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U.S. And Its Allies Try to Split The World in Two

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America’s response to the increasing economic success of China and other nations that until recent decades were impoverished former colonies is to organize its own allies — especially the English-speaking countries — to become a totally separate global economic trading and military alliance standing against that “third world” — and thereby force all non-aligned nations to have to either choose to be allied with the United States or else become conquered by the U.S. and its allies. It’s “Us,” or “Them,” all the way. The top “enemies” (the “Them”) are the same countries that America and its allies were against during the anti-communist Cold War, Russia and China, even though Russia is no longer communist, and China has become a mixture between communism and capitalism. 

America has on its side Saudi Arabia, Israel, Qatar, UAE, and all four of the fascist nations during World War II: Germany, Japan, Italy, and Spain — as well as many other nations.

Russia and China were both allies of the United States during the war against Hitler and his allies, but Franklin Delano Roosevelt had to fight against considerable American support for the fascist powers (overwhelmingly coming from Republicans) during the years before Japan’s Pearl Harbor attack on 7 December 1941. (In fact, on 23 November 1937, Hitler’s agents Kurt von Tippleskirch and Manfred von Killinger, two Barons, were secretly negotiating with top Republicans — including the racist Irénée du Pont — what would have been the Duponts’ second coup-attempt against FDR, but neither attempt succeeded.) As soon as Harry S. Truman (whom the Democratic Party’s billionaires chose to be FDR’s VP in 1944) became President on FDR’s death on 12 April 1945, the alliance with the Soviet Union ended, and the Cold War gelled in Truman’s mind on 25 July 1945 because of advice from General Dwight Eisenhower, whom Truman practically worshipped. On 19 June 1945, Truman wrote to his wife, Bess, “He’s done a whale of a job. They are running him for President, which is O.K. with me. I’d turn it over to him now if I could.” And, on 25 July 1945, Ike told Truman that either the Soviet Union would conquer the world or else America would — and this apparently convinced Truman to go for global empire and to conquer the Soviet Union.

America’s increasingly used method for conquest is the method that was first done against Iraq starting in 1991: international sanctions, followed by coup-attempts that, if unsuccessful, are then followed by an outright military invasion — with or without U.N. approval. More recently, this stepwise method (sanctions, failed coup, then invasion) is being used against Syria, but America no longer applies its own troops for its invasions, and instead uses hired proxy-forces (mercenaries), such as, in Syria, jihadists who are hired from around the world and paid for by the Sauds, and also uses separatist Kurds who are hired who have long wanted to break away from Iraq, Syria, and Turkey in order to establish their own Kurdistan nation, and who are controlled more directly from Washington (since the Sauds don’t control Kurdish forces). America’s troops in Syria train and arm (usually with money being supplied by the royal families of Saudi Arabia and Qatar) the jihadists (who are Al Qaeda-affiliated) and the Kurds.

Right now, America is using its post-WW-II position of being the world’s hegemon or globally dominant nation, so as to, basically, compel every other nation either to join them (as a banana republic or vassal nation) or else to become their enemy by destroying them, as Washington and its allies have done to Syrians, Yemenis, Palestinians, Ukrainians, Venezuelans, Bolivians, Ecuadorans, and, before that, Hondurans, Guatemalans, El Salvadorans, Argentinians, Chileans, Iranians, and many others in what Washington calls “The Free World.” Ideology is no longer the excuse. Now the excuses are “democracy,” “human rights,” “fighting against corruption,” and, of course “national defense” (which likewise was Hitler’s main excuse).

In other words: America is trying to do everything it can to avoid becoming downgraded to become the world’s #2 nation, in terms of power. America’s billionaires are behind this; America’s Government is controlled by them.

The best single statement of America’s position is the speech that Barack Obama gave to the graduating cadets at West Point Military Academy on 28 May 2014, saying:

The United States is and remains the one indispensable nation. That has been true for the century passed and it will be true for the century to come. … Russia’s aggression toward former Soviet states unnerves capitals in Europe, while China’s economic rise and military reach worries its neighbors. From Brazil to India, rising middle classes compete with us, and governments seek a greater say in global forums. … It will be your generation’s task to respond to this new world.

America “responds” to the rising power of nations that formerly had been colonies, by means of offering them this choice: Join with us, or else be destroyed.

As the U.S. Establishment presents and promotes this, it is ‘justified’ because only America is “indispensable”: all other nations are “dispensable.” (Hitler, too, felt that way about all other nations — and most Germans endorsed that supremacism then, just like most Americans support it today.) FDR had planned a non-fascist future for the world, but then he died and (because of whom FDR’s successor was) we got a fascist future, instead, and that’s what we have. Mussolini called fascism “corporationism.” And America is more and more corporationist every decade that passes.

Under the bigoted Hindu-nationalist Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India is now clearly part of the U.S.-UK-led alliance. On 4 March 2021, Munira Lokhandwala headlined “Google Invests Billions in India as Modi and Allies Stage Corporate Takeover of Agriculture” and reported that

In particular, Google’s multi-billion dollar investment in the telecommunications company owned by oil and gas billionaire Mukesh Ambani shows how US Big Tech will stop at nothing to make a bigger profit, even if this includes legitimizing a key supporter of the authoritarian-leaning government that is now a target of mass revolt. Ambani is India’s richest man and a strong corporate ally to BJP leadership, perceived by many as a major beneficiary of the hated agricultural reforms.

In September 2020, the Indian Parliament approved the Indian Agriculture Acts of 2020, also known as the “Farm Bills.” In response, Indian farmers who opposed these bills launched one of the largest protests and series of cross-sectoral strikes that the world has ever seen. 

It’s estimated that over 250 million people have participated in protests against the passage of these bills that Indian farmers see as another phase in the continued attack on their livelihoods and an attempt to deregulate the farming industry to allow for greater private-sector control of food distribution. These changes would favor large corporations like Ambani’s Reliance Industries, who would thrive under the free market conditions that these Farm Bills would create.

India, in the Rhodesist plan, would be a major counter-weight to China.

Japan is another. On 23 April 2021, Craig Mark bannered “From Five Eyes To Six? Japan’s Push To Join The West’s Intelligence Alliance”, and he reported that

As tensions with China continue to grow, Japan is making moves to join the “Five Eyes” intelligence-sharing alliance. This week, Japan’s ambassador to Australia, Shingo Yamagami, told The Sydney Morning Herald he was “optimistic” about his country coming on board. “[I] would like to see this idea become reality in the near future.”

This comes as New Zealand voices its concerns over using the Five Eyes process to pressure China.

What is this spy alliance? And what are the benefits and risks to bringing Japan on board?

What is the Five Eyes?

Beginning as an intelligence exchange agreement between the United States and United Kingdom in 1943, it formally became the UKUSA Agreement in 1946. The agreement then extended to Canada in 1948, and Australia and New Zealand in 1956.

UK has gotten Japan’s Ambassador to Australia to assist Australia to pressure progressive New Zealand to remain in the Rhodesist alliance and thereby help to bring Japan into the Rhodesist core as being the first-ever non-English-speaking country to be admitted into the Rhodes-core (and thereby turn the “Five Eyes” into six). That would achieve what David Rockefeller and his sidekick Zbig Brzezinski (who was a member of Poland’s nobility) had been attempting to do by means of their Trilateral Commission, which was intended to expand beyond the Bilderberg group of NATO countries so as to include also Japan.

On 30 April 2021, the geostrategic analyst Alexander Mercouris headlined a video “Blinken Goes To Ukraine With A Tough Message For Zelensky” and explained that because Putin recently established “red lines” that would provoke a direct military conflict between Russia and the United States if violated by the U.S., Biden has refocused America’s top target to be conquered as being no longer Russia but instead now China. Mercouris says that Ukraine’s U.S.-stooge President Volodmyr Zelensky will probably now be forced to stop threatening to invade the breakaway formerly Ukrainian Donbas region.

However, whereas the U.S. aristocracy’s main medium-term objective is to retain control over Ukraine so as to become enabled to blitz-launch missiles from there to eliminate Moscow’s ability to retaliate against America’s first-strike hit (the U.S. alliance’s updated version of the Nazis’ Operation Barbarossa), the UK’s main medium-term objective is for the U.S.-UK-Saud-Qatar alliance to arm and train jihadists and separatist Kurds to conquer Syria so that the Sauds will control that country. The long-term objective, both of America’s and UK’s aristocrats, is their shared dictatorship over all nations.

On 30 April 2021, the international investigative journalist Finian Cunningham interviewed at Strategic Culture the former UK Ambassador to Syria, the astoundingly courageous Peter Ford, and headlined “Syria Regime Change Still on Western Agenda – Ex-Ambassador Peter Ford”. This whistleblowing former UK Ambassador opened his comments by saying:

The Western powers are like dogs with an old bone on the subject of alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria. There is no meat on it but they continue to gnaw away. Why? Because the trope that “Assad gasses his own people” has become a cornerstone of the whole Western propaganda narrative on Syria. Without it, justifying the cruel economic war on Syria, largely through sanctions, would be harder to justify. And with military efforts at regime change having failed, economic warfare is now the last hope for the Western powers of destabilizing Syria enough to topple the government. For this strategy to work the Western powers are more than ready to undermine the credibility of the OPCW by abusing their ability to manipulate it in the Syrian context.

The interview closed with:

Question: Finally, Syria is holding presidential elections on May 26 in which incumbent Bashar al-Assad is running for re-election. The Western powers disparage Syria as an “undemocratic regime”. How do you view Syria’s polity? Is Assad likely to win re-election?

Peter Ford: Of course Assad will win and of course the Western powers will try to disparage his victory. But I can state with certainty that if you could offer the Conservative party in Britain a guarantee of achieving in the next general election anything anywhere near Assad’s genuine level of support, albeit some of it reluctant from a war-weary people, the Tories would bite your hand off for such an electoral gain. Much of the current Western propaganda effort against Syria is geared at trying to spoil Assad’s victory and deny it legitimacy. But inside Syria itself, the people will see the election as setting the seal on 10 years of struggle, and Assad will emerge strengthened as he faces the next phase in the Western war on Syria.

Furthermore, just the same as the U.S. and their allies were funding, training, and arming jihadists (technically called “Salafist Muslims”) in order to bring about regime-change in Syria, they’re doing the very same thing in order to bring about regime-change in China — in that instance by propagandizing ‘human rights’ for Uyghur Chinese who have been indoctrinated with the Sauds’ extremist-Sunni variant of the Islamic faith (Salafism). (Many of those Salafists, because of their Turkic culture, have recently become more favorable to Turkey than to Saudi Arabia, and therefore on 18 July 2019, Reuters headlined “Saudi Arabia defends letter backing China’s Xinjiang policy”, and reported that the Sauds “defended signing a letter along with 36 other countries in support of China’s policies in its western region of Xinjiang, where the United Nations says at least 1 million ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims have been detained.” The U.S. and UK were now backing pro-Turkish jihadists, instead of pro-Saudi ones. Turkey is a NATO nation; and, so, the Rhodesists don’t care which brand of jihad they are backing in order to break up, or bring regime-change to, China.)

So, even if the U.S. regime might be placing Ukraine onto the back burner, the UK regime, apparently, is unwilling to place the conquest of Syria onto its back burner. And, for both American billionaires and UK billionaires, China is unrelentingly in the gunsights of both aristocracies, to conquer. In fact, on 10 April 2021, Strategic Culture issued an editorial, “Ukraine, Taiwan… Two-Prong U.S. Aggression Toward Russia, China”, which noted: 

Biden is advancing the same policy under the previous Trump and Obama administrations of military buildup near China’s territory. This week saw the fourth U.S. guided-missile destroyer passing through the Taiwan Strait since Biden took office. That narrow sea separates the breakaway island from China’s mainland. Beijing has sovereign territorial claim to Taiwan which is recognized by the vast majority of nations, including up until recently the United States under its so-called “One China” policy. Biden, like his predecessor Donald Trump, is deliberately eroding the One China policy by sending delegates to the island on official visits, increasing weapons sales and most provocatively making public declarations that the U.S. will “defend” Taiwan in the event of “an invasion” by Chinese forces.

Similar to the Ukraine, the Biden administration’s rhetoric and conduct is serving to fuel an ever-more provocative stance by the Taiwanese leaders. This week, a senior official warned that the island’s forces would shoot down Chinese aircraft that approach the territory. This is nothing but a flagrant challenge to China’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. As in the case of the Ukraine and Russia, it is Washington’s words and actions that are inflaming the tensions between Taiwan and China. Yet the Americans accuse others of “aggression” and claim to be providing “defense”.

The only entity that could possibly stop all this would be the U.S.-created European Union. Either they will turn against their creator, and join with Russia and China against U.S. and UK (which would put an end to the Rhodesist team’s insanity), or there will be World War III (though probably not in the near-term future), in which the U.S. regime will blitz-nuclear attack Russia, though that would destroy the planet.

If the EU does break away from the U.S., then it will also be able to relocate the U.N. out of NYC to Europe and reform the U.N. in what had been its inventor’s, FDR’s, intention, that the U.N. become the democratic global federation of nations controlling all nuclear and other geostrategic weapons and forces, and that serves as the sole and authoritative executive, legislative, and judicial, authority for all international-relations issues throughout the world, the democratic federal world government. That’s what Truman and Churchill prevented, and what would produce a world that will have no future world wars, no future wars between empires, because there would no longer be any empires, nor any imperialism.

Either there will be FDR’s intention, or there will be nuclear annihilation. The EU will decide. For the EU to impose FDR’s intention would be for the EU to turn against its creator, which was Truman and all subsequent U.S. Presidents (and their Congresses, which likewise have been controlled by America’s billionaires). However, a likelier alternative would be for some nations to do as UK did and break away from the EU, but for them to do it as UK did not, to realign themselves with Russia, China, and Iran, and away from the U.S. That, too, might prevent WW III and enable the U.N. to be reformed as FDR had been intending it to be: as the global democratic federal republic and sole source and judge and enforcer of international laws — the post-imperialist world, which FDR had planned for. If FDR’s plan doesn’t happen, then WW III will happen, and this was the reason why he had been planning the U.N. as he did. But as soon as he died, on 12 April 1945, the billionaires’ agents worked on Truman, who finally, on 25 July 1945 (based on General Eisenhower’s advice), decided to go for America’s global conquest; and, so, the ceaseless string of subversions, coups, and invasions, by the U.S. (the permanent-warfare state), started. The first coup was 1948 in Thailand, in order to install rulers who would let the OSS-CIA skim from the international narcotics traffic so as to supply the needed off-the-books funding for the CIA’s Special Operations

Author’s note: first posted at Strategic Culture

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

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Afghanistan and Beginning of the Decline of American Power

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Has America’s disgraceful withdrawal from Afghanistan spoiled its global standing? The pictures of retreating American soldiers at Kabul International Airport have certainly reinforced the notion that the United States had lost control of the situation in Afghanistan. The Taliban takeover of the capital has also led many around the world to question America’s basic competence as a great military power.

At the end of the WW2 victory, the US became the dominant power in the international system. The new era was heralded as the harbinger of the ‘American Century’. The fall of communism in eastern Europe and the rest of the world allowed the West— and particularly its leaders, the United States, to go in any direction that it wanted.

After twenty years of war, the image, clout and confidence of the sole superpower go down in history, buried in the debris of destruction of Afghan war, which has lived up to its reputation as the ‘graveyard of empires’, Britain and Soviet Union were earlier in the 19th and 20th century.

The cost of Afghan war brings nothing for its future. Brown University’s cost of war report says that, “since invading Afghanistan in 2001, the United States has spent $ 2.313 trillion on the war, executing expenditure on life time care for American veterans of the war and future interest payments on money borrowed to fund the war”. CNBC writes, “yet it takes just nine days for the Taliban to seize every provincial capital, dissolve the army and overthrow the US backed government”.

Since the beginning of the 21th century, American’s contributions to global GDP have been decreased from 30% to 15% in 2020. A new power has emerged on the world stage to challenge American supremacy—China— with a weapon the Soviet Union never possessed.  The Formal Bilateral Influence Capacity (FBIC) index, a quantitative measure of multidimensional influence between pairs of states. Its report shows the erosion of US influence relative to Chinese influence across nearly every global region. Chinese influence outweighs US influence across much of Africa and Southeast Asia and has increased in former Soviet states. Chinese influence has also eroded the US advantages in South America, West Europe and East Asia.

 US has also become more inward-looking country. Biden has made clear that US foreign policy should serve only US interests. Even its military involvement will be scaled down even more.

The last two decade have brought significant shifts in global geopolitical dynamics. As Indian-American political commentator Fareed Zakariya argued in his 2008 book The Post-American World, “the fact that new powers are more strongly asserting their interests in the reality of the post-American world”.

As the US came to dominate the globe, the order it was morally underpinned by its belief in Manifested Destiny and economically underpinned by the US dollar as the reserve currency. The global order has unraveled mostly at the hands of the US itself. Its moral dimension started to come apart, when the US invaded Iraq in 2003, not only disregarding the UN but also propagating lies about Saddam Hussain regime possessing weapons of mass destruction. The credibility of the economic order was damaged by the great recession of 2008, when major US financial institutions collapsed one after the other.

All of this coincides with the resurgence of Asia and emergence of China as the global economic power house. The rise of Trump, the glowing racial injustice the triggered the Black Lives Matter Movement and the near collapse of the health system amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

America’s competitors like Russia and China now hold the space in Afghanistan. Another bar for the American influence in the region. The lost military credibility in Afghanistan has global ramifications for the U.S.

American intelligence agencies even could not assess the capability of Afghan National Army. The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction 2016 report noted massive corruption and ‘ghost soldiers’ in Afghan army.

Back to the question: Does the return of the Taliban in Afghanistan represent the end of the American era? It can certainly be said that the international image of the United States has been damaged. The U.S. retreat from Afghanistan represents part of a larger inward turn, or the U.S. may soon reassert itself somewhere else to show the world that it still has muscle. Right now, it feels as if the American era isn’t quite over, but it isn’t what it once was, either.

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Early Elections in Canada: Will the Fourth Wave Get in the Way?

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On August 15, Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister of Canada and leader of the Liberal Party, announced an early parliamentary election and scheduled it for September 20, 2021. Canadian legislation allows the federal government to be in power up to 5 years, so normally, the elections should have been held in 2023. However, the government has the right to call early elections at any time. This year, there will be 36 days for the pre-election campaigns.

At the centre of the Liberals’ election campaign is the fight against the COVID-19 epidemic in Canada and the economic recovery. The coronavirus has also become a motivator for early elections. In his statement, Justin Trudeau emphasised that “Canadians need to choose how we finish the fight against COVID-19 and build back better. Canadians deserve their say, and that’s exactly what we are going to give them.” Thus, the main declared goal of the Liberals is to get a vote of confidence from the public for the continuation of the measures taken by the government.

The goal, which the prime minister did not voice, is the desire of the Liberal Party to win an absolute majority in the Parliament. In the 2019 elections, the Liberals won 157 seats, which allowed them to form a minority government, which is forced to seek the support of opposition parties when making decisions.

The somewhat risky move of the Liberals can be explained. The Liberals decided to take advantage of the high ratings of the ruling party and the prime minister at the moment, associated with a fairly successful anti-COVID policy, hoping that a high level of vaccination (according to official data, 71% of the Canadian population, who have no contraindications, are fully vaccinated and the emerging post-pandemic economic recovery will help it win a parliamentary majority.

Opinion polls show that the majority of Canadians approve Trudeau’s strategy to overcome the coronavirus pandemic. Between the 2019 elections and the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Trudeau’s government was unpopular, with ratings below 30%. Unlike Donald Trump, Trudeau’s approval rating soared after the outbreak of the pandemic to 55%. During the election campaign, the rating of the Liberal Party decreased and was 31.6% on September 16, which reduces the chances of a landslide victory.

Trudeau left unanswered the question of whether he’d resign if his party fails to win an absolute majority in the elections.

Leaders of opposition parties—the Conservative Party, the New Democratic Party, Bloc Québécois, and the Green Party—criticised Trudeau’s decision to call early elections, considering the decision inappropriate for the timing and situation with regard to the risk of the fourth wave of the coronavirus epidemic. They stressed that the government’s primary task should be taking measures to combat the pandemic and restore the economy, rather than trying to hold onto power.

The on-going pandemic will change the electoral process. In the event of a fourth wave, priority will be given to postal voting. Liberal analysts are concerned that the registration process to submit ballots by mail could stop their supporters from voting, thereby undermining Trudeau’s drive to reclaim a majority government. However, postal voting is the least popular among voters of the Conservative Party, and slightly more popular among voters of the Liberal and New Democratic parties. The timeframe for vote-counting will be increased. While ballots are usually counted on the morning after election day, it can take up to five days for postal voting.

One of the key and most attractive campaign messages of the Liberal Party is the reduction of the average cost of childcare services. Liberals have promised to resolve this issue for many years, but no active action has been taken. Justin Trudeau noted that the pandemic has highlighted the importance of this issue.

As in the 2019 elections, the Liberal Party’s key rival will be the Conservative Party, led by new leader Erin O’Toole. The Conservative Party’s rating a five days before the election was 31.3%. Conservatives suggest a different approach to childcare—providing a refundable child tax subsidy that covers up to 75% of the cost of kindergarten for low-income families. Trudeau has been harshly criticised by the Conservatives in connection with the scale of spending under his leadership, especially during the pandemic, and because of billion-dollar promises. In general, the race will not be easy for the conservative O’Toole. This is the first time he is running for the post of prime minister, in contrast to Justin Trudeau. Moreover, the Conservative Party of Canada is split from within, and the candidate is faced with the task of consolidating the party. The Conservative will have to argue against the billion-dollar promises which were made by the ruling Liberals before the elections.

The leaders of the other parties have chances to increase their seats in Parliament compared to the results of the 2019 elections, but they can hardly expect to receive the necessary number of votes to form a government. At the same time, the personal popularity of Jagmeet Singh, the candidate from the New Democratic Party, is growing, especially among young people. The level of his popularity at the end of August was 19.8%. Singh intends to do everything possible to steal progressive voters from the Liberal Party and prevent the formation of a Liberal-majority government. Singh will emphasise the significant role of the NDP under the minority government in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and highlight that it was the New Democratic Party that was able to influence government decisions and measures to support the population during the pandemic.

Bloc Québécois leader Yves-François Blanchet, whose popularity level was 6.6%, intends to increase the Bloc’s presence in Parliament and prevent the loss of votes in the province of Quebec in favour of the Liberal Party. According to him, it is fundamentally important to protect the French language and the ideas of secularism. The Bloc Québécois is also not interested in the formation of a majority government by the Liberals.

Green Party leader Annamie Paul is in a difficult position due to internal party battles. Moreover, her rating is low: 3.5%. Higher party officials have even tried to pass a no-confidence vote against her. Annamie Paul’s goal is, in principle, to get a seat in Parliament in order to be able to take part in voting on important political issues. The Greens are focused on climate change problems, the principles of social justice, assistance to the most needy segments of the population, and the fight against various types of discrimination.

Traditionally, foreign policy remains a peripheral topic of the election campaign in Canada. This year, the focus will be on combating the COVID-19 epidemic, developing the social sphere, and economic recovery, which will push foreign policy issues aside even further.

The outcome of the elections will not have a significant impact on Russian-Canadian relations. An all-party anti-Russian consensus has developed in Canada; none of the parties have expressed any intention of developing a dialogue with Russia.

From our partner RIAC

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Interpreting the Biden Doctrine: The View From Moscow

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Official White House Photo by Carlos Fyfe

It is the success or failure of remaking America, not Afghanistan, that will determine not just the legacy of the Biden administration, but the future of the United States itself.

The newly unveiled Biden doctrine, which renounces the United States’ post-9/11 policies of remaking other societies and building nations abroad, is a foreign policy landmark. Coming on the heels of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, it exudes credibility. Indeed, President Biden’s moves essentially formalize and finalize processes that have been under way for over a decade. It was Barack Obama who first pledged to end America’s twin wars—in Iraq and Afghanistan—started under George W. Bush. It was Donald Trump who reached an agreement with the Taliban on a full U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021. Both Obama and Trump also sought, albeit in strikingly different ways, to redirect Washington’s attention to shoring up the home base.

It is important for the rest of the world to treat the change in U.S. foreign policy correctly. Leaving Afghanistan was the correct strategic decision, if grossly overdue and bungled in the final phases of its implementation. Afghanistan certainly does not mean the end of the United States as a global superpower; it simply continues to be in relative and slow decline. Nor does it spell the demise of American alliances and partnerships. Events in Afghanistan are unlikely to produce a political earthquake within the United States that would topple President Biden. No soul searching of the kind that Americans experienced during the Vietnam War is likely to emerge. Rather, Washington is busy recalibrating its global involvement. It is focusing even more on strengthening the home base. Overseas, the United States is moving from a global crusade in the name of democracy to an active defense of liberal values at home and Western positions abroad.

Afghanistan has been the most vivid in a long series of arguments that persuaded Biden’s White House that a global triumph of liberal democracy is not achievable in the foreseeable future. Thus, remaking problematic countries—“draining the swamp” that breeds terrorism, in the language of the Bush administration—is futile. U.S. military force is a potent weapon, but no longer the means of first resort. The war on terror as an effort to keep the United States safe has been won: in the last twenty years, no major terrorist attacks occurred on U.S. soil. Meantime, the geopolitical, geoeconomic, ideological, and strategic focus of U.S. foreign policy has shifted. China is the main—some say, existential—challenger, and Russia the principal disrupter. Iran, North Korea, and an assortment of radical or extremist groups complete the list of adversaries. Climate change and the pandemic have risen to the top of U.S. security concerns. Hence, the most important foreign policy task is to strengthen the collective West under strong U.S. leadership.

The global economic recession that originated in the United States in 2007 dealt a blow to the U.S.-created economic and financial model; the severe domestic political crisis of 2016–2021 undermined confidence in the U.S. political system and its underlying values; and the COVID-19 disaster that hit the United States particularly hard have all exposed serious political, economic, and cultural issues and fissures within American society and polity. Neglecting the home base while engaging in costly nation-building exercises abroad came at a price. Now the Biden administration has set out to correct that with huge infrastructure development projects and support for the American middle class.

America’s domestic crises, some of the similar problems in European countries, and the growing gap between the United States and its allies during the Trump presidency have produced widespread fears that China and Russia could exploit those issues to finally end U.S. dominance and even undermine the United States and other Western societies from within. This perception is behind the strategy reversal from spreading democracy as far and wide as Russia and China to defending the U.S.-led global system and the political regimes around the West, including in the United States, from Beijing and Moscow.

That said, what are the implications of the Biden doctrine? The United States remains a superpower with enormous resources which is now trying to use those resources to make itself stronger. America has reinvented itself before and may well be able to do so again. In foreign policy, Washington has stepped back from styling itself as the world’s benign hegemon to assume the combat posture of the leader of the West under attack.

Within the collective West, U.S. dominance is not in danger. None of the Western countries are capable of going it alone or forming a bloc with others to present an alternative to U.S. leadership. Western and associated elites remain fully beholden to the United States. What they desire is firm U.S. leadership; what they fear is the United States withdrawing into itself. As for Washington’s partners in the regions that are not deemed vital to U.S. interests, they should know that American support is conditional on those interests and various circumstances. Nothing new there, really: just ask some leaders in the Middle East. For now, however, Washington vows to support and assist exposed partners like Ukraine and Taiwan.

Embracing isolationism is not on the cards in the United States. For all the focus on domestic issues, global dominance or at least primacy has firmly become an integral part of U.S. national identity. Nor will liberal and democratic ideology be retired as a major driver of U.S. foreign policy. The United States will not become a “normal” country that only follows the rules of realpolitik. Rather, Washington will use values as a glue to further consolidate its allies and as a weapon to attack its adversaries. It helps the White House that China and Russia are viewed as malign both across the U.S. political spectrum and among U.S. allies and partners, most of whom have fears or grudges against either Moscow or Beijing.

In sum, the Biden doctrine does away with engagements that are no longer considered promising or even sustainable by Washington; funnels more resources to address pressing domestic issues; seeks to consolidate the collective West around the United States; and sharpens the focus on China and Russia as America’s main adversaries. Of all these, the most important element is domestic. It is the success or failure of remaking America, not Afghanistan, that will determine not just the legacy of the Biden administration, but the future of the United States itself.

From our partner RIAC

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