By Finian Cunningham
November 24, 2020 "Information Clearing House" - "Sputnik" - The next US administration is taking shape with President-elect Joe Biden naming his picks to top cabinet posts and national security. It heralds a return to "normal" US imperialism and militarism. That is something to dread not celebrate, as American and European media would have us believe.
The incoming Democrat president, who is due to be inaugurated on January 20, is cheerfully reassuring European and NATO leaders that "America is back" after four years of erratic US foreign policy under the maverick Donald Trump.
Biden said his administration will "reclaim America's seat at the top of the table".
US media are also straining with Orwellian euphemisms. CNN says under Team Biden, the US will "reclaim its squandered leadership role". While the Washington Post said the new Biden administration hails the "return to competent government".
Other commentators say it is a "return to normalcy". Former US Assistant Secretary of State PJ Crowley is quoted by the BBC as saying of Biden's picks: "They have a consistent world view. They are strong believers in American leadership and international alliances".
Well, what is "normal" and "competent" about wars, death and destruction?
Biden's cabinet is a rehash of holdovers from the Obama administrations. Several of the people he has nominated or who are tipped to fill vacancies are advocates of warmongering.
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The next US Secretary of State – if vetted by the Senate – is Antony Blinken. As part of the previous Obama administration, Blinken was a major proponent of US military intervention in Libya, Syria and Yemen. He also pushes a hard line towards Russia and China.
All the recent media swooning about Blinken being a professional diplomat and fluent in French belie the true, ugly face of American war policy which he instrumented. We only have to look at the misery of starving children in Yemen to realise the horror and criminality of US militarism which the likes of Blinken are responsible for.
Not yet confirmed by Biden for cabinet posts are Obama-era warmongers Susan Rice, Samantha Power and Michèle Flournoy. The latter is hotly tipped to head the Pentagon as Secretary of Defence.
International human rights lawyer Christopher Black dismissively describes the Biden team as "cruise missile liberals". Meaning they are adept at using righteous rhetoric to justify war.
Flournoy wrote in Foreign Affairs magazine in June that the US military must build up "deterrence" against China by being able to "credibly threaten to sink all of China's military vessels, submarines, and merchant ships in the South China Sea within 72 hours".
Blinken and Flournoy co-founded a shadowy political strategy business called WestExec Advisors which connects weapons manufacturers with the Pentagon. Talk about conflict of interest! Or maybe that should be a confluence of interest. These people have a vested interest in promoting conflict and war for profit.
During Trump's four years in the White House, the chaos in US foreign policy was such that American imperial interests were often frustrated. Not that Trump was a peacemaker. His aggression towards China, Iran and Venezuela and Russia (if you count the Nord Stream-2 sanctions), was apparent. But his erratic egoism and cronyism got in the way of the "vital interests" of the US foreign policy establishment and the military-industrial complex.
That's why Biden was so heavily backed during his election campaign by former Pentagon and intelligence chiefs, as well as by Wall Street and the military-industrial complex. He's their man to get back to business-as-usual. And the team he is forming is meant to deliver Washington to the "top table" of exerting hegemonic ambitions.
That means solidifying the NATO alliance and cohering European allies behind US policy of confronting China and Russia – a move which the European vassal politicians seem to be cooing over.
Trump's feckless leadership was infuriating and exhausting. He was a destabilising figure in international relations. But so too are all US presidents. They will use massive violence and lawlessness to achieve whatever the "vital interests" demand. Supposed "business genius" Trump was just incompetent and inefficient as the so-called leader of the US-led "free world".
A Biden administration will bring "competence" back to US imperialism with the deployment of professional warmongers. Absurdly, the brainwashing of US and European media present this dreadful prospect as something to be welcomed.
A Biden Administration Will Be Dominated by More U.S. Aggression
By Finian Cunningham
November 24, 2020 "Information Clearing House" - "Strategic Culture Foundation" - In the following interview for Strategic Culture Foundation, author and international lawyer Christopher Black assesses that the world will see more intensified U.S. militarism and aggression under a Joe Biden presidency than under the outgoing Trump administration. Black points to Biden’s long record in the Senate and as a former vice president attesting to his loyal support for illegal U.S. wars. Another ominous indicator is Biden’s picks for his new cabinet which features reactionary figures from the Obama administration who were keen advocates of military interventionism in Libya and Syria. Thirdly, as Black cogently concludes, war and aggression are an indispensable function of the U.S.’ capitalist economy. With mounting domestic social problems, the imperatives for militarism have become stronger for the American ruling class as a means of diverting from internal collapse. In Biden, the warmongers will find a willing instrument. During presidential debates, Biden expressed unhinged hostility towards China and Russia demonstrating a thoroughly propagandized mind.
Christopher Black is a renowned international defense lawyer based in Canada, specializing in war crimes. He served as a legal advisor to Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic before his death in 2006 in a prison cell in The Hague while on trial. Black also served as the lead defense counsel in a Rwanda war crimes trial where he succeeded in winning acquittal by exposing the prosecution case as a frame-up. He has been a trenchant critic of the criminalization of justice by NATO powers who use indictments of foreign leaders as a political weapon. Christopher Black has written extensively on international affairs, including on relations between the U.S., Russia and China.
Question: What are your expectations from a new U.S. administration under President Joe Biden with regard to international relations? Do you think international tensions will ease under the Democrat president?
Christopher Black: I expect the Biden administration, if it takes office, to continue the same aggressive policies that the USA has engaged in for generations wherever it sees its interests, that is its access to markets and resources, challenged by competition with other nations, in particular against Russia and China and their allies. The United States is ever-ready to use force and cares nothing for international law or morality. It was the Democrats who got involved in and prosecuted the war against Vietnam, against Cuba and it was they, under Clinton who attacked Yugoslavia and destroyed it in order to advance its war against socialism and to advance its encirclement of Russia, which while no longer socialist, refuses to give up its independence or to sell its people into servitude under American hegemony. It was Obama who began the “pivot to the Pacific”, their euphemism for aggression against China whose rising economy they cannot tolerate, who began the war on Syria, attacked and destroyed Libya. The Americans proclaim they are all for competition but we know that means only when it puts them in the superior position; and to maintain their position they are willing to threaten and attack the world if necessary; and there are a myriad of domestic problems in the USA which they have no way out of, since the two ruling parties have no solutions to offer, except war.
Question: Under Trump, U.S. relations with China nosedived. Do you think the downward trend will continue under Biden?
Christopher Black: The Biden administration will be bent on war. If Biden was at all concerned about peace he would be denouncing Trump’s new minister of defense, Colonel Christoper Miller, and Trump’s aggressive policies towards Russia and China; Biden would be elaborating a global peace initiative by the new administration. Instead he is seeding his administration with the most reactionary leftovers from the Obama years. All war criminals. Biden’s rhetoric against China is even more hostile than Trump’s. But it does not matter who is in power in the USA since both parties are controlled by factions of the corporate-military complex that seeks to continue and expand American hegemony. So we can expect U.S. provocations against China to accelerate and as the Chinese have warned several times during the past few months, war is a very real possibility, even a probability, and Taiwan will be the flashpoint.
American wars are always preceded by a propaganda campaign of fear and hate which it expects its allies to take up and provide corroboration for. We see this campaign being carried out in all the NATO and Five Eyes countries (U.S., Canada, Britain, Australia, New Zealand) and it is to a large extent successful in manipulating the citizens of those countries into supporting war against China, against Russia, against the enemy du jour.
These U.S. allies are being brought into line with the new Biden war plans. For example, Britain’s Boris Johnson is committing record billions of pounds for armaments. Canada likewise. Australia has unleashed an anti-China hostile propaganda barrage.
Question: How do you foresee U.S. relations with Russia under Biden. He has talked about extending the New START treaty curtailing strategic nuclear weapons. Could this bode an improvement in relations between Washington and Moscow?
Christopher Black: It is a small positive sign but we know from past history that the U.S. will always seek to weaken Russian defenses while strengthening its own. So one has to question the bona fides of Biden’s statements in that regard. This is a man who is head of a party that spent the past four years condemning Trump as a Russian agent, and claiming that Russia has attacked the United States by interfering in its elections. And we know the Americans cannot be trusted. Their word is not their bond. They enter and leave international treaties as they please. One can hope, but we must also face reality.
Question: Joe Biden has talked about re-engaging with NATO allies whom Trump antagonized with his bullying, transactional style over military spending and other issues. Do you see American conduct becoming more interventionist and militaristic as a result of a more realigned NATO under Biden?
Christopher Black: Trump only antagonized them by demanding they pay more for their vassal status in the NATO war machine and to speed up the military planning and preparations for war against Russia which they all agreed to do. But, by and large, the NATO allies share the American objectives of ending Russian independence, particularly Britain and Germany, the first of which dreams of its former empire and the latter of which has never abandoned its quest to split Russia into pieces that Hitler failed to achieve. The U.S.-NATO machine is rapidly expanding its forces in eastern Europe, its logistics, arms depots, military exercises. The Germans just conducted a military exercise with the U.S. forces practicing a nuclear attack on Russia. That momentum will accelerate under Biden just as it would have under Trump if he had been re-elected.
Question: Why is it that U.S. conduct of international relations seems to remain constant regardless of who is the White House as president?
Christopher Black: It is in the nature of an imperialist nation, by force of the economic system, to increase profits at all costs. The USA is the epitome of the capitalist state, in essence a corporate state armed to the teeth, ruthless, contemptuous of everyone, of international law, and willing to destroy any nation that stands in its way. Further, the relatively good living standards of its people, which have been declining since the end of the Vietnam War, depend on maintaining American hegemony.
Question: Russia and China have been solidifying a strategic alliance for global economic development and security. Do you see this alliance as a crucial counterweight to the destabilizing American ambitions for hegemony?
Christopher Black: Yes, but that alliance has not taken the form of a military alliance although the leaders of both China and Russia have not ruled that out. But they see what the rest of us can see, that the USA views Eurasia, from Russia, through Iran, Afghanistan to China, as one economic block, as a vast store of resources, labour and markets and which has unlimited industrial potential. So it is natural that the common targets of the Americans should ally themselves to increase their joint military and economic security to enhance their individual security.
Question: What in your view needs to change in order to make U.S. foreign conduct abide by international law and therefore enhance the prospects for world peace?
Christopher Black: It will require a revolution in the United States to do that, an overthrow of the economic powers that control the machinery of the state, but there is no prospect of that happening. There is really no effective opposition to these policies in the U.S. The peace movement is weak and fragmented, dominated by the “cruise missile liberals”. The voices of reason have no power, no real influence among the masses of the people which are dominated by a sophisticated propaganda machine known as the “media”. Censorship is increasing and the few critical voices that exist are being silenced.
It will take, in my view, a military defeat of the United States in order to bring about the conditions necessary for the required changes. And, perhaps that will happen, as China has stated time and again, that if Washington decides to take direct control of their island of Taiwan and the Americans interfere or if they are attacked in the South China Sea, they will defeat the U.S. But such a war would have world consequences and would cause realignments of power not only in the USA, if we all survive it.
Finian Cunningham has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. He is a Master’s graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. He is also a musician and songwriter. For nearly 20 years, he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organisations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent. -