The Biden doctrine, if solely… | Joe Biden Information
Three decades after the United States left the Cold War as the world’s undisputed superpower, the Biden government is inheriting an overburdened, overburdened and overburdened country, thanks not least to the grandiose and ruthless neoliberal and neoconservative policies of its predecessors.
The Bush Sr. administration, following the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact, led an unprecedented geopolitical expansion that spearheaded the expansion of NATO and sparked the First Gulf War, which paved the way for a permanent U.S. military presence in the Middle East.
This was followed by the Clinton administration’s “from containment to enlargement” doctrine, which pursued a neoliberal foreign policy aimed at expanding “markets and democracies” in Eastern Europe and elsewhere.
Then came the “war presidency” of Bush Jr., which started a so-called “global war on terror” after the 9/11 attacks and sparked two major wars within two years.
After those catastrophic wars and the 2008 financial crisis, the Obama administration re-focused its efforts on repairing the US economy. It pledged to downsize US strategic commitments around the world and turn to Asia to militarily and economically contain an emerging China.
The Trump administration followed in its predecessor’s footsteps, albeit populist and chaotic. But instead of leading the country forward, President Donald Trump created a bygone era in an incoherent attempt to “make America great again.”
As a longtime Senator, Joe Biden supported the US wars in Grenada and Panama in the 1980s. in the Balkans in the 1990s and in Afghanistan and Iraq in the 2000s. The only time he resisted a war – the 1991 Gulf War – he later regretted it.
All of this paints a clear pattern of falsehood.
However, Biden also regretted his support for the disastrous 2003 Gulf War and has since withheld support for US military actions, including the boom in Afghanistan, the NATO bombing of Libya and even President Barack Obama’s “red line” in Syria that threatened Syria Punish regimes for using chemical weapons.
As you can see, here too there is a pattern of caution that I believe will dominate the Biden administration’s foreign policy strategy for the next four years, along with an increased emphasis on strengthening multilateralism and reshaping geo-economics.
This emerges from Biden’s National Security Agenda, which promises to restore America’s prosperity and leadership.
The agenda is based on a study carried out by veterans of the Obama administration in the Washington think tank The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. It takes stock of the last 30 years and proposes a “foreign policy for the middle class”.
Two of the authors, Jake Sullivan and Salman Ahmed, became Biden’s National Security Advisor and Director of State Department Policy Planning, respectively.
But what does that really mean? And will it work?
The first pillar of this agenda reflects Trump’s “America First” doctrine, but takes a broader and more progressive view of geoeconomics than trade in manufactured goods. While the Biden government defends free trade, it pledges to offset any collateral damage with domestic investments that serve middle-class America.
The second pillar rightly believes that globalization “has benefited the country’s top earners and multinationals disproportionately and has exacerbated growing domestic economic inequality” and therefore commits to revising trade mechanisms to meet the needs of the average American better to match.
The third pillar describes a more creative approach in which domestic-foreign silos are broken down in order to better align foreign policy with domestic needs. This has become a priority with the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic as the US and other developed nations relied on China and others for medical care.
The fourth pillar wisely recognizes the need to “banish” lofty or arrogant foreign policy goals that are detached from domestic policy needs and envisages a shift in defense spending towards research and development in order to advance the US innovation lead. She advocates the abandonment of transaction relations à la Trump in favor of broad and constructive engagement for the international community.
The fifth pillar aims to restore the international credibility of the US leadership, strengthen existing alliances while leaving the door open for improved relations with global competitors such as China and Russia.
While it may initially take a difficult position vis-à-vis Moscow and Beijing, the Biden administration is likely to take a pragmatic approach to national security that rejects the idea of restoring US primacy in a unipolar world to a new Cold War with China escalate or lead a cosmic battle between the world’s democracies and authoritarian governments.
However, the agenda is quite ambitious and can last for many years, if not decades, if at all. Why?
First, it contradicts the conventional wisdom of the Washington foreign policy establishment, which a former Obama adviser mockingly referred to as a “blob”.
Second, there is little to restore and a lot to repair and redesign as the world has evolved since the Cold War.
And third, the 78-year-old president is a man of continuity, compromise and consensus. He lacks the momentum to push this ambitious agenda through. He is more likely to consult Republicans on the other side of the island and allies on the other side of the Atlantic than to move forward with his Democratic majority in both houses of Congress.
In other words, Biden may speak the conversation, but it is doubtful we can go the way. Or if he has the energy to cope with the urgent crises that have been exacerbated or neglected by his predecessors in the Middle East, for example.
While his government rightly pressures Saudi Arabia to end the war in Yemen, it has so far avoided tackling the equally terrible war in Syria, where Russia is far harder to convince.
It advocates a return to the Iranian nuclear deal but is not taking the immediate steps necessary to resume it.
She criticizes the Egyptian regime’s sad human rights record, but has carried out a US $ 200 million arms sale to the Egyptian army.
She advocates restoring relations with the Palestinians, but appears unwilling to pressure Israel to freeze settlement buildings or end its occupation.
And it takes its sweet time deciding what to do with its military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan, let alone figuring out its endgame there.
In conclusion, it is one thing to draw an ambitious agenda for national renewal and agree to some kind of national security doctrine and quite another thing to stick to it.
This is especially true for a world power like the United States, where changing direction is more like steering a tanker than turning a speedboat.
So expect Biden to move quickly to undo Trump’s undoing of Obama, but then move slowly, patiently consulted, willfully prioritize and act proportionally.
Given the painful past four years, let alone decades, I would be delighted if Biden even began to undo the megalomaniac thinking that has shaped US neoliberal and neoconservative foreign policy.
Comments are closed.