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.
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.
Why Congress should be rough on Chris Miller at his testimony on Wednesday
FBI director Chris Wray’s weak congressional testimony in March left most of the Capitol attack questions unanswered and most of us scratching our heads: if the chiefs of the intelligence agencies don’t know, then who does?
As I argued back in March, before Senate Wray picked the low hanging fruit questions — such as confirming that the Trump mob that stormed the Capitol was indeed Trump’s mob and not some other people — while conviniently glazing over the real questions.
This is why the congressional testimony by former acting Secretary of Defense, Chris Miller, this Wednesday matters. The national guard mystery is still the elephant in the room that’s still sitting in the corner in loud, deafening silence.
The House Oversight and Reform Committee has been looking for answers from federal intelligence agencies on Trump’s role in the Capitol insurrection since day one. They have knocked on pretty much any door they could think of, requesting information from sixteen offices in total. That brings us to Wednesday when the Committee will hear from Chris Miller, as well as Jeff Rosen, former acting Attorney General, and Robert Contee III, District of Columbia Police Chief, in a hearing titled “The Capitol Insurrection: Unexplained Delays and Unanswered Questions.”
Back in March, when Senate grilled Wray, the FBI director could not answer why the national guard was not sent in to quell the attack. Wray vaguely put the decision on local policy makers, conveniently circumventing federal responsibility.
Then months later, defense officials actually stated that the national guard was delayed for reasons of “optics” and worries over how it would look if Trump’s mob was pushed out forcefully, as they should’ve been. Miller dragged his feet for hours before giving the green light, as he wanted to imagine what exactly the national guard’s intervention will look like. The actual deployment took only 20 minutes, logistically speaking.
Miller has already spoken about Trump’s “cause and effect” words responsible for inciting the Capitol attacks. And some commentators like Sarah Burris at Raw Story already predict that Miller is about to throw Trump under the bus on Wednesday.
But that’s not enough. Where was Miller back then? The delay was his decision and no one else’s. The Congressmen and Congresswomen of the House Oversight and Reform Committee chaired by Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, should not go easy on Miller only because now, after the fact, he is willing to speak up against Trump. Now it’s easy. Now it doesn’t count.
Trump removed Secretary of Defense Esper over his objection to sending the national guard on the Black Lives Matter movement that sparked up exactly one year ago. That’s why Trump replaced Esper with Miller. Miller could have also said no to Trump but he played along. That’s why Miller doesn’t get to play hero now. There are no heroes in the Trump Administration’s aftermath. Some “cause and effect” talk and hypocritical outrage after the fact don’t count. Now doesn’t count. The House Oversight and Reform Committee shouldn’t buy this. The time for cheap spins and late awakened conscience is up. Now is the time for real answers. Miller and Rosen should get a rough ride on Wednesday. Anything else would not be acceptable.
The Way Out of the Impasse Between Iran & U.S.
On June 18th, Iran will hold its Presidential election. The current Government is led by Iran’s moderates, who are the people that aren’t closed-minded to the possibility of America’s being less than 100% determined to take back Iran as America had grabbed that country in the 1953 U.S. coup there, which ended Iran’s democracy and installed the brutal and much-hated fascist Shah Reza Pahlevi. The non-moderates in Iran will not negotiate with the United States, and never did. Restoration of the Iran deal will be impossible if the non-moderates again win power there. But we have only until before that June 18th election to restore it, if it is to be done at all.
There is a superb explanation of this situation, by Alexander Mercouris, in a 38-minute talk by him at The Duran on 2 May 2021, and it is a preface to everything that I shall here be adding to it, which will be only my policy-conclusions which follow, I believe, quite logically, from the facts that he so clearly and accurately presents there. That video (which I recommend everyone to listen to) can be seen here:
He concludes by saying (and I add my comments [in non-italics and in-between brackets]), starting at 31:50-
We will see, over the next few weeks, whether the U.S. and Iran are able to overcome their common mistrust [which has resulted from Trump’s having cancelled the Iran deal, which had taken years to negotiate] and find a way forward, or whether opponents of the JCPOA [the Iran deal] in the United States, in Saudi Arabia and Israel, and in Iran itself, will instead prevail. I should say that I think that this is going to be a key moment in the Middle East. If the United States is able to re-enter the JCPOA, after having made various steps to walk away from it [Biden’s having promised that he wouldn’t return to it unless Iran would first agree, in advance, to making concessions, beyond those it had made in the JCPOA, which — if Iran, which had adhered to the deal, which the U.S. did not, were to do that — would outrage the Iranian public and thus guarantee the current Iranian Government’s fall and replacement by the non-moderates; so, that demand by Biden was stupid in the extreme], but if it re-enters it on Iranian terms [that is, unconditionally, which is the only way for the deal’s violator to be able to return to the deal], then it would be very difficult for people in the Middle East to see it [because Biden had promised not to do that] as anything other than a major concession and a signal that the United States is, indeed retreating from the Middle East. Iran will, at that point, be in the ascendant, and it will probably increase its influence in places like Iraq, and possibly Syria and Lebanon also. The Saudis and Israelis, by contrast, will be dismayed, and no doubt they will consider what steps they should take, possibly distancing themselves, to some extent, not perhaps from the United States, but from this Administration [meaning that many mega-donors to the Democratic Party while Biden or Harris are leading the Party will quit or greatly reduce their donations to it, and that Republicans will probably then easily retake the U.S. White House in 2024]. The alternative, however, it seems to me, is worse [for the United States and everyone]. If the United States and Iran cannot agree a way forward, and the JCPOA [restoration] fails, then the situation is set up for a showdown, at some point, between the United States and Iran, with Iran, almost certainly in that case, pushing forward [under rule by its non-moderates] with its nuclear enrichment program, and forging, at the same time, ever-closer ties with the new Eurasian powers, Russia and China, which are increasingly working together. At that point, some kind of military hostilities, in the Middle East, become more likely.
The United States, once more, finds itself in a difficult position. It does so because of the way in which it has inserted itself, to such a degree, in the affairs of the Middle East, which, in some ways, it does not fully understand, and which it is certainly unable to control.
Trying to build long-term policy in the Middle East by an outside power, like the United States has done, is like trying to build a castle on a foundation of sand. The edifice might look imposing for a while, but eventually it crumbles.
It seems to me that, whatever happens, over the next few weeks, we are going to see, with these negotiations, the beginning of that long retreat, or, rather, a further step in that long retreat, of the United States, from the Middle East, and [from] that era, which began in the 1970s, when the United States managed to establish itself as the prevailing overwhelmingly dominant power across the Middle East and the country that essentially decided the course of decisions and events there.
So, this will be a step towards the end of an era. If so, however — if the United States manages to withdraw in an orderly way by agreeing to the JCPOA, despite the embarrassment and, to some extent, the humiliation [because Biden has promised not to do this] that it will suffer — that will at least provide a route for a dignified farewell.
If, on the other hand, the negotiations fail, and the JCPOA dies, then the eventual outcome of an American retreat from the Middle East will probably happen still, but the sequence of events will be disorderly, chaotic, and, perhaps, violent.
Biden chose, when he entered office in January, to commit his Administration to Trump’s foreign policies. He accepted the relocation of the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, which was a slap in the face to the Palestinians. He accepted Trump’s acceptance of Obama’s policy that Crimea and Donbas — which had separated themselves from Ukraine after Obama’s coup which had seized Ukraine’s government in February 2014, as a result of a plan by Obama which had started forming in Obama’s Administration in 2011 — must be seized back by Ukraine, and Biden promised that the United States would help Ukraine to do that. And he accepted Trump’s continuation of Obama’s plan to oust Bashar al-Assad from power in Syria and replace him with leaders who would be selected by the Saud family. He also accepted Obama’s and Trump’s change in American policy on Taiwan, toward switching away from the decades-long “one-China” policy of refusing to grant separate-nation status to Taiwan, toward now sending officials to Taiwan in violation of that policy and toward sending warships to the Taiwan Strait (internationally recognized by every nation except America to be Chinese territory) as a threat and preparation for publicly demanding that Taiwan be recognized by the United Nations as being a separate nation and no longer a province of China. All of these policies were build-ups toward some hoped-for surrender by Russia, and by China, and by Iran, to Biden, which would supposedly happen in some way without direct military conflict between the United States and Russia, and/or China, and/or Iran.
Furthermore: Biden continues Trump’s — who continued Obama’s — policy to get the UK Government to transfer Julian Assange from a British super-max prison in solitary confinement to a U.S. Supermax prison in solitary confinement so that the U.S. can permanently remove Assange from access to the public and perhaps execute him on totally bogus charges. Assange has never been convicted of anything and has been imprisoned by the UK Government for over a decade, awaiting a court ruling that he can be extradited to the U.S. for elimination. Here was the first day of his only trial, which ended in no conviction and in what was expected to be his release from that super-max prison, and both on that first day and on the last day of his trial (as can be seen there), British ‘justice’ was clearly outrageous and suitable only for a dictatorship. Furthermore, instead of that regime releasing him, the U.S. regime under Trump and now continuing under Biden appealed UK’s ruling that had declined to extradite him, and both the UK and the U.S. Governments are keeping him in that UK supermax solitary confinement until UK either announces that he is dead or else extradites him to a U.S. prison to await his death in some American prison — regardless of whether or not he ever becomes convicted of anything.
Biden chose this astoundingly stupid and arrogant policy of the U.S.&UK imperium, instead of criticized and renounced his immediate predecessors’ policies on these matters.
It is vastly more difficult for him to reverse those stupid and dangerous policies now, after he had announced them, and to back America down from them peaceably, than it would have been if he had not entered the White House in the way that he did, as a continuation of George W. Bush and of Barack Obama and of Donald Trump’s policies on these matters. He has been continuing down their road to World War III.
His immediate predecessors were building toward World War III, and he chose to build more toward that War, but Mercouris seems to me to be expecting that Biden will discontinue that road now, after Biden’s having committed himself toward building that way even more than his immediate predecessors did.
The road to WW III is long, and Biden, by now, should recognize that we are nearing the end of that road, which would be the inevitable annihilationist destination of the road that the U.S. has been taking.
At this point, either Iran will, yet again, have to yield-up its sovereignty (basically return to being an American colony, as it was between 1953 and 1979), or Russia will have to yield-up its sovereignty (which it never did yield), or China will have to yield-up its sovereignty (which it formerly had done when Britain grabbed it), or else the United States will have to stop demanding them to yield up their sovereignty.
Why has Biden chosen this dead-end? The reason (besides his stupidity) is obvious: The only alternative for him has been and is for the U.S. Government to face courageously and honestly in front of the entire world, that its existing policies on each one of these matters is imperialistic and alien to what had been the plan and the intent of U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, his plan to end all imperialisms and replace them by the first global democratic federation of nations, by means of the sole possessor of strategic weaponry being the United Nations, the organization which FDR himself invented, created and named, but which his immediate successor, Harry S. Truman, catastrophically weakened in order to prepare for the U.S. Government itself to take over control of the entire world and dictate to it as the world’s first all-encompassing global empire. In 1991 when the Soviet Union and its communism and its Warsaw Pact military alliance all ended, it seemed as if Truman’s goal of a global U.S. dictatorship would finally be fulfilled, and that was supposed to be “the end of history.” But it was, instead, only America’s intensified war for global dictatorship, and the end of that war will come now, but definitely not on America’s terms.
Either Biden will, now, proudly take up and continue, the vision of FDR — to end all empires, meaning especially its own, and to transform the U.N. into what FDR had planned it to become, the democratic federation of all nations — or else, there will be global nuclear annihilation.
Clearly, Biden, throughout his life, has been stupid and arrogant, but the question facing him now is whether to continue this, right up to its ugly end, or else to announce, proudly, that he is a decent person and will return America, and the world, to what had been FDR’s vision for it.
If he chooses the latter path, then — and this is the only way to do it — America will again take up the banner of freedom and democracy, to the entire world: including nations that it (for whatever reasons, valid or not) disapproves of. And, then, he will win the Nobel Peace Prize, which Obama had won but did only one thing ever to have deserved, which was the JCPOA (which he hadn’t yet even envisioned when he was accepting that entirely unearned Prize).
Whereas Mercouris seemed to me to be optimistic that Biden would do the sane thing, I am not, because Biden has given no indication that he is willing to renounce his, and his immediate predecessors’, extremely ugly record, of reaching to grab the entire world.
Author’s note: first posted at Strategic Culture
Trump Lost, Biden Won. Is Joe Biden’s presidency a signal towards Obama’s America?
Greek statesmen, Pericles once said, “Just because you don’t take an interest in politics doesn’t mean the politics won’t take interest in you”. The same is the case of United States politics which knowingly or unknowingly has an impact on world politics. That is why the result of the US elections are of great interest to states across the world. Although, for the United States, the goal is to maintain American primacy, to see a world in which the United States can use its predominant power to get its way, regardless of what others want. However, it is a fact that the political landscape of the United States has mostly been dominated by two parties, Republicans and Democrats, who not only differ in their ideas, policies, priorities but also in their approaches towards addressing the key issues facing the country.
Comparing the two, we see the Republicans are more conservative in their approach as compared to the liberal Democrats. Therefore, the recent election in the US (2020), with Biden (Democrat) won and trump (Republican) lost is also a signal towards a changed approach in many issue areas The focus is to see, whether the new President, Joe Biden who remained the 47th vice president during Obama’s administration for eight long years is going to follow the same lines as Barack Obama and whether he going to reverse the policies of Donald Trump?
Looking at first the climate change issues, President Joe Biden’s plans to tackle it seems more ambitious than any of the US presidential candidates so far. Biden during his presidential campaign proposed $2trillion over four years to significantly escalate the use of clean energy in transportation, electricity and building sectors. His public health and environment platform planned the establishment of a climate and environmental justice division. He further intends to make the US electricity production carbon-free by 2035 with achieving net-zero emissions by middle of the century. Apart from all these, the most noticeable is President Joe Biden’s promise to reverse Trump’s plan to exit from the Paris climate agreement that was signed back in 2016 under Obama’s administration.
As Joe Biden in response to the former President, Donald Trump’s unilateral withdrawal from the agreement on 4th-Nov 2020, tweeted “Today, the Trump Administration officially left the Paris Climate Agreement. And in exactly 77 days, a Biden Administration will rejoin it.” He further stated“Reversing the decision would be one of my first acts as president”. This is exactly what happened as Joe Biden’s first act in the Oval Office was his signing an executive order to have the United States rejoin the Paris climate agreement. Thus, while Trump has taken a strident anti-climate approach, President Joe Biden decision shows his intentions to bring back the policies of Obama towards climate change.
Considering the health sector, we again find difference in approaches of Joe Biden and Donald Trump, yet similarity between Biden and Obama. As, President Joe Biden in his presidential campaign speech in Lancaster on June 25, 2020 defended the first American healthcare law also known as the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare that was initiated by Obama’s administration. He stated, “I’m proud of the Affordable Care Act. In addition to helping people with pre-existing conditions, it delivered vital coverage for 20 million Americans who did not have health insurance”. This depicts President Joe Biden’s plans to restore Obama’s health care policies.
America is known as the land for all, a land of cultural diversity, but we have seen with Donald Trump coming to power, the immigration rules became very strict as he imposed restrictions on foreigner’s visits to the US. An example of this is Trump’s first Muslim travel ban announced on January 27, 2017, whereby five Muslim-majority countries, including Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen, were banned from traveling to the United States. Trump stated, the act is needed for national security and to save the country from terrorism. However, this discriminatory act was opposed by ex-President Obama, who in 2016, stated: “America was a country founded on religious freedom. We don’t have religious tests here”.
This is what President Joe Biden also believes in, as he called Trump’s actions on immigration a pitiless assault on American values. On November 8, 2020 during the presidential campaign, he said,“My administration will look like America with Muslim Americans serving at every level,” and “on my first day in office I’ll end Trump’s unconstitutional Muslim ban.”So, President Joe Biden did what he said, as on his first day in office he signed 17 executive orders, memorandums and proclamations, including orders to rejoin the Paris Climate Accord and end the Muslim ban.
Then racism that increased in the US under former President Donald Trump is now challenged by President Joe Biden as he came up with a very different idea just like Barack Obama’s notion of “A more perfect Union”. Example of which is Kamala Harris, who became the first black Asian America woman vice-president in American history. More can be seen by Joe Biden giving credit to African Americans for helping him win the election. So, his presidency is seen as a sign of hope to end racism in the country.
Moving further, we know globalization has cut the long-distance short, it has made countries more interconnected in all aspects, especially economic. To name a champion of globalization, obviously no other than the USA comes into the mind of every single person. Under the administration of Obama, we have seen the US convening the G-20 summit, introduced macro-economic policies, signed Trans pacific partnership, and much more. However, the question is, whether the US is going to retain this all under Joe Biden’s presidency? What would be his approach towards the ongoing US-China trade war?
President Joe Biden from the very start has focused on rebuilding the domestic economy, as the slogan ‘Build Back Better’. Therefore, he clearly stated that the US will not enter any international trade deals unless the domestic concerns of labor and the environment are fully addressed. Moreover, looking at the US-China trade war, which started back in 2018 when the Trump administration imposed tariffs on Chinese goods worth more than $360bn, we don’t find much difference except the tactics. As Joe Biden too in his presidential campaign accused China of violating international trade rules, subsidizing its companies, and stealing U.S. intellectual property. He promised to continue with Trump’s heavy tariffs on Chinese imports, but while Trump did this all unilaterally, Biden would continue it together with the allies.
On issues related to national security, we again find President Joe Biden’s approach a bit different from that of Donald Trump. Considering the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or p5+1 deal that was signed between Islamic Republic of Iran and 5 permanent members of UNSC along with Germany. It imposed several restrictions on Iran in exchange for sanction reliefs and was achieved by Obama’s administration under his “constructive engagement policy“in 2015 But Trump smashed it by calling it a historical blunder and in 2018 under his “Maximum pressure policy” pulled the USA out of the deal and reinstated sanctions. Iran too after the withdrawal of US from JCPOA and upon Iran Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC) commander Qasim Sulemani killing by the US airstrike announced that it no longer adheres to the 2015 Nuclear Deal.
Now, the hope is President Joe Biden, as he stated in his presidential campaign that the “maximum pressure” policy has failed, emphasizing that it led to a significant escalation in tensions, and that Iran is now closer to a nuclear weapon than it was when Trump came to office. Therefore, he pledged to rejoin the nuclear accord if Iran returns to strict compliance. Here again it shows President Joe Biden’s intention to follow Obama’s approach of constructive engagement towards Iran.
When it comes to Afghanistan, Trump decided to end the endless war in Afghanistan by having a peace agreement with the Afghan Taliban, according to which the US will withdraw all its troops from Afghanistan. However, Joe Biden has not taken any clear decision on it yet. But he is under pressure as the Taliban wants the new president to follow the same peace accord achieved by the Trump administration. Yet, the Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani has requested President Joe Biden to rethink the Afghan peace deal. Therefore, it is too early to say what Biden would do.
To sum up, the 78 years old Joe Biden who has smashed the election records by securing more votes than any presidential candidate in the history of United States elections, he has not only raised high expectations, but there are numerous challenges on his way as well. This is because his policies would now be a center of focus for many. In most of the issue areas, we see President Joe Biden reversing the policies of Donald Trump and following the path of Obama’s Administration. Something which he promised during his presidential campaign as he said to take the country on a very different path from what it has been in the past four years under former President Donald Trump’s administration. However, it’s just the start of a new journey for America and the future decisions by President Joe Biden will uncover a lot more
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