President Biden’s foreign policy showed some encouraging early signs of those who invested in cutting America’s disastrous geopolitical trajectory decades ago. Like an everyday beast I mentioned it firstBiden is pulling the United States out of the Saudi-led war in Yemen and launching counterterrorism attacks Under review. America is back in Paris Climate Agreement And the United Nations Human Rights Council. Biden extended Framework for nuclear arms control with Russia. On Friday, the White House Tell Politico It adopts pressure from Congress to revoke some post-9/11 powers.
But interviews with half a dozen progressive activists, socialists, Hill employees, foreign policy experts, and former Obama administration officials in contact with Bidenworld indicate deep discontent with what they see as a disturbing drift toward the traditional Washington foreign policy consensus. Famous former Barack Obama aide Ben Rhodesmeans. “
“This has been a terrible week for Biden’s foreign policy,” said historian Stephen Wertheim of the Left / Right Kinsey Institute against War, author of the book. Tomorrow, the world: the birth of the global supremacy of the United States. “I credit the Biden administration for picking some hanging fruit early. But I refuse to accept a situation in which the United States could do incredibly destructive and stupid things like help in the war in Yemen and then everyone should cheer when the administration stops doing such.” These things are despite the continued pursuit of expanding armed hegemony around the world. And since we do not yet know what exactly the administration’s policy in Yemen is, we must remain cautious even on this front.
A week ago, Thursday, the US Army It bombed a site of an Iranian-backed militia in Syria In the constant response to attacks on US bases in Iraq, a presence that progressives want to see ended. The Biden administration portrayed these strikes as limited and proportionate An indication of Biden’s tuning. But Alex McCoy, the former Marine Corps political and policy director for the anti-war collective defense group, said the strikes “represent a return to the eternal, botched war devoid of strategies and the as usual immature combat of the corrupt foreign policy elite.”
Then the next day, Biden demoralized many on the left by punishing the killers of Mohammed bin Salman for their horrific killing of Jamal Khashoggi. Not the Saudi crown prince himselfEven after the release of the CIA’s assessment that blames bin Salman.
“The US government said its followers should be careful, but leaders can get away with being killed, and I think this is a big blow to the Biden administration’s attempt to prioritize human rights in its dealings with the rest of the world,” said Andrea Brasso of Human Rights. Watch. “Why would any other abusive leader feel they should fear the wrath of the United States if they also believe they have something in the strategic interest of the United States, such as oil or cooperation in combating terrorism?”
More continued in the last week. Foreign Minister Anthony Blinken, the leader of the Venezuelan opposition, Juan Guaidó, described something He raised the possibility For more American intervention to overthrow the strongman Nicolas Maduro. The next day, Wendy Sherman, the administration’s nominee for deputy secretary of state, testified that she wantedStronger and longerThe Iran nuclear deal, something his colleagues in the deal are calling for they fear will make it difficult for the United States to re-enter, given that the United States is the first to violate the agreement. “I fear we may be preparing ourselves for failure,” She said Progressive Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT).
Then management OpposedOn the basis of jurisdiction, the ICC investigates alleged war crimes committed by Israel and Palestinian militants. Brasso said she was not surprised by the administration’s criticism of the International Criminal Court, but noted that the administration declaring out loud that it represents the return of US diplomacy has not canceled it yet. Trump-era sanctions against the International Criminal Court itself, Including the prosecutor.
Added to this is the uncertainty about pivotal foreign policy decisions that remain in flux – particularly about the future of the 20-year war on terror.
Management review for Afghanistan war Revealed acoustic unit In favor of an expanded American presenceWhich could herald “an even more intense war in Afghanistan that Joe Biden has now,” said Wertheim. Outside of Afghanistan, party spokeswoman Gene Saki on Friday expressed Biden’s willingness to remove some war powers after 9/11 – but not directly.
Biden wants to “replace them with a narrow and defined framework” to combat terrorism instead. How narrow that will be, remains to be seen. at “Temporary National Security DirectiveReleased last week, Biden pledged to “preserve” the competence of US special operations forces in missions including “counterterrorism priority.” The New York Times Transfer He noted that Biden’s counterterrorism review is considering limiting the deadly strikes that fall between frameworks established by the Trump and Obama administrations, which is more lenient than what antiwar activists would like. All of this calls into question how strongly the administration defines eternal wars it says it wants to end.
Few consider themselves surprised by Biden’s actions. Many consider last week’s decision-making to be consistent with Biden’s five decades of foreign policy experience. Aware of the president’s record, the Biden team has long said that they are not seeking to restore American power to the status quo ante Obama. “They really are, and that was evident in the campaign,” said a former Obama administration official, who requested anonymity. It was a restorative approach: We had the right policies as a democratic administration four years ago. I think this is lazy and incorrect. There was a lot that could have been done and should have been done. “
Another aspect of the restoration was of concern to this official. Four years after Trump tried to subdue the Justice Department, the FBI and the intelligence agencies, “The administration’s response will not be to rely on them. Then they will seize more power and more power.” This caution comes Senior FBI And the Ministry of Justice officials They expressed their openness to the new domestic forces of terror Warning of civil liberties defenders.
The White House declined to comment for this story other than Psaki’s statement. But David Rothkopf is a foreign policy expert and author Running the worldAnd the A well-known book on the NSC defended the administration as accomplishing – and pointing directly to – much in its early days.
For Rothkopf, Biden’s focus on green energy is leading to a structural readjustment of the US-Saudi relationship, supported in the meantime by Biden’s decision to direct the relationship through King Salman rather than the crown prince. He was also shocked by Prof. Speech by Blinken on Wednesday Which pledged to build a “more stable and inclusive global economy” and address the fragility of local democracy in order to restore confidence abroad in the democratic system. Perhaps the most prominent of these is Blinken’s rejection of “the attempt to topple authoritarian regimes by force.”
“They have been methodical, coherent, consistent and moving in a direction that is not only an improvement on what Trump did, but also of what Obama did and did Bush and Clinton do,” said Rothkopf, a columnist for the Daily Beast. “This is the first real foreign policy of the twenty-first century that reflects the reality of the changing American leadership role.”
Even those who disagree with Rothkopf over the administration’s early record are hopeful. Many appeared ready to push the administration to the left. One early test may take place next week. Activists are pressing Biden to tighten an executive order, expected in January and yet to be issued, to tighten rules over the Pentagon 1033 program that equips police with military-grade equipment. Representative Hank Johnson (D-GA) plans to ban this practice in future legislation.
“While the progressive community was calling for this program to be canceledYasmine Tayeb, a human rights attorney and progressive strategy expert, said that the House letter that will be sent to President Biden will begin circulating next week urging him to issue much stronger moral instructions in this program than Obama did and incorporate Johnson’s legislative language.
McCoy of Joint Defense also expressed optimism about the White House’s willingness to publicly support the elimination of at least some of the warfare forces in the 9/11 era.
Announce the President’s support for the repeal of the Public Administration Act 2001 and 2002 [Friday] It is a very positive step towards ending the eternal war. As the window closes, there is still time for Joe Biden to do the right thing and withdraw from Afghanistan by the May 1 deadline in order to give diplomacy a chance. “The White House is clearly aware of the growing power of the progressive foreign policy movement, and the role we played in helping it win the White House, and it remains to be seen whether this leads to meaningful change.”
The Biden team “is feeling some heat, that’s fine. A senior congressional aide who asked not to be identified. They should understand: The honeymoon is over.”