The good news is that today is Pearl Harbor Day, which brought about the US entry in World War II, a war that never would have been fought if sanity had prevailed among leading statesmen of that era. The lesson-learned for today should be about the steps that could have and should have been taken to avoid war. And there is more good news in that the United States National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), that pork laden mish-mosh that pretends to be serious legislation responsive to the nation’s actual defense needs, is hung up in the Senate, something that has not happened for the past sixty years. But then comes the bad news. The bill is being blocked by several Republican Senators who want to make it nastier, using increased sanctions to halt the Russo-German Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline while also banning imports from China’s Xinjiang region, where some administration officials have accused the government of carrying out genocide against Uyghur Muslims.
The GOP Senators also want to sanction the gas pipeline to warn Russia of consequences over possible military action against Ukraine, putting even more pressure on Germany to pull out of the deal, which is already under severe strain due to Washington’s sanctions. The ban on trade with China is likewise intended to send a signal to Beijing that even what it does internally is not off limits if one wants to avoid the wrath of the US Congress.
The bumbling about America’s place in the world is unfortunately bipartisan. Witness how the Joe Biden Administration entered into office with a pledge to fix the alleged lack of confidence in Washington’s leadership due to some of the actions undertaken by his predecessor Donald Trump. To be sure, Trump’s impetuous brand of decision making sometimes confounded friends and while also confusing potential enemies, but Biden, in spite of his commitment to “build back better,” whatever that is supposed to mean, has up until now little enough to show for his efforts.
The president’s team had hoped to recoup the high ground through adroit management of the possible US role in the climate crisis but not many nations will rallied around the American flag when it came to taking actual steps and establishing targets that would cripple their energy dependent economies. In the US, soaring gas and heating fuel prices have already clearly stifled the potential popular support for reducing carbon emissions. As winter closes in on North America it will be interesting to see how voters react to the Biden climate initiatives, whatever they turn out to be.
Even though the media has obligingly stopped its coverage of the continuing immigration disaster along the nation’s southern border, the Biden Administration’s failure to take effective steps to curb the flow is evident to voters. Team Biden has allowed tens of thousands of illegals to enter the country, with the Immigration Service even providing ongoing flights to enable them to be spread throughout the nation. They are supposed to appear before an immigration judge at some future point, but hardly any of them will bother, while the Democrats will do all they can to enable them to vote by mail. New York City has already announced that it will allow non-citizens to vote in local elections. And oh yes, the Biden immigration program came complete with a mooted plan from the White House to compensate some of those who were caught crossing the border illegally if children were separated from their parents. It might be the first time in American history that criminals were so rewarded, possibly to the tune of $1 million per family, but the good news is that the initiative has apparently been dropped as a result of a popular uprising over the issue.
Should one go on? There was a hopelessly bungled evacuation from Afghanistan that is already passing from memory, a process that will be assisted by a Hollywood movie forthcoming featuring the heroism of the soldiers and Marines who risked their lives to get the American citizens and vulnerable Afghans out before the Taliban came in. One wonders if it will include a recreation of the chowderheads in the White House holding the meeting in which they decided to close the secure Bagram Airbase before the evacuation started? Not very likely as Hollywood is called the “Dream Machine” for good reasons and it is overloaded with Democrats.
And should one mention the relentlessly absurd invocation of new variants of the COVID virus, together with a constantly growing vaccination mandate applied to nearly everyone the government can somehow put pressure on to comply? And the printing of money to support Democratic Party promoted social programs that many find wildly excessive and will inevitably fuel inflation and explode the national debt. It has only been a little over ten months and the vultures are gathering! No wonder Biden’s presidential approval rating is the lowest ever, and his dangerously incompetent Vice President Kamala Harris, who has been thankfully largely invisible, ranks even lower.
So, one should not be surprised that Biden is doing what many of his predecessors have done – to divert the criticism, he is looking for enemies to blame. Now make no mistake, there are a lot of countries that don’t like the United States very much, mostly with good reason based on what Washington has been doing, but the countries most frequently surfaced as “problems” continue to be Iran, Russia and China.
The persistence in seeking out enemies is somewhat peculiar as the United States, protected geographically by two oceans, has undoubtedly the most powerful military in the world backing up strategic deterrents including deliverable nuclear weapons that could annihilate any foe. It spends more on “defense” than the next seven countries combined measured by military expenditures do and has an estimated seven hundred military bases worldwide. Nearly half of all the military spending in the entire world is done by the US.
America is the only nation that can project significant military power globally, so why is there extreme paranoia about foreign threats? Some might argue that it is all a sham, that it is done to keep the cash flowing to the defense contractors, but that explanation is simplistic and it may be better to look at how a combination of factors have transformed America into the world’s “arsenal of democracy.” Or perhaps it would be better described as relentless “democracy promotion.”
Looking at the three enemies of choice one observes that Iran, which does not threaten the US at all, is only on the list because of Israel. The powerful Israel Lobby in the United States has a tight grip on Iran policy, dominating the debate in Congress, such as there is one, and consistently placing its proxies in the White House’s national security cabinet. Talks to reinstate the JCPOA, monitoring Iran’s nuclear program, are very much in America’s national interest but are going nowhere by design because Israel objects. Israeli Prime Minister has recently warned that the talks should be ended as Iran is using “threats” to obtain favorable treatment. As Israel is the only nuclear armed power in the Middle East, the argument borders on the ridiculous.
Russia, the only one of the three that could inflict serious damage on the United States, has likewise been a neocon project since the Soviet Union collapsed. Moscow only has one overseas base, in Syria, and has only limited resources or interests to do more than that, though it is very engaged in making sure that its neighboring states do not slip into the Western orbit any more than has already taken place. Russia’s view of the friendship or hostility of its neighbors is a vital interest, unlike Washington’s involvement in the region.
Nevertheless, the US Foreign Policy establishment, largely under the control of neocons and their associated think tanks, has succeeded in depicting President Vladimir Putin and his government as totalitarian monsters when they move troops within their own borders. The notorious Victoria Nuland, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, recently warned after a NATO ministerial meeting that “All of the NATO allies were in solidarity with Ukraine today and making clear that we are resolute in supporting [its] independence, and we are also resolute in sending the message to Moscow that if it moves again to internally destabilize Ukraine or use its forces to enter the country that it will be met with high impact economic measures the likes of which we have not used before from all of us.”
Another recent ridiculous proposal by Barack Obama’s incompetent Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul has the US deterring Russia by increasing sanctions while also entering into a virtual military alliance with Ukraine, which, if anything would provoke rather than deter a war. The US media, which could argue against such precipitate action, has gone along with the charade, misrepresenting Russian action vis-à-vis Ukraine, and supporting American and NATO military provocations in the Black Sea and Baltic. Unfortunately, the relentless propaganda campaign has been effective with fully half of the US public willing to commit American soldiers to “defend” Ukraine.
Some Congressmen are already on board with poking the Russian bear, actually calling for US combat troops to be stationed in the Ukraine to deter Moscow. Secretary of State Tony Blinken has recently warned Russia “not to make a serious mistake” over Ukraine. Why? Maybe because Washington spent $5 billion to overthrow Ukraine’s existing government in 2014 and the country now has a Jewish head of state and both its economy and government are largely in the hands of Jewish-Israeli oligarchs. It is the usual tie that binds, and then there is also the Hunter Biden “gets rich in Ukraine” back story which benefits from being hidden by the status quo.
But China, which has of late risen to the top of the enemies’ chart, is a bit harder to understand. China is a legitimate global competitor with an economy now estimated to be larger than that of the US, but it has never suggested in any way that it wants a war. Against that, President Biden has declared that the United States has a “commitment” to defend Taiwan if China should attempt to retake control of the island. If that conflict were to come about and the US engages in a conventional war against Beijing, it would find that the Chinese have considerable advantages in that they would be fighting on interior lines while the modern hypersonic missile technologies that they would deploy could devastate obsolete American aircraft carrier battle groups. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley has described the new Chinese missiles as “very concerning” and “very close” to being a “Sputnik moment,” when a panicked US accelerated its arms and space races against the Soviet Union in 1957.
And one should not forget that China is a major trading partner with the United States, producing many consumer items that are no longer manufactured in America. Beijing also holds tens of billions of dollars-worth of US Treasury bonds. If two countries ever had good reasons not to go to war it would be China and the US, but the threats coming mostly from Washington have been nearly continuous ever since President Barack Obama initiated his tilt to Asia.
The complete ineptness of US diplomacy also contributes to the sense of threat. Logically, Washington should be playing off Russia against China to diminish any danger of war against two hostile great powers but instead it has chosen to antagonize both of them. Whether the Europeans and the South Koreans and Japanese will follow the US on its march to oblivion is debatable. One of the curious aspects of the news coming out of the White House, Pentagon and Foggy Bottom is just how hypocritical it all is. Witness for example the groupthink assessment made by General Milley, who said “We’re witnessing one of the largest shifts in global geo-strategic power the world has witnessed. They [the Chinese] are clearly challenging us regionally and their aspiration is to challenge the United States globally.” Milley is saying that China in particular, and Russia and Iran as well, cannot develop military technologies and take other steps to defend themselves without Washington’s permission. The absurdity of that position should be obvious to everyone, but it has apparently not yet become clear to those in power in Washington.
Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is [email protected].