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Critics of Biden as being a ‘progressive’ are mistaken: Understanding what ‘progressive’ means isn’t so easy

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Photo by Adam Schultz

The difference between “progressive” and “liberal” gets to the core of what politics in the real world is actually about, and of whether the nation is being controlled by the public (a democracy), or instead is controlled by the tiny percentage of the population who are enormously wealthy (an aristocracy — a capitalistic dictatorship, or also called “fascism” — so that the public are actually the nation’s subjects, instead of the nation’s citizens). Whereas progressivism is 100% supportive of democracy, liberalism is supportive of control by an elite, but one that supposedly represents the interests of the public. There is a big difference between progressivism and liberalism. Most simply phrased: Aristocrats always control the public by employing the popular mythology so as to motivate the majority to accept their own subordination to the aristocracy; and, whereas liberals support that, progressives don’t. This deception by the aristocracy minimizes the amount of physical coercion that will be needed in order for them to control the public. Progressives reject any mythology, and oppose any aristocracy. Liberals simply do not. Conservatives are the aristocracy. The noblesse oblige conservatives are the liberal aristocrats who say that they serve the public interest, but the other aristocrats say that they have no such obligation, and that their being an aristocrat proves their worthiness. And that is the way things function, in the real world. The ‘news’-media are important in deceiving the public so as to enable the aristocracy to control, and this is the reason why aristocrats buy ‘news’-media even regardless of whether those ‘news’-media are directly profitable: owning the ‘news’-media is providing a major service to the entire aristocracy, and therefore becomes repaid to such an owner in many other ways — all aristocrats want to please that member. It’s gratitude to a fellow-aristocrat, and that check can be cashed in many different ways.

On 15 August 2020, I headlined “How Billionaires Took Over Liberalism and Destroyed It” and described as follows the difference between “progressivism” and “liberalism”:

Whereas conservative media rely unashamedly upon the existing popular mythology, liberal media need to rely upon that but to pretend not to, and to be instead ‘humanitarian’ and ‘enlightened’ in a more tolerant and open-minded sense: they specialize in hypocrisy — it’s liberal aristocrats’ particular style of art-form; they’re the ‘not conservative’ type of aristocrats. They pretend to be what they aren’t (champions of democracy — which they actually despise and crave to overcome, if it exists at all).

Progressive media (to the extent they exist at all, which is only very slight, anywhere) avoid both hypocrisy and mythology: they are openly anti-aristocratic, and rejecting also any mythology — they are populist, while not affirming the popular (or any) mythology. (By contrast: conservative ‘populists’ are committed to the existing popular mythology, and can therefore be manipulated by openly conservative aristocrats — they can be “Tories,” or even “Nazis,” and they can therefore vote against their own “class interests.” It’s stupid, but conservative ‘populists’ nonetheless do it routinely.)

As a result of this (since the progressives’ appeal — rejecting both the aristocracy and the mythology — is so small), politics almost invariably pits conservatives against liberals, and therefore promotes dictatorship (rule of the nation by its aristocracy), either way.

What’s true for news-media is true also for politicians; and U.S. President Joe Biden is a liberal, very definitely NOT a progressive. Misunderstanding his ideology (as being ‘progressive’) is causing many people to misunderstand his motivations, and to misunderstand his policies. Here’s an example of this type of misunderstanding:

On April 23rd, Robert Bridge headlined at Strategic Culture “Bye-bye ’Burbs: Biden Plan to Create ‘Affordable, Multifamily Housing’ in the Suburbs Will Kill the American Dream”, and he criticized “U.S. President Joe Biden’s longwinded and exorbitant Job Plan,” because:

Buried inside the document under the heading, ‘Eliminate exclusionary zoning and harmful land use policies,’ the project is laid out: “For decades, exclusionary zoning laws – like minimum lot sizes, mandatory parking requirements, and prohibitions on multifamily housing – have… locked families out of areas with more opportunities. President Biden is calling on Congress to enact an innovative, new competitive grant program that awards flexible and attractive funding to jurisdictions that take concrete steps to eliminate such needless barriers to producing affordable housing.”

The progressive radicals are up in arms over single-family dwellings, which they believe is part and parcel of the “new redlining” designed to perpetuate inequality. If only it were so simple.

First, the only “barrier” that may prevent people from living in the cozy suburbs is income, which should not be seen as some sort of ‘racist’ impediment – “economic discrimination,” as the left calls it – but rather the natural outcome of a lifetime of sacrifice, hard work and dedication.

A book by the investigative historian Paige Glotzer was issued in 2020, How the Suburbs Were Segregated, which explained in concrete terms how one very important aspect of America’s notorious anti-Black racism — in the suburbs — was largely planned by a UK corporation even during the 1800s. Government itself had assisted and largely created segregation. (For the most part, the investors in the corporation that Glotzer studied — Baltimore’s Roland Park Company — were not aristocrats, and the largest of those investors, a Londoner, “John Collins Odgers,” listed his profession as “Nonconformist Minister B.A.” Glotzer, by luck, had happened to come upon the Roland Park Company’s complete files. This company is the one that had established the racial-segregation system — including red-lining — which came to dominate suburban land development during the first half of the 20th Century. It became the model that the subsequent, larger, companies followed. At the start, American segregation was created by these well-to-do private British investors and later built upon by American investors. The 2017 U.S. best-selling book by Richard Rothstein, The Color of Law, had already made well known the Government’s complicity in forming America’s racial segregation, but Glotzer’s book focused more on both the local and the international economic factors that produced America’s racial segregation.)

A good summary of Glotzer’s book was provided in Jessica Levy’s interview of Glotzer at the site “Economic Historian,” which was headlined with the book’s title — especially this from it is informative: 

JL: One of the major benefits of this approach is the ways in which you were able to link the early history of American suburban development to broader histories of British investment and settler colonialism. Could you expand a bit more on how you accomplish this?

PG: This is one of the things that actually surprised me in my research, and that set off my historian alarm bells that this was actually a really important thing to continue focusing on. I begin by looking at who financed America’s earliest planned segregated suburbs. It turns out that some of them (in fact, I found 400) were British investors who had a history of actually putting their money into various places where they thought the influx of white people would increase the value of land. That brought their money into places such as North American West, into places in Africa, into sites of British Empire, including in the Caribbean and including in India.

So, settler colonialism and the displacement and oppressive labor regimes that were a part of settler colonialism were the sources of the finance capital that ultimately came to Baltimore. And I think it’s really important to see how suburban development actually fits the mission of those investors because as a peripheral space on a city, those investors were also counting on an influx of white people to increase the value of that land.

In another interview of Glotzer, at “ThinkBelt,” and likewise titled like the book, she explained the process of historical discovery that had led her to produce the book.

Furthermore, segregation has, itself, been shown to increase the amount of violence against the ghettoized minority. A September 2017 NBER study by Cook, Logan, and Parman, “Racial Segregation and Southern Lynching”, reported: “We find that conditional on racial composition, racially segregated counties were much more likely to experience lynchings. Consistent with the hypothesis that segregation is related to interracial violence, we find that segregation is highly correlated with African American lynching.” Consequently, it is reasonable to presume that not only did elites and the governmental policies that they instituted increase segregation, but they also increased violence against Blacks (such as lynchings).

The link that Mr. Bridges used for new redlining leads to a Democratic Party policy-analysis site, which is not “progressive radical” as he falsely labels it, but simply progressive, and could also be called “liberal” because only libertarians are un-concerned about the problems that it’s aiming to solve). The difference between the two polar ideologies — “progressive” versus “liberal” — is that progressivism is at one end of the ideological spectrum, and libertarianism is at the opposite end, but liberalism is in-between and mixes the two opposite ideologies in such a way that the financial interests of billionaires and other super-rich won’t be hit more than the financial interests of the middle class will. In other words: liberalism places the entire middle-class-and-above population into one category, all of which are to be taxed at approximately the same percentage-rates, instead of there being a progressive system of taxation which applies increasing percentage-taxation-rates from the poorest to the richest households, such that there will be a certain level of wealth and income level below which a given household will have a negative percentage-taxation rate (and-or “welfare policies” to meet the needs of the poor), and in which everyone who is above that wealth-and-income level (but especially the super-rich) will be, via the taxes that they pay, net subsidizing the households that are in the poorer category. A progressive recognizes the fact that money is power (to hire agents to represent one’s interests, in the writing of governmental policies, and otherwise), and that therefore (to the extent that a free market exists) a poor person is naturally far less represented in government than a rich person is. Progressivism is an attempt to compensate somewhat for this natural money-is-power feature of any capitalist economy. That’s why billionaires don’t donate to the political campaigns of progressive politicians, and yet billionaires donate approximately equal amounts to the Democratic Party (which is liberal) and to the Republican Party (which is libertarian). Only a tiny percentage of Democratic politicians are progressives; however, all Republicans champion a free market, capitalism, and the only difference between different Republican politicians is the different extent to which they are committed to that ideology (“the free market”) as being inviolable Scripture, the “free market” Scripture (pure capitalism). Therefore, if progressives are 2% of Democratic Party elected politicians, and if half of elected politicians are in each of the two Parties, then progressive politicians will constitute only around 1% of America’s elected politicians (none of whom are Republicans). Maybe 2% of elected Democrats are progressives, and maybe 2% of elected Republicans are Scriptural libertarians, but to call the Democratic Party “progressive” (such as Mr. Bridges did here — even “progressive radicals”) is like calling the Republican Party Scriptural libertarians (which likewise only around 2% of elected Republican politicians actually are). It’s not even nearly an accurate portrayal. 

In fact, at the middle of American politics, such as Joe Manchin and Kristen Sinema on the Democratic side, and Susan Collins and Shelley Moore Capito on the Republican side, the ideological differences are near zero, even though the Party differences now are maybe more fractious than ever before in American history. In American national politics, the center is liberal, and the conservative half (the right and far-right) are Republicans; and the liberal half are Democrats, but around 2% of Republicans are populist conservatives such as Rand Paul, and around 2% of Democrats are populist ‘liberals’ who reject any sort of elitism and are authentically progressives, such as Bernie Sanders. The broad middle, which is around 98% of Congress, are liberals and conservatives. On foreign affairs, the entirety of the broad middle have always voted in Congress to expand the American empire (are neoconservatives), and only the few populists (the progressives on the liberal side and the Scriptural libertarians on the conservative side) have sometimes voted against expanding the American empire. Joe Biden never voted against expanding the American empire — he consistently backed sanctions, coups and invasions. Therefore, to call Biden a progressive is to call him what he never was nor is.

Another big difference between progressives and libertarians concerns governmental regulation. Libertarians are against it, and progressives are for it, but liberals are in between and are committed mainly to making regulation as ineffective as possible at limiting or reducing a person’s accumulation of wealth (since extreme inequality of wealth destroys democracy if there exists anything like a free market; and what is produced, instead, by a free market, is then actually an aristocracy, no democracy at all). For example: whereas libertarians are against regulation, liberals favor placing as much of the expense or “burden” of regulation as possible onto the regulated firms themselves, so that the corporations will largely “self-regulate.” Progressives disfavor that and demand for regulations to be part of the system of laws that are created by the democratic government itself. Progressives — unlike libertarians, and also unlike conservatives and liberals — are 100% devoted to democracy. And that’s democracy both in national affairs, and in international affairs. In national affairs, it’s progressive taxation and democratically imposed laws regarding what corporations may do; and in international affairs, it’s supporting democratically imposed international laws and world government instead of any imperialism by any country against and controlling any other country. It is 100% democracy that a progressive supports, both in relations between individuals at the national level, and in relations between nations at the international level. By contrast, for example, in international affairs, American Presidents since 1945 have all  been imperialists, who have consistently been imposing America upon other countries, not only in Latin America but increasingly throughout the world, as an American empire over all nations. America has been the world’s greatest enemy of the United Nations (which U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt had invented and started to plan), ever since FDR’s death. There has been no progressivism, at all, in American foreign policies, ever since FDR died on 12 April 1945. However, there has been liberalism in America’s domestic policies, such as (the imperialist) Lyndon Johnson’s introduction of Medicaid and Medicare in the 1960s. (After all, German imperialists had invented socialized pensions under Bismark in Germany during 1881-1889, and invented socialized medical care under Bismark at the same time. This was in response to the populist failed revolutions throughout Europe that had started in 1848.) 

Another big difference between liberals and progressives is that, since liberals respect wealth as reflecting merit (and therefore look down upon the poor as being necessarily less worthy than the rich), they explain social problems as being due far more to conflict between ethnicities than to conflict between the rich versus the poor. This way, liberal political parties can receive the necessary funding from billionaires, because billionaires then aren’t being blamed for the existing injustices (which stem from what the billionaires impose upon the political order). Progressives blame the injustices upon the people who cause them, who are those billionaires and their corruption of the government — their buying of  the Government. Whereas progressives really do try to reduce  their government’s corruption, liberals are just as corrupt as libertarians are. Libertarians are corrupt because they believe in one-dollar-one-vote government — corruption is intrinsic to their “free market” Scripture; it’s part of ‘freedom’, in their view, and the only bad thing about it is if the government is involved in it. Liberals accept that part of their belief (acceptance of corruption), and this is one of the biggest ways in which they are NOT progressive. That’s because every progressive is committed 100% to democracy — one-person-one-vote government. Capitalism (one-dollar-one-vote government) and democracy (one-person-one-vote government) are intrinsically hostile toward one-another. Attempts to combine them fail, just like attempts to dissolve oil by mixing it with water fail. They are opposites that don’t mix but repel.

Joe Biden is very much a liberal, both domestically and internationally. He mixes libertarianism with progressivism. This is noblesse oblige conservatism, or simply liberalism. Throughout his career in the U.S. Senate, he was the leading Democrat who opposed the use of legislatively required busing in order to desegregate the nation. He worked with the openly racist Republican Senator Jesse Helms to block implementation of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision. That’s consistent with his middle-of-the-road position. He argued that segregation could best be dealt with by eliminating the governmental regulations that had produced segregation. He was arguing for the libertarian ‘position on segregation, accepting each individual’s right to be a racist or any other type of bigot; and, in this matter he was actually pushing for a libertarian solution to the problem of segregation, because the federal, state, and local, governments had encouraged banks to “red line” and exclude from lending to, Black-majority neighborhoods, and (on the local level) to impose zoning requirements that likewise would ghettoize Blacks. America’s Government, like most, had legislated discrimination — not all of it was only of the “free market” variety. Now, at the end of his career, as President, Biden is trying to impose this progressive-libertarian or “liberal” solution, and he is obtaining in Congress support not only from his fellow-liberals but also from Congress’s few progressives, and this is because of yet a fourth feature of progressivism:

Whereas libertarians believe that bigoted actions or decisions that an individual makes should be allowed by law so long as no non-bigotry-related law has been violated by that individual, progressives oppose all bigotry, and believe that no bigoted action or decision — even by only an individual — should be legal. Progressives view bigotry as being not merely a personal choice but a big threat to any democracy. They strongly favor governmental regulations such as placing requirements upon any zoning regulations that exist, so as to demand those regulations not to increase discrimination of any type. For example: zoning that prohibits extremely noisy businesses in residential neighborhoods would be allowed, but zoning that prohibits apartment buildings and requires only single-family buildings, would not.

By contrast, libertarians endorse purely the free-market approach, which allows people to be bigoted against women or ethnicities or minorities, instead of punishing bigotry and rewarding the absence of prejudices. Whereas progressives believe that the government has an obligation to oppose bigotry, libertarians believe that it does not, and that each individual has the right to be bigoted and to despise or even hate whatever group he or she wishes — that it’s a matter of that person’s freedom, no right of members of any discriminated-against group. The libertarian, Mr. Bridge, therefore says that “the only ‘barrier’ that may prevent people from living in the cozy suburbs is income, which should not be seen as some sort of ‘racist’ impediment – ‘economic discrimination,’ as the left calls it – but rather the natural outcome of a lifetime of sacrifice, hard work and dedication.” In other words: he assumes that the free market is justice, and that anyone too poor to be “living in the cozy suburbs” is deficient in “a lifetime of sacrifice, hard work and dedication,” and therefore not deserving of “the cozy suburbs,” and especially not deserving of tax-subsidies from the people who do live there. In other words: he assumes that a person’s net worth is that person’s worth; the free market is fair. (Imperialism does not exist; exploitation does not exist; the poor just leach upon the rich, and are the source of their own problems. The rich, out of their kindness, endow charities to help them, but government has no obligation to the poor. Whomever cannot pay has no right.) That is libertarianism.

Consequently, Joe Biden, as a liberal instead of a progressive, is willing to oppose bigotry so long as the bigotries of the super-rich, who want to live isolated from contact with the poor, or who want to exploit the poor (such as abusing their own workers or consumers), won’t be substantially impacted. By contrast, a progressive respects equally the rights of each and every individual (including the right to vote) and is therefore committed against bigots, and for equality of rights.. 

In foreign policies, the conservative libertarian elected politicians, who are the ones that receive funding from Charles Koch, Peter Thiel, Robert Mercer, and other libertarian billionaires, are moderate neoconservatives (supporters of U.S. imperialism) but are not as beholden to America’s arms-manufacturers as liberal ones are who depend heavily upon Democratic Party billionaires, such as George Soros. Furthermore, the less-conservative libertarians, who aren’t quite as dependent on billionaires’ backing as the neoconservative libertarians are, have a larger number of small-dollar donors, and these libertarian politicians are approximately as anti-imperialistic (non-neoconservative) as the progressive elected politicians are. That’s the one policy-area where politicians such as Rand Paul and Bernie Sanders have rather similar policies. Both the libertarian and the progressive populists tend to be less imperialistic than any other types of American elected politicians are. Other than that, however, libertarians are the opposite of progressives. Whereas all progressive elected politicians are populists, most libertarian elected politicians are elitists and are highly dependent upon billionaires. Therefore, most of the elected libertarian politicians are approximately as neoconservative as the liberal ones are.

In fact, Biden’s foreign policies are almost exactly the same as Trump’s were, and only the rhetoric has changed on that. Biden is even increasing, yet further, his predecessors’ neoconservatism.

Ever since the year 1900, the only progressive American President has been FDR; all the others were either liberals or libertarians. All Democratic ones except for FDR were liberals, and all Republican ones were libertarians (though Theodore Roosevelt was mainly liberal on domestic issues). Whereas FDR was the most progressive Democratic President after 1900, TR was the most liberal Republican President since 1900. Prior to 1900, the last progressive Democratic President was J.Q. Adams (1825-1829), and the most progressive of all U.S. Presidents was the only progressive and first Republican U.S. President, Abraham Lincoln (1861-1865). But after 1945, no progressive has occupied the White House: billionaires have solid control here.

Of course the situation is somewhat different in other countries, with different political systems. For example, in Germany, the leader of the Green Party is more like an American Democrat (liberal neoconservative) and less like an American Green Party leader (progressive) is. In Germany, the Party of the Left — called “Linke,” or “die Linkspartei”, or simply “die Linke” (the Left) — is the progressive Party.

In Europe, the term “neoliberalism” is normally used instead of “libertarianism.” (For example, the Links Party is strongly anti-neoliberal, and is also anti-neoconservative.) However, America’s libertarians tend to believe that neoliberalism isn’t sufficiently purist, because “neoliberalism wants to aim the wealth generated by markets at specific social goals using some government mechanism, whilst libertarianism focuses on letting the wealth created by free markets flow where it pleases.” In other words: America’s libertarians believe that organized crime is okay, as long as government stays away from it and all transactions are freely entered-into. Privatize everything, and it’s okay. Might makes right. Laws don’t make right. (In fact, if “laws” are “regulations,” then they make “wrong.” Only ‘God’s laws’ make right — because ‘God’ is “the Almighty” and might-makes-right.) That’s libertarianism. It’s a belief in ‘natural law’, not in human-created laws (and maybe also not in scientific laws — unless those are created by some “God,” meaning the supposedly existent almighty being).

If the ‘God’ is Islamic, then the imperialism can be, for example, of the Turkish variety and extolling Islamic conquest of the world; or, if it is, for another example, Jewish, then it can be of the Israeli variety and allied with America’s imperialism. But, regardless of what a particular form of might-makes-right is, it’s not progressive. Laws (in the social sense, instead of in the physical and biological sciences) are instead made by humans, and for humans (whichever humans control the government). That’s the progressive view, and it definitely is not the traditional view, anywhere. Biden is an American liberal traditionalist. He’s no sort of progressive, and especially no sort of “progressive radical,” because he is, instead, a liberal American traditionalist. To interpret him in any other way is to misinterpret him.

Anyway: these ideologies have always existed, but aristocracies have always benefited from confusing the public about them, so that the wrong people would be blamed. For example, Karl Marx blamed “the bourgeoisie” instead of “the aristocracy,” and thereby managed to receive funding from some aristocrats. If he had received none, then who would have published him before some of his followers established the Soviet Union? And, if he had received none, then would any Marxist government have ever become established, anywhere? And, of course, many ‘progressive’ publishers, even today, are Marxist. Very few actually progressive publishers even exist, but the ones that do are generally tiny bootstrap or self-funded marginal operations.

This is the real world. Injustice is natural. Justice is rare.

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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Iran poll contains different messages for Biden and Raisi

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“It’s the economy, stupid.” That is the message of a just-published survey of Iranian public opinion.

However, the substance of the message differs for newly elected hardline Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and the Biden administration as Mr. Raisi toughens his negotiating position and the United States grapples with alternative ways of curbing the Islamic republic’s nuclear programme should the parties fail to agree on terms for the revival of the 2015 international agreement.

Iranians surveyed last month by Iran Poll and the University of Maryland’s Center for International and Security Studies were telling Mr. Raisi that they are looking to him to alleviate Iran’s economic and other problems and have little hope that a revived nuclear agreement will make the difference, given lack of trust in US and European compliance with any agreement reached.

The Iranians polled seemed in majority to endorse some form of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s notion of a “resistance economy” as a way of blunting the impact of the US sanctions imposed by former President Donald J. Trump after he walked away from the nuclear agreement in 2018. Some 65 per cent of the responders said they favoured a self-sufficient economy; 54.2 per cent expected the economy to at least improve somewhat in the next three years.

A large number expressed confidence that Mr. Raisi would significantly lower inflation and unemployment, increase Iran’s trade with other countries, control the pandemic and root out corruption.

Meanwhile, 63 per cent suggested that Iran’s economic situation would be the same, if not better, if there were no return to the agreement and the government continued to pursue a civil nuclear programme. The figure seemed at odds with the 80 per cent who said Iran’s economic situation would improve if Iran and the United States returned to the agreement and both fulfilled their obligations under the deal.

The divergence may be a function of the fact that the poll, unsurprisingly, indicated that Iranians (64.7 per cent) had little trust in the United States living up to its commitments even though they expected the Biden administration to return to the deal (57.9 per cent). As a result, 73.1 per cent of those surveyed said Iran should not make concessions given that world powers would not live up to commitments they make in return.

At the same time, 63 per cent blamed the troubled state of the economy on domestic mismanagement rather than US sanctions. Only 34.4 per cent believed that the sanctions were the main cause of their economic difficulty. Iranians pointing the finger at the government rather than external forces was also reflected in the 60.5 per cent of those polled blaming Iran’s water shortages on mismanagement and bad policies.

The poll suggested that by emphasising domestic mismanagement, Iranians were going to judge Mr. Raisi on his success or failure in countering the debilitating effect of the sanctions even though 77.5 per cent of those surveyed said that the sanctions had a negative or somewhat negative impact on the economy.

Implicitly, Iranians were holding former Iranian President Hassan Rouhani responsible for the mismanagement given that Mr. Raisi only took office in August. Rated very favourable by 61.2 per cent of Iranians surveyed in 2015, Mr. Rouhani’s favorability dropped to 4.6 per cent in the most recent poll. By contrast, the favourable views of Mr. Raisi soared from 38.3 per cent in 2014 to 77 per cent last month. IranPoll and the Center have been conducting annual of surveys since 2014.

Mr. Raisi may have taken pleasure from that but more importantly, the poll implicitly suggested that he does not have much time to produce results before his significant public support starts to wane.

Of those polled, 66.7 per cent expected Mr. Raisi to improve Iran’s international standing, 55.7 per cent said he would be in a better position to negotiate with world powers, and 45.2 per cent predicted that he would enhance Iran’s security. Those expectations may have been to some degree validated in the public’s mind by last month’s acceptance of Iran’s application for membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) that groups China, Russia, India, Pakistan and several Central Asian states.

The survey results seemed to suggest that ordinary Iranians were framing their message to the United States differently from the assessment of prominent scholars and analysts. The divergence may well be one primarily of timing but nonetheless has implications for policymaking in Washington. The message of the respondents to the poll was one of immediate impact while analysts and scholars appear to be looking at the middle term.

Without referring to the poll, Vienna-based economist and strategic consultant Bijan Khajehpour argued this week, seemingly contrary to the poll, that “mismanagement and the Covid-19 pandemic have both contributed to Iran’s poor economic performance in recent years, but it remains that US sanctions…will be the key factor in determining Iran’s future prospects.”

Mr. Khajehpour went on to say that “high inflation, capital flight and the erosion of household purchasing power alongside mismanagement of resources and the deterioration of the country’s infrastructure have the potential to spark more protests and further undermine the already faltering legitimacy of the Islamic Republic in the eyes of the public.”

No doubt, the jury is out on how Iranians respond if and when Mr. Raisi fails to live up to their expectations. If the past is any indication, Iranians have repeatedly taken to the streets at often substantial risk to liberty and life to make their discontent with government performance evident as they did with the low turnout in this year’s election that brought Mr. Raisi to power.

The risk of renewed protests was reflected in the fact that responses to various questions regarding the electoral system, the limited number of presidential candidates (because many were barred from running), and the public health system showed that it was often a slim majority at best that expressed confidence in the system.

Add to that the fact that 68 per cent of respondents to the poll said that the objectives of past protests had been a demand that officials pay greater attention to people’s problems.

Yet, at the same time, they were telling the United States that its efforts to generate pressure on Iranian leaders to moderate their nuclear and regional policies by imposing harsh sanctions had for now backfired. Iranians were backing a tougher negotiating position by the Raisi government.

Ultimately that could be a double-edged sword for Mr. Raisi. He has to prove that he can be tough on the United States and simultaneously improve the lives of ordinary Iranians. Failure to do so could have in Mr. Khajehpour’s words “unpredictable consequences.”

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Gallup: World’s Approval of U.S. Govt. Restored to Obama’s Record High

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President Joseph R. Biden Jr. of the United States of America addresses the general debate of the UN General Assembly’s 76th session. UN Photo/Cia Pak

On October 19th, Gallup issued their “2021 Rating World Leaders” report and finds that “Six months into the first year of Joe Biden’s presidency, the image of U.S. leadership is largely restored in the world’s eyes. As of early August 2021, across 46 countries and territories, median approval of US leadership stood at 49%, matching the record high rating when former President Barack Obama first took office in 2009.”

Their year-by-year graph is shown of the global approval-ratings of the Governments of Germany, U.S., China, and Russia, by the populations of 44 countries, and of 2 territories (Hong Kong and Taiwan were included in their surveys because the U.S. Government wants to conquer both of those Chinese provinces, so as to weaken China). That chart clearly displays the following fact: thus far (six months into Biden’s Administration), the world viewed Biden as favorably as Obama, and far more favorably than Trump (even though Biden has been continuing almost all of Trump’s foreign policies). Apparently, the global public views Biden as being like Obama because his Party is the same as Obama’s, and his rhetoric also is similar. Though Trump’s international policies have been continued with little (if any) significant change under Biden, the world still has been viewing Biden as being like Obama (whom the world still views as having been the best world-leader during his Presidency), instead of like Trump (whom the world still views as having been the worst world-leader during his Presidency). Obama is still viewed far better than Trump, though (for example) two U.S-and-allied-banned news-sites had published, two days earlier, on the 17th, with full documentation, the major (but banned) news-report titled “First of over 200 bodies being exhumed from Lugansk mass grave. One of Obama’s atrocities.” It had been submitted to 200 news-media, and only those two published it.

Perhaps the world’s population is more swayed by rhetoric, and by Party-labels, than by a national leader’s actual policies (which, perhaps, they’ve not even known about — after all, how many know about those mass-graves?).

The Gallup surveys were done actually in 106 countries and in those two Chinese provinces that the U.S. Government wants to control, but “U.S. Leadership Approval” has, as-of yet, been calculated by Gallup only in these 46. Of the 108 total lands, 23 were in Africa, 38 in Europe (including Europe’s largest and most populous country, Russia), 30 in Asia, and 17 in “The Americas” (not including U.S., whose Government these surveys by Gallup have actually been designed to serve).

Remarkably, “While Germany and the U.S. had previously been vying for the top spot in the Americas, Germany’s leadership safely led the other countries in 2020, with a median approval rating of 50% in 2020. Russia earned higher approval ratings than China or the U.S., with a median approval rating of 41%. The U.S. and China earned similar, and far lower, approval ratings, of 34% and 32% respectively.”

Also: “Germany’s leadership continued to be the most popular in Europe, with a record-high median approval of 62% in 2020. China, Russia and the U.S. have all lost favor in Europe in recent years, and in 2020 they were all on equal footing, with approval ratings of around 20%.”

Furthermore, in Asia: “U.S. Leadership Image Still Mired at Record Lows” and these are lows that previously had been shown during the G.W. Bush and Trump Administrations; so, the U.S. Government’s rhetoric under Biden does not, at least yet, seem to be persuading Asians as much as was the case under Obama. Perhaps the Biden Administration will need to employ less-blatantly-hostile rhetoric against China than it has been using, in order to be able to get much support from Asians against China.

And, regarding Africa, “Ratings are not yet available” that are sufficient to determine whether or not, as has been shown since 2007, “the U.S. remained strongest worldwide in Africa,”or else changed up or down.

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Americas

How terrible the consequences of the Cold War can be

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Image source: kremlin.ru

After World War II, the conflict over superiority between the United States and the Soviet Union began. The US-led NATO and the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact were formed. Apart from this, of course, NAM is also formed. As a result, the world is divided into three parts. NATO and Warsaw Pact are in competition with each other. It caused widespread conflict and violence around the world. In many countries there is a change of power. Most countries increase military power. In this situation, the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. As a result, America became the sole superpower and imposed arbitrary capitalism, free trade and domination in the world. With China’s unimaginable economic and military progress these days, it has inevitably come to dominate the United States. As a result, the United States considers China as its main rival.

It has already taken steps to suppress China by declaring its main enemy, the main tool of which is sanctions. China is also responding to America’s every move. Yet America did not give up. New President Biden has formed an anti-China military alliance – QUAD and AUKUS.  The QUAD formed on March 12 with the United States, Australia, India and Japan. On September 15, the top leaders of the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia signed the AUKUS Agreement. As a result, Australia will be able to build a nuclear-powered submarine for the first time, much faster than conventional submarines, harder to identify, submerged for months, and capable of launching long-range missiles.

Earlier, the United States gave this technology only to the United Kingdom in 1958. Currently, only six countries have nuclear submarines. Namely: 70 from USA, 40 from Russia, 19 from China, 10 from UK, 9 from France and 3 from India. Australia is going to be associated with it. In addition, there are nuclear bombs in the United States, China, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, India, Pakistan and Israel.

However, many countries, including Russia and China, have strongly opposed AUKUS. Russia says AUKUS is basically a hostile move against China and Russia. The alliance’s infrastructure puts the whole of Asia at risk. China says the deal poses a serious risk of nuclear proliferation. It will also threaten regional peace and stability. This is contrary to the spirit of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Earlier, the two countries had strongly opposed the two QUAD’s. Malaysia has said it will cause tensions in the Indo-Pacific region.

Pakistan says the establishment of AUKUS reflects the mentality of the Cold War. This alliance could bring a cold war to Asia. However, Indonesia has backed AUKUS. Extreme tensions have arisen between China and Australia since the establishment of AUKUS. France is also extremely angry. That’s because France and Australia signed a 90 billion deal in 2016 to build 12 submarines, which Australia scrapped after the establishment of AUKUS. So France is extremely angry with Australia. In this regard, the Foreign Ministers of the European Union have expressed their support and solidarity with France. France is also furious with the United States.

French Foreign Minister says President Biden is pursuing former President Trump’s one-sided policy, short-sightedness, brutality and disrespect for partners. America is trying to resolve this anger of France. After the establishment of AUKUS, it seemed that the QUAD was over. But no it didn’t. The top leaders of the QUAD met at the White House on September 24. In addition to these two alliances, the United States is creating a military zone in the Middle East. The US Fifth Fleet in the Middle East announced on September 8 that the United States was forming a joint naval drone task force in the Persian Gulf with Israel and several Arab countries in the Persian Gulf. It will include airborne, naval ships and underwater drones. Apart from this, America has good relations with some other countries. Notable among them are South Korea and Taiwan.

European countries have been members of NATO since its inception. But due to the unilateral policy of the United States, the EU is now talking about leaving NATO and building its own security system. The president of France said on September 28 that the EU must build its own security system. In addition, the EU countries have good relations with China. Speaking at the 11th China-Europe Strategic Dialogue on September 28, Borel, the EU’s chief security officer, said developing relations with China was an important EU agenda. Maintaining close and smooth communication between Europe and China is very important. In this situation, the EU will not be easily involved in anti-China activities at the instigation of the US. So is Turkey, a NATO member and longtime ally of the United States. Relations between the two countries have recently deteriorated over Russia’s S-400 air defense system. Turkey is importing these weapons from Russia despite US objections.

According to the Turkish president, if the United States had sold the Patriot missile system to Ankara, Turkey would not have bought the S-400 from Russia. In this situation, the presidents of Russia and Turkey met in Russia on September 30. During the meeting, Putin said that Russia-Turkey cooperation is running smoothly. Pakistan has become closer to China by severing its long-standing friendship with the United States. The United States has withdrawn all troops from Afghanistan after losing the war to the Taliban.

In addition, it has decided to withdraw all troops from Iraq this month. The country’s foreign minister has called for the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Syria. There are many American troops there. Iran’s Supreme Leader Khamenei has called for an end to foreign military intervention in the region. On the other hand, the United States is talking about a return to Iran’s nuclear deal. Even so, Iran-US relations will not be good. Because America has done the most damage to Iran. Meanwhile, America’s relations with most countries in South America, North America and Africa are not good. Many countries, including many Muslim countries, are unhappy with the United States for its blind support for Israel’s aggression. Many countries have been hit hard by America’s war on terror since the infernal events of 9/11. Muslim countries have suffered the most.

These countries will not easily forget that. The United States has stockpiled the Coronavirus vaccine. As a result, poor countries have been deprived. So they are extremely angry with America. In terms of global relations, the opposition is heavier than the United States. Second, the war on terror has cost the United States nearly 9 trillion over the past 20 years, in addition to killing and injuring many soldiers. But the result of this war is zero. As a result, the Americans have become extremely angry. That’s why President Biden told the United Nations on September 21, “The US military should not be used as a solution to every problem in the world.” Above all, there is NATO. In fact, President Biden’s comments seem to be deceptive. In fact, America is still pursuing a belligerent policy.

Iran, Russia, China, Syria, Palestine, North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba, Algeria, Angola, Belarus, Bolivia, Cambodia, Eritrea, Laos, Nicaragua, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Islands have formed an alliance with these 16 countries. The motto of this alliance is equality, peace and prosperity. This alliance is basically anti-US. On the other hand, after the defeat of America by the Taliban, an undeclared alliance has been formed between China, Russia, Pakistan, Iran, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan. Apart from China and Russia, other countries are also anti-US. These two anti-US alliances could become one in the future. Other anti-US countries may also be involved. It is pertinent to note that in recent times, China’s activities in the field of relations, investment and trade have increased tremendously in the world. According to a BBC report, China is paying twice as much as the United States and other major world powers for development assistance.

Extremely hostile two-polar military alliances have intensified lobbying to strengthen their sphere of influence. At the same time, the military power is increasing.  According to a report by the Stockholm International Pitch Research Institute, ‘global military spending increased by 2.6% to 1,981 billion in 2020, even in the wake of the Corona epidemic. Military spending continues to rise this year. Above all, the military powers are constantly testing new modern weapons. For example, last month the United States conducted a successful test of a hypersonic missile, which is five times faster than sound. That is 6,200 km per hour.

Earlier in July, Russia said it had successfully tested a Zircon hypersonic cruise missile, which has no rival in the world, the country’s president said. China last month unveiled its state-of-the-art air defense technology, the CH-6 drone, which is used in intelligence and military operations. In addition, WZ-7 drones and J-16D fighter jets used in border surveillance and sea patrol have been flown. The J-16 aircraft is capable of creating jams in enemy electronic equipment. China has already prepared its troops to lead the global cyber war. North Korea, Iran and Turkey have occasionally conducted successful tests of sophisticated missiles.

North Korea recently conducted four successful missile tests in a week, which is a hypersonic. Greece signed a 5.8 billion arms deal with France on October 2. Turkey says the deal will pose a threat to regional stability. The Iranian military conducted a military exercise in Sanandaj province on October 1. The lawmakers called it an “extreme warning” against the presence of Zionist Israel in neighboring Azerbaijan. Recently, China has been increasing the number of troops on the Line of Control (LoC) in Ladakh.  Indian Army Chief Naravane said the matter was a matter of concern.

So far, however, four US-led military alliances and one Sino-Russian-Iranian military alliance have emerged. In addition, an alliance initiated by the EU could be a peace alliance. Countries that are reluctant to join a military alliance can join it. After all, NAM is still there. The current trade and regional alliances may be broken by the push of these alliances. The current Cold War could turn into a world war in the future. It is difficult to say who will win then. However, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that no one will survive to see the consequences of a future world war. That is why the UN Secretary-General has warned the United States and China about the “Cold War” and called on the two countries to rebuild their relations.

Whether it is the Cold War or the World War, it is necessary to abandon that path and focus on the solution of the current global crisis such as the rise of the atmosphere, the Corona epidemic, the global recession and the increase in poverty, and peace and prosperity. Last year, a global conference was held at the initiative of the United Nations, involving more than one million people from 193 countries. In it, 90 percent of the negotiators called for resolving the current common crises in the world through multilateralism. In the interest of world peace and security, world leaders need to pay attention to this.

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