Connect with us

Americas

Modern diplomacy, Info-warfare and Venezuela

Published

on

End of August 2019 the United States was in the epicenter of a large scale international scandal. The cause of the scandal was failure of a covert operation of the American intelligence service which aimed to ensure penetration of its secret agents in the inner circle of Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro (with the purpose of his subsequent ousting from the presidential post).

As a result of the unexpected panic which Bogota CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) station contracted, which had been followed by Langley, the inner circle of the President of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro exposed the biggest CIA influence agent in Venezuela – Diosdado Cabello, former Vice President of Venezuela, Chairman of the National Constitutional Assembly of the country, who became a secret agent of CIA operatives supposedly in June of this year.  

As a result of the operative combination conducted in relation to Cabello (17-21/08/2019) the following results had been achieved:

1) Talks between Diosdado Cabello and CIA behind the ‘back’ of Maduro were wrecked;

2) Channel of CIA’s agency penetration into Venezuela President’s inner circle was identified (exposed);

3) High ranking American career intelligence officer-secret agent was identified. He attempted to recruit Diosdado Cabello and, possibly, established agency relations with the same;

4) Forms and methods of agency network of Diosdado Cabello with his curators from the US intelligence service were exposed, including connection with the Bogota embassy station;  

5) Key items of talks between Cabello with CIA were identified, as well as the conditions (guarantees) on which he had been prepared to take over control of the country during pre-term presidential elections (which Maduro had to announce in accordance with the arrangements with the US during the talks in Oslo and Barbados).

All of the above has been done by the very career operatives of CIA and the US National Security Council, with their own hands, at their own will, with no coercion, as a result of panicking after the exposure on August 17, 2019 in the article by Manoylo of details of their Cabello recruitment covert operation, CIA operatives themselves exposed all their secrets, gave away their agent network, the communications channels, forms and methods of their intelligence and subversive activities against Venezuela.  

We slightly pushed them to do all these things, a tiny little bit, by provoking their activities by our guesswork published in the article dated August 17th, obviously without asserting anything. Everything else which led to failure of the largest CIA operation in Venezuela (CIA operatives got very close to the second man in command in the country and they found common language – and not only that – with him), the Americans had done themselves.

The Course of Events

On August 17, 2019 one of the famous Venezuelan mass media outlets published the article Andrey Manoilo: Las inversiones rusas en Venezuela son tan importantes como las de Ucrania» (Andrey Manoylo, Konstantin Strigunov, Vicente Quintero, “Investments in Venezuela are as important as investments in Ukraine”)[1], which contained a thorough analysis of the current standoff between Venezuelan chavists and the United States and their allies.  

Thus, it was noted that the situation in Venezuela is moving in the direction of the country transitioning towards external management by the US, although chavists headed by Nicolas Maduro and their political allies (Russia and Cuba) are making certain efforts to slow down this process. The document emphasizes the new technologies of plotting ‘color revolutions’ (which spawned the so-called ‘Venezuela precedence’) and the talks in Oslo and Barbados (which were held between representatives of Nicolas Maduro and Juan Guaido without Russia’s meddling), the purpose of which was to gradually ‘turn in’ Bolivarian regime by Venezuela’s ruling establishment in exchange for guarantees. The article noted that these talks featured high risk of dismantling the chavist regime by way of organizing pre-term presidential elections in Venezuela under pressure of the United States (if Nicolas Maduro went for it).  

The role in these processes of the Chairman of the National Constitutional Assembly Diosdado Cabello, the second man (after Maduro) in Venezuela, was specifically disclosed, as he is connected with Los Soles cartel – a chavist who had not been allowed to take part in the talks with Guaido in Oslo and Barbados, but who at the same time had built his relations with senior management and special services of Cuba (meaning the secret meeting of Diosdado Cabello with the Cuban leadership on June 8, 2019 in Habana) and – at the same time – complying with all the rules of secrecy, secretly from Maduro he had contacted the intelligence service of the United States of America (CIA). The article exposed the operational game played by Diosdado Cabello with the United States in hopes to guarantee safekeeping of its positions and political influence after Maduro’s ousting by way of setting up pre-term presidential elections. It was noted that Diosdado Cabello had been actively looking for or had already established contact with high ranking US officials, and hence with the US intelligence service (CIA).

For the US, Cabello was a toxic figure, often compared with Pablo Escobar (as chief of Los Soles, Cabello has even surpassed this Columbian drug lord by the scale of his magnitude), yet the country accounts for the fact that Cabello actually controls most part of the army and special services, and that many political and military officials in the US were interesting in keeping Cabello’s shady business, possibly having interests in the same.  

The article created a stir in political and scientific circles of Venezuela. Blogs by Venezuelan politicians and experts featured some feedback of the following sort: “the report published managed to surprise many in Venezuela thanks to accuracy and credibility of its facts,” “many people were surprised by the accuracy; it is not common to read such accurate reports on the situation in Venezuela,” “just two days after publication Western mass media talk about differences of opinion in the chavist government and about personal negotiations of Diosdado Cabello.”

The last feedback is the most notable one. Indeed, the first time information about Diosdado Cabello’s contacts with the Americans (representatives of the State Department and the intelligence) leaked was in the news by Associated Press on August 19th (“AP Exclusive: US talks secretly to Venezuela socialist boss,” authored by Joshua Goodman[2]; here’s his Twitter post[3]); before August 19th there was no information about Cabello’s contacts with the Americans in Western (and obviously Venezuelan) press whatsoever – this can be easily proven.  

According to the claims by Joshua Goodman, they will give in to Washington’s growing insistence to oust him. As per Goodman, a high ranking US government official advised this information to him. The re bluntly refused to disclose his name and details of Cabello’s meeting with the Americans. He only mentioned that the meeting took place in July in Caracas. Also, he refused to disclose the middleman’s name and details of the contacts so as not to expose them to danger. According to the US official, ‘under no circumstances would the United States want to support Cabello or help him on his way to replace Maduro,’ and that their goal was to assist the fight among chavists and thereby put pressure on them. Besides, according to the source, Venezuela’s Minister of Defense Vladimir Padrino and the Minister of Interior Nestor Reverol were among those who had been indirectly in contact with the Americans.

After AP’s announcement of Cabello’s talks with certain high ranking US officials, Western mass media began to rampantly talk about this: Cabello was in talks with the US, without Maduro knowing and despite his will, acting as an independent political force ready to take over control from chavists on certain conditions (including by force). An example of such first-wave publications is the news published by Reuters: thus, on August 19, 2019 Reuters officially announced that according to the information received from its confidential sources in Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro was prepared to consent to the requirement of the United States to hold pre-term presidential elections, while Diosdado Cabello was prepared to ensure the process of ‘transit’[4]. It turns out that the wave of ‘confessions’ about contacts of the chavist leader with the US (and especially Cabello’s contacts with the US intelligence – information which is thoroughly protected by CIA from disclosure) began right after these publications on August 17th in the article “Andrey Manoilo: Las inversiones rusas en Venezuela son tan importantes como las de Ucrania,” i.e. two days after its publication in the Venezuelan “Medium.”

It could be that thanks to publication of this article one of the best kept American secrets accidently surfaced – a leak of secret operative information about CIA’s recruitment activity with people from Maduro’s inner circle; part of the operative combination of the US intelligence service in the Venezuelan direction was exposed, the purpose of which was to divide chavists and have them fight with each other, conspiring with certain chavists, such as Diosdado Cabello, who in case of ‘color revolution’ in Venezuela would indeed have a lot to fear.

The CIA operatives who were sitting in Bogota station, having read the article by Andrey Manoylo: Las inversiones …, had decided that:

– This was a major operation by Russian intelligence service, which knows everything, including where, how and who recruited Diosdado Cabello;

– In Manoylo’s article the Russian only hinted that they knew everything, and now Cabello and the American career intelligence official Mauricio Cleve-Corone (Cabello’s contact person on the part of CIA) were ‘on the hook’ of the Russians;

– As soon as CIA makes moves, the Russian would show documents validating the fact of Cabello’s recruitment – all the way up to the cooperation agreement.

The United States – via the AP leak (which ‘exposed’ Cabello along with a number of other stakeholders) – deployed a cover up operation relating to its influence agents. Obviously, US intelligence agents could not have known that the authors of “Andrey Manoilo: Las inversiones …” article simply guessed the real scheme of the CIA operation in that region, without knowing the relevant secret data: Apparently, they decided that this was a proactive, preemptive strike.”

At the same time, the time for CIA’s reaction to the story was around 36 hours (give or take): It took two days of slice since they realized what had happened, made the decision, leaked the information to AP, after which the latter began to move and uploaded the information on the Internet.  

Indeed, they had something to be afraid of: Manoylo’s article – completely by chance, as it later turned out – published 3-4 days prior to the third secret meeting of Cabello with Clave-Corone, and that meeting was supposed to take place in Caracas (most likely, in CIA station in Columbia’s embassy in Venezuela) and CIA operatives decided that External Intelligence Service of the Russian Federation had been preparing for seizing Diosdado Cabello and his curator Mauricio Clave-Corone ‘red handed’ during a secret agent session in Caracas. So CIA began to panic.

5-6 hours into the AP publication of the article by Joshua Goodman, Latin American mass media outlets joined the cover-up secret operation: the large news agency Axios[5], independently from АР, also published information stating that Cabello had contacts with the Americans, on August 19, 2019.

Interestingly, Axios reported judging on their own official sources, validated Cabello’s personal participation in contacts with a US intelligence envoy in Caracas in July of this year. And they disclosed the name of this ‘envoy’: According to Axios the meetings were coordinated by Mauricio Clave-Corone, Director of Western hemisphere affairs of the US National Security Council, a US citizen of Cuban origin, a career intelligence officer. Thus, the name of Cabello’s CIA contact was given away, and that person had established secret agent relations with him.  

Axios, referring to representatives of the administration and other sources, reported on contacts of Cabello, via his emissaries, with Mauricio Clave-Corone, Head of Western Hemisphere Affairs at the US National Security Council. The article mentioned that it was not known which messages exactly, if any, Clave-Corone had dispatched in return to Cabello via those intermediaries.  

Thus, taking into account the information of Goodman, there were two controlled leaks using two independent channels. Notably, the information from Axios enjoyed less resonance than the article published in Associated Press, yet it had no less significance. Clave-Corone is of Cuban origin, and he is famous for his anti-Castro and anti-socialist views. He has close connections with the US Senator Marco Rubio (whose parents are immigrants from Cuba) who headed the Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere at the International Relations Committee. He works under the command of the national security advisor John Bolton.  

Considering that the information in AP and Axios was uploaded approximately 36 hours after the publication of our article, it may be assumed that Joshua Goodman (the author of AP article) received the information from either the US intelligence (Bogota station, where the AP article was written) or from the Department of State. The website Axios received its portion of information from the US. News agencies from around the world – from the USA and Great Britain to Russia and France – reprinted Goodman’s exclusive material, which it had received from the American intelligence or diplomates using his article as the primary source.  

Apparently, Maduro was not aware of the meetings of Cabello with Americans. Moreover, the very fact of the nervous reaction in the form of information leak via Associated Press and Axios indicates that Maduro was not aware; otherwise, there would be no point in the cover-up operation in the form of two controllable leaks using two independent channels. Trump and Maduro could have simply confirmed the fact of the channels as a backup channel of communication which was parallel to the contacts via opposition, with which Maduro’s supporters had negotiated in Norway and Barbados.  

But that was not the end of it: On August 21, 2019 the US President Donald Trump joined the cover up of operative contacts of CIA with Cabello – he said that Washington was in talks with Venezuela representatives at a very high level: “We are talking with representatives of [senior leadership of Venezuela] on various levels”; however, Trump bluntly refused to disclose the names of those the US was holding talks with. Although, he emphasized that the people were representatives at ‘a very high level’[6]. It turns out that the news injected by the article “Andrey Manoilo: Las inversiones …”, spoiled CIA’s game and wrecked Trump’s game, too, forcing him to personally engage in the operative game to cover up his Venezuelan influence agents and those contacted by the US intelligence service.

That same day, a major Spanish news agency EFE published a lengthy interview with Clave-Corone’s predecessor as Director for Western Hemisphere Affairs at the US National Security Council Fernando Katz (Spanish reporters for clear reasons could not reach Clave-Corone by phone). Katz, who by that time had a chance to read Goodman’s article in АР and understand that a secret agent cover-up operation was in progress and that justificative line in Goodman’s article had to be adhere to, told reporters in an interview to EFE reporters that in accordance with his sources in the Department of State, the US had actually contacted Cabello, at least twice over the past several months: The first time being in Caracas in July. And the second meeting took place in Washington, DC (the exact time is not specified; however, supposedly it was the first half of August). Cabello’s emissary took part in the second meeting, while the third meeting was planned for ‘this week’ (August 19th – 25th) in Caracas, yet Katz had told reporters that once the fact of contact was exposed he was no longer sure the third meeting had actually taken place.   

It is not difficult to guess what week (when the meeting of Cabello with the American emissaries was scheduled) he talked about. The EFE article was published on August 21st, and hence he had meant the week beginning on August 19th and ending on August 25, 2019. It was in that time interval that Cabello was supposed to meet with the Americans in Caracas. And the article “Andrey Manoilo: Las inversiones …” was published on August 17th, i.e. literally several days prior to the third meeting. Hence with high degree of probability we can assume that it was the publication of that article which caused failure of the talks between Cabello and Washington, since the Americans, having read this article dated August 17th, reckoned that since the Russians were interested in Cabello, they had to urgently rescue him. Hence the secret channel of CIA’s agency penetration in Nicolas Maduro’s inner circle was exposed and an attempt to recruit one of his closest compadres had been thwarted.

And the finishing touch in the case of exposure of CIA’s influence agent Diosdado Cabello was the dismissal of John Bolton, US President’s national security advisor: On September 10th the US President dismissed him. The next day, the United States President commented on the most important reason for his decision. “John Bolton and I diverged on Venezuela. I thing he went out of all the borders,” Trump said. It is noteworthy that such a bold statement (retirement of Bolton – a scandalous political extremist – was undoubtedly a bold statement) happened two and a half weeks after the date when Trump had to personally cover participation of Americans in the talks with high ranking Venezuelan government officials. Trump’s announcement was related with exposing the fact of talks between his administration and Head of Venezuela’s National Constitutional Assembly Diosdado Cabello, and it had been triggered by the article by Manoylo and Strigunov dated August 17th. Since it was Mauricio Clave-Corone who coordinated the talks (Director for Western hemisphere affairs in the US National Security Council) and who was the subordinate of John Bolton in the Council, his superior who was personally in charge of Cabello’s recruitment had to be responsible for all his mistakes.

Hence the main reason behind Bolton’s resignation being Venezuela may be explained as follows. With North Korea he was only a nuisance to Trump’s dialog with Kim Jong-un, reminding of North Korea’s ballistic missile launches, which was forbidden by the Resolution of the Security Council of the United Nations. In relation to Iran Bolton was pushing Trump to take touch action, which the latter had been trying to avoid, despite the menacing anti-Iran rhetoric. However, Bolton’s obvious fiasco in Venezuela was the worst one. It was important for Trump to push Maduro to the limit, forcing him to agree to pre-term presidential elections, and in this case the Cabello factor had to play a crucial role, Yet, exposing his contacts with the Americans ruined the latter’s game, and created uncertainly in the question of when it would be possible to finally crack down Maduro’s resistance.  

The behavior of Diosdado Cabello is quite understandable: As the power changes hands in Venezuela, he attempts to clear himself behind the back of his formal boss, however, in return for guarantees from the Americans for himself and his inner circle he would have to give away something valuable. For example, he would have to guarantee pre-term Venezuela presidential elections under Washington’s control, even if Maduro refuses to do the same. The Americans insist that Maduro resigns and, even if he were to partake in the elections, then not in the capacity of President, i.e. without his administrative resource to influence the outcome of elections in his favor. This scenario provides for Cabello’s show of infidelity towards Maduro. For instance, Cabello – via the military he controls – would forcefully ensure the format of elections the Americans need, despite Maduro’s disagreement. Considering the level of Cabello’s influence, this is a possible scenario, especially, if he is guaranteed immunity after these elections. Nicolas Maduro cannot arrest him, as Chairman of the National Constitutional Assembly has substantial influence over the military, and his cousin Rodrigues Cabello was appointed in July by Maduro as chief commander of Venezuela’s most powerful branch of the armed forces – land forces. Generally, it is clear that the Americans keep pushing Cabello. According to last year’s information published by Miami Herald[7]), the US government froze assets worth US$800 million which were owned by Diosdado Cabello. This amount includes 12 property items including an apartment in New York City. Notably, shortly before that the US Department of Treasury had added Cabello to its black list, which allows for freezing his bank accounts. The US Treasury accused Cabello of corruption, illicit drug turnover, and illicit minerals trafficking[8]. Finally, Cabello’s risky game became all too visible, and it seems like he has less and less room for maneuver.  

In turn, under the current situation CIA indeed has no problem contacting and recruiting any chavist from Maduro’s inner circle. The thing is that Maduro found himself in a trap: After the United States arrested all his overseas bank accounts (he does have such bank accounts), all bank accounts held by his family members (worth tens of billions of US dollars), as well as all bank accounts and assets of his inner circle, Maduro’s position has become quite volatile and risky: Anyone in his inner circle could at any moment of time try and turn in Maduro to Americans in exchange for their guarantees of returning his/her cash funds and assets (real property) abroad. The size of such funds owned by each chavist leader is quite significant: Once Guaido self-proclaimed himself president Cabello had immediately lost US$800 million (The US took cash funds in his bank accounts, several homes, his luxury Manhattan apartment, etc.). To get their money back, anyone from Maduro’s close circle can risk many things. And Maduro understands that if he fails to find the money and return at least part of the lost money to his cohorts, the very people from his inner circle may turn him in to the much hated gringos, just as some time ago Bolivians handed Ernesto “Che” Guevara to the ‘green berets.’ So it won’t be long now. Partially thanks to our actions which exposed the CIA operation of Cabello’s recruitment, and partially thanks to Maduro’s Moscow visit, this threat has been postponed for some time. Yet, this is only for a time, no illusions there. In the game that CIA is now playing with people like Cabello, Maduro is a commodity, for which the Americans are offering a good price. If it is not possible to fundamentally reverse the situation this ‘auction’ would end up the way any other auction ends: A ‘commodity’ is handed over to its buyer for acceptable remuneration.


[1] Andrey Manoilo: Las inversiones rusas en Venezuela son tan importantes como las de Ucrania (исп.). [Electronic document] // Medium (A Medium Corp., USA). August 21, 2019. URL:  https://medium.com/@vicentequintero/andrey-manoilo-las-inversiones-rusas-en-venezuela-son-tan-importantes-como-las-de-ucrania-15f010a8f159 (Reference date: August 22, 2019). Authors: Andrey Manoylo and Konstantin Strigunov.

[2] Goodman J. AP Exclusive: US talks secretly to Venezuela socialist boss. [Electronic document] // AP. 2019, 19 aug. URL: https://www.apnews.com/8cb2d1999b95464c85a5a206a78495c0 (Reference date: August 22, 2019)

[3] SCOOP: Diosdado Cabello, the most-powerful man in Venezuela after Maduro, met last month in Caracas with someone who is in close contact with the Trump administration. The topic: guarantees in the event insiders betray Maduro, a senior US official told @AP // Twitter, 2019, 18 aug. URL: https://twitter.com/APjoshgoodman/status/1163230770959454208 (Reference date: August 22, 2019); the difference between the tweet publication date (August 18th) and the date of Goodman’s article (August 19th) was due to the time zone difference between the Russian language Twitter and the English language AP website.

[4] In Venezuela talks, Maduro allies said they would consider fresh elections: sources. [Electronic document] // Reuters, Official website. 2019, 21 aug. URL:  https://www.reuters.com/article/us-venezuela-politics/in-venezuela-talks-maduro-allies-said-they-would-consider-fresh-elections-sources-idUSKCN1V91SF?feedType=RSS&feedName=worldNews&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Reuters%2FworldNews+%28Reuters+World+News%29 (Reference date: August 22, 2019)

[5] https://www.axios.com/scoop-inside-trumps-naval-blockade-obsession-555166b0-06f9-494c-b9fb-9577a589e2ac.html

[6] Trump claimed that the US was in talks with Venezuela representatives. [Electronic document] // Russian language RT, official website. August 21, 2019. URL:  https://russian.rt.com/world/news/660666-peregovory-tramp-venesuela?utm_source=yxnews&utm_medium=desktop (Reference date: August 22, 2019)

[7] https://www.miamiherald.com/latest-news/article213032354.html

[8] https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/sm0389

Doctor of Political Science, Professor, Political Science Department, M.V. Lomonosov Moscow State University (Leninskie Gory 1, 119991 Moscow, Russia), email address: 9315891[at]gmail.com

Americas

Trump Lost, Biden Won. Is Joe Biden’s presidency a signal towards Obama’s America?

Published

on

image source: obamalibrary.gov

Greek statesmen, Pericles once said, “Just because you don’t take an interest in politics doesn’t mean the politics won’t take interest in you”. The same is the case of United States politics which knowingly or unknowingly has an impact on world politics. That is why the result of the US elections are of great interest to states across the world. Although, for the United States, the goal is to maintain American primacy, to see a world in which the United States can use its predominant power to get its way, regardless of what others want. However, it is a fact that the political landscape of the United States has mostly been dominated by two parties, Republicans and Democrats, who not only differ in their ideas, policies, priorities but also in their approaches towards addressing the key issues facing the country. 

Comparing the two, we see the Republicans are more conservative in their approach as compared to the liberal Democrats. Therefore, the recent election in the US (2020), with Biden (Democrat) won and trump (Republican) lost is also a signal towards a changed approach in many issue areas The focus is to see, whether the new President, Joe Biden who remained the 47th vice president during Obama’s administration for eight long years is going to follow the same lines as Barack Obama and whether he going to reverse the policies of Donald Trump?

Looking at first the climate change issues, President Joe Biden’s plans to tackle  it seems more ambitious than any of the US presidential candidates so far. Biden during his presidential campaign proposed $2trillion over four years to significantly escalate the use of clean energy in transportation, electricity and building sectors. His public health and environment platform planned the establishment of a climate and environmental justice division. He further intends to make the US electricity production carbon-free by 2035 with achieving net-zero emissions by middle of the century. Apart from all these, the most noticeable is President Joe Biden’s promise to reverse Trump’s plan to exit from the Paris climate agreement that was signed back in 2016 under Obama’s administration. 

As Joe Biden in response to the former President, Donald Trump’s unilateral withdrawal from the agreement on 4th-Nov 2020, tweeted “Today, the Trump Administration officially left the Paris Climate Agreement. And in exactly 77 days, a Biden Administration will rejoin it.” He further stated“Reversing the decision would be one of my first acts as president”. This is exactly what happened as Joe Biden’s first act in the Oval Office was his signing an executive order to have the United States rejoin the Paris climate agreement.  Thus, while Trump has taken a strident anti-climate approach, President Joe Biden decision shows his intentions to bring back the policies of Obama towards climate change. 

Considering the health sector, we again find difference in approaches of Joe Biden and Donald Trump, yet similarity between Biden and Obama. As, President Joe Biden in his presidential campaign speech in Lancaster on June 25, 2020 defended the first American healthcare law also known as the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare that was initiated by Obama’s administration. He stated, “I’m proud of the Affordable Care Act. In addition to helping people with pre-existing conditions, it delivered vital coverage for 20 million Americans who did not have health insurance”. This depicts President Joe Biden’s plans to restore Obama’s health care policies. 

America is known as the land for all, a land of cultural diversity, but we have seen with Donald Trump coming to power, the immigration rules became very strict as he imposed restrictions on foreigner’s visits to the US. An example of this is Trump’s first Muslim travel ban announced on January 27, 2017, whereby five Muslim-majority countries, including Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen, were banned from traveling to the United States. Trump stated, the act is needed for national security and to save the country from terrorism. However, this discriminatory act was opposed by ex-President Obama, who in 2016, stated: “America was a country founded on religious freedom. We don’t have religious tests here”. 

This is what President Joe Biden also believes in, as he called Trump’s actions on immigration a pitiless assault on American values. On November 8, 2020 during the presidential campaign, he said,“My administration will look like America with Muslim Americans serving at every level,” and “on my first day in office I’ll end Trump’s unconstitutional Muslim ban.”So, President Joe Biden did what he said, as on his first day in office he signed 17 executive orders, memorandums and proclamations, including orders to rejoin the Paris Climate Accord and end the Muslim ban

Then racism that increased in the US under former President Donald Trump is now challenged by President Joe Biden as he came up with a very different idea just like Barack Obama’s notion of “A more perfect Union”. Example of which is Kamala Harris, who became the first black Asian America woman vice-president in American history. More can be seen by Joe Biden giving credit to African Americans for helping him win the election. So, his presidency is seen as a sign of hope to end racism in the country. 

Moving further, we know globalization has cut the long-distance short, it has made countries more interconnected in all aspects, especially economic. To name a champion of globalization, obviously no other than the USA comes into the mind of every single person. Under the administration of Obama, we have seen the US convening the G-20 summit, introduced macro-economic policies, signed Trans pacific partnership, and much more. However, the question is, whether the US is going to retain this all under Joe Biden’s presidency? What would be his approach towards the ongoing US-China trade war? 

President Joe Biden from the very start has focused on rebuilding the domestic economy, as the slogan ‘Build Back Better’. Therefore, he clearly stated that the US will not enter any international trade deals unless the domestic concerns of labor and the environment are fully addressed. Moreover, looking at the US-China trade war, which started back in 2018 when the Trump administration imposed tariffs on Chinese goods worth more than $360bn, we don’t find much difference except the tactics. As Joe Biden too in his presidential campaign accused China of violating international trade rules, subsidizing its companies, and stealing U.S. intellectual property. He promised to continue with Trump’s heavy tariffs on Chinese imports, but while Trump did this all unilaterally, Biden would continue it together with the allies.

On issues related to national security, we again find President Joe Biden’s approach a bit different from that of Donald Trump. Considering the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or p5+1 deal that was signed between Islamic Republic of Iran and 5 permanent members of UNSC along with Germany. It imposed several restrictions on Iran in exchange for sanction reliefs and was achieved by Obama’s administration under his “constructive engagement policy“in 2015 But Trump smashed it by calling it a historical blunder and in 2018 under his “Maximum pressure policy” pulled the USA out of the deal and reinstated sanctions. Iran too after the withdrawal of US from JCPOA and upon Iran Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC) commander Qasim Sulemani killing by the US airstrike announced that it no longer adheres to the 2015 Nuclear Deal. 

Now, the hope is President Joe Biden, as he stated in his presidential campaign that the “maximum pressure” policy has failed, emphasizing that it led to a significant escalation in tensions, and that Iran is now closer to a nuclear weapon than it was when Trump came to office. Therefore, he pledged to rejoin the nuclear accord if Iran returns to strict compliance. Here again it shows President Joe Biden’s intention to follow Obama’s approach of constructive engagement towards Iran. 

When it comes to Afghanistan, Trump decided to end the endless war in Afghanistan by having a peace agreement with the Afghan Taliban, according to which the US will withdraw all its troops from Afghanistan. However, Joe Biden has not taken any clear decision on it yet. But he is under pressure as the Taliban wants the new president to follow the same peace accord achieved by the Trump administration. Yet, the Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani has requested President Joe Biden to rethink the Afghan peace deal. Therefore, it is too early to say what Biden would do. 

To sum up, the 78 years old Joe Biden who has smashed the election records by securing more votes than any presidential candidate in the history of United States elections, he has not only raised high expectations, but there are numerous challenges on his way as well. This is because his policies would now be a center of focus for many. In most of the issue areas, we see President Joe Biden reversing the policies of Donald Trump and following the path of Obama’s Administration. Something which he promised during his presidential campaign as he said to take the country on a very different path from what it has been in the past four years under former President Donald Trump’s administration. However, it’s just the start of a new journey for America and the future decisions by President Joe Biden will uncover a lot more

Continue Reading

Americas

How Uncle Sam views the world by 2040

Published

on

How the US is seeing the future world is revealed in a recent report, Global Trends 2040: A More Contested World, published by the National Intelligence Council of the US. This report of political, social and economic estimates is prepared through an integrated process for every incoming President of the USA. For Biden, the report was published in March this year. The world, its politics, economics and societies, is going to change under the forces stemmed in changes in demographic modalities, environmental fluctuations, economic preferences and technological transformations. These together are going to impact on societies, states and international systems which would end in sketching five different futures of the world. Uncle Sam seems to be shaking the world, and this time even more intensely.

Starting off how the forces will interact and intersect, it all begins with the changes in demographics. The developed economies are aging bringing a global slow economic growth whereas the contracting working age will weigh on the economies of these developed countries as Japan and South Korea will reach the median age of 53 and Europe the median age of 47 by 2040. On the other side, in developing countries the converse will be happening as Sub Saharan Africa will reach median age of less than 15 years whereas Pakistan, Egypt and Afghanistan will reach the median age of 30 years. This seems opportunity but these economies will be challenged to meet the demands of the growing working age populace in their economies with the slow global economic growth remaining constant dragging the societies into  social volatilities while testing the performances of states too.

The forces of environment will leave no country unaffected especially the developing countries that lack in adaptations skills and technologies. The occurrence of heat waves, melting of Arctic, land degradation, water misuses, food insecurity, loss of biodiversity, rising sea levels and pollution will erode the ‘human security’ while affecting states and societies, politics and economics coequally. For curtailing environmental threats, countries may apply geoengineering by interacting with the natural system of earth to counteract threats of climate change like releasing the sun’s energy back into space through Solar Radiations Management or Stratospheric Aerosol Injection spraying to cause global dimming. The developed countries especially US and China will see suspicions on sincerely working on environmental threats as this would require economic sacrifices.

In the sphere of Economics, the national debt management will push countries to avoid funding on the issues of environment as they will already be pressed hard for matching the needs of the growing demands of their elderly and younger populations alike. Covid 19 has already left indelible imprints on the economies of the world especially the developing countries two fifths of which, according to 2019 IMF assessment, were at debt distress. Automation and rapidly growing AI will reduce 9 percent global jobs and transform one third by 2040 while at the same time creating massive new technology and automation stemmed jobs which will test the states adaptability to manoeuvring technology. This will have disproportionate effect across the countries and regions. The element of Superstar firms, the new multinationals, will critically affect world economies and make definitive inroads in the affairs of politics.

The technological forces will surpass all other forces in intensity especially with the significant rise of AI and Biotechnology. The US-China rivalry in this sphere will be rampant. AI will disrupt global current workforce while also creating new dimensions of labor compelling the countries to remodel their working force structures. The application of AI in warfare will be on the rise and will be adding a new element to the geopolitical dynamics. AI is well positioned to fly and reach space which will turn the space diplomacy in new form and bring the two global rivals face to face. AI will siphon out the human element of emotions in making decisions having social effects.

As these forces interact, world will see five possible scenarios in which the first three are the prominent.

In the first scenario, it will the US and allies led democracy which will manipulate the world. Being democratic, there will be more space for innovation and the rise of technology with robust public private partnerships will prosperously affect economic growth of the countries. This will enable the states to be responsive to their people’s needs while the same time making adaptations unlike in the repressive regimes of Russian and China whose policies will let them on steady decline.

In the second scenario, it will be China which will be mastering the world arena but not exactly acting like leading it due to its inherent repressive dynamics. This will happen on account of failure of international organizations with least interest paid to them by the major powers. The factors of high national debt, the costs of caring for aging populations, and hazardous environmental occurrences will havoc states’ budgets and keep them away from spending on education, infrastructure, and scientific research. In these circumstances due to the integrally centralist and controlled Chinese centralism will help China gain global attention through its global infrastructure packages and other initiatives. Many countries will thus tilt to the Chinese sidelines.

In the third effectual scenario, it will be a contested coexistence of US and China which will emerge. This will be based on shared economic and growth preferences and agreements.

Much of what is stated in the report must be happening in the world ahead but much of what is left unstated is more critical. Summed up, there will be more instability, pandemics, economic recessions, state conflicts and disorders in the five different worlds that lay ahead.

Continue Reading

Americas

Understanding Ronald Regan’s approach to the Cold War

Published

on

President and Mrs. Reagan at the 1981 inauguration parade. Image source: Wikipedia

President Ronald Reagan’s ascendency in the political hierarchy of the United States, ending in him becoming the President is often regarded as a triumphant victory by American conservatives. His conception of the world order, domestic and international relations show a reflection of a conservative understanding of issues. His legacy as president remains as having effectively brought down the Soviet Union and the threat of Communism. His policies towards the Soviet Union have a transformative nature, as his understanding and approach to US-Soviet relations changed radically after his first term. Though being a staunch Anti-communist and regarding the Soviet Union as an “evil empire”, he sought to ensure that America and its idea of a “Free World” prevailed and later on, that the two most significant military powers would reach common ground in order to make peace more sustainable.

In studying his approach to tackling the Soviet threat, it’s important to first understand the correlation between the policies adopted by previous administrations and Reagan’s own pursuit of defeating the Communist threat which at the height of the Cold War, threatened to spill into a full-scale conflict between the two regional hegemons. Previous administrations had traditionally approached the threat posed by the Soviet Union with a policy of preventing the collapse of European allies at the hands of the Soviet Union. This included stymieing the spread of Communism across the world and the consistent development of Ballistic missiles in order to deter a Soviet military advance into Europe by providing a “nuclear umbrella” to European Allies.  Before the Reagan administration this policy was in large part accepted as the means through which the Soviet threat could be effectively challenged. President Reagan followed a similar policy by pursuing aggressive military buildup and focusing on development of a vast range of ballistic missile platforms which would act as a comprehensive deterrent in preventing the Soviet decision-making elite to pursue a path unacceptable to US strategists (ARBATOV 2019). Being disillusioned with the far left, his opinions and campaign slogans had strong ideological underpinnings which would later on influence his dealings with the Soviet Union.

 The changes in Reagan’s policy weren’t without the influence of another very important personality, Mikhail Gorbachev. The Soviet leader’s role in Reagan’s change in policy from antagonism to rapprochement is widely claimed by academic scholars as a major contributing factor for the rethink in Reagans approach to Communist Soviet Union. Gorbachev’s revolutionary approach to International Relations was followed by America’s “reactionary response” in the shape of pursuance of arms control and softening of political rhetoric (Fischer 1997). Ronald Reagan second term in office was marked by a change in his policy of pursuing aggressive development of arms and making space-based missile defense systems having the capability of destroying incoming Soviet missiles. The Strategic Defense Initiative was seen by many in the Soviet ranks as a dangerous escalation of arms race which had the potential of transforming into military conflict. (Britannica, T.Editors of Encyclopaedia 2021). Seeing and acknowledging Gorbachev’s new approach as “revolutionary” President Reagan sought to rely on an intense sustained engagement with the Soviet leader in order to achieve what his previous approach had failed to do (Talbott 2004).

Mikhail Gorbachev’s approach to the subject of foreign policy was based on establishing relations with the west and a recalibration of ties with the United States. At the time of the Cold War a large part of the effort by the two nations was to prevent the other state from gaining a definitive edge in the area of technology, military and nuclear weapons. Apart from the ideological conflict the Cold War witnessed many states in the world becoming the conflict grounds in which the US and USSR sought to establish their control and influence. Mikhail Gorbachev’s arrival into the political spectrum and pursuing a policy of peace and prevention of creation of arms was in large part influenced by the domestic environment of his country. The Soviet Union after Brezhnev had a weakened economy due to extensive spending building and maintaining large military industries and sophisticated missile delivery and defense systems. The Russian political elite largely dominated by Russians. Gorbachev’s “restructuring” in order to improve the economic conditions of the state was also followed by a rethink at the foreign policy front. In his famous interview at Harvard University he described how the conditions of repression, arrests and suppression of critical voices against the state were silenced. This led to perestroika which gained support from the Russian masses. (The Harvard Gazette 2004).

The question as to the extent to which the effect of President Reagan and Gorbachev’s relationship caused “reversal” of US foreign policy with regards to the Soviet Union should be considered through different metrics. Firstly it’s important to study how the “Reagan doctrine” which formulated the plan of tackling soviet expansionism into countries across the globe evolved during the time of Reagan’s Presidential terms. Ronald Reagan’s doctrine was a shift from previous administrations approach to the Soviet threat. In what was previously termed as “containment” of Soviet expansionism, Reagan’s approach constituted of a “roll back” of Soviet expansionist forces across the world. From “Afghanistan to Nicaragua” Reagan’s approach was an active effort to subdue Soviet expansionist forces seeking to gain a foothold in important areas such as South Asia and Central Americas. (US Department of State archive 2001). While toning down the harsh rhetoric and signing important arms control treaties, US efforts to prevent Soviet expansionism continued despite a thaw in relations and a warm cordial relationship between the two world leaders. 

Reagan’s original agenda of an aggressive military buildup and development of ballistic missiles saw a reversal during his second term. Both leaders sought to control the arms race and roll back on the creation of such weapons. The Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT-1) and other similar treaties was a ‘break away’ from Reagan’s original doctrinal approach. Gorbachev’s willingness to engage in talks was what initiated this change. What is also interesting to note is that despite belonging to radically different ideologies, both leaders shared a similar view on important matters. This is significant as both leaders expressed the desire to regulate arms control and to promote peace.

Another important element is the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan which saw an all-out Soviet effort to establish control over the region and reach the warm waters of the Arabian sea. The United States, eying an opportunity and realizing the threat of a possible soviet hold of South Asia, actively supported the Afghan Mujahedeen. Through Pakistan, the US pivotal role resulted in the Soviet forces failing to defeat the guerrilla forces despite huge numbers of troops and highly sophisticated weapon systems. This costly conflict was to prove detrimental to Soviet morale and the economy. After having effectively taken over, Gorbachev became heavily involved in restoring the economy and control over the production of arms between the United States and the Soviet Union. Gorbachev sought to move away from previous Soviet leaders doctrines and open diplomatic channels which would result in the final culmination of the Cold War.

President Ronald Reagan’s presidency was marked with a significant contrast in approaches to the Soviet threat. Having become president, his strong ideological standpoints were the driving forces behind his policies. With the Soviet Union, Reagan’s original approach was that of confronting, condemning and a protectionist mindset. Being a vocal proponent of American values of free speech, liberty and democracy his political campaigns to his televised addresses portrayed the Soviet Union as the principals threat to the very principals that America stood for. Like previous administrations, combating soviet expansionism and attaining global hegemony were prized objectives which defined much of US policies during the first term of President Reagan. His second term however saw a ‘shift’ in part of Reagan’s understanding of greater and more pressing issues at hand which demanded attention. Having originally promoted military spending and development of sophisticated missile weapon systems, Reagan’s view changed by the coming of Mikhail Gorbachev.

Both leaders, seeking initially to control production of arms, sought other means to create an environment more conducive for peace. While motivations differed, there was consensus between the two leaders on important matters which made diplomatic summits productive and resulted in many arms treaties. Both leaders established a relationship of trust and warmth which had largely been unseen since the start of the Cold War. These meetings were then followed by confidence building measures and trips to respective capitals which allowed a further thaw in the relations. Despite continued conflict in other states, both leaders relationship saw a significant reversal in the policies of US under the Reagan administration.

Continue Reading

Publications

Latest

Trending