Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
March 04, 2021

Biden's "Nothing Will Fundamentally Change" Promise Extends To His Foreign Policy

"America is back" claimed Joe Biden to no ones amusement. But the world has changed after four years of Trump and after a pandemic upset the world. The U.S. position in this world and its role in it have thereby also changed. To just claim one is back without adopting to the new situation promises failure.

As candidate Joe Biden promised that there would be no changes.

Joe Biden to rich donors: "Nothing would fundamentally change" if he's elected

Former Vice President Joe Biden assured rich donors at a ritzy New York fundraiser that “nothing would fundamentally change” if he is elected.

Biden told donors at an event at the Carlyle Hotel in Manhattan on Tuesday evening that he would not “demonize” the rich and promised that “no one’s standard of living will change, nothing would fundamentally change,” Bloomberg News reported.

That Biden statement destroyed the illusion of those who had hoped that he would lift the standard of living for the average Amercian.

Biden stayed true to his words at the fundraiser. There will be no rise in the minimum wage. The $2,000 checks he promised to all voters will now be only $1,400 checks. They will also be heavily means tested. Those who made more than $80,000 in 2019 but lost their income in 2020 will get no check at all.

Even as they hold the White House and the House and Senate majorities the Democrats are unable or unwilling to deliver basic progress. This will likely cost them their House majority in 2022 and the presidency in 2024.

Biden's "nothing will fundamentally change" attitude extends into foreign policy.

Secretary Pompeo @SecPompeo - 0:29 UTC · Dec 21, 2019
Today, the #ICC prosecutor raised serious questions about the ICC’s jurisdiction to investigate #Israel. Israel is not a state party to the ICC. We firmly oppose this unjustified inquiry that unfairly targets Israel. The path to lasting peace is through direct negotiations.
Secretary Antony Blinken @SecBlinken - 1:34 UTC · Mar 4, 2021
The United States firmly opposes an @IntlCrimCourt investigation into the Palestinian Situation. We will continue to uphold our strong commitment to Israel and its security, including by opposing actions that seek to target Israel unfairly.

With that, and with its lack of punishment for the Saudi clown prince, the Biden administration has blinked on human rights which it had emphasized in earlier statements.

That nothing will change is also expressed in two policy papers the Biden administration released yesterday. The early emphasis on human rights, which distinguished it from the Trump administration, is already gone.

The common theme is now 'democracy' as if that were not just a form of government but a value in itself.

The White House published an Interim National Security Strategic Guidance (pdf). The paper is dripping with ideological LGBTQWERTY librulism. Its central claim is that 'democracy' is under threat:

At a time when the need for American engagement and international cooperation is greater than ever, however, democracies across the globe, including our own, are increasingly under siege. Free societies have been challenged from within by corruption, inequality, polarization, populism, and illiberal threats to the rule of law. Nationalist and nativist trends – accelerated by the COVID-19 crisis – produce an every-country-for-itself mentality that leaves us all more isolated, less prosperous, and less safe. Democratic nations are also increasingly challenged from outside by antagonistic authoritarian powers. Anti-democratic forces use misinformation, disinformation, and weaponized corruption to exploit perceived weaknesses and sow division within and among free nations, erode existing international rules, and promote alternative models of authoritarian governance. Reversing these trends is essential to our national security.

It then singles out China:

We must also contend with the reality that the distribution of power across the world is changing, creating new threats. China, in particular, has rapidly become more assertive. It is the only competitor potentially capable of combining its economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to mount a sustained challenge to a stable and open international system. Russia remains determined to enhance its global influence and play a disruptive role on the world stage. Both Beijing and Moscow have invested heavily in efforts meant to check U.S. strengths and prevent us from defending our interests and allies around the world. Regional actors like Iran and North Korea continue to pursue game-changing capabilities and technologies, while threatening U.S. allies and partners and challenging regional stability. We also face challenges within countries whose governance is fragile, and from influential non-state actors that have the ability to disrupt American interests.

To fight China the U.S. will (ab)use its allies:

We can do none of this work alone. For that reason, we will reinvigorate and modernize our alliances and partnerships around the world. For decades, our allies have stood by our side against common threats and adversaries, and worked hand-in-hand to advance our shared interests and values. They are a tremendous source of strength and a unique American advantage, helping to shoulder the responsibilities required to keep our nation safe and our people prosperous. Our democratic alliances enable us to present a common front, produce a unified vision, and pool our strength to promote high standards, establish effective international rules, and hold countries like China to account.

Good luck with that. Neither the European U.S. allies, nor the Asian ones, have any interest in following the U.S. into a confrontation with China. It is their greatest trading partner and they do not perceive it as an ideological or security threat.

A speech Secretary of State Anthony Blinken gave yesterday touches on the same points. It is headlined A Foreign Policy for the American People

The main theme is again 'democracy':

The more we and other democracies can show the world that we can deliver, not only for our people, but also for each other, the more we can refute the lie that authoritarian countries love to tell, that theirs is the better way to meet people’s fundamental needs and hopes. It’s on us to prove them wrong.

So the question isn’t if we will support democracy around the world, but how.

We will use the power of our example. We will encourage others to make key reforms, overturn bad laws, fight corruption, and stop unjust practices. We will incentivize democratic behavior.

But we will not promote democracy through costly military interventions or by attempting to overthrow authoritarian regimes by force. We have tried these tactics in the past. However well intentioned, they haven’t worked. They’ve given democracy promotion a bad name, and they’ve lost the confidence of the American people. We will do things differently.

The "lie that authoritarian countries love to tell, that their's is the better way to meet people’s fundamental needs and hopes" is targeted at China. But that China did and does much better than the U.S. to meet its people's needs and hope is not a lie. The pandemic has again demonstrated that.

The last quoted paragraph has seen some positive attention on social media. But it is based on a falsehood. The U.S. has not once used military means to 'promote democracy'. Not ever. It has used war to gain markets and power, to destroy its competition. The neo-conservatives have claimed to be motivated by 'democracy promotion'. But that was always just a pretext to hide the real reasons for waging war. Iraq became democratic not because the U.S. wanted it to be that. In fact, after invading Iraq the the U.S. pro-consul Paul Bremer tried to prevent universal elections in Iraq. Only the insistence of Ayatollah Sistani on a universal vote led to a somewhat democratic system in Iraq.

Blinken is, just like Pompeo before him, focused on China:

And eighth, we will manage the biggest geopolitical test of the 21st century: our relationship with China.

Several countries present us with serious challenges, including Russia, Iran, North Korea. And there are serious crises we have to deal with, including in Yemen, Ethiopia, and Burma.

But the challenge posed by China is different. China is the only country with the economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to seriously challenge the stable and open international system – all the rules, values, and relationships that make the world work the way we want it to, because it ultimately serves the interests and reflects the values of the American people.

That there is no change from the Trump to the Biden administration in hostility to China is disappointing only for those who had expected some:

Pang Zhongying, a specialist in international relations at Ocean University of China, said Beijing would be disappointed with the Biden administration’s approach to “continue and even elevate” the tough policies of the Trump era and to strengthen alliances to deal with China.

“There does not seem to be any change yet in the serious tensions in China-US relations,” he said. “I think there may be some frustration in Beijing that after more than 40 days [of the new administration] they have not seen any change but there is actually more pressure from the US.”

Beijing will manage the conflict and it is likely to see it as a chance.

The U.S. failure to adopt to new circumstances will accelerate its demise. The U.S. empire was a historical abnormality and its twilight is near:

[The Realist professors of International Relations David Blagden and Patrick Porter] observe America’s “position as ‘global leader’ is premised on a set of impermanent and atypical conditions from an earlier post-war era”, but “the days of incontestable unipolarity are over, and cannot be wished back”. The result is that “overextension abroad, exhaustion and fiscal strain at home, and political disorder feed off one another in a downward spiral, cumulatively threatening the survival of the republic”.

The US empire is, then, at an impasse. Its moral and political justification of overseeing a global order of universal liberal democracy — the closest real-world equivalent to the Kantian perpetual peace that has both motivated and eluded liberal idealists for the past two centuries — is now beyond its capabilities to maintain.
How does this end for America? Biden and the presidents after him will be forced to make a hard choice: whether to retrench to a smaller and more manageable empire, or to risk a far greater and more dramatic collapse in defence of global hegemony.

Biden has made his choice. Nothing will fundamentally change under him. He is thereby likely to repeat all of Trump's foreign policy failures. There will be no new JCPOA with Iran nor will there be any win for the U.S. in the Middle East. North Korea will continue to test bombs and missiles. The U.S. will continue to be stuck in Afghanistan. The Chinese-Russian alliance will strengthen. U.S. allies will further distance themselves from it.

We can not yet know what,  at what point will cause the collapse of U.S. hegemony. But we are coming more near to it.

Posted by b on March 4, 2021 at 18:04 UTC | Permalink

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All the democrats have to do is inact standard mail in voting as a federal law. They will never have to worry about losing another election. Who is going to stop them? It has done wonders for California. They have it down to an art form.

Posted by: goldhoarder | Mar 5 2021 15:59 utc | 96

This is a Republican talk point. Republicans developed methods to energize "their voters" and suppress the other voters. And on that point, I agree with sane Democrats who want to counter the suppression methods.

Both major parties work according the the scheme of a pyramidal control. To control a company A, you need to get majority of voting shares. Which belong to company B that owns, say, 60%. In turn, 60% or shares of B belongs to C which controls A while having 60% x 60% = 36% of capital. After adding D, E etc., you can get away with the following: you start with actual majority of shares, and the company prospers. Time to realize gains. But that would deprive you of control. Thus you organize company B and sell 40% of its shares. Control preserved. Wash and repeat.

In a similar spirit, a narrow circle can control a major party. Of course, the rules are different and more hidden. On the bottom level, the equivalent of B controlling A, it was observed that rational arguments are boring, and the wide masses have hard time following them and following what (itself controlled) B advocates. So you invent easy to remember [expletive deleted] like "Obama birth's certificate", "Russian collusion" etc. An energetic group with group solidarity needs its tribal spirit and shibboleths.

Additionally, groups need uniting myths which are now called narratives -- perhaps someone can foresee the next word for myths to by used when narratives will became as discredited as myths. Yesterday I read about "ideogems", that was used in Ukrainian, prosecutors accusing someone of state treason committed by popularizing "ideogems that are convenient for the Russian Federation". with a phrase "false ideogem". Perhaps "ideogem" is a component of a "narrative".

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Mar 6 2021 14:01 utc | 101

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 5 2021 17:56 utc | 97
(12th National People's Congress commencing Friday, 6th March)

Well, knock me down with a feather!
48 hours after CGTN broadcast the Agenda which I reproduced @ #83, above, I tuned in to CGTN's time slot on in anticipation of a progress report and Voila! it had been replaced with some F24 wisdom about fungible assets. So I presume that Scum Mo's Nazis don't want Aussies being seduced/corrupted by upbeat news from China.
It was apparently a hasty decision because the Electronic Program Guide indicated that CGTN was scheduled for its customary 15min slot, and NHK filled its usual slot immediately afterwards.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Mar 6 2021 20:30 utc | 102

Second day in a row that SBS has omitted its scheduled CGTN broadcast.
At least this time the Electronic Program Guide lists F24 Feature which looks a lot less knee-jerk than just making it disappear. Scum Mo's Nazis seem to be on the Sinophobic Cancel Culture warpath. His search for new ways to insult the intelligence of the Electorate is never-ending.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Mar 7 2021 18:26 utc | 103

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