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Eva Perón: The legacy and the contributions to the feminist movement in Argentina

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“I demanded more rights for women because I know what women had to put up with”-Eva Perón

Despite over sixty years having passed since her death, Eva Perón remains an icon in Argentina. Her social policies and her help towards the poor made her even more famous than her husband, the President of Argentina, Juan Perón. She was an important figure in the political life of Argentina and an active advocate for women’s rights to vote which she managed to achieve. Her legacy lies deep inside the civil society of Argentina, and her actions have become an inspiration for the feminist movement around the world.

María Eva Duarte de Perón was born on May 7, 1911. She was the wife of the Argentinian President Juan Perón and the First Lady of Argentina from 1946 until 1952. She grew up in the city of Junin in the province of Buenos Aires under poor conditions. When she was a year old, her father abandoned her mother to return to his legitimate family. Her father died when she was six years old, leaving her only with a document that declared his decision to recognize his children, allowing them to use the surname Duarte. By the age of 15, she had moved to Buenos Aires to pursue her career in acting, appearing in numerous radio and film acts.

In 1944, a deadly earthquake occurred in the city of San Juan, in Argentina. It was that year that Eva Perón met her future husband, Juan Perón, in a gala that was held in Buenos Aires to raise money for the victims of the earthquake. Her political contributions appeared shortly after. She became the president of the broadcast performers union. From there, she had a daily program where she praised her husband’s policies and accomplishments, often broadcasting speeches of Juan Perón to increase his popularity to the voters.

In the 1946 presidential elections in Argentina, Eva played a critical role in her husband’s win. She had a strong influence on the lower economic classes of Argentina and many people have described her as a powerful, yet unofficial political leader of Argentina. Her radio program was her instrument of influence towards the Argentinian voters, who were exposed weekly to her powerful speeches, promoting her husband’s populist rhetoric that became the base for the so-called Peronist movement.

The persona of the First Lady

Apart from being recognized as the First Lady of Argentina, Eva Perón was widely recognized as a saint by the poor people of Argentina because of her charitable actions. She was the founder and chairwoman of the Eva Perón Foundation, an organization that aimed to help the poor and the homeless of Argentina. Before her foundation, there was the Society of Beneficence, a charity group that was responsible for most charity activities in Buenos Aires. Traditionally, the First Lady of Argentina is elected to be president of the charity group. Unfortunately for Eva, she found out that her poor background and acting career was looked down on by the members of the group.

However, this did not bring her down. It was that moment that Eva enriched her image as a strong woman that did not allow her past social class to affect setting an example for thousands of women in Argentina. Thus she created the Eva Perón Foundation. According to writers Fraser & Navarro, she did not expect at first that her initiative would be a success:“She could not have foreseen her sudden transformation, from Latin American politician and religious national cult figure to late-twentieth-century popular culture folk heroine” (Fraser & Navarro, 1996, p.193). After that, Eva managed to gain the support of the government, drastically adding more and more money for her charity work, approaching a level of comparison to a modern female saint.

As the First Lady of Argentina, Eva Perón took advantage of her political position to promote her ideas. However, although her ideas about women’s rights to vote inspired the feminist movement, Eva did not consider herself a feminist. In her autobiography, she states the reasons why she was not a feminist. In her view, the feminist movement of that time was aspiring to become exactly like the men and renounce their womanhood by imitating them. In her own words:

“I confess I was a little afraid the day I found myself facing the possibility of starting on the feminist path. What could I, a humble woman of the people, do where other women, more prepared than I, had categorically failed? Be ridiculous? Join the nucleus of women with a grudge against women and men, as has happened to innumerable feminist leaders? I was not an old maid, nor even ugly enough for such a post which, from the time of the English suffragettes down to today, generally belongs, almost exclusively, to women of this type. Women whose first impulse undoubtedly had been to be like men and if what the world requires is a woman’s political and social movement, how little will the world gain if the women want to save it by imitating men” (Perón, 1953, p. 185-186).

With that being said, even though Eva did not consider herself a feminist, her ideas improved the lives of the women in Argentina, not only through her charitable work but also from her political pursues. In 1947, she was a strong advocate for promoting the right to vote for Argentinian women. She made many radio addresses in support of women’s suffrage and influenced the male members of the government and the Peronist movement to help her out in her quest. On September 23rd, the law passed. In Buenos Aires, thousands of men and women went out on the streets to celebrate the new law. It was a major victory for the Peronist movement. In the years that followed, she managed to achieve more victories for women, by managing to court female voters and create opportunities for them to participate in the broad-based political coalition.

To create more opportunities for women in politics, Eva founded in 1949 the Peronist Feminine Party, an organization linked to the Peronist Movement where only women could be members. In the presidential election of 1951, Eva managed to gather 69.3% of the women’s vote for her husband, Juan Perón who eventually won the elections. Furthermore, the people of Argentina voted for 29 women candidates: 6 senators and 23 deputies, while in the provinces, at least 58 Peronist women were elected deputies and 19 women were elected senators.

Even by today’s standards, this is a very unusually high number, but such was the influence and power of Eva Perón. At the height of her power, she was called by her supporters Evita and was portrayed as a saint for the people. By 1950 she was the founder of her own foundation for the poor of Argentina, she was the First Lady of Argentina, the founder of the Peronist Feminine Party and the only woman member of the Superior Council of the Peronist Party and a bridge of love between her husband and the millions of Argentinians that supported them. She managed to do all this while at the same time, she fought her own battles against sexism and constant criticism because of her poor background and her acting career. Deservedly, she was given the official title of the Spiritual Leader of the Nation by the Argentine Congress in 1952.

Unfortunately, at that time, Eva was diagnosed with advanced cervical cancer. She had plans to earn a place at the ballots in 1951 and run as a vice-president candidate but her declining health prevented her from doing so. On July 26, 1952, Eva Perón passed away. The announcement of her death brought tears to millions of Argentinians. The government suspended all activities in the country for two days and millions attended her funeral to leave a flower. The popularity of Eva Perón was beyond imagination. She had become the saint of Argentina.

The defender of feminine virtues

Eva was popular and charismatic and she was loved by millions, however, she did have her share of critics. Most of the criticism that he received was from left-wing parties and left-wing feminism movements. She has been accused of using her gender as a political tool to attract voters for the Peronist Movement. Indeed, Eva was not a feminist, but her ideas belonged to the feminist movement. However, she had a different viewpoint of what feminism should represent. The main thrust of Eva’s ideology was focused either on maternity or on women that could be organizers of domestic consumption and promoting the idea that women should work alongside men, with men.

At that time, in Argentina and Latin America, the concept of what it meant to be female and the concept of motherhood were used very often and they were idealized through an idea that the virtues of a woman derived from the role of the Virgin Mary in the Catholic tradition. Motherhood fitted perfectly with nationalistic tendencies that were emphasizing the contribution of women to the forging of nationality through childbearing and, as a result, there was an increasing political activity by women and men to defend motherhood. As a result, through this idealization of motherhood, Eva managed through the Peronist movement to transform motherhood into a political function that would be protected by the state. She became a symbol of those feminine virtues that came in contradiction with the new wave of feminism that expanded in Latin America that challenged this idea about motherhood and how women have a natural role as protectors of the nuclear family that was the central axis of the family.

The limits of gender politics in Latin America

The criticism that Eva Perón has received from the left-wing feminist sector cannot be considered justified, simply because left-wing politics in Latin America have revealed their limits when it comes to the concept of feminism. Those limits include the traditional concept of family in Latin America, the tradition of the Catholic religion, and the sanctification of women with the Virgin Mary.

The left-of-center governments and leftist movements in Latin America have not generally achieved challenging prevailing gender relations. Besides that, they have struggled to overcome the conservative and Catholic backlash on policy proposals on issues that are promoted by left-wing feminism like, abortion which still is considered a taboo in Latin America. In that sense, Eva managed to challenge her critics by showing to the people of Argentina that she was one of them, she understood them and, she genuinely was trying to change the society in Argentina. At the same time, she was dedicated to her political ideas, and the fact that she refused to consider herself a feminist but at the same time, advocate for feminist ideas like the women’s right to vote, shows that she did not need to portray herself as part of a movement but as a part of a country ready for changes in its society without abandoning the traditional mindset of womanhood and feminine. She saw herself and the women of Argentina standing alongside the men and not being exactly like them, and that created this drawing of criticism towards her from left-wing feminism that was seeking to drastically change the socio-political status quo of Argentina.

In conclusion, we can all learn some important lessons from the life of Eva Perón. First of all, she managed to show women in Argentina and around the world that the social class of an individual does not determine his or her worth. She came from a low-class background but she still managed to rise to the top of the political life in Argentina while battling gender and sexist stereotypes. Finally, she proved that you do not have to be part of a movement to change the lives of people around you. Eva was not a feminist, yet she did more for the women in Argentina at her time than any other proclaimed feminist. She understood that you can have feminist goals without the need to identify yourself as one. The world now more than ever needs these kinds of spiritual leaders.

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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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