President Biden’s foreign policy has shown some encouraging early signs of those who have invested in parting with America’s disastrous decades-long geopolitical trajectory. As The Daily Beast first reported, Biden pulled the United States out of the Saudi-led war in Yemen and brought terrorism strikes under control. America has rejoined the Paris Climate Agreement and the UN Human Rights Council. Biden has expanded its nuclear weapons control framework with Russia. And on Friday, the White House spoke Politics that this included a congressional push to repeal certain military forces after 9/1
But interviews with half a dozen progressive and socialist activists, Hill officials, foreign policy experts and former Obama administration officials who have been in contact with Bidenworld point to deep dissatisfaction with what they see as an alarming march on the traditional, militant consensus on Washington’s foreign policy – what former Barack Obama aide Ben Rhodes, known as the “stain”.
“This has been a terrible week for Biden’s foreign policy,” said historian Stephen Wertheim of the Quincy Left / Right Anti-War Institute, author of Tomorrow, the World: The Birth of US Global Supremacy. “I thank the Biden administration for picking low-hanging fruit early. But I refuse to accept a situation in which the United States can do incredibly destructive and stupid things like support the war in Yemen, and then everyone should rejoice when the administration stops doing such things, even though it continues to seek to expand its military dominance. Worldwide. And since we still do not know exactly what the Yemen administration’s policy is, we must remain cautious even on this front. “
One week ago, the U.S. military bombed an Iranian-backed militia position in Syria in retaliation for attacks on U.S. bases in Iraq, a presence the progressives want to end. The Biden administration described these strikes as limited, proportionate, and an indicator of Biden’s restraint. But Alex McCoy, a former Marine and political director of the anti-war veteran group General Defense, said the strikes “represent a return to a failed, unsustainable, immaturely militant business forever, as usual to a corrupt foreign political elite.”
Then, the next day, Biden demoralized many on the left by sanctioning Mohammed bin Salman’s assassins for the horrific assassination of Jamal Hashoghi, not the Saudi heir to the throne, even after releasing the US intelligence assessment, blaming bin Salman.
“The US government has said subordinates need to be careful, but leaders can get away with assassinations, and I think that’s a huge blow to the Biden administration’s attempt to prioritize human rights in its engagement with the rest of the world,” Andrea Prasov said. from “Human Rights” I’m watching. “Why would any other abusive leader feel he should fear the wrath of the United States if he also believes that there is something in the strategic interest of the United States, such as oil or cooperation against terrorism?”
They followed last week. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken called on Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, something that raised the prospect of further US intervention to bring down the strong Nicolas Maduro. The next day, Wendy Sherman, the administration’s nominee for deputy secretary of state, testified that she wanted a “stronger and longer” nuclear deal in Iran, something her colleagues advocated, fearing it would make it difficult for re-entry. The United States, given that the United States first violated the agreement. “I’m worried we may be set up for failure,” said Progressive Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT).
The administration then opposed, on the basis of jurisdiction, an International Criminal Court investigation into alleged war crimes committed by Israeli and Palestinian fighters. Prasov said he was not surprised by criticism from the ICC administration, but noted that the administration, which strongly advocates the return of US diplomacy, has not yet lifted Trump-era sanctions against the ICC itself, including its chief prosecutor.
Added to this is the uncertainty surrounding key foreign policy decisions that are still changing – especially regarding the future of the 20-year war on terror.
The administration’s review of the war in Afghanistan revealed a vocal contingent in favor of an expanded U.S. presence, something that could herald a “more intense war in Afghanistan that Joe Biden now owns,” Wertheim said. Beyond Afghanistan, spokesman Jen Psaki on Friday expressed Biden’s readiness to eliminate certain military forces after 9/11 – but not directly.
Instead, Biden wants them to be “replaced by a narrow and specific framework” for fighting terrorism. How close it will be remains to be seen. In an “interim national security guideline” published last week, Biden pledged to “maintain” the capabilities of US special operations operations, including “priority counterterrorism.” And recent New York Times the report suggests that Biden’s counterterrorism review considers restrictions on deadly strikes that fall within the framework set by the Trump and Obama administrations, something far more permissive than what antiwar activists want. All of this calls into question how strongly the administration sets Forever Wars that it says it wants to end.
Few are considered surprised by Biden’s actions. Some believe last week’s decision-making is in line with Biden’s five years of foreign policy experience. Biden’s team, which remembers the president’s file, has long said it does not seek to restore US power to the status quo of the Obama era. But “they actually are, and that was obvious in the campaign,” said a former Obama administration official who requested anonymity. “It was a restoration approach: we had the right policies as a democratic administration four years ago. I think this is lazy and not true. There were many more things that could and should be done. “
A different aspect of the restoration worried this employee. After four years of trying by Trump to subdue the Department of Justice, the FBI and intelligence agencies, “the administration’s response will not be based on them. Then they will seize more power and more power. “This precaution comes as senior FBI and Justice Department officials have expressed their readiness for new powers for domestic terrorism that are alarming civilian libertarians.
The White House declined to comment on the story beyond Psaki’s claim. But David Rotkopf, a foreign policy expert and author of World governance,, applauded book for the National Security Council, defending the administration as an achiever and guiding signal – much in its early days.
For Rotkopf, Biden’s focus on green energy is working to restructure US-Saudi relations, backed by Biden’s decision to direct the relationship through King Salman rather than the heir to the throne. He was also struck by a speech Blinken gave on Wednesday, pledging to build a “more stable, inclusive global economy” and tackle internal democratic instability to restore faith abroad in the democratic order. Perhaps most notably, Blinken rejects “attempts to overthrow authoritarian regimes by force.”
“They are methodical, consistent, consistent and moving in a direction that is not only an improvement on what Trump did, but also on what Obama, Bush and Clinton did,” said Rotkopf, a Daily Beast columnist. “This is the first real foreign policy of the 21st century that reflects the reality of America’s changing leadership role.”
Even those who disagree with Rotkopf in the administration’s early records hold hope. Several sounded prepared for a push to move the administration to the left. An early test may take place next week. Activists are pushing for Biden to strengthen the executive order, which is expected in January and has not yet been issued, tightening the rules of the Pentagon’s 1033 program, which provides police with military-grade hardware. Representative Hank Johnson (D-GA) plans to ban this practice in future legislation.
“While the progressive community is calling for this program to be abolished, a letter from Parliament will be circulated next week to President Biden, urging him to issue a much stronger EO on this program than Obama and to include legislative language. of Johnson, ”said Yasmin Taeb, a human rights lawyer and progressive strategist.
General Defense McCoy also expressed optimism about the White House’s readiness to publicly support the abolition of at least some of the 9/11-era military.
“The president’s support for the repeal of the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs has been announced. [Friday] is a very positive step towards ending the War Forever. And while the window closes, there is still time for Joe Biden to do the right thing and withdraw from Afghanistan by the May 1 deadline to give diplomacy a chance, “he said. “It is clear that the White House recognizes the growing power of the progressive foreign policy movement and the role we have played in helping it win the White House, and it remains to be seen whether this leads to significant change.”
Biden’s team “feels a little warm and that’s good. We must continue like this, “said a senior aide to Congress, who requested anonymity. “They need to understand: Honeymoon is over.”