they were considered “radical.” During one of Sanders’s campaign stops, a voter asked the senator why he wasn’t “calling out” his Democratic opponents for “taking all your ideas.”

“I’m not going to call them out, I’m proud of it!” Sanders replied. There’s no doubt Sanders has successfully elevated the progressive agenda.

From our partner Tehran Times

Americas

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 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...

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