Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
November 17, 2020

Joe Biden's Foreign Policy Team

As this blog is often concerned with U.S. foreign policy and the damage it causes, a look at Biden's foreign policy team seems adequate.

In short - it is awful.

Susan Rice of Benghazi fame, National Security Advisor under Obama, is said to become Secretary of State.

Michele Flournoy, co-founder of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), will become Secretary of Defense. Flournoy is a hawk. CNAS is financed by donations from the who-is-who of the military industrial complex. She also co-founded WestExec Advisors, a consultancy that pulls strings to help companies to win Pentagon contracts.

Also at WestExec Advisors was Tony Blinken who is set to become the National Security Advisor. He was National Security Advisor for then Vice President Biden, Deputy National Security Advisor for Obama and Deputy Secretary of State.

All three, together with Joe Biden, promoted the 2003 war on Iraq and supported the wars the Obama administration launched or continued against some seven countries.

They will continue to wage those wars and will probably add a few new ones.

Biden has said that he will re-instate the nuclear agreement with Iran but with 'amendments'. A realistic analysis shows that Iran is likely to reject any modification of the original deal:

The Biden administration will face the harsh reality that the amendments to the JCPOA that it needs to make its return to the agreement politically viable are unacceptable to Iran. The new US administration will more than likely find itself in a situation in which sanctions, including those on oil exports, must be maintained in an effort to pressure Iran to yield to US demands to modify the JCPOA.

There will be much pressure from the liberal hawks to finish the war they had launched against Syria by again intensifying it. Trump had ended the CIA's Jihadi supply program. The Biden team may well reintroduce such a scheme.

Susan Rice has criticized Trump's Doha deal with the Taliban. Under a Biden administration U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan are therefore likely to again increase.

One possible change may come in the U.S. support for the Saudi war on Yemen. The Democrats dislike Mohammad bin Salman and may try to use the Yemen issue to push him out of his Crown Prince position.

Biden and his team have supported the coup attempt in Venezuela. They only criticized it for not being done right and will probably come up with their own bloody 'solution'.

After four years of Russiagate nonsense, which Susan Rice had helped to launch, it is impossible to again 'reset' the relations with Russia. Biden could immediately agree to renew the New START treaty which limits strategic nuclear weapons but it is more likely that he will want to add, like with Iran's nuclear deal, certain 'amendments' which will be hard to negotiate. Under Biden the Ukraine may be pushed into another war against its eastern citizens. Belarus will remain on the 'regime change' target list.

Asia is the place where Biden's policies may be less confrontational than Trump's:

China would heave a big sigh of relief if Biden picks Rice as his secretary of state. Beijing knows her well, as she had a hands-on role in remoulding the relationship from engagement to selective competition, which could well be the post-Trump China policies.

For the Indian audience, which is obsessive about Biden’s China policy, I would recommend the following YouTube on Rice’s oral history where she narrates her experience as NSA on how the US and China could effectively coordinate despite their strategic rivalry and how China actually helped America battle Ebola.

Interestingly, the recording was made in April this year amidst the “Wuhan virus” pandemic in the US and Trump’s trade and tech war with China. Simply put, Rice highlighted a productive relationship with Beijing while probably sharing the more Sino-skeptic sentiment of many of America’s foreign policy experts and lawmakers.

All together the Biden/Harris regime will be a continuation of the Obama regime. It's foreign policies will have awful consequences for a lot of people on this planet.

Domestically Biden/Harris will revive all the bad feelings that led to the election of Donald Trump. The demographics of the election show no sign of a permanent majority for Democrats.

It is therefore highly probable that Trump, or a more competent and thereby more dangerous populist republican, will again win in 2024.

Posted by b on November 17, 2020 at 18:16 UTC | Permalink

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I'm thankful for this blog and the people who contribute their insights and alternative sources of info. It makes the abysmal state of affairs in the world more bearable. Thank you, B.

Posted by: norecovery | Nov 17 2020 18:30 utc | 1

I don't understand what is so hard to understand. A slim majority of Americans prefer a kinder/gentler fascism than presented by the cruel and deranged. The art of Kabuki is all in the masks. But don't worry - the kinder/gentler thing is definitely on the wane.

Posted by: gottlieb | Nov 17 2020 18:31 utc | 2

Obama-Biden 3.0 as Pepe Escobar put it with an added twist

The Rotten Alliance of Liberals and Neocons Will Likely Shape U.S. Foreign Policy for Years to Come

Posted by: Down South | Nov 17 2020 18:44 utc | 3

Was/is Trump so different?

Mike Pompeo, John Bolton, Elliot Abrams, Nikki Haley, etc.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Nov 17 2020 18:51 utc | 4

Thanks for the posting b

I do not agree with the assumption that the new administration (either Biden or Trump) will start more wars, as you call them. I posit that Trump would have had his war if it were possible but we are in a MAD phase of a civilization war and Biden will be just as neutered as Trump.

We are not going back to Obama 3.0. That ship sank when Russia stymied Obama empire in Syria. We are in a brave new world that is unfolding before our eyes....the future is all around us but just not evenly distributed.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Nov 17 2020 18:55 utc | 5

The elite certainly acts as though Trump is that different.

Posted by: lysias | Nov 17 2020 18:58 utc | 6

The Atlantic council this morning ("The way forward for transatlantic sanctions") is already discussing new sanctions the Biden Administration will bring in against Russia over the failed revolution in Belarus and the Navalny fraud. I'm amazed at how self-congratulating these fools are, they truly are blind both to the problems the US is facing and how the US is creating new international crisis that will destroy the nation.

Posted by: Kadath | Nov 17 2020 19:06 utc | 7

I can not understand why you insist here that Trump ended jihadist´s support in Syria, when it was these past days that we knew by US envoy there, Jeffries, that the troops not only were not decreased, by augmented.

Anyway, I guess we can conclude that if not directly, jihadists support continues through Turkey, as we have witnessed in the past conflict in the Caucasus.

Be it through Trump´s direct wishes/orders, or thorugh willing ignorance of this wishes/orders by USEUCOM/CENTCOM, the wars not only continue, but new have started still under Trump mandate( Ethiopia, Sahara, and most probably next Pakistan...)

Nos da lo mismo, que lo mismo nos da, with or without Trump, war continues and increases at galloping pace.
Thus, why bother with whom is the next POTUS, why some display such effort in convincing others that with Trump it will be better?
It will be better for the rich and upper middle class, no doubt.

With Biden black and poor people in the US still may have an opportunity...may be...

Posted by: H.Schmatz | Nov 17 2020 19:14 utc | 8

Indeed, many a poster has claimed that a Biden admin would mean no change re: our FP.


This line has been touted all along by democrat operative plants.

Biden will not mean the same challenge to China's mercantilist hegemony. Rather, our neoliberal elites who funded Biden seek to eliminate our entire protectionist stance when it comes to China and Biden even said so in his campaign.

Wrt Russia, I see a terrible clash on the horizon if we reinstitute shock and awe in the MENA.

As you wrote the day after Trump's 2016 election, b, "I woke up to find there will be no WW3."

It seems that that might have only been the dream and it is now that you are waking up.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Nov 17 2020 19:14 utc | 9

An article in Foreign Policy from a Bush era neo-con tells you what to expect:

Russia under Putin poses an existential threat to the United States and other countries of the West, Russia’s neighbors, and his own people. Biden seems to understand that, not least because he has been the target of Russian interference in the 2020 election, including a disinformation campaign tied to Russia that was designed to smear him and his son Hunter.

Earlier this year, Biden wrote, “To counter Russian aggression, we must keep [NATO’s] military capabilities sharp while also expanding its capacity to take on nontraditional threats, such as weaponized corruption, disinformation, and cybertheft.” He continued: “We must impose real costs on Russia for its violations of international norms and stand with Russian civil society, which has bravely stood up time and again against President Vladimir Putin’s kleptocratic authoritarian system.” In an interview with CBS News’ 60 Minutes before the election, Biden said he considered Russia “the biggest threat to America right now in terms of breaking up our security and our alliances.”

These instincts are sound, and Biden likely will appoint officials who think the same way he does when it comes to Putin’s Russia.

The problem is Putin.

Posted by: Down South | Nov 17 2020 19:15 utc | 10

Watch election fraud LIVE on TV! Start the first video at 02:50 ...Second one is the very same thing.

Posted by: Zico the Musketeer | Nov 17 2020 19:18 utc | 11

The solutions to the electoral problems of Democrats seem simple. Politics is essentially a retail business, you have to remove products that do not sell from the shelves (usually, putting them in bins "reduced price, discontinued") and stocking more what sells.

Russian threat does not sell. Those voters who buy could buy anything with "Democratic" label, and the rest mostly does not care. In any case, it will be hard to spend the bandwith on "Russian undermine trust in elections and police" and stuff of that sort. However, Democrats had some success in 2018 when they focuses on healthcare.

The attacks on Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua boomerang at Democrats, because the economic crisis there, especially in Venezuela, is used by Republicans to convince voters that any Communist (that is, non-Republican) policies destroy the economy. In the same time, hard to see what kind of voter would switch from Republican to Democrat on that basis.

Free trade does not sell either. Some intelligent position is needed on that.

And on healthcare, one has to realize why Obamacare is only tepidly popular. Using "market place" of insurance companies is bewildering even to educated people. And when the choice is clear, it can still be very tedious (e.g. you hang for nearly an hour on the phone and then it disconnects). And when you through with all that, you get unpredicted and impossible to explain bills. Finally, from macro-economic and social point of view, it is impossible to reduce costs in the fragmented system, and given that healthcare consumes more than 17% of GDP, while in Australia 8.5%. Basic indicators do not show any positive impact of bloated expenditures. Infant mortality and longevity are much better in Australia, infant mortality is better even in Russia. Reducing expenditures to Australian level may be impossible, but bringing it down to Canadian levels and lower should be possible.

Part of cost reduction can come from eliminating unnecessary procedures, medication etc., part from cost controls, part from making people healthier.

And then we can eliminate 90% of intelligence spending. Disinformation about the "enemies" can be done cheaply, and cost effectiveness of organizing rebellions, color revolutions etc. is mediocre. And the "17 agencies" that create "inter-agency consensus" gobble good coin, used to emit toxic products that destroy already fragile mental health of the population.

And then we can reduce military spending, perhaps negotiating mutual disarmament deals. What is good in "spending adversaries to oblivion"?

But healthcare is already proven a good seller in the political market, where something has to be done, unless Democrats are OK with working in scantily funded think tanks (as the brand will fade, so will the funding).

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Nov 17 2020 19:21 utc | 12

I think people around here should listen to Sidney Powell.

Posted by: Dee | Nov 17 2020 19:21 utc | 13

The more articles and postings that I see that bemoan the Deep State restoration (horror!) and return of business-as-usual (horror!), the more I think that we are being set up for an eventual Trump win.

Recent history tells us that Republican Presidents do BIG WARS (invoking Republican's claim to patriotism and a strong military) and Democratic Presidents do small, covert wars.

Why else would Trump fight an EMPIRE-FIRST establishment that he largely agrees with (as demonstrated by his actions while President)? And why would someone like Sidney Powell get involved with that?

If the Georgia recount shows a substantial change in results, then Sidney Powell's claims about Dominion will have been vitiated and we could see Trump continuing as President but with enhanced prestige and a more devoted following.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Nov 17 2020 19:21 utc | 14

@ H. Schmatz

Obviously, English is not your native tongue.

Do you live in America?

My guess is that you don't.

For you to think Biden will mean anything to fundamentally alter the plight of blacks in my country means you are totally ignorant and peddling very, very poor information.

Please keep your commentary on my country's domestic situation to yourself.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Nov 17 2020 19:22 utc | 15

Mr Wabbit - as I've written before (here and elsewhere): there is NO really existing difference between the which colored face(s) hang out in the WH (or in Congress) because they all belong to the same political stratum and, essentially, hold exactly the same positions, worldviews, attitudes, perspectives. All (aside from a tiny handful on occasion) support the MICIMATT, are intrinsically part and parcel of it. All get to fatten their bank accounts, get to revolve twixt this post and that in the MIC/TT/MA. At base most if not all (Blue/Red, it matters not at all) work for/along with/are part of the corporate-capitalist-imperialist plutocratic ruling elite.

Thus the warmaking will NOT stop without serious and continuous effort on the part of a large part of this country's population - and that isn't likely to happen: lots of folks earn their nice livelihoods in the MICIMATT industry; and most - overwhelmingly most - of the US population do not give a fuck what this country does to any other around the world, so long as a) doesn't affect them; b) their pension plans benefit; c) they can go back to sleep. How many even know where Syria, Libya, Iran, Ukraine ARE????

And they do not care - except when there is the occasional blowback - which is viewed as (what else?) terrorism, not simply retaliation. The real terrorism being projected, inflicted by guess which nations?

Kevin Gosztole on Grayzone; Patrick Lawrence on Consortium News; Danny Sjursen on Anti-war - all pieces give one despair, sheer and utter despair at the so-called electoral "choices" we had and the reality of the continuation of the imperial war machine, run by the utterly, completely grotesque, barbaric usuals (whatever their bloody sex, skin hue).

Posted by: Anne | Nov 17 2020 19:27 utc | 16

While lecturing the world over "international norms", the deliberate obliviousness over the astonishing rolling humanitarian disasters initiated by the USA is beyond disturbing.

Posted by: jayc | Nov 17 2020 19:28 utc | 17

Watch out for Eliot A Cohen and what Phil Geraldi coined as “Kaganate of Nulandia” ilks in that FP Team. In Obama's first year we had Dennis Ross at the WH and Jeffrey Feltman at Turtle Bay whilst the R2P women were at Foggy Bottom : we got the Arab Spring followed by the demise of Ghaddafi and the havoc in Syria.
Who will Susan Rice put in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs to give the middle finger to Abu Mazen?

Posted by: Yul | Nov 17 2020 19:29 utc | 18

And again the error lies not in what is said, but in what is implied. That in a continuation of the Tronald 'regime' - which would then really become one - fewer people - other living beings do not count anyway... - would suffer on this planet. Trump's mafia blackmail tactics also lead to wars. It was only thanks to the remarkable restraint of other actors that none did break out because of him and his fellow brutes. Four more years this luck would not last.

Posted by: pnyx | Nov 17 2020 19:31 utc | 19

Another Trump follower who try to silence me, oh wait...( Call Earth, Nemesis, if yo uhave problems... )

This is an international forum, and we use to comment about the whole world here, especially me, not just the US....

I wanted to add that even Russia has warned of agravating of state of affairs and reinstating of war in Iraq, while some sources warn about packing of about 30.000 effectives in Eastern Syria/Western Iraq.

This happens during Trump administration.

Posted by: H.Schmatz | Nov 17 2020 19:32 utc | 20

While The Dem party is strongly anti-Russia, connected at it is to the Atlantic Council and NATO, the probable next SecDef Flourney is throwing down the gauntlet on China.
...from TaiwanNews:

Flourney assessed that China is starting to believe it can achieve a quick strike that would disable all U.S. defenses in the region, paving the way for an invasion of Taiwan. "China’s theory of victory increasingly relies on ‘system destruction warfare’ — crippling an adversary at the outset of conflict, by deploying sophisticated electronic warfare, counterspace, and cyber-capabilities," wrote Flourney.
To boost deterrence capabilities, Flourney asserts that the U.S. must modernize and strengthen its forces in the region to raise the cost of "Beijing’s calculus." Such is the buildup that Flourney is advocating, that it would enable the U.S. military to "credibly threaten to sink all of China’s military vessels, submarines, and merchant ships in the South China Sea within 72 hours". . here

This is quite a change from the current administration, which has followed the Taiwan Relations Act in stressing that the break-away province is responsible for its own defense, with no mention of US support. In fact the US does not have a mutual defense treaty with this Chinese province. Normally these treaties only include countries of course, and while Taiwan claims to be a country of course it isn't.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 17 2020 19:32 utc | 21

meet the new boss.. same as the old boss.... personally i am hopeful the cadaver will truly die, as opposed to walking in 'night of the living dead' which is what is going on now! seriously, i don't think anyone is expecting any change here.... and the usa people seem to be too myopic to step outside of their immediate wants to consider how bastardized they're viewed on the rest of the world stage... at some point the usa will become completely irrelevant... they are part way to it.. give it more time and it will be a fact, in spite of these night of the living dead reruns...

Posted by: james | Nov 17 2020 19:35 utc | 22

It seems to be an inevitable process. New president gets faced with a situation where he has to act 'tough'. The 'do something' option. It's almost as if they have to be blooded.

Posted by: dh | Nov 17 2020 19:40 utc | 23

My thought about Trump 2024 and the many lawsuits awaiting him:

If he chooses to enter politics again, especially in preparations for running in 2024, the lawsuits would probably be rigorously pursued by democrats. If he decides to stay low profiles (e.g. semi-retired, or non-political life), then there is a chance that democrats will leave him alone.

My guess is Trump will choose the former path.

Posted by: d dan | Nov 17 2020 19:43 utc | 24

Ok this time I am posting the link of Sidney Powell's interview. I would really really like to see b write on that.

Posted by: Dee | Nov 17 2020 19:48 utc | 25

On the question of war, it's no secret that Biden is likely to prove more hawkish than Trump, though Biden himself is a diplomatic man. However the world has changed since the days of Obama. The Middle East has ground to a stalemate, and there are no objectives to achieve by putting in more troops or air-strikes. Trump just tried and failed to bomb Iran. The military advice to Biden won't be different.

With regard to the "pivot to Asia", I doubt that the Chinese are much afraid of a US attack.

Posted by: Laguerre | Nov 17 2020 19:50 utc | 26

Ok, it's time for my bingo.

Abstracting the factor of a new party naturally being inclined to reinitialize all the wars abandoned or paralyzed by the previous party at a first glance...

1) Venezuela: I would bet Biden should have learned from Trump's mistake, but fact on the field is the Southern Caribbean nation is a too appetizing target for him to to revisit it and do a real invasion with Colombia through the land as an auxiliary;

2) South China Sea/Taiwan: Susan Rice's little story is touching, but the Western-backed Asian MSM (SCMP, Asia Times etc.) is already preparing the psychological/ideological field for a hot war between China and the USA there, which means they were already briefed by Biden's team it will happen;

3) Afghanistan: at the heart of Central Asia (Heartland) + CIA opium = a matchstick will rule over the Cocytus before the USA abandon its occupation of that country;

4) Yemen: the war pays for itself as the Saudis are recycling USDs into American weapons, so I think inertia will prevail. When the Saudis say it's over, it's over;

5) Syria: game's over for the Americans there. The Russians imposed a no-fly zone to NATO/USA. Most they can do is to prop up Turkey (which they don't like right now) to fund terrorists in Idlib to try to drain the Russian coffers a little bit more but the Kremlin can push the nuclear button anytime if it really comes to that point (if ever);

6) Belarus: it was more a German affair than an American affair. Doesn't apply;

7) Ukraine: unfinished business will probably lead to another ramping up over the Dnieper, but the Donbassians have the geographical advantage and will never lose their territory as long as they have full-fledged support from Russia;

8) Russia: the problem here is the USA is in a position it has to choose - Russia or the European Peninsula? Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer has already stated Germany's unconditional loyalty to the USA is directly linked to the continuation of NATO. If NATO's gone, then the European Peninsula may become a second Southeast Asia.

Posted by: vk | Nov 17 2020 19:51 utc | 27

"Biden has said that he will re-instate the nuclear agreement with Iran but with 'amendments'. A realistic analysis shows that Iran is likely to reject any modification of the original deal"

Iran is in very poor shape economically. They have barely limped themselves over the finish line of a Trump presidency and are hoping for a quick transition to better conditions, especially financial liberalization and access to banking, asap.

And as our EU satraps in France, Germany, and UK have shown, they will always take the US side if at all possible, especially if said side is represented by the kind, gentle democrats and not the manifestly evil republicans.

Iran will be made an offer it can't refuse.

Posted by: Caliman | Nov 17 2020 19:52 utc | 28

So much baseless premature speculation and presumption on what Biden will do.

Ask most people who voted to remove Trump if they have any illusions beyond not having to be psychologically abused by Trump every day and rescuing ACA, DACA, and the JCPOA.

If either Trump or Tom Cotton is the Republican nominee, a Dem Presidential victory in 2024 will make Biden's 2020 landslide look like the small mound of sand sliding into the bottom half of an hourglass.

Welcome back Georgia, Arizona and hello Texas!

Posted by: Circe | Nov 17 2020 19:56 utc | 29

The Biden administration will also probably be less hostile towards it's frenemies in Europe and significantly less supportive of Netanyahu. At least the latter one might mean a few wars less.

Posted by: m | Nov 17 2020 19:57 utc | 30

I’m sad you backed the wrong horse b.
It’s a shame you were ‘influenced’ by the wrong people.
Your credabilty is at stake as in this post. I hope you agree I tried my best here to show you the reality and outcome of the election. It was a thank less task I must say.
This post is no better. It comes over as influenced by ‘sour grapes’ blinded one might say.
Deffinatly glass half empty.
Firstly you down play the total shambles trump has left behind him at home and abroad. The disinformation he has fed his followers about the virus, China, Iran ect ect will be his lasting legacy, don’t even get me started about how he deliberately started a race war as an election stunt.
But here you are telling us Biden isn’t ‘a good thing’
At this stage the open wound that is America needs to heal.

Posted by: Mark2 | Nov 17 2020 19:59 utc | 31

Excellent news! This SHOULD finally wake Russia and China and Iran the fuck up and make them start acting, not just reacting. They are being isolated and aren't doing a fuck about it, while USA is making "allies" and forging alliances.
Especially Russia, this definitely SHOULD wake the fuck up that sleepy Putin up and make him get off his geriatric ass and DO something instead of yielding to the West/USA/NATO. if Putin is sick and can't stand up to US, he should step aside and let another man lead Russia. Shoygu is already deeply unhappy with Putin, considering him too weak. Russia and CHina and Iran better get together soon and forge a military alliance or they are gonna be toast. Problem is fukken China doesn't knows what they are doing and aren't willing to put their heads together. For example they should have signed that contract with Iran a decade ago. But No, the Chinese also think they are big shit and arent willing t work together.

Posted by: Hoyeru | Nov 17 2020 20:08 utc | 32

"Joe Biden's Foreign Policy Team"

Citibank's foreign policy Team would be much more accurate wouldn't it ?

That's like saying Obomber or Bush had their own foreign and economic policy.

The only reason DC puts on this shit show is to protect the owners from accountability.

No matter who the "president" is there will be more war, sanctions, and coup attempts because that's what the money/power cult needs to obtain more power and control.

These assholes successfully perpetrated a coup of the US government, why would they worry about which flunky gets (s)elected ??

*forgot to include fraud in my list, sorry.

Posted by: dave | Nov 17 2020 20:08 utc | 33

@Posted by: vk | Nov 17 2020 19:51 utc | 27

You forgot the coup in Bolivia, through direct manipulation of electoral results, criminalization of elected officials and forced exile through menaces of death, the same as happened in Brazil.

This equated a war on Bolivia people, as it resulted in a massacre of indigenous people resisting the coup and an extraordinary rise in the country´s debt which is the scenario the coupist leave for the new elected government of MAS.

Linking with this, interesting thread on International Fascist ( pretended International Libertarian... )meddling in LatinAmerica and Spain to pormote far-right authoritarian government in the hispanic space.

What connects regime change NGO @RiosdePie in Bolivia, the @OAS_official, the Spanish far-right political party @vox_es, and the libertarian think-tank Atlas Network? The common goal of supporting the installation of authoritarian right-wing governments in the region. Thread

Posted by: H.Schmatz | Nov 17 2020 20:15 utc | 34

Patrick Lawrence poses the same basic question as b in this article, with his title giving its contents away:

"Hillary Clinton at the UN? Whether or not Biden appoints her, things are getting very brazen and very bitter, very fast."

Lawrence opines:

"Let us now send this conscienceless liar to the UN to make sure the world knows we’re all for international cooperation so long as all others submit to our dictates and don’t get in our way when we invade other countries, foment coups or otherwise breach international law.

"I confess to longstanding animosity toward the odious Clinton. In truth she is merely the apotheosis of what we’ve known for some time about the incoming regime’s character.

"Biden’s army of foreign-policy transition advisers — 2,000 in number — is chock-a-block with warmongers, Russophobes, Sinophobes, Iranophobes, exceptionalists, puppets of apartheid Israel, humanitarian interventionists, and others promising nothing but trouble. We’ve known this for some time."

Lawrence did some great digging to complement the work done by other investigators. The following is excellent:

"The Democratic 2020 platform published on the eve of Biden’s nomination last summer, intended to bring Bernie Sanders’ supporters on board, included these commitments on the foreign-policy side:
•“Bringing our forever wars to a responsible end.”
•“Rationalizing the defense budget.”
•Ending covert “regime change” operations in favor of “more effective and less costly diplomatic, intelligence, and law enforcement tools.”
•“Right-sizing our counterterrorism footprint.”
•Scaling back U.S. involvement in Afghanistan in favor of “a durable and inclusive political settlement” with a residual role for special operations forces.

"Didn’t President Donald Trump attempt to achieve various of these objectives? Didn’t hawks in his administration and at the Pentagon vigorously and illegally subvert these attempts? Didn’t the mainstream press cheer on these subversions while lambasting Trump daily for jeopardizing “national security” as he tried (however inconsistently) to bring troops home, settle up in Afghanistan, negotiate with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, and other such things?...

"Those who expected the Biden regime to give Americans a thoughtful, informed, post-exceptionalist foreign policy — and I am not among these people — are in for too many disappointments to list over the next four years. Let us consider a few of the more consequential."

Lawrence goes on to detail why there'll be no peace in Eurasia and no reduction in the Imperial Budget. I agree 100% with his summation:

"One principle will guide the Biden regime’s foreign policies. Biden is a man of empire and those around him empire’s lieutenants. This will determine all of what is to come."

Realistically that means the Outlaw US Empire will continue to drown as it spins around and slowly descends down the toilet bowl. Nowhere in anyone's analysis of this issue is there any mention of the fact that great domestic strength and vitality are a prerequisite for any attempt at Imperial Dominance, and nowhere in Bidenland is there any policy proposal to rehabilitate that fact. Sure, all sorts of hawks will populate the Pentagon and continue at the State Dept, but they might as well be doves since the Empire's industrial base can no longer support an aggressive Imperial Policy. Then there's the Human Capital that's in just as dire a condition as the Industrial Plant. Biden in many respects faces the same set of problems Trump was confronted with and allowed to fester/worsen. Plus, half the nation is dead-set against him and his regime, perhaps even more so than with Trump since there'll be no constant BigLie Media smearing.

The gap between the Outlaw US Empire and those nations it's chosen to demonize as competitors and worse continues to grow daily. The RCEP is only one manifestation. A second is the continuance of BRICS, which just held a Summit. If Biden launches an attack against Iran, he'll suffer a massive defeat for the same reasons as Trump. Same with North Korea. Same as with the South China Sea. Same as with Taiwan. Same as with Syria. And I'd say the last bullet within the Color Revolution gun available for use in Eurasia was recently fired to no effect. Latin America is rebounding again. In almost every respect, the Outlaw US Empire is weaker now than in 2017 when Trump took over. IMO, Biden's #1, most important and difficult job will be domestic since his donors will insist they be allowed to continue to eat away at the vitals that are the fundamental basis of support for the Empire--Following in the footsteps of Rome.

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 17 2020 20:17 utc | 35

Before you claim it is just the Democrats that are war mongers you need to explain why Mitch McConnell and his band or merry men are freaking out about Trump pulling troops from any where. There is strong bi-partisan support for war in Washington. Americans have three choices. Ether they organize and have massive demonstrations against war in numbers the politicians can't ignore. They form a third or even fourth party. The two current ones are fully bought and paid for. Or they can keep doing what they have been doing since the 80s, pretend they don't want war in public while whole heatedly supporting it every time they vote.

Posted by: BraveNewWorld | Nov 17 2020 20:20 utc | 36

Posted by: Caliman | Nov 17 2020 19:52 utc | 28

"Iran is in very poor shape economically."

You shouldn't believe what the exiles say. They've been predicting the imminent fall of the Iranian regime for forty years. In all that time, I've never read a correct political analysis of the situation in Iran. It's always covered up by the desire to see the end of the regime. The problem of course being that the middle class exiles hate the regime and won't admit its populist nature.

I was there last year. It is true that Iran has suffered terribly from inflation, since the sanctions, but I have yet to see that they're ready to abandon the regime.

Posted by: Laguerre | Nov 17 2020 20:28 utc | 37

Why does anyone think that the guy who authored the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, which led to the mass incarceration of Black American men "super predators", the privatization of prisons, and the ramping up of the "school-to-prison pipeline, is any kind of godsend for Black Americans? Judging by actions, Trump should be seen as a champion of racial equality in comparison to Biden.

Posted by: William Gruff | Nov 17 2020 20:37 utc | 38

He is not going to be President so you don't need to worry too much about these admittedly awful people Biden is surrounding himself with.

P.S When Trump is sworn in for his second term, I will use my projected winnings from the bookies to donate to you/MOA when the next donation appeal comes around.
Seriously and sincerely.

What a time to be alive!!

Posted by: Skeletor | Nov 17 2020 20:45 utc | 39

Thanks b

Russia will be the main target of the new US regime, expect to see the russian underbelly in flames in the Caucasus, in Central Asia and of course in Ukraine and Syria.

The russian regimen change project will be at full speed, economically, politically, domestic and external insurgencies, all in order to bleed to death the Bear that they see as a cultural, military, industrial and natural resources rival that has to be fully destroyed and reduced to smithereens, divided in corrupt satrapies much smaller and easy dominate "à la ukrainien" or georgian, to extract, on the cheap, all their natural resources with nice fees for the Biden family or many others american plutocrats. Win-win situation.

One of the pieces to "bleed the beast" project was the Pashinyan sororite hiper-corrupt regime, who sell large amounts of weapons to the jihadis in Syria to kill russians and syrians soldiers, this was the last straw for the russkies with them:

The only option to Russia, of course is to pay the US with the same coin

Posted by: DFC | Nov 17 2020 20:53 utc | 40

So the DoD just announced that Trump is drawing down troops in Afghanistan and Iraq to 2500 for each by January 15th 2020, and there are about 5,000 private military contractors in each which will probably increase to compensate. Easy call for Trump.

Nothing gained. Nothing lost.

Posted by: Circe | Nov 17 2020 20:55 utc | 41

I agree with Don, that with the new hawkish Biden regime, the crunch point is likely to be Taiwan. The present Chinese regime, under Xi Jin-Ping, has been particularly nationalist, to witness, what is happening in Xin-Jiang. But not only. The Hui community of Muslims in Central China, although native Han Chinese, has been subject to nationalist controls. This is foolish on the part of the Chinese, as it creates tensions they don't need in the present situation.

A part of Chinese nationalism is the recovery of the national territory. Hong Kong and Macau they have. Taiwan remains. I just hope it won't lead to a military confrontation. If they have any sense, recovery of Taiwan will be delayed until another time.

Posted by: Laguerre | Nov 17 2020 20:55 utc | 42

US State Department budget

2016: $53.4 billion
2020: $44.12 billion

Good job, Trump! Nice cut of that regime change budget!

Who wants to bet that Harris and the dead guy try to hike this budget for 2021 back up above its levels in its glory days of color revolutions?

Posted by: William Gruff | Nov 17 2020 20:56 utc | 43

#37 Laguerre:

I have family there myself and get unbiased views. No, they are not falling apart and there's no revolution in the works. The people learned their lesson from the one revolution they made :).

But they are doing very poorly indeed and would welcome some relief. If the US requirements are not overly onerous and instead aimed at the establishment's desired pivot to Asia (and therefore settling the Middle East accounts), for example, extending the inspection program for another decade etc., then Iran will probably take the deal.

If on the other hand the demands impact real security, like some kind of ask re the missile program, forget it. Iran will take poverty instead.

Posted by: Caliman | Nov 17 2020 20:56 utc | 44

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 17 2020 20:17 utc | 35

I read P. Lawrence article, odious is the word to describe Clinton, in that I fully agree, I read somewhere else the possible future Secretary of State Rice tweet about the UN ambassador post as if diminishing the great dignity and importance of the Queen of Chaos, whose destiny was to rule from the highest post attained after breaking the crystal ceiling, all the shards falling upon us plain mortals goes without saying.

I go back to watching the Zoom get together to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Consortium News, so far it has been amazing with Stone and Pilger, but my real pleasure has been seeing for the first time the face and countenance of Ray McGovern whose articles I’ve thoroughly enjoyed since long time back. I was quite impressed with Gareth Porter intervention too. Real journalists and a real pleasure to listen to what they have to say, lots of substance plus an impecable english which is one of the main aims of getting information in that language, not to forget it.

Posted by: Paco | Nov 17 2020 21:03 utc | 45

@36 BNW

Yes, I saw McConnel plead to be able to stay and "finish" Afghanistan. Such a tired show now. The same ol' tune, spoken a thousand times on that senate floor.

But to your point, not all Republicans are non-interventionists. There are many, many RINOs amongst them who actually loathed the idea of Trump as POTUS in 2015, so much so that it took the groundswell of support for DJT that these RINOs relented and hopped aboard the Trump-train.

Now that he has lost, they want to revert back to their prior and favored position as controlled opposition to the Dem establishment. It will at first be subtle, with feigned support for outgoing POTUS, but gradually, they will cease mentioning him at all.

It remains to be seen whether the constituents in these RINOs' districts will not see through the subterfuge.

As I have mentioned before, I think they will come for the RINOs if they disembark the Trump-train. They are sowing wind.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Nov 17 2020 21:17 utc | 46

As we move forward resistance to American hegemony becomes stronger, more broad and a more viable counterbalance to the western hegemony on world affairs. This is while US and her allies have and are becoming weaker and therefore more unbalanced. Political and economic unbalance as seen during the pandemic is much more difficult and costly for developed
nations as would be for the third world.
As has been seen in past few years this shifting power balance will naturally make the losing power, more reactionary and more violent to preserve and restore her power, both domestically and externally.

As this giant corpse start decaying her parasites start chowing more and demanding more to save themselves, which makes this dying giant even more unpredictable, and perhaps more reactionary and violent regardless who’s the president and in power, Trump or Biden has not and will not make any change difference for the Deep state policies.
Fortunately this is, and has been, the trajectory we are on for some time now, and IMO this is unstoppable, no matter who and how much propaganda is leveled inside and outside of west.

Posted by: Kooshy | Nov 17 2020 21:19 utc | 47

@ vk 27

I agree with much of what you write in this post but am unsure of what you mean regarding Venezuela. Are you suggesting the next administration would likely pursue or renounce an invasion?

And as to point number 5 and Syria, I have seen no evidence of a russian imposed no-fly zone. Where is it located? I still picture NATO aircrafts flying all over SDF territory and Al Tanf. I also recall that when Israel attacked T4 base in Homs a few months ago, it did so from the al Tanf area.

So, in my opinion, there are indeed no-fly zones in Syria and they are neither imposed by Russia, Iran nor Syria itself.

Posted by: robin | Nov 17 2020 21:19 utc | 48

All three, together with Joe Biden, promoted the 2003 war on Iraq

I seem to recall that Bush was President back then...Biden and his appointees might have gone along with it, as did many American politicians.

Posted by: Malchik Ralf | Nov 17 2020 21:30 utc | 49

Biden has said that he will re-instate the nuclear agreement with Iran but with 'amendments'.

Wishful thinking by Biden and his faction, if he get into white house at all. The greatest obstacle for any US president to get back to JCPOA is the general disqualification of US governments to be part of any international agreement.
Obama signed, Trump teared in pieces, Biden signing again (are we in a Kindergarten?), who is going to guarantee that the next republican president (in 4 years?) doesn’t tear it in pieces again or even the to-be president Kemala Harris (in 2 years?) doesn’t trigger the snap back as a friendly pay back gesture to the Zionist Apartheid regime for getting the job as president?

Although Rouhani government has sent strong signals that they are ready for a new round of negotiation, with less then 9 months to the next elections in Iran, almost no chance that the next winner come from technocrat camp, theocracy not ready to support technocratic efforts for new negotiations and finally wide popular resistance to continue the JCPOA even in the current format. It would be more then a wounder to encounter JCPOA 2.0

Posted by: Framarz | Nov 17 2020 21:31 utc | 50

Posted by: Caliman | Nov 17 2020 20:56 utc | 44

Thanks for the information, which rather accords with what I thought. There's a complete failure among the Iranian middle class (+ exiles) to understand that the present religious regime is populist. It's never said. But the support for the regime is lower class bazari and rural, and religious. Much like Trumpian America. For change to happen, some recognition of the reality has to take place. I haven't seen it yet.

Posted by: Laguerre | Nov 17 2020 21:31 utc | 51

osted by: Anne | Nov 17 2020 19:27 utc | 16:

Mr Wabbit - as I've written before (here and elsewhere): there is NO really existing difference between the which colored face(s) hang out in the WH (or in Congress) because they all belong to the same political stratum

It doesn't matter to you, but it does seem to matter to the 150 million Americans that recently voted.


What occupies the fantasies of the populace does matter to the oligarchs who run the show. If it didn't matter to the elites they would not spend so much time and energy trying to shape those fantasies...
The elites are going to support the politicians that are most accomplished and adept at bolstering the fantasy of the two party system and American democrazy. There is no doubt that Donald Trump is the salesman of the year for the smoke the elites are blowing up your ass. There is no other politician that could get 150 million americans sucked into the fantasy.
And what that means is they will do whatever they can to make sure trump gets another four more years.

Posted by: jinn | Nov 17 2020 21:38 utc | 52

Can't say I disagree with much of this when taken at face value, but I'd appreciate some backing to this assertion, for which it's quite uncharacteristic of b not to provide right up front.....if true.

Biden and his team have supported the coup attempt in Venezuela. They only criticized it for not being done right and will probably come up with their own bloody 'solution'.

I should note, and most MoA readers will agree, that it's nearly impossible to find any Western media organization - including erstwhile progressive outlets - who don't agree with the alleged status quo that Maduro is a "dictator" and "has to go."

Even when Venezuelans in Venezuela were asked about who they'd rather see become president the questions and answers were couched in this implicit "truth".

So what WOULD a Biden administration do differently? All's I can find of substance is that they'd use sanctions in a more precise manner, not the blunt force instrument that Trump has applied - and - that they would grant temporary protected status to Venezuelans wishing to flee (I'd bet there's a good mix of the Mestizo and Moreno poor, as well as the trust fund descendants of the colonial elite) to the United States whereas Trump refused or dragged his feet to the point that it didn't matter.

I think, then, that the decisions made will be less to do with Biden being a bad man (which, like Trump, he is), but instead all grounded in the accepted "reality" that "Maduro must go" and there must be a "peaceful democratic transition" (back to right-wing colonialist descendants from whom (some of) their stolen land and oil leases were stolen back under Chavez and the Bolivarian Revolution. This falsehood has been cemented as truth and reality across both sides of the U.S. political spectrum as well as that of the UK, Canada and France: Maduro = Commie Dictator and Brutal Humanitarian Abuser. There is absolutely ZERO way that Joe Biden would go against it in any meaningful way. He'll just do it a little less roughly and mean spiritedly as Trump and Bush before him had done (no coups and fewer sanctions under Obama).

This is a good article on the intricacies of the politics of food (and resources - a good history lesson all the way around and recommended - written in June of 2018 and looking back not only on the Chavez years, but the colonial history that preceded him. I think it's required reading for anyone who wants to get into a debate or discussion (here or elsewhere) about Chavez and Maduro.

Posted by: _K_C_ | Nov 17 2020 21:40 utc | 53

Regarding my own comment at 54 - What I'd like to see from b or anyone else is something that backs the assertion that Biden "supported "the coup" (which one?)" - which, to me - is NOT the same thing as recognizing Random Guydo a few weeks after the Trump administration did. Is that supporting a POSSIBLE coup? Maybe, but I would like to some specific information from Biden or his camp that explicitly demonstrate that he did, would have or will support an actual, typical South American style coup in the same manner that Bush II and Trump have tried to carry off multiple times.

Posted by: _K_C_ | Nov 17 2020 21:42 utc | 54

Posted by: Circe | Nov 17 2020 20:55 utc | 41

"So the DoD just announced that Trump is drawing down troops in Afghanistan and Iraq to 2500 for each by January 15th"

Frankly, in Iraq they're just sitting in camps surrounded by hostile militias who bombard them from time to time with Katyushas. Not a lot of casualties, but no future.

Posted by: Laguerre | Nov 17 2020 21:43 utc | 55

"I seem to recall that Bush was President back then...Biden and his appointees might have gone along with it, as did many American politicians." Malchik Ralf@50

In fact many of the Bush admin neocons actually and publicly backed Biden in the recent election. Biden's support from Republicans was built around neo-cons.

Posted by: bevin | Nov 17 2020 21:46 utc | 56

Mark Twain said it’s easy to con someone, but much harder to convince them they’v been conned.
Stockholm syndrome I suppose.

I was always told the US public hated to see Americans bought home in body bags.
Trump called the covid virus ‘fake news’ or the China virus. We new it came from fort Dettrick USA.
Now you have 250,000 US body bags and 12,000,000 casulitys.
On trumps watch !
But ——- Biden Biden Biden.
I don’t get it.

Posted by: Mark2 | Nov 17 2020 21:51 utc | 57

Well, if an impecable "Dominion" of English language and fast neuronal connection for one to express itself with clarity and in an understandable way ( when you are talking to an audience in a court and not for yourself...) is not even essential to defend the case on election fraud on behalf of Trump in the so competitive US courts, one wonders why fast neuronal connection is exigible to an old man like Biden, and, what is more astonishing, why the hell it would be exigible from me that I speak an "impecable" Oxford English to comment in a forum where literary or cultivated English is mostly conspicuous by its absence, and with reason, as it is not literature what matters here, but info about geopolitical events...

Posted by: H.Schmatz | Nov 17 2020 21:57 utc | 58

Yes, unfortunately all of this was telegraphed long in advance.

Since we're getting all big-picture here:

On China, expecting very big (and very empty) talk. About preparing for a military showdown, Taiwan, etc. All fluff. However, the talking heads will repeat it enough that the defense contractors will get to have their big naval buildup - Even though there's not really any theory as to how a competition in an industry China already dominates would have the psychological effect it is intended to have.

Expecting the effects of Covid on international politics. It makes nearly every democratic country ripe for a change of government. This includes both governments who are committed participants in the US-world-order, and ones who are not. It will keep the State Dept very busy. Look for them to overplay their hand by trying to sabotage Chinese selling an affordable mass produced Covid vaccine, while US-EU pharma ramps up to produces one or two that are priced for countries with deeper pockets and thus prices itself out of that competition. Similarly, as much of the world outside the US embarks on serious carbon reduction, look for attempts to sabotage China supplying the equipment for that too - with similar alienating effects.

If the Chinese decide to really mess with the Biden administration, I'd imagine they would do something like build a road or even a pipeline in Afghanistan, even though it is completely unnecessary, simply to force the US to stay longer. Doesn't seem like their style, though.

In regards to Russia, same as most of the last 100 years, really. If anything big happens at all, it would be Putin retiring. In that case, CNN will have wild fantasies about Boris Yeltsin 2.0, while in reality Russian oligarchs may have some kind of trial moment to figure out whether his successor can continue to enforce a balance or not, which is a big question. Team Biden brings nothing to the table in that situation other than talking sh#t and creating confusion. The EU on the other hand could, but it's looking less and less likely. Especially as they will likely be immersed in a post covid political crisis and renewed challenge from right wing parties.

Last but not least, look for Biden to be nominated for Nobel Peace Prize before lunch on his first day in.

Posted by: ptb | Nov 17 2020 22:04 utc | 59

The idea that Republicans - the non-"RINOs" anyway - don't really want wars can't be concluded from the Trump administration, given Trump's continuation of the "War on Terror" and the expansion of troop presence in Africa under Trump's watch. It also can't be concluded given Trump's support for Saudi Arabia and their campaign of genocide in Yemen. It also can't be concluded given the bellicose posturing toward Latin American left-wing governments and toward Iran (who the much vilified Obama helped draw down tensions with). Don't forget about the reversal of late Obama's Cuba policy, with Trump re-vamping the embargo and imposing further travel restrictions on Americans who might want to visit the island, and see for themselves whether or not the CIA/State Department propaganda is true. Do I even need to mention that a CIA man who believes in an imminent rapture - the real life Stan Smith - is in charge of the State Department?

Where are these Republicans who don't want to throw a shithole country through a wall every now and then? Every Republican I talk to will say, "oh, I didn't support the war in Iraq," now that it is universally agreed to have been a failure, but fifteen years ago, support for the war defined the Republican political identity, with opponents of the war being talked down to, accused of being sympathizers of Islamo-fascism, and so on. The hatred and fear of Islam that defined the GOP back then still defines them today and is deployed in making Americans fearful of Iran and supportive of the ethnostate presently illegally occupying Palestine.

The US couldn't make a war under Trump, that's why it didn't go to war, and that's why we won't see one under Biden - beyond the continuation of the ones we're already in. And watch the GOP rank-and-file follow their leaders into supporting more warmongering once they become an opposition party again. Some people are talking of a Tom Cotton presidential run - do you really think Arkansas's Dumbo doesn't want to see flag-draped coffins coming in from across the world? It's what gets freaks like him in the GOP off. Don't be useful idiots for them.

Posted by: fnord | Nov 17 2020 22:05 utc | 60

Citing an Atlantic article to claim the Democrats won't have a permanent majority even though the Democrats have won the popular vote in election after election is...well, convenient for whining but not competent analysis. The easy assumption that the mad dog emigres who want the US to invade Venezuela etc. won't be discrediting themselves would be remarkable, were it not for the fact that Trumpery approves endless wars. It's the wishful thinking that messes us their brains.

Generally, all talk of a two-party system is inept. First, the parties are Ins and Outs, with the Ins dominating most states/districts. That's because the Ins are the champions of corruption which has the edge in smaller districts, where the tools of corruption are more effective. On the national stage, where corruption is not so effective, the Ins (aka Republic [not a democracy!] Party) hasn't been able to put together a consistent national majority. The unlikelihood of their ever doing so again should have been the starting point of the Atlantic article. Not even the absurd ramshackle federal system, stacked judiciary, antidemocratic structure have been able to make the Ins popular vote winners on a national stage, not even with the unrelenting lies of the right wing of the mainstream media like Fox News.

William Gruff as usual is wants to pretend defend Trump by criticizing Biden. It's like a creationist trying to deny evolution by seizing on any hint of controversy to pretend the fact of evolution is genuinely questionable. But as usual, Gruff gets even the criticism of Biden wrong. The crime bill had a great deal of support in the black community. It's not an accident that James Clyburn and Barack Obama played such a key role in rigging the primaries so that Biden managed to win. The dirty secret of anti-racist politics as usually played today is that, when it comes to "Who gets what?" class matters more than race. People have tried to pursue anti-racist policies while ignoring class issues since the Civil War. The persistent failure the fight racism first to actually succeed is not an accident, but nor is it an accident that reactionaries who love green more than any other color will never, never, never address the class roots of systemic racism.

Posted by: steven t johnson | Nov 17 2020 22:05 utc | 61

For a team, this one, 20 years have passed...and as if it were the first day, enviable couple, no doubt, stil lconserving that bit of picardy that means it all...

Wondering why we have not seen these videso till now, and only see drawings of giant octopusses over there, in lack of real dirty...

Then, it is this people who wear in their platforms anti-LGTBQ... stuff...

Posted by: H.Schmatz | Nov 17 2020 22:06 utc | 62

You forgot Avril Haines, the likely new CIA director. CIA directors have a lot to do with foreign policy. One only has to look to the George "Slamdunk" Tenet directorship to see how that works. Haines was Obama's Deputy Director of the CIA, and a major figure in the drone assassinations policy. If she doesn't become CIA director, then look for her to have another major assignment in the Biden administration.

Posted by: Jeff Kaye | Nov 17 2020 22:14 utc | 63

Trump is war monger lite compared to Biden that is war monger/criminal heavy. Greater chaos is coming inside and outside the US while liberals go back to sleep comfortable that another Obama like admin is in charge.

My prediction: in the next four years it will be near impossible to paper over the objective collapse of the US Empire of Insanity.

Posted by: AriusArmenian | Nov 17 2020 22:19 utc | 64

Applying any logic to the "threats" against the US "national security" AKA world hegemony becomes much simpler with recognizing two simple facts:
1. The US security state, with its huge military forces and techno-industrial base, and no diplomatic need nor capability, REQUIRES (fake) "security threats" in order to exist.
2. Those appointed "threats" are currently, probably not changing soon, in some order of "threat-size" . . .
China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, Afghanistan, Syria, Venezuela, & African "terrorists" -- did I miss anyone?

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 17 2020 22:23 utc | 65

@ Framarz | Nov 17 2020 21:31 utc | 51.. i concur... good post! as has been said for some time - usa is negotiation incapable... on the other hand, they have the routine of subservience to israel down really well...

Posted by: james | Nov 17 2020 22:31 utc | 66

Regarding Iran, economic and military help may be on the way with the long-reported $400 billion deal with China, still in negotiation. Russia is also nearby with assistance, considering the political sway Iran possesses now in the Middle East. . . .Thank you Uncle Sam for Operation Iraqi Freedom! -- You really knew what you were doing, eh? . . .There is also Iran's energy resources and its key geographical position, both helpful to China's BRI.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 17 2020 22:33 utc | 67

'Joe Biden's Foreign Policy Team',
Vampires, werewolfs, ghouls, goblins, cross dressers, trannies,...
How could that possibly go wrong?....

Posted by: Josh | Nov 17 2020 22:41 utc | 68

Posted by: fnord | Nov 17 2020 22:05 utc | 61

Agree with the whole post, but this paragraph is part and parcel to my long posts earlier in the morning regarding Trump's obnoxious "fans" in my personal circles and how, mysteriously, given that 90% of them identify as Republican (not Independent), and that 100% of that 90% not only loudly supported the Iraq invasion, but also had no qualms about casting horrible aspersions on anyone (like myself or Phil Donahue) who started ringing warning bells and questioning the whole affair AT LEAST a year before the actual invasion started.

Where are these Republicans who don't want to throw a shithole country through a wall every now and then? Every Republican I talk to will say, "oh, I didn't support the war in Iraq," now that it is universally agreed to have been a failure, but fifteen years ago, support for the war defined the Republican political identity, with opponents of the war being talked down to, accused of being sympathizers of Islamo-fascism, and so on. The hatred and fear of Islam that defined the GOP back then still defines them today and is deployed in making Americans fearful of Iran and supportive of the ethnostate presently illegally occupying Palestine.

Indeed, suddenly nobody among my Republican and Trump fanatic friends, family, colleagues and acquaintances (including people online that I've never met in person) can be found who supported that war, and in the VERY rare case that one IS found - I shit you not - they STILL think that Saddam had WMDs but that the "leftist" mainstream media suppressed the news (after cheerleading us into the war on the basis of WMDs in the first place) of their finding. That and something about them being secretly flown to Syria despite the U.S.A's 24x7 granular surveillance of the entire area which was part of their already in-place plans to invade Iraq or bust (turns out we got both).

The US couldn't make a war under Trump, that's why it didn't go to war, and that's why we won't see one under Biden - beyond the continuation of the ones we're already in.

I mostly agree with this, and I've made posts here in which I said that Trump just didn't have the same amount of low hanging fruit that Obama did - like the Arab Spring or the unrest and Islamic terror sweeping the ME and Africa due to Bush/Cheney wars - and of course no "new Pearl Harbors" like Bush/Cheney did. That isn't to say he didn't try with Iran, and recent reports only bolster this opinion. Trump tried to spark a greater war by assassinating Soleimani and the Iranians didn't take the bait. Then Trump wanted to bomb Iran's nuclear sites, which allegedly and almost unbelievably he was talked down from by Pimpeous himself and a cadre of other neocon advisors. But I think you're right Yemen, Africa, and all the rest as well as about Biden - he won't have any low hanging fruit either nor will there be much of an appetite among the American public to enter into any new wars OR ramp up loooooooong running failure wars again like Iraq and Afghanistan. I could be wrong, but if I was a betting man, I'd say that as far as foreign policy goes, Biden's first term looks a lot like Trump's did.

Posted by: _K_C_ | Nov 17 2020 22:45 utc | 69

still crazy after all these years.

and don't look for any sanity in the incoming Administration either, especially from mass murderers in pumps such as Michele Flournoy and Susan Rice (and where is Samantha Power these days?)

According to The New York Times, President Trump asked his advisors if he had options to attack Iran’s main nuclear site but was talked out of pulling the trigger. Four anonymous officials told the Times that Trump discussed the options at a meeting in the Oval Office on Thursday......

Posted by: michaelj72 | Nov 17 2020 22:51 utc | 70

Posted by: _K_C_ | Nov 17 2020 22:45 utc | 70

For the purpose of being clear, "low hanging fruit" by my definition included situations like Ukraine and Syria where in both cases the CIA had certainly been working on revolutions for some time, and in which that activity continued enthusiastically under Obama. I did not mean to define the term as completely or even mostly "organic" or "grass roots" - there isn't a country on Earth with resources or some geostrategic importance that isn't infiltrated at many levels by the US, UK and French spy agencies; it's just a matter of how important they are and how much of what goes down can plausibly be sold as grass roots popular uprisings.

Posted by: _K_C_ | Nov 17 2020 22:53 utc | 71

_K_C_ @Nov17 21:40 #54

... I'd appreciate some backing to this assertion ...

Miami Herald on an issue important to many of its readership:
Joe Biden said he ‘confronted’ Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro. Is that true?

Biden’s campaign said he “was among the first Democratic foreign policy voices to recognize Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s legitimate leader and to call for Maduro to resign.”

Even socialist Sanders, who refused to call Maduro a "dictator", is anti-Maduro:
Sanders called Maduro a “vicicious tyrant” and said there should be “international and regional cooperation for free elections in Venezuela so that the people of that country can make — can create their own future.”


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Nov 17 2020 22:56 utc | 72

Ok I’m feeling lucky.
I predict the US will do just fine under Biden ! The rest of the world will be better off with a US govenment under Biden.
A new dawn, after a very dark episode.
For the same reasons I predicted trumps down fall with this election.
Both now and four years ago.

Posted by: Mark2 | Nov 17 2020 23:04 utc | 73

@Posted by: William Gruff | Nov 17 2020 20:56 utc | 43

My recollection (which may be fuzzy) is that one of the contributing reasons for SoS Rex Tillerson being shown the door was Rex's open balking at Trump cutting the State Dept. budget.

Posted by: gm | Nov 17 2020 23:11 utc | 74

. . .looks like we dodged a bullet here:
Susan Rice: Rumors of Hillary Clinton as UN ambassador an ‘insult’ to former secretary of state

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 17 2020 23:26 utc | 75

@ _K_C_ | Nov 17 2020 21:40 utc | 54... thanks for the article on food sovereignty in venezuala and what is at stake for the people of venezuala... it is a long, but very good article! i might have read some of it from a previous poster putting it up the past year or two.. do you think biden would be interested in siding with the working class of venezuala, or the elites who continue to exploit the working and lower classes?? i suspect biden will conform to all of the same roles the usa typically plays with cia in the drivers seat demanding regime change.. i would like to be wrong, but it seems this is the goal of the cia towards venezuala... food sovereignty is a key issue that faces venezuala.. at some point this might be a key issue facing many other countries too as any threat of a loss of food is a very destablizing dynamic for any gov't..

Posted by: james | Nov 17 2020 23:28 utc | 76

Posted by: William Gruff | Nov 17 2020 20:37 utc | 38

IOW, Biden (and the Republicans in Congress) were for a strong police presence and ostensibly against the types "city burning" activities that some around here complained about so much this past summer without very much context.

Posted by: _K_C_ | Nov 17 2020 23:32 utc | 77

there's plenty of countries in the world where the US will continue and/or try to regime change legitimate governments.

some of these were already started by Mr. Hope and Change, and will continue or be ramped up by Mr. Sleepy/Rice/Flournoy - like Ukraine, a perfect pretext to irritate Russia with. And poor Venezuela, which both current and past administrations have attempted to strangle to death

Some of these came to fruition under Pompeo/Haspel/Trump like Armenia (2018); and some like Belarus have survived, so far.

some where successfully changed under Trump, like Brazil.

some were temporarily regime changed, like Bolivia (2019), but are now back in the hands of the real Socialists and indigenous peoples.

some were successfully carried out under Obama, like in Honduras and Paraguay.

The chinese finally learned and took action in Hong Kong which is now essentially out of the regime change column. Iran will never be regime changed either, nor Syria.

And some like Lebanon are still in play.

I expect economic sanctions/warfare to be increasingly used by this incoming democratic administration as much as the outgoing republican.

The way for all this nefarious and despicable activity by the US and the West to end is....??

Posted by: michaelj72 | Nov 17 2020 23:34 utc | 78

@ KC 72
Trump just didn't have the same amount of low hanging fruit that Obama did . . .like Ukraine and Syria
low hanging fruit: a thing or person that can be won, obtained, or persuaded with little effort.

Let's be clear that Obama's "fruit" turned out to be rotten apples (losses in Ukraine* & Syria**), plus Mr Hope & Change foolishly sent 70,000 more troops to Afghanistan, destroyed one of the leading countries in Africa (Libya) for no reason, threatened Iran every fortnight with his "all options on the table" BS then did an 'agreement' with Iran that was easily overturned,. .the list goes on.

*NATO wanted Russia's only warm-water port in Crimea, and didn't get it.
**Russia stepped in to prevent US-supported regime change

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 17 2020 23:37 utc | 79

All of the linear and conventional predictions about the next administration's foreign policy will be proven wrong, because they neglect the near-fatal deterioration of the US economy and its social fabric in the last 4 years. In short, any return to the pre-Trump status quo is simply impossible. That ship sailed forever.
What is pretty much guaranteed, however, is significant and irreversible ratcheting up of economic tension between America and the rest of the world. The approach may undergo some finessing, but substance will not only remain but acquire additional urgency. The US is in desperate need of reducing its current account deficit, and that can't be accomplished without more threats, more brinkmanship, and more unilateral impositions. You can say goodbye to any prospect of international harmony, it won't happen. Sure, Democrats may attempt softening of rhetoric at first, but it will be proven counterproductive and abandoned rather quickly.
The only reason the Deep State brought Biden back to political life, is because he is one of the few remaining old Cold Warriors capable of achieving normalization of relations with Russia. It's of overarching importance at this point, as without it nothing really works for America and all possible geopolitical equations simply fall apart right away. It's also pretty clear that because Biden's mental and physical condition is in rapid decline, such normalization will be proceeding at breakneck speed. Expect Biden-Putin summit in first 6 months of the inauguration, ostensibly to sign new Start Treaty or prolong the old one. After that, "the dialogue" will kick into overdrive.
All in all, modeling next 4 years of US foreign policy based on op-ed articles in American MSM is just silly. These are written not to enlighten but to obfuscate. Expect secret entreaties to Moscow literally within hours of January 20, 2021.

Posted by: Venom | Nov 17 2020 23:43 utc | 80

There may be some small cookies thrown Russia's way, but that country as a serious threat must remain. The 500,000 person US ground force, modernly equipped, depends upon it. There is no other justification, only a "dangerous" Russia.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 17 2020 23:48 utc | 81

Look at Zionist-imperialist bitch Susan Rice berating the UN General Assembly for its overwhelming vote in 2012 on according Palestine non-member observer status:

Here is the UN announcement on the 'overwhelming' vote:

Posted by: Prof K | Nov 17 2020 23:49 utc | 82

Just as the US must have enemies, because there's so much money in it, it must also (for the same reason) continue to have Israel calling the signals in the Middle East.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 17 2020 23:55 utc | 83

Posted by: james | Nov 17 2020 23:28 utc | 77

You're welcome. In fact it was probably me who posted it under a temporary handle about a year or so ago. I recommend that article a lot to anyone wanting to have an informed conversation about what's really at stake for the people of Venezuela and the history that has led up to where they are. I like how comprehensive (and yes, long!) that piece is and it's really very neutral and factual despite being published in a socialist/left-leaning zine. So far nobody with whom I've attempted to have a debate about the sanctions, and who's really responsible for the starvation and (lack of) food sovereignty (depending), has been able to point me to a falsehood. And this includes Venezuelan expats, almost always grandsons and granddaughters of the colonial elite who have historically exploited Venezuela's resources and people in the same way that it happened in a lot of other countries. That is, until the Bolivarian Revolution, which actually was a huge success in terms of decreasing poverty, increasing literacy and ensuring that it was the people of Venezuela who benefited from their vast oil wealth. Unfortunately it was badly mismanaged, but were it not for the brutal and all encompassing sanctions under Bush and Trump, as well as the constant coup attempts (again, I don't think Obama actually tried any, but COULD be wrong?) I think they'd be in a much better place today and that Maduro wouldn't be so easy to paint as some sort of illegitimate authoritarian strongman.

To your questions about Biden. I think he's going to loosen or get rid of some of the broader sanctions on foodstuffs, medicines and the like while continuing to target members of Maduro's inner circle even more strictly. I have no way of knowing for sure, but based on history, I doubt Biden tries for the types of bloody (or bloodless even) military faux-coups that Bush and Trump have. That said, the situation for a lot of poor and lower middle class Venezuelans has deteriorated markedly since the Trump sanctions have had their effect - AND - the almost complete collapse of their oil economy (also greatly aided by Trump sanctions), so maybe it's possible that the next phony coup designed to hand control of the country and its resources back over to the right-wing descendants of colonial occupiers that will be more than happy to sell off vast swaths of it to Western bankers/private finance, energy firms and oligarchs.

So maybe they're close enough to that tipping point that Biden can convince enough poor Venezuelans - through messaging and of course targeted sanctions - that his version of the future is not worth huge numbers of everyday poor and working class people taking to the streets to fight back against a soft coup like they've done in the past and mass disillusionment with Maduro is brewing - again in large part due to Obama and Bush sanctions that Trump has pumped up with steroids to the point that tens of thousands are dying of hunger for no reason other than that the U.S.A Borg want to rip the country back open to capitalist profit and IMF type loans that initially might provide some relief to the crushing reality of 2020, but would of course inevitably lead to austerity and the suppression of the Mestizo majority back down to permanent lower caste status - both in terms of the power of their vote and their ability to attain wealth.

There's another interesting piece here (mostly pro Maduro Venezuela Analysis) about the land reforms that Chavez kicked off, but which have lost their steam and even been perverted during Maduro's terms.

Land reform/reclamation policies

An explanation of how these reforms were supposed to work - essentially reclaiming UNUSED, mostly non-arid land "owned" by the post-colonialist elites and totally unavailable to be worked by the peasants, by paying full market value for it - OR - seizing it if the claimed owners could not provide any proof that they actually owned it (which turned out to be the case in quite a few instances).

More on land reclamation policies

Sounds to me like Maduro has been both a poor steward of the country and economy, but also in a very tough position due to American sanctions that have been piled onto by the EU and other countries under the usual threats from Uncle Scam. Maybe the people down there really are sick enough of the situation to accept Amerikkkan "humanitarian" assistance (which of course is the goal of any sanctions program).

Posted by: _K_C_ | Nov 17 2020 23:57 utc | 84

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 17 2020 23:37 utc | 79

I am intimately familiar with all of that history. By "low hanging fruit" (or poisoned apples), what I meant was from the PR angle. Situations in those places - by the CIA's making or not - were being reported in the West in such a manner so that they were more easily than usual sold as "humanitarian interventions" to "help democracy flourish" and the like. Whereas Bush had his 9/11 and fake WMD threats from Saddam, Obama had the "organic" "grassroots" uprisings in Ukraine, Syria, Libya, Tunisia and other places which would be used as excuses to go in and steal gold, wreck nations who were a threat to the Franco or American post-colonial control structures, and otherwise instill chaos, which is one major goal of EVERY U.S. intervention - especially in the ME.

But yeah, what was done to Libya, Syria and the Ukraine is unforgiveable. I'm just saying that TPTB when Trump was in office didn't have the easy, made-for-humanitarian intervention news stories to excuse the next round of destruction. That's one reason they had to try so hard with Iran - going as far as designating their military and its leaders as terrorists and all that shit so they could bomb Soleimani while he was on a diplomatic mission. Can't have an outbreak of peace, now, can we? That is, unless it's a carefully scripted PR version of "peace" such as what we saw recently with the gulf monarchies and Israel.

Posted by: _K_C_ | Nov 18 2020 0:04 utc | 85

Join the Army; travel to exotic distant lands; meet exciting unusual people and kill them.

Posted by: Shadow | Nov 18 2020 0:17 utc | 86

@ KC 85
. . .when Trump was in office didn't have the easy, made-for-humanitarian intervention news stories to excuse the next round of destruction.

Trump made it clear that he didn't need any such props, so the "intelligence community" colluded with Obama, Clinton and the DNC to attack Trump on 'Russian Collusion' and then a foolish impeachment since he wouldn't attack other countries big-time like his predecessors.
Trump lays out non-interventionist U.S. military policy, Dec 6, 2016

Were you around when all this happened?

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 18 2020 0:22 utc | 87

"So, in my opinion, there are indeed no-fly zones in Syria and they are neither imposed by Russia, Iran nor Syria itself.

Posted by: robin |"

I read or I heard on the radio that there is indeed a defacto no fly zone in one third of Syria. That is the area that holds the oil; fields and the prime agricultural land controlled by the US. No one dare flies a plane into that area. This is starving Syria for much needed money and starving them for food.

Posted by: arby | Nov 18 2020 0:40 utc | 88

so the "intelligence community" colluded with Obama, Clinton and the DNC to attack Trump on 'Russian Collusion' and then a foolish impeachment since he wouldn't attack other countries big-time like his predecessors.

Those things were all intended to benefit trump far far more than they hurt him and that was intentional. Trump gained gained ten million voters from 2016 to 2020 and for that you can credit the "deep state" for trump's increase in support.

Anybody who can't see what this "deep state" BS is really about is so absorbed by the drama that they can no longer think or see straight. And when I talk about the idiots that are suckered into this "deep state" bullshit I am mostly talking about the trump-haters that believe that the "deep state" is some sort of christ-like savior that has defeated trump. The trump lovers are also fooled but their gullible nature is more understandable and not as despicable.

Posted by: jinn | Nov 18 2020 0:44 utc | 89

Predictions for the Biden Regime...let us see.

Gonna have to say target numero uno has got to be Syria. Finishing off Syria, and chasing the Russians home will be the lynchpin to the rest of Biden's Middle East Policy. Once Syria is collapsed into chaos and ethnic cleansing, Lebanon/Hezbollah become much easier to deal with. Iran becomes further isolated and it's ability to project power seriously reduced. The whole point of JCPOA IMO was a delaying tactic, keeping Iran on the back burner while Iranian Proxies and Regional Influence are mopped up.

I expect the Mighty Media Wurlitzer of Pro-War Propaganda will soon begin spinning up and focusing on the brutality inflicted on the moderate head-choppers by the Assad Regime...another chemical weapons attack anyone?

The Russian presence in Syria is actually quite precarious, despite their military gains they don't project power very efficiently beyond their borders. The Biden Regime will therefore turn up the heat, possibly with a No-Fly Zone over both Idlib and Southern Syria/Al Tanf in conjunction with a well armed proxy offensive backed by air-support. DNC Dems/Deep State/NeoCon believe Russia to be bluffing and will either back down or be rolled over in short order.

Posted by: Haassaan | Nov 18 2020 0:58 utc | 90

Strange IMO.
Most everyone here is talking like it will be business as usual on foreign policy.
I am not so sure. I think that Covid19 has pricked the phony bubble created after the 08/09 collapse. I know the stock market is right back and everything looks fine but I think there is deep rot beneath.
Couple that with a lot of draws in their latest endeavours and I doubt that the machine can keep operating with such confidence/arrogance.

Posted by: arby | Nov 18 2020 1:02 utc | 91

There is one Foreign Policy option available nobody's mentioned--Getting along with everyone, drop Zero-sum and adopt Win-Win. Unlikely, yes, but still an option particularly since the all important Domestic part of the Empire is in such dire straights. Can an Old Dog learn new tricks? I do still stand by my previous assessment.

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 18 2020 1:08 utc | 92

@ _K_C_ | Nov 17 2020 23:57 utc | 84.. i forwarded the article to 3 friends who lived in venezuala and now live in canada.. i will let you know if they respond with anything of relevance... i like your optimism on the possibilities of biden behaving differently, but i don't share it... of course just as easily as it is for me to blame the cia and us admins constant meddling, i am sure there are many people in venezuala will blame maduro for the present situation... the usa-west sanctions are meant to get a result.. they rationalize them every which way they can, but ultimately the sanctions are directly responsible as they are meddling to a good degree, short of war which is the ultimate meddling.. just like i don't think the poor people or black people will benefit from a biden regime, i don't believe the biden regime has the interests of the planet or the little guy at the top of their priority list... of course it is the same with the trump regime... ultimately nothing changes with usa foreign policy and this is why i continue to believe and wish for the demise of the usa... thanks for sharing!

Posted by: james | Nov 18 2020 1:10 utc | 93

@ 92 karlof1.... that option is never on the table, lol.... you would have to start a new political party in the usa for that to happen and you would be going against the grain the whole way, lol... great idea though...

Posted by: james | Nov 18 2020 1:11 utc | 94

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 18 2020 0:22 utc | 87

Was I around as in still living in the United States? No, actually by that December I was already gone. But maybe you weren't around when George W. Bush laid out his "non-interventionist" policy that quickly changed after he had his Pearl Harbor moment? Do you also remember how the 2000 presidential campaign played out? Gore was characterized by the MSM, straight up, as an "interventionist" while Bush - eager to distance his own foreign policy from the Balkan wars and Clinton/Gore tried to walk a fine line between isolationism (of which he was accused) and non-interventionism.

During the 2000 presidential campaign, George W. Bush announced that he would pursue a "distinctly American internationalism" in foreign policy (Bush i999a), largely in contrast to the liberal internationalism of the Clinton administration. He initially sought to have a foreign policy that placed greater emphasis on American national interests than on global interests.
(look up George W. Bush and "classical realism")

So what do Trump and Bush II have in common? How about Trump and Obama? I'll tell you: The preceding administration of the opposite political party had a history of military interventions that were quite unpopular with the public, which was looking for a change. And guess what Obama said when he first stepped into office. That's right - he'd pursue a retrenchment based foreign policy dedicated to fighting existing terror threats in places and places near where the previous administration had already placed American troops - AND to wrap up the already existing wars. From the Atlantic's retrospective:

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Although Obama never presented himself as a pacifist candidate, his 2007-2008 presidential campaign was predicated in part on the promise to end the war in Iraq and properly prosecute the war in Afghanistan. In March 2008, he declared of Iraq, “When I am commander in chief, I will set a new goal on day one: I will end this war.” Later that year, he listed his first two priorities for making America safer as “ending the war in Iraq responsibly” and “finishing the fight against al-Qaeda and the Taliban.” The president also promised a foreign policy that relied more on diplomacy and less on military might in his first inaugural address, telling his audience that “our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.” Well before the tumult of the Arab Spring and its aftermath, Obama famously offered to extend a hand to those willing to unclench their fist. (there are links embedded there)

Here's what Brookings has to say:

I do not mean to overstate. Obama’s presidency will not go down as a hugely positive watershed period in American foreign policy. He ran for election in 2007 and 2008 promising to mend the West’s breach with the Islamic world, repair the nation’s image abroad, reset relations with Russia, move toward a world free of nuclear weapons, avoid “stupid wars” while winning the “right war,” combat climate change, and do all of this with a post-partisan style of leadership that brought Americans themselves together in the process.[1] He ran for reelection in 2012 with the additional pledges of ending the nation’s wars and completing the decimation of al Qaeda. Six years into his presidency, almost none of these lofty aspirations has been achieved.[2] There has not been, and likely will not be, any durable Obama doctrine of particular positive note. The recent progress toward a nuclear deal with Iran, while preferable to any alternative if it actually happens, is probably too limited in duration and overall effect to count as a historic breakthrough (even if Obama shares a second Nobel Prize as a result).

And before you start to think that Trump said much different, here's a blurb from your own article:

“We will stop racing to topple foreign regimes that we know nothing about, that we shouldn’t be involved with,” Trump said. “Instead, our focus must be on defeating terrorism and destroying ISIS, and we will.”

Hence, there hasn't been a President for the last 50 years that has campaigned on, or entered office with a PUBLIC plan to engage in foreign regime change activities. But nearly every one of them, especially since Ronald Reagan, have had "excuses" crop up for "humanitarian interventions" and that includes Bush II and Obama. The so-called Arab Spring began in earnest in mid- to late 2010 and Syria and Libya were in mid to late 2011 during their peak, at which point the U.S. and France got involved under the auspices of "humanitarian intervention."

So more than 3 years into his first term, Obama still hadn't "started any new wars." Three years is an incredibly short period of time when looking at history, even the history of the United States. Trump's only been in office for about 3 years and 9 months. Nothing like the Arab Spring has happened so far while he's been there. That is indisputable. What is also indisputable is that Trump DID try to spark a war by assassinating General Soleimani. Whether there was any plan AT THE TIME to end up invading Iran (a total fool's errand as you know well), I doubt, but the goal of that assassination was to prevent an organic, non-U.S. brokered peace between Iran and Saudi Arabia, which at the very least was a threat to Trump's precious arms sales, but also very much in line with his Zionist friendly Israel policy. At worst, who knows, but you can't make an unchallenged assumption that Trump and his advisors had fully thought through all possible Iranian retaliation options and concluded that there was no way the assassination would cause Iran to do something so bad that a new war was justified regardless of the cost. Sorry, but you just can't.

Yeah, yeah, Trump hasn't started any "new wars" but his rhetoric and public facing stated foreign policy goals were virtually the same as Obama's. Trump just didn't get any 9/11s, Eastern European or Middle East uprisings that would have been sufficient for him or ANY previous president to attempt to justify "humanitarian interventions" abroad. As I've said for a while, if he had a second term, there would have been a new war - even if it was the "deep state" and CIA who created the astroturf casus belli.

Posted by: _K_C_ | Nov 18 2020 1:12 utc | 95

Posted by: james | Nov 18 2020 1:10 utc | 93

Sorry if I wasn't clear but there was very little optimism in my post. The point I've tried to lay out with regards to Venezuela is that insofar as anything that can actually change matters, the die has been cast. The ship has sailed. It has been decided that Maduro must go and that he must transition power through a peaceful democratic process to a Western finance and energy company friendly Venezuelan figurehead who is a descendant of and represents the rich colonial class like Random Guy-doh.

If I'm optimistic at all, it is that Biden will focus the sanctions on Maduro and his inner circle and relax some of the sanctions that cause starvation and medicine shortages. But regardless, the underlying goal - strategy and tactics - will be to force Maduro out AND pass power to a right-leaning foreign investment friendly regime that has been pre-approved by Washington D.C. and which would be perfectly acceptable to either a Trump or Biden presidential administration.

Very interested to hear what your friends and colleagues say about that piece. I've discussed it on Twitter with expats and they can't find much to disagree with even though they are on the side of the landed, colonial aristocratic elite. Also, Nick Casey (I think that's his name), the NYT's lead reporter on Venezuela blocked me on Twitter when I tried to get him to give me his opinion on it. LOL, figured that meant I had hit a nerve with precision and accuracy.

Posted by: _K_C_ | Nov 18 2020 1:18 utc | 96

@ 96 kc... thanks.. i might have misread that.. i am sorry! i suppose it remains to be seen and time will tell... i will get back to you if and when i hear from them... they have lived in canada for a long time, but they have an older sister who was living in caracas up until recently, but she relocated to mexico.. they have neices and nephews that are still in venezuala as i understand it.. thanks for all else in your post! cheers..

Posted by: james | Nov 18 2020 1:29 utc | 97

Like arby, I think that, despite the same characters and agenda of neoliberal hegemony, the Biden presidency, if it ever actually assumes office, will be seriously constrained by domestic factors.

Covid and the long-term economic contradictions of US capitalism have detonated the old order. US capacities are significantly eroded.

More than this, the most important reality is that mass movements have emerged in US society, and they won't go away. The old politics of technocratic elitism will be significantly challenged.

Black Lives Matter, the new socialist left, and the progressive movement will only grow, despite their many contradictions and incompatibilities with one another.

Trump has also unleashed a mass proto fascist movement, which is based amongst the lowest scum of the working class, various billionaire factions, and the white suburban middle class and small business owners.

These genies will not go back into their bottles. Neoliberal hegemony is shattered.

All of this is the result of the 1% sucking the blood of the working class for the past four decades. 2008 was the spark. Covid was the explosion.

I see this every damn day in the US, even in a wealthy liberal city. The social fabric has largely fallen apart. Living in the US is daily suffering, dashed hopes, sadness, and rage. It is awful.

Biden won't have any room for major wars abroad. He might try to rebuild liberal alliances but he won't have any capacity to overthrow Asad or Maduro or to reverse the objective trends of global capitalism. How can he reboot US primacy if China and Asia account for 90 percent of world economic growth?

Covid has revealed the US as a paper tiger with little institutional capacity to manage itself or the world. It is in fact a threat to the world.

Biden and his neoliberal coterie will act like arrogant pricks. They are arrogant pricks. But we can laugh at them. They have a limited shelf life.

Posted by: Prof K | Nov 18 2020 1:34 utc | 98

Well of course it will be awful. There has never been an administration in American history that hasn’t been awful on foreign policy. We’ve always been an empire. Biden will find a world different than the one he remembers from four years ago. The blustering incompetence of the Trump administration was the world’s cue to move on. And the empire now has a lot of issues in the home territory that need immediate and drastic attention. Few empires survive long after being forced to turn inward after a long period of expansion. We’re beyond things that can papered better with a glorious little war. Biden likely takes power with a collapsed health care sector and a real economy of misery for most. He’ll have a federal government riddled wholly unqualified ideologues in a country that went ahead and delegitimized it’s own elections for one man’s vanity. Where half the country doesn’t believe in the virus that crushed the health care system and wrecked the economy. It will all be terrible because the US has reached the historical point where terrible describes all the options.

Posted by: Lex | Nov 18 2020 1:36 utc | 99

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 17 2020 20:17 utc | 35 -- "Realistically that means the Outlaw US Empire will continue to drown as it spins around and slowly descends down the toilet bowl."

Yuppp, swirling towards its destination as the Exceptional Shithole Nation.
But in case I offend too many nice folk here, there is hope.
First, teach your children. Teach them well.
Charge those children to teach their children.
In 50 years' time, all stars aligning, you get the real America.
What to teach? Work for food.
Do not steal other peoples' lunches.
Do unto others what you would of them done you.

Posted by: kiwiklown | Nov 18 2020 1:49 utc | 100

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