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Welfare Transformation Ushers in “Super-Boom Period” in the United States



Authors: Chan Kung and He Jun

With Joe Biden emerging victoriously in the U.S. presidential election, the “Trump Era” that disrupted both the United States and the world is coming to an end. However, the internal changes in American society as reflected in the general election is beyond simple winning or losing. Americans showed great enthusiasm in voting this year, and more than 150 million voters cast their ballot even under the severe COVID-19 outbreak. Biden had received more than 73 million votes, which not only set the highest turnout rate in more than a century, but also the number of voters reached the highest in history. It is worth noting that Donald Trump still has the support of more than 73 million Americans. The public opinion of American society reflected behind the numbers is profound and cannot be ignored.

Many have mistaken American politics to be merely about the Congress, the President, and the Pentagon. The reality is that the foundation of American politics lies not in these places, but in counties. From the perspective of the U.S. electoral process, although Biden is the winner, the whole process was rather “tortuous” as there have been many twists and turns. The process of Biden’s victory, as a matter of fact, was more complicated than previously expected by the ANBOUND research team, and the gap between the two parties was also smaller than what had been previously thought. The fierce competition in this election shows that the degree of mobilization of American society, the degree of organization of social groups, and the degree of high-level participation of various ethnic communities have reached a high level. The superficial polls and data analysis from the media are full of errors and are incapable of reflecting the internal changes in the American society, especially among the grassroots. This year’s election process in Georgia, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and other states alternated between blue and red, and finally there was turnaround. The changes of voting pattern in “county politics” played a big part throughout the United States; even in a red state like Texas which primarily consists of Republicans, this trend holds true. With such volatility in election, if “county politics” is ignored, one would not understand the social organization and mobilization of this level, and it will be difficult to have an objective prediction of Trump’s early lead and the subsequent turnaround.

The extremely high voting participation rate in the 2020 U.S. election not only shows the foundation of the American public opinion, but also contains the source of power for American social and economic development in the future. What do these grassroots voters who have been mobilized in large numbers want? How should the Biden administration meet their needs? All these will be related to the future political and economic development of the United States. Researchers at ANBOUND believe that the post-Trump American society is likely to opt for a welfare-oriented transition, which is likely to become an important direction to promote the long-term prosperity of American society and economy.

From both an economic and political economy perspective, the vitality and sustainability of capitalism come from its self-evolution and improvement according to the needs of social development. Generally speaking, when a country’s economy has developed to a considerable extent, the level of social welfare will be improved. Unlike the developed capitalist countries in Europe (mainly Western and Northern European countries), which have generally opted for a high-welfare model, the United States, which favors liberal capitalism, does not have a high level of social welfare. It is staggering that the United States, the world’s major superpower, does not have universal health coverage. That was in fact one of the key reasons why former U.S. President Barack Obama pushed for the Affordable Care Act (commonly known as “Obamacare”).

There is a strong demand to improve welfare in American society. U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, who has performed brilliantly in the last two U.S. elections, has gained support in the U.S. because of his welfarist ideas, including significantly increasing the level of welfare, reducing health care costs, and promoting social justice. In the capitalist United States, Sanders’ political positions lean toward the socialism”. During his political career, Sanders has been advocating the establishment of a single-pay medical system for all. His view is that medical services are the basic right of all people, and the United States should, like other industrialized countries, protect this basic right.

Improving the level of welfare is an important means of achieving balanced social development. With the development of technology and the capital market, inequality in American society is increasing. Data show that the wealth of the richest 1% of the U.S. population is US$ 34.2 trillion, which is equivalent to 15 times the wealth of more than half of the U.S. population. Data also show that the wealth of the richest 50 individuals in the United States is equal to the combined wealth of the poorest 165 million individuals in the United States. The Federal Reserve estimates that the richest 10% of U.S. households hold 69% of the nation’s wealth (or US$ 77.3 trillion), up from 60.9% in the late 1980s. An important means to change all this, in addition to adjusting fiscal policy as some economists have suggested, is to increase the level of social welfare so that the public can live a dignified middle-class life.

Figure 1: U.S. National Health Expenditure as a Share of GDP, 1960 – 2021

Source: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

Judging from the situation of the U.S. election, the future U.S. government will face greater pressure to improve the level of social welfare, which will be reflected in several important areas such as health care, education, and consumption. Significant improvements in these areas could lead to greater support among Democrats and Republicans on both sides of the aisle. If the Biden administration were to follow this path of transformation, “Obamacare” would become “Bidencare”. This is determined by grassroots politics in the United States, and a transition to a welfare society is inevitable in the United States.

What are the consequences for the United States to raise its level of welfare? ANBOUND’s research team believes that this will bring a longer period of super-prosperity to the United States. Obviously, not every country can seek super prosperity by raising the level of welfare. To achieve this goal, there must be two conditions that exist simultaneously. The first is to be “rich”, and the second is to produce large-scale welfare consumption. Therefore, to realize the welfare transformation of the United States, a fundamental question is that “where does the money come from”? To answer this in simple terms, there are two sources of money to support the transformation of the welfare system. The first is from the growth of fiscal revenue, such as tax growth through sustained economic development; the second is from the continuous printing of money, i.e. relying on the country to continuously expand credit. For the United States, the former is a conventional approach, and it is an important foundation for supporting the welfare system. However, the speed of relying on tax growth to support the welfare system is too slow, and there are difficulties in meeting the huge needs of the United States for the transition to welfare in the short term. The latter is what the United States has been doing after the financial crisis in recent years, i.e. expanding credit through continuous printing of money and expanding debt to support current spending needs. This approach in the United States has, to a certain extent, already possessed the characteristics of modern monetary theory (MMT) that fiscal expenditure precedes revenue and fiscal deficits are not restricted.

However, whether under the conventional fiscal and monetary theory or under the MMT, the increase in government debt and fiscal deficit is accompanied by credit expansion, and the continuously expanding credit requires a huge market to digest and cooperate, and a country’s welfare transformation should provide huge “market” for welfare consumption. Among countries in the world, based on the credit as a major power and the strong dollar system, the United States has the ability to support the transition to welfare-oriented through continuous expansion of credit. If this mechanism runs smoothly, it will bring about a huge change in American society and may usher in a period of super prosperity in the United States.

For the United States, welfare improvements in the following three areas are likely to bring significant results.

The first is medical security. The United States spends hugely in the medical field but lacks universal coverage. Data reveal that from 1996 to 2013, the U.S. medical and health expenditure soared by US$ 900 billion. In 2013, the total U.S. medical and health expenditure reached US$ 2.1 trillion; in 2018, it was approximately US$ 3 trillion. Now, this figure may have exceeded US$ 3.2 trillion, equivalent to 18% of the total U.S. economy. If the coverage of medical insurance is expanded and universal medical insurance is achieved, the medical expenditure in the United States would reach US$ 5 trillion. Using this to calculate medical consumption, a huge national healthcare consumer market will emerge in the United States. Currently, the annual education expenditure of all levels of government in the United States exceeds US$ 1.2 trillion. The second is the education. Since 1980, the proportion of U.S. education expenditure to GDP has been relatively stable at more than 5%. Although the U.S. government’s allocation in education is high, American college students still need to pay high tuition fees and have to bear the burden of education loans. So far, the balance of student loans in the United States is approximately US$ 1.5 trillion, surpassing auto and credit card debt, and second only to housing debt. It can be seen that the education sector is also an important area of welfare transformation; rough estimation shows that its scale is more than US$ 2 trillion. The third is the consumption. The United States is a major consumer market. An increase in welfare supply equals an increase in wages, which is the basis for consumption growth. Nationally, in 2018, the consumption expenditure of U.S. households was US$ 14.14 trillion, which was divided into two parts, namely consumer goods and services. The former accounted for 35%, and the total household consumption expenditure reached US$ 4.94 trillion; the latter accounted for 65%, and the total household consumption expenditure reached US$ 9.19 trillion. If only healthcare is considered, the healthcare consumption expenditure of American households a year amounts to US$ 2.4 trillion.

Based on the above three areas, if the United States fully implements welfare transformation, it will create a super consumer market of nearly US$ 10 trillion. It should be noted that this US $10 trillion market scale is not created out of thin air by the Fed through money-printing, but rather the economic development of the United States itself has provided sufficient support for this market. At the same time, the situation where unlimited money issuance in the United States can be maintained before the status quo of the United States’ national capabilities and national credit, and the U.S. dollar system are being truly threatened. This signifies that a system reform can indeed create a huge market. It is entirely possible for the United States to achieve prosperity for a long period of time through welfare transformation, and the United States will usher in a “super-boom period.”

Final analysis conclusion:

The post-election United States is likely to transit to become welfare-oriented, which will create a huge market and maintain a period of prosperity for a long time.

Founder of Anbound Think Tank in 1993, Chan Kung is now ANBOUND Chief Researcher. Chan Kung is one of China’s renowned experts in information analysis. Most of Chan Kung‘s outstanding academic research activities are in economic information analysis, particularly in the area of public policy.

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



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



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



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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