Red Lines

Arguably, the mere presence of Joe Biden in the public sphere as well as the presence of the other septuagenarians and octogenarians who wield the top positions in government can be a destabilizing factor in American political and social life. Even their appearances on television can be a destabilizing factor, given their lack of credibility and legitimacy and the fact that their personalities do not sit well with many Americans. Not to mention the reputation which the Biden name has acquired for itself as a result of Hunter Biden. The quality of leaders matters and quality of leadership is very much relevant and pertinent to the basic security and stability of a nation and society. And at the moment, we can see the correlation or the relationship between the quality of leaders and overall security and stability in a number of places. 

Nor does it make sense that a country which is buried in trillions upon trillions of dollars’ worth of debt ends up giving money and security assurances to the whole world when it cannot even guarantee its own peace and security. Much of it has to do with “honor” and image. As the finance director of the Afghan embassy in Washington once told me, the embassy’s finances “are worse than those of Congo” yet “our expectations are greater than those of Dubai.” In short, aspirations exceed capabilities, and strategies do not align with the objectives that are set. In turn, the challenges are greater than the opportunities to meet the aspirations and the objectives which are set.

And when it comes to foreign policy, Washington is on the wrong side of virtually every major foreign policy issue at the moment. As I told one congressman, if we were to break down foreign policy into regional compartments or categories – namely, Asia, the Middle East, and Europe – we can find that Washington is indeed on the wrong side of every major foreign policy issue. In terms of Asia, for instance, everything revolves around Taiwan. There is the “One China Principle” which the United States agreed upon with China in the 1970’s as part of an effort to get China on its side and in turn get the upper hand over the former USSR as part of the “Triangular Relationship” between the three major powers. In turn, China did not agree to having Taiwan being armed by the United States tooth-and-nail so that it can act as a thorn on the side of China. If Taiwan is indeed “part of China” as is spelled out by the “One China Principle” which the United States agreed upon, then the approach towards Taiwan needs reassessment and reevaluation and in turn the “One China Principle” is in need of reinterpretation in Washington, given that the ultimate outcome of the back-and-forth over Taiwan will most likely be determined by the regional and global balance of power.

And in the Middle East, the core issue is perhaps the evolving and novel reality that both global public opinion as well as domestic public opinion in the United States has largely changed in regards to the Israeli-Palestinian issue. For the first time in American history, the majority of the Democratic Party is now siding with the Palestinians over the Israelis. But the most impartial and objective manner by which the issue can be approached is by considering that no solution – whether it is a one-state solution or two-state solution – can come about as long as the status quo remains intact. Virtually all major UN declarations and resolutions conflict with the status quo American approach towards the issue. There is also the stark reality that Israel has piggybacked off American power for many decades in order to do whatever it wants in the region, to the point where Israel has now resorted to pushing the envelope so heavy-handedly so that a regional conflict can begin and in turn the United States gets dragged into it. Much of this strategy – namely, the strategy of starting a regional war so that the United States can get dragged into it – emanates from the ideology and worldview of the extremists and fanatics that have recently seized power in Israel. As a result, the best approach that the United States can take is to first and foremost draw a set of “red lines” in the sense that America should be firm and steadfast when it comes to refusing to be drawn into another Middle Eastern war, and in turn use its leverage over Israel to get Israel to comply with international rules and norms in the way of achieving basic peace and stability in the Middle East.

Then there is Europe and the fact that there is now a war going on in Ukraine, which means that there is now a war on the European continent after decades of relative peace and stability which in turn can jeopardize and undermine the whole of European peace and stability. In essence, there are two basic approaches or options which Washington can choose from in regards to the war in Ukraine. For one, the war can go on forever. Or, the war can be brought to an end based on the ‘Minsk Agreements’ which are internationally recognized. Without compliance with the ‘Minsk Agreeements’ of 2014 and 2015 on the part of Ukraine, it is highly unlikely that the war in Ukraine can ever come to an end. In short, Washington is currently on the wrong side of virtually every major foreign policy issue, and a course correction is long overdue. 

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