"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

The Man In The Mask With A Fist Bump–Biden’s Embarrassing Show Of Geopolitical Ignorance

President Biden recently met with President Erdogan of Turkey for a sit down on regional affairs.  Erdogan, a strong, willful, and uncowed leader not unlike Putin and Xi, has defied  opposition in his own country, carried out a nationalistic, self-interested foreign policy, and has ignored the threats and entreaties of the United States.  He will act in his country’s self-interest in the roiled Middle East; will buy warplanes from whichever country offers him the best terms; will deny the Kurds full citizenship; will reject claims that Turkey is an Armenian genocidaire; and will work to restore former Ottoman culture to its former reach and glory.

Enter Joe Biden, a geopolitical neophyte, a man whom Putin rightly called ‘a career politician’, a tired bureaucrat, a compromising lackey to more powerful men.  Biden has threatened China over the Uighurs, Hong Kong, Tibet and renascent Chinese hegemonic politics but has done nothing because of America’s stupendous indebtedness to China.  He has threatened Putin over his imperialism, his offensive, truculent refusal to retreat from the Crimea, Ukraine, or the South Caucasus; but can do nothing because of Russia’s massive energy stores and influence over European affairs.  He has railed at the Ayatollahs for their monkey business with Hezbollah and Hamas and continued clandestine nuclear buildup; but whose actions have been shadow puppetry.

So, before the world, this timid, fearful, mask-wearing, so-called Leader of the Free World President greets Erdogan with a fist bump – not a handshake, an embrace, or a man-to-man stare-down, but a fist bump!  What was he thinking? Keeping hands clear of the virus? Expressing his minority street creds? Showing Erdogan that compared to the Turkish leader’s autocracy and imperialism, he is ‘one of the guys’? It was a shameful, pitiful, capitulation to one of America’s most savvy and influential adversaries – even before one word was spoken. 

He gave Putin the cold shoulder at the G7 – a display of what he considered steely resolve – but which made him look silly.  No making nice with dictators; no kowtowing to autocrat ethnic cleansers; smiles and handshakes with geopolitical opportunists.   Of course Putin had to laugh at such husband-and-wife sniffing and silence.  What Biden was trying to show the world – America’s refusal to deal with a murderer and a thief – was seen as a sign of weakness.  Every G7  leader was aware of Biden’s teleprompter presidency, his avoidance of the media, his reliance on spokesmen and printed position papers.  They all knew that he was scared at meeting Putin face-to-face, one-on-one; that he would fluff his lines, give away the store, mumble and jumble his words, and go away wondering what he had ceded.

Image result for Putin Glasses

International politics is not a gentlemen’s club or a ladies’ tea party.  It is not a friendly way to amicably resolve differences.  It is brutal, unforgiving, uncompromising, and final.  World history is not a story of successful negotiations but unsuccessful ones resolved on the battlefield.  Putin, Xi, the ayatollahs, and Kim will react only to economic, financial, geopolitical, and military pressure.  Turn the spigots off, fire a shot across the bow, freeze accounts, mass troops on the border.  Let ‘em know we mean business.

There is good reason why Putin neutered Chechen and South Caucasian separatism; why he has eliminated his political enemies; threated Europe with gas shortages, invaded Ukraine, played kingmaker in Syria, defied NATO and the EU – because he could; because none of his adversaries had either the political will or the means to stop him.  Xi of China is the same.  He will never change his policies regarding ethnic separatism, Han universalism and Chinese hegemony because there is no one to stop him. 

Please don’t do that, says Biden to Xi and to Putin, and they and the rest of the world laugh at America’s transparent posturing, toothless gestures, and fanciful imagery.

Despite what Biden thinks, the world cares little for his talk of ‘inclusivity’ and ‘diversity’.  Unless the Kurds, the Chechens, and the Uighurs capitulate to majority, ethnic, nationalistic rule, they will be destroyed at worst, neutered at best.  Diversity according to America’s adversaries indicates a loss of national character, ethos, shared principles, and strong, historical purpose.  America will never be a feared or even respected opponent as long as it fritters away its remaining legitimacy with focus on the gender spectrum, transgenderism, black insurrection, and radical economics.

America has been sliding down this slope of pusillanimity through many administrations.  Whether it was Jimmy Carter’s ‘human rights’, Johnson’s ‘hearts and minds’, Bush’s neocon democratic exceptionalism, or now Biden’s friendly welcome; American foreign policy has become less defiant and less self-interested than ever before.  Civilian and American military lives come first – geopolitical objectives second.  Morality first, victory second.

Henry Kissinger once said, “In the end, peace can be achieved only by hegemony or by balance of power.” His realpolitik was based not on moral principle but on might and self-interest – a political philosophy which is as relevant today as it was during the reign of the Henrys of England. Peace in the days of the English kings was not assured through negotiations, conferences, and offerings, but through military might, threat, and intimidation. The world was constantly at war, and British monarchs defended their kingdoms against the powerful ambitions of Spain, France, and the Holy Roman Empire.

The Pope was a player, and although without legions, wielded considerable power through the blessings of his office, religious intimidation, threat of excommunication, and not inconsiderable wealth and political influence.  It took almost two centuries to bring the Pope’s influence in England to an end – from the first defiance of Henry II until Henry VII finally shuttered the monasteries and tossed Pope and Cardinals overboard.

The English kings were constantly waging war against Scottish and Irish armies, and civil wars wracked the country for decades.  The War of the Roses was a classic internecine battle over accession and right to the throne.

Either England defeated France or not.  Either the English fleet defeated the more imposing Spanish armada or not.  Either Henry V took back French lands or not.  There was no negotiation except as a tactic of war.  “War is the continuation of politics by other means”, von Clausewitz famously said; and the Kissinger doctrine was no different.

Unfortunately realpolitik has always been an untenable doctrine for America.  Any country which believes that it has a moral responsibility to spread democratic, Christian values throughout the world and to live by them, is doomed to failure.  Realpolitik may have been good policy for autocratic English kings who had no compunction about raising an army and sending thousands of men to their death for the flimsiest of reasons, but it is an untenable policy for a country whose core beliefs dictate respect for national sovereignty, the validity of dissent, and the importance of sparing innocent lives.

Things for America will only get worse under Biden.  America’s geopolitical influence is at a low ebb, and despite the convictions of his liberal supporters who have always believed that goodness ipso facto will always win out over evil, it will not.  Peace, accommodation, compromise have always come as a result of standoffs, stalemates or hegemony – countervailing forces, not negotiated settlements.  Machiavelli, Kissinger, Putin, and Xi know this well.  Biden doesn’t even have a clue.

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