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A Historic Turning-Point in American Politics

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UPDATE: on January 26th, Newsweek headlined “Mitch McConnell Wins Filibuster Battle as Primary Pressure Builds on Chuck Schumer”, which (as is explained in the following) means that unless Senate Democrats now use “the Nuclear Option” — which they resist doing — Biden’s Presidency will be a failure.

The success or failure of Joe Biden’s Presidency will be determined more by the policies that he establishes in order to deal with America’s raging coronavirus-crisis than by anything else. And the fates of both of America’s political Parties will also largely depend upon these decisions, which he is making at the very start of his Presidency. In normal times, an American President’s first 100 days in office are crucially important; but, this time around, the first 30 days will probably be decisive. The signs, thus far, are not looking good, for his success. Here is why:

On January 22nd, Politico headlined “Republicans bludgeon Biden’s big stimulus plans” and reported that the Senate’s Republicans have decided to block President Biden’s Covid-19 relief package unless Biden will cut it in ways that would prevent it from doing what Biden has long been promising to do. Either he will fulfill his promises on Covid-19 policies, or he will compromise with Senate Republicans. However, there is a way in which Biden and the Senate’s Democrats would become enabled to overcome that block (it’s called “the Nuclear Option”), but doing so would delay the legislation and would require changing the rules of the Senate, which would require even further delays. Democratic and Republican Senators would then basically lock horns in battle against one-another and fight to the political death, over Covid-19 (coronavirus) policies. Whichever side would quit the contest sooner would be embarrassed amongst its electorate, and would therefore produce a significantly weakened Party. 

The victorious side will probably control Biden’s Presidency. Either the Democrats will outlast the Republicans, who will be profoundly embarrassed (especially because the polling shows that the position of congressional Republicans on coronavirus-policy is rejected overwhelmingly by the American public), or else the Republicans will outlast the Democrats, who will be profoundly embarrassed (by having caved so fast to congressional Republicans on this matter where Biden and congressional Democrats have an overwhelming political advantage over their supposed ‘opponents’).

If Democratic Senators win on it, then not only will Republican Senators lose the support of some Republican voters (who favor passage of Biden’s proposal and who therefore don’t want Republican Senators to force a delay of its passage), but Republican Senators who had voted with Democrats on this will be challenged in 2022 and 2024 primaries by more-extreme Republican candidates who will call the incumbent a “RINO” “Republican In Name Only” for having capitulated to the Democrats. So, some of the less-extreme Republican Senators will probably lose their seats. If, however, to the contrary, Republicans win, then not only will President Biden have been defeated in his first legislative initiative (and his Presidency will have been hobbled at its very start), but Democratic Senators who have sided with Republican Senators on this and who will be running for re-election in 2022 and 2024, will be challenged in primaries by progressive Democratic candidates who will call that Democratic incumbent a “DINO” “Democrat In Name Only.” So: either the Republican Party in the Senate will be moving farther to the right, if Democrats win on the coronavirus legislation, or else the Democratic Party in the Senate will be moving farther to the left if Republicans win on it. And there is no way in which Biden’s campaign promises to function as President in a bipartisan manner will be able to be achieved. 

In other words: this is going to be a fight to the political death of either the Democratic or the Republican Party. And the chasm separating the two Parties is virtually certain to become even wider than it has been.

Any compromise on coronavirus-policy by Biden would be widely seen (by Republican and many independent voters) as his conceding to the Republicans the superiority of their position regarding any area on which he had conceded (such as Republicans’ belief that “deficit spending is bad”) — and his doing that would greatly weaken him going forward (especially because Americans support Biden’s announced Covid plan by over 2 to 1, and 59% even of Republican voters support Biden’s requirement regarding the wearing of masks and social distancing at commercial establishments).

Any compromise by the Republicans on it would likewise be damaging to them. However, they don’t control the federal Government now, and, so, they wouldn’t be blamed as much. Nominally, Democrats control all three electoral branches of the federal Government.

Furthermore: Biden will get more of the praise or blame for whatever legislation ends up resulting from this than will the Republican Party. Whereas Republican voters will be able to say “We lost because the damned Democrats control the Government,” Democratic voters won’t be able to say “We lost because the damned Republicans control the Government.” If Democratic voters turn out to be disappointed with the outcome, then they won’t have any excuse for it — other than to increase yet further their hatred of Republicans if Biden and the Democrats turn out to be the capitulationist side.

In any case, Biden is obviously not going to be able to fulfill on his promises that he will be a bipartisan President. That fact (the mythological character of ‘bipartisanship’ in today’s America), alone, is certain to weaken him — though not nearly as much as would be the case if he holds firm, refuses to compromise on Covid-19, and defeats congressional Republicans on this issue that’s vastly more important to Democratic Party voters than it is to Republican Party voters.

This situation is similar to what had pertained when Barack Obama became President in 2009 and dumped his proposed “public option” the moment he won the Presidency in November 2008. However (as was made manifestly clear during the 2008 Democratic primaries, when Obama handily beat Biden, Clinton, and Edwards), Biden’s hold on the Democratic Party won’t be nearly as solid as Obama’s was, if Biden capitulates on this issue, which is so important to Democrats. Whereas a comprehensive public option, or else universalized Medicare, is a do-or-die issue only for some Democratic Party voters, conquering Covid-19 is a do-or-die issue for virtually all Democratic Party voters.

Back in 2009, the Republican crisis that the incoming Democratic President was dealing with — the economic collapse and the lie-based invasion/occupation of Iraq — wasn’t killing four thousand Americans per day like the coronavirus-crisis now is. Just as Trump will be blamed for America’s disastrously poor performance in the coronavirus-crisis (a higher infection-rate than any other medium-sized or large nation), Biden will get either the praise or the blame for his effectiveness or ineffectiveness at reversing that Republican failure. Congressional Republicans will politically benefit if Biden fails. Any compromises that Biden allows on the Covid-19 relief package are not going to buy for him a “We are all in this together” response from Republicans in Congress, but will only buy for him a less effective policy, which will (quite reasonably) be seen by the American public as being, essentially, a Democratic policy (which had failed).

This is the way that America’s Party system now functions: the incentive for our political leaders is not to benefit the American people, but to benefit the given political leader’s own Party, in competition against the other Party, in an extremely polarized electorate. But is it actually instead merely a competition between Democratic Party billionaires (who fund Democratic candidates) versus Republican Party billionaires (who fund Republican candidates)? Has the electorate become virtually irrelevant, so that the Government now reflects only those billionaires, who fund whatever politicians serve billionaires’ personal interests? (And those personal interests are always wanting more tax-dollars to buy the weaponry that their armaments-firms make, and less to buy “social welfare programs,” such as Covid relief payments.) 

Regardless of which side ends up winning on the Covid-19 relief law, that side will likely control the U.S. Government for a long time to come, because the other Party will be so politically damaged — discredited — by having lost this fight, which is a do-or-die battle between America’s Republicans and America’s Democrats.

Actually, however, Democrats have far more “skin in this game” (or at stake) in this battle, than Republicans do, because Democrats care vastly more about the coronavirus-issue than Republicans do. For example, on 21 October 2020 (which was already well into the “second wave”), Pew bannered “Only 24% of Trump supporters view the coronavirus outbreak as a ‘very important’ voting issue” and reported that, “the widest differences are on the importance of the coronavirus outbreak. About eight-in-ten Biden supporters (82%) say the coronavirus will be very important to their vote, compared with just 24% of Trump supporters.” Consequently, if Biden and congressional Democrats cave on this, then they are actually not serious about winning on it. By contrast, this issue is, indeed, a do-or-die matter for Democratic Party voters. Whereas congressional Republicans can afford to lose on it, both Biden and congressional Democrats simply cannot (without greatly weakening their Party).

Normally, America’s two Parties play a ‘good cop’ versus ‘bad cop’ routine with each other, in which both Parties represent positions that are acceptable to all of America’s billionaires, who provide most of the money that’s donated in political campaigns (and it’s the decisive money, so that the politicians usually “compromise” upon a policy, which represents the billionaires’ views — such a “compromise” represents only billionaires, regardless of which ‘Party’ wins). But that deceit won’t be able to work for Democratic Party politicians, this time around, though it still could work for Republican ones, since those voters don’t care nearly as much about Covid-19. Therefore, a Republican capitulation on it wouldn’t be fatal for the Party. To them, it would be only a minor loss. But a Democratic capitulation on it could sink Biden’s Presidency and any Democrat who participated in such a capitulation. Democratic Party voters would find such a capitulation very hard to accept, and progressives who might challenge capitulationists on it, in Democratic Party primaries in 2022 and 2024, would therefore stand outstanding likelihoods of winning.

In the past, Democratic Party voters (just like Republican Party voters) continued voting for the Party no matter how bad it became; but, this time, that might turn out not to be the case. This time, “bipartisanship” could actually sink the Democratic Party — or else cause it to replace lots of its incumbent ‘moderate’ or ‘centrist’ office-holders. (After all: Biden was supposed to be the ‘moderate’ or ‘centrist’ candidate in the Democratic Party Presidential primaries; so, this is not as if there would be a compromise being sought between congressional Republicans and a President Bernie Sanders. Democrats had already made their compromises, when they voted for Biden in the 2020 Democratic Party primaries. He was ‘Mr. centrist’; and, so, compromising with the Republicans now would only move the Democratic Party itself even farther toward the right, and thus away from what the Party’s voters want.)

Furthermore, on Sunday, January 24th, “according to a new ABC News/Ipsos poll released Sunday, … the more than two-thirds of Americans who approve of his [Biden’s] leadership on the coronavirus includes 40% of Republicans — a notably high level of support from across the aisle a year into the pandemic. An overwhelming 97% of Democrats and 70% of independents also back Biden’s management of the crisis in his early days in office.” Question #1 in that poll was “Do you approve or disapprove of the way Joe Biden is handling the response to the coronavirus (COVID-19)?”  69% answered “Approve.” 29% answered “Disapprove.” Only 2% did neither. The pollsters said: “Four in five (81%) support federal mask requirements, including nearly all Democrats (99%) and a majority of Republicans and Independents (59% and 83%, respectively).” Another poll, issued the following day (on January 25th) found that 59% of Republican voters “support” Biden’s proposed Covid-relief spending amount, of $1.9 trillion. In other words: there is overwhelming public support for the announced Covid-relief proposals by Biden. If he refuses to instruct his Party-leadership in Congress to do whatever they must do in order to defeat the Republicans on this, then he is accepting defeat not only of himself, but of the overwhelming majority of Americans who support his announced plan. Why would he do something like that? Perhaps in order to satisfy his political mega-donors (who made him the President)? It would enormously weaken the Democratic Party.

Also on the 24th, The Hill  bannered “Biden officials hold call with bipartisan group of senators on coronavirus relief plan”.  Then, on January 25th they headlined “Moderates vow to ‘be a force’ under Biden”, and reported that,

“The numbers are so tight. All of us want this place to work. We’ve got a golden opportunity to make it work, we really do. And our bipartisan, bicameral group [the most strongly billionaire-controlled members of Congress] is going to be a force, and when I say a force, we’re going to try to find that middle,” said Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), the most outspoken Senate Democratic centrist. 

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), another member of the group, said their objective was to “try to get results and avoid a lot of the stalemates that we’ve had in the past.” 

In the House, the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus added 16 new members, bringing its total to 56 members.

Either Biden wants not to beat the Republicans on this, or else he is willing to compromise in ways that Republicans have never done in this century — or both. But regardless of what the reason is, the indications, as of the fifth day of his Presidency, were that his Presidency would become a colossal failure — not only for the American people, but also for his own Party. After all: he would then be ‘compromising’ even to the right of most Republican voters, on this matter. And whom would he then actually be serving, in order to do that?

As was said earlier here: “The victorious side will probably control Biden’s Presidency. Either the Democrats will outlast the Republicans, who will be profoundly embarrassed, or else the Republicans will outlast the Democrats, who will be profoundly embarrassed.” Furthermore: “Democrats have far more ‘skin in this game’ (or at stake) in this battle, than Republicans do, because Democrats care vastly more about the coronavirus-issue than Republicans do.” However, despite all of that, there seems to be no public indication that the leading congressional Democrats actually want to win this battle. They — and not congressional Republicans — appear set to become politically very embarrassed, and defeated, in whatever Covid-19 legislation becomes passed. As the progressive Democrat and investigative journalist David Sirota headlined, about this, on January 26th, “Reminder: This Never Ends Well. Signals of retreat on the $2,000 checks echo Democrats’ disastrous surrender on the public option in 2009.”

Furthermore, the Brookings Institution, in its detailed article about eliminating Senate filibusters, noted that, “For his part, Biden told reporters in July that ‘depend[ing] on how obstreperous [Republicans] become … I think you’re going to just have to take a look’ at abolishing the procedure.” So, Biden certainly has to be aware, by now, that he must demand that the Senate’s leader, Democrat Charles Schumer, not only take the Nuclear Option, but go all the way to abolishing filibusters altogether, for anything — ending the practice, altogether. If Biden won’t go for a democratic (and that means majority-rule, on all matters except where the Constitution itself specifies instead a two-thirds majority) Senate, then Biden’s Presidency will inevitably fail. Apparently, he’s aware of this, himself. The choice is his to make, but he would need to make clear to the public that Senate filibusters are anti-democratic and need to be eliminated altogether. Only then could he put the pressure on Schumer to get it done. This is the time to do it.

If any of America’s billionaires who invested millions of dollars in getting Biden into the White House wants really to beat the Republican Party, then why are none of them now flooding their ‘news’ media with articles and commentaries making clear that this issue is do-or-die for Biden’s Presidency? Why isn’t Biden himself saying he’s going to beat congressional Republicans on Covid-19 policy — not compromise with them on it? What does all of this ‘bipartisanship’ indicate about the political reality in today’s America? Is this political reality (the fakery of ‘bipartisanship’) what’s being reported on by America’s mainstream ‘news’ media? Or, are Americans being informed of it (that it is  fake), instead, only in independent news-media, such as publish the present article?

For any Party, there actually are some things on which they will not compromise. If Covid-19 policy isn’t one of those policy-issues for a Democratic President and for all Democrats in Congress, at a time like this, then what does that Party actually stand for? If they will capitulate on this, then what won’t  they capitulate on? That is why this issue will constitute a historical turning-point in American politics. It is a very stark test of American ‘democracy’. It is that, if anything is. Will the U.S. Government pass this test, of whether or not this nation is a democracy? Will the American people get the coronavirus-policy that all the polls show that they overwhelmingly want? Perhaps the answer will be clear on this, within the next week or two.

Author’s note: first posted at Strategic Culture

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

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Americas

Who won the interaction with the “free press” at the Geneva Summit?

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Before the much anticipated Geneva Summit, it became clear that President Biden would not be holding a joint press conference with President Putin because Biden wanted to go speak to the “free press” after the meeting. This was Biden’s way to show Putin, to rub it into Putin’s face that in Russia the media is not free.

Then the day of the meeting came and it turned out that Biden had a list of pre-approved reporters “as usual” whose names only he had to call. And Biden told everyone to the dismay of not only Republicans but pretty much anyone, including the free press.

Then Biden had a hard time answering questions even from that list. When CNN’s Kaitlan Collins asked him a regular question along the lines of “why do you think this would work?”, Biden lost it and suggested that Collins did not belong in the journalistic profession.

Collin’s question was a softball question, in fact. It was not even a tough question according to international standards. It was a critical question from an American mainstream media point of view, assuming Biden as the good guy who just can’t do enough to stop the bad guy Putin.

It was not even a tough question and Biden still couldn’t handle it by mustering something diplomatic and intelligent that makes him look like he was in control. Biden is no Obama. We knew that already but he should be able to at least respond to a regular question with a regular answer.

If you think American mainstream media were mistreated at the Geneva Summit, you should have seen how the rest of the international and local media were treated at another venue, at the request of the American government. I already described what happened at the point where the Biden and Putin convoys were going to pass. You should have seen how we were treated, at the request of the US authorities, and how the Swiss authorities really played by the US’s drum. Later on, White House national security advisor Jake Sullivan said on CNN’s State of the Union that Biden gave Swiss companies exemptions from sanctions imposed on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

Biden refused a joint press conference with Putin because he wanted to rub the “free press” in Putin’s face. Well, Biden surely showed him. It was the other way around, in fact. Biden didn’t take questions from the other side. Putin took highly critical questions from American journalists and he did it like it was business as usual. Putin didn’t have a list of blocked or preapproved journalists from the other side, or people he dismissed on the spot. Russian journalists were in fact denied access to the venue, in front of Parc la Grange.

Supporters of Black Lives Matter like me naturally didn’t like the substance of Putin’s answers. President Putin attacked Black Lives Matter, even though ever since the Soviet times the treatment of black people has always been a highlight of Russian criticism of American society and values. It seems like President Putin doesn’t want a big, sweeping movement that would reform everything, so that the issues can persist and so that Putin can keep hammering on the same point over and over again. If one is truly concerned about rights and well-being, one has to be in support of the social justice movement trying to address the problems.

In fact, Putin’s approach to black people’s rights is a lot like the FBI’s view of the radical, violent far left: the FBI do not wish to address the violent elements which probably represent 5% of the whole movement, just so that the FBI can keep the issues alive and discredit the whole movement. One saw that the Capitol riots groups really calmed down as soon as the FBI stepped in but FBI director Chris Wray is not interested in doing the same with the violent radical left, precisely so that the issues can persist and the FBI can keep pointing to violent “Black identity” extremists. It is the FBI’ style to keep little nests of fire here and there, so that they can exploit or redirect them in their own preferred direction from time to time. Let’s not forget that the leader of the Proud Boys was actually an FBI informant for a long time, probably taking instructions from the FBI.

At the Geneva Summit, Putin also stated that he saw nothing criminal in the Capitol riots on 6 January that undermined democratic principles and institutions. That was an example of someone trying to use and support existing forces within American society in order to undermine it.

But the substance of Putin’s answers had nothing to do with the process of interacting with the “free press”. Putin took questions from everyone, Biden didn’t. Putin didn’t screen out or dismiss journalists from the other side, Biden did. Putin didn’t lash out on anyone suggesting that they should not be in that job. Biden did and he did it even to his own pre-approved list of media that he was supposed to like.

In terms of process, Putin passed the test and Biden couldn’t handle interacting with the free press even in very restricted, sanitized conditions. Despite what you think of each leader and their policies, it has to be said that Putin handled interacting with the media as business as usual, and Biden struggled in his interaction with the media. Even when Biden was reading from a teleprompter, even with a preapproved list of journalists and even when he was not in the same room as Putin, Biden still made mistakes and couldn’t handle it. Even when everything was chewed for him, Biden still couldn’t do it.

In fact, Biden looked more like an overwhelmed Kardashian abroad who had to have his hand held at any moment and less like the leader of the free world. First lady Jill Biden in fact did hold Biden’s hand on occasion and rushed him out of places like a child when the President seemed to wonder off in the wrong direction, such as at the G7 Summit in Cornwall. And that guy has the nuclear codes?

There have been concerns with Biden’s cognitive abilities. President Biden confused President Putin with President Trump, while reading from a teleprompter. What was remarkable is that Putin stated that he found Biden to be actually knowledgeable and prepared on the issues, and that Biden is actually not in a mental and cognitive decline contrary to mainstream understanding. While on the face of it, the statement sounded 100% positive and in defense of Biden, this was a very aggressive, veiled jab of the sort “many are saying that but I don’t think that”. Putin raised the doubt, gave Biden an evaluation and proved to be a total player.

In total, the bottom line of who won the interaction with the “free press” at the Geneva Summit was clear: Russia 1, the US 0.

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Joe Biden’s European vacations

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biden-syria
Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz

Joseph Biden, better known as Joe Biden, is an American politician from the Democratic Party who won last year’s presidential elections amid scandals and accusations of fraud. In his autobiography, Biden describes himself as a leading figure in determining US policy in the Balkans, and openly admits having convinced President Bill Clinton to intervene militarily in the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and becoming the main architect of NATO enlargement.

Here are just a few facts from his past that can shed light on the possible  line of actions that could be taken by America’s current President.

Biden is certainly no stranger to Balkan issues. In 1999, he played an important role in the administration of President Bill Clinton, when NATO bombed Yugoslavia without a UN resolution, an act of aggression that resulted in Kosovo being proclaimed an independent state and which is now home to the largest US military base in Europe – Camp Bondsteel.  In 1999, the current US president was one of the most outspoken supporters of the bombing of Yugoslavia, which is something he took pride in.

“I propose to bomb Belgrade. I propose to send American pilots and blow up all the bridges over the Drina River,” said Biden, then a US Senator.

On September 1, 1999, Senator Joseph Biden visited Bulgaria as a representative of the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee, meeting with President Peter Stoyanov, Foreign Minister Nadezhda Mikhailova and local lawmakers. Biden has become a key figure in Bulgaria’s integration into the North Atlantic Alliance.

Today, after several years of lull, tensions in Ukraine are shooting up again.  At the close of 2013, a series of riots were provoked there eventually leading up to the 2014 coup and the subsequent conflict in the country’s eastern regions. During the armed confrontation, the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics were established, which to this day remain at loggerheads with Kiev. After a region-wide referendum, over 95 percent of the residents of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea announced their desire to reunite with Russia. The role of Washington in the violent overthrow of power in Ukraine was clearly visible. US officials openly supported the Maidan, and Senator John McCain met with future government officials. Victoria Nuland, then US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian affairs, publicly stated that Washington had allocated $5 billion to support democracy in Ukraine. She personally distributed food to “peaceful demonstrators”, many of whom later ended up on the Maidan with weapons in their hands. Nuland, who served as Assistant Secretary of State to three presidents: Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama, retired in 2017. Today, Biden is bringing her back into politics, nominating her to the post of Assistant Secretary of State for Political Affairs – the third most important in the State Department.

Biden visited Ukraine five times during and after the Maidan. The United States, along with Germany, Poland and France, forced the country’s then-President Viktor Yanukovych to make concessions to protesters, which quickly led to the government’s collapse. Immediately after the resignation of Yanukovych in February 2014, President Barack Obama appointed Biden as his official representative in Ukraine. A little later, Biden’s son, Hunter, was appointed to the board of directors of Ukraine’s Burisma gas company.

After the coup, the Americans took deep roots in Ukraine with their representatives appearing both in economic structures and in the government and special services. Years later, details of their work became available to the media. Former US President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudolph Giuliani said that he had managed to find witnesses and obtain documents demonstrating attempts to cover up violations of the law by Burisma and Hunter Biden’s involvement in the laundering of millions of dollars. Giuliani unveiled a scheme how $16 million, including $3 million “earned” by Biden Jr., had been withdrawn through a network of companies, a number of which were located in Cyprus. Other investigations initiated by the media have also revealed large flows of “dirty” money that was flowing from Ukraine through Latvia to Cyprus and other offshore companies such as Rosemont Seneca, founded by Hunter Biden and Devon Archer.

In April 2019, journalist John Solomon published a post in the American edition of Dakhil about how Joe Biden was helping his son in his business dealings after leaving the post of vice president and bragging to foreign policy experts that, as vice president, he had forced the dismissal of Ukraine’s chief prosecutor. Biden related how in March 2016 he threatened Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko that Washington would withdraw its $ 1 billion loan guarantees and drive the country into bankruptcy unless Attorney General Viktor Shokin was dismissed immediately. And dismissed Shokin was, accused of not being active enough in fighting corruption. However, when talking about his victory, Biden misses an important point. Prior to his dismissal, the attorney general had launched a large-scale audit of the Burisma mining company where Hunter Biden was working. According to the US banking system, between spring 2014 and autumn 2015, Hunter’s company Rosemont Seneca regularly received transfers from Burisma to the tune of about $166,000.

This whole story gives us an idea of what kind of a person Joe Biden really is  and the question is how he will behave in the future.

Even before Biden’s inauguration as president, media representatives and analysts predicted an aggravation of the military situation, an escalation of the conflict in Ukraine and an increase in US activity in the Balkans. In the spring of 2021, these predictions were confirmed, and the military rhetoric of the US administration began heat up. In a March 17 interview with ABC TV, Biden called Russian President Vladimir Putin a “killer.” Even during the Cold War, world leaders did not allow themselves such disrespect for one another. Similar statements from American politicians are often made against foreign leaders whom they want to overthrow or physically eliminate. A number of analysts believe that the absence of an apology from Washington indicates that such a statement was not accidental, but well thought out and comes as a new step in the information war against Russia.

The further development of events in the international arena appears more and more is scary each day. In the media and in public statements by a number of politicians the topic of possible military action is almost becoming “business as usual.” Therefore, the new American president’s personality and his inner circle is extremely important for understanding the future and assessing global risks around the world.

From our partner International Affairs

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The Private And Public Joe Biden: Belief And Policy

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Official White House Photo by Cameron Smith

Joe Biden supports abortion rights politically, a position conflicting with doctrine in the Catholic church.  Despite the pope issuing a warning to act with care, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is now ready to prepare a teaching document that could potentially bar Biden from receiving Holy Communion at mass.  A central sacrament during mass, Catholics believe that eating the consecrated wafer dipped in wine, representing the body and blood of Jesus Christ, unites them with their savior fortifying them to face evil temptations.

The USCCB vote to prepare the document was an overwhelming 168-55, and a committee of US bishops has been assigned the task.  Responding to questions, President Biden called it a private matter.  The document is expected to be ready in time for debate at the November bi-annual conference of US Catholic Bishops.

If that is one headache for Biden, another is in the offing.  Perhaps as a consequence of US policy towards Iran, the election of a hard-liner in Iran’s presidential election seems almost certain.  Judge Ebrahim Raisi, who is also Iran’s top judge, is on his way to victory on the basis of the votes counted so far.

The 60-year old cleric spent most of his life as a prosecutor until he was appointed Iran’s top judge in 2019.  He is fiercely loyal to his fellow clerics, particularly to Ayatollah Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader who has the final say in all matters.  All the same, the president does the administration and has significant input in both domestic and foreign policy.  Suffice to say, Raisi lost in a landslide to Hassan Rouhani, who sought accommodation with the West, in the previous election four years ago.

Having played hardball with Iran, the US is repeating itself with a Russia anxious for better relations.  Following the G7 meeting in Cornwall a week ago, President Biden flew to Geneva meeting President Putin at the Villa La Grange for a closely-watched summit.

Relations between the two countries have been tense following a series of events including the Russian annexation of Crimea.  The latter was transferred to Ukraine for administrative convenience when a connecting bridge was being constructed so that both ends of it would fall under the same authority.  The people of Crimea have no other connection with Ukrainians other than they were both part of the Soviet Union. 

Climate change, arms control, cyber security and American interest in jailed dissenters in Russia including Alexei Navalny .  Reading the riot act to Mr. Putin does little to further stability in relations.  Peace is not a problem among like-minded countries with a commonality of interests, it is a challenge when the parties are rivals, nuclear armed, and capable of blowing up the world.  Mr. Biden may be proud of his performance but is he able to accept the challenge, for if not where does it leave the rest of us …

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