The election of a new President in the United States is a momentous occasion at any time, but 2020 seems potentially ripe for earth shaking consequences. Few acts have more earth shaking consequences than war, and so while some may have a variety of issues which will affect their vote in this coming election, others put a high priority on electing a candidate who is anti-war, to end the endless regime change wars and the military industrial complex. It is to those that this article is dedicated.
Who should be your candidate if peace is your concern? Biden might be the first choice, since he is the left-wing candidate who logically should be more anti-war than the Republican. But Biden is not left wing. He is center-right. And he seems to be surrounding himself with like-minded neoliberals from the Obama administration who will restore an interventionist foreign policy under British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Responsibility to Protect doctrine (R2P.) Being floated right now for Defense Secretary are such illustrious swamp creatures as Hillary Clinton and Michele Flournoy, who were both instrumental in the 2011 NATO operations that brought us the return of black slavery in Libya after their regime change operation there. Flournoy is a bit more of an unknown among the general population, but among the Deep State class her pedigree as an avid proponent of flexing U.S. military muscle is well established. In her June 2020 Foreign Affairs article entitled “How to Prevent a War in Asia,” Flournoy’s “solution” to prevent war in Asia (read: with China) is to escalate military tensions and provocations in Asia and dictating to China the terms of a new Pax Americana for the entire region, based on U.S. military might. Flournoy is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, sits on the CIA Director’s External Advisory Board, as has worked for known Deep State consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton, the same one Edward Snowden worked for. She was also the CEO and co-founder of the Center for a New American Security, a hawkish think-tank dominated by Clinton loyalists and neoconservatives. In May of 2016 CNAS released “Extending American Power,” co-authored by Flournoy and Robert Kagan, a neoconservative who also worked with Dick Cheney in 2000 to release a similar document through the Project for a New American Century, advocating for a unipolar world based on American military hegemony. Flournoy has been critical of Trump’s policy towards China, stating that it has been pursued “mostly bilaterally, instead of building broad coalitions of partners and allies” who will dictate the terms of peace to China down the barrel of a gun. As the stridently anti-war progressive Medea Benjamin recently wrote: “Picking Michele Flournoy to lead the Pentagon would be a tragic indication that Biden is truly hell-bent on squandering America’s future on a debilitating arms race with China and Russia and a futile, potentially catastrophic bid to resurrect America’s declining imperial power.”
Besides Flournoy, Biden is rumored to be considering Susan Rice for Secretary of State. Susan Rice has had a long and despicable career. She is the archetypical swamp creature, devoid of morality and compassion, and seeing the world through the cold hard lens of what expands American power and her bank account. She has long advocated against restraint, advising both Clinton and Obama to get involved in military escalations that later proved disastrous. She ran illegal, off the books weapons trading operations in Africa like a Democratic Oliver North, except she was promoted. She has been right in front of all efforts to destabilize the Congo and Sudan for years, and yet she is held up as a model for young African-Americans to emulate. Her firm belief in R2P, along with Biden, Flournoy, Clinton, and likely Samantha Power, John Forbes Kerry, and others, means that the Biden administration will bring a return to the kind of interventionist foreign policy that got Trump elected in 2016.
Don’t forget about Biden himself. Take a look at his record, you will see there was never a war he didn’t like. The Senator from MBNA voted yes to war in Iraq. Yes to war in Afghanistan. He was Vice-President in an administration that started seven new wars, and he was chosen by Obama largely for his help on foreign policy. He was the pointman who ran the Ukrainian color revolution in 2013, bringing in literal Nazis in the tradition of Stepan Bandera to overthrow the legitimate government of Ukraine, and netting himself and his family millions from cronyism in the process. This is the decrepit face of American imperialism that Beltway insiders consider to be a lost golden age under Trump, and which they market to voters as a restoration of American values. This is why almost 800 people have signed the open letter “National Security Leaders for Biden,” including top brass in all branches of the military, five Secretaries of Defense, as well as intelligence and other national security professionals. They know Biden represents a return to normalcy for them, and the kind of foreign policy the Eastern Establishment is so desperate to return to.
Trump on the other hand has been at war with the Deep State from his first day in office. He has constantly been dogged at every attempt at troop withdrawals by his own people at the Pentagon. These are the same people who are now supporting Biden, and who cynically point to Trump’s small troop withdrawals as evidence that he never really meant it. Trump has been clear from the beginning that ending the endless wars was imperative, and that having better relations with Russia and China is a good thing, not a bad thing. Unhindered by re-election concerns, Trump is likely to oust the last remaining resistance in his administration. That means Pompeo out. Esper out. Haspel out. Replaced with people loyal to Trump’s foreign policy vision. Trump is the first President since Eisenhower to publicly attack the military industrial complex. And unlike Eisenhower, he has done so more than once. Can you imagine the progressive icon Barack Obama would be if he had repeatedly called out the military industrial complex during his administration? Already in his first term, with the threat of re-election looming, Trump broke with his Republican neocon faction and fired John Bolton as National Security Advisor, saying if he would have listened to him, we would already be in World War 6. Trump has had every opportunity to become a run-of-the-mill hawkish neocon Republican President and he has thus far refused, winning himself a lot of enemies in the process. As 2020 began, Trump had every opportunity to escalate tensions with Iran into a full blown invasion if he so desired. Instead he worked to immediately de-escalate the situation after appeasing his Generals with one targeted airstrike. We saw the same thing with his 2017 missile strikes on the Shayrat airbase in Syria. It was one of the few times the media united in praise for him, egging him on to proceed further. He refused, and again moved to immediately de-escalate the situation. He has repeatedly talked on the campaign trail this year about how important peace is for the United States. He has not started any new wars and has reduced troop levels in the existing ones, against fierce opposition from the Deep State, both political parties, the military, and the media.
There is every indication that the election of Joe Biden will bring the return of the foreign policy of Obama and Clinton, that is, the neoliberal extension of the War on Terra. Under Biden, tensions and provocations with China that could lead to outright war are likely to increase dramatically, especially if Flournoy is brought in at DoD. Under Trump, who brags that he and Xi Jinping love each other, war with China is unlikely. Regime change wars in the Middle East and provocations against Russia in Eastern Europe will likely escalate under Biden, and de-escalate under Trump. Should the Democrats win, they should be cautioned that the adversaries they are facing in the Middle East, in China and in Russia are not of the same caliber as those they fought in 2010. New weapons systems, strengthened alliances, and an unwillingness to bend another inch for the US is now standard policy for much of the non-aligned world. Let us pray 2020 gives us an administration that does not test this new reality.
Carey List is an engineer who loves history, and lives in Ontario, Canada. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.