Biden says ‘America is back’. But will his team of insiders repeat their old mistakes?

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    • #382368
      • Total Posts: 11,957

      Since the shock of 2016, Washington foreign policy elites, both mainstream Democrats out of power and their Never Trump Republican allies, have developed a just-so story about their benevolent role in the world. It goes like this: the US was once isolationist, but then committed after the second world war to leading a “rules-based international order”, a phrase that is increasingly hard to avoid in assessments of the presidential transition. In this story, Trump’s election represented atavism and immorality, the return of rightly repressed nationalism and nativism at home and abroad. In response, the agenda has to be to restore US credibility and leadership as the “indispensable nation” by embracing internationalism again.

      Trump’s boorish attack on traditional pieties understandably makes Washington traditions seem like comfort food after a hangover. The darker truth this response conceals is that generations of foreign policy mistakes both preceded and precipitated Trump – who often went on to continue them anyway. The record of Washington’s “wise men”, who coddled dictators, militarised the globe, and entrenched economic unfairness at home and abroad, opened an extraordinary opportunity for any Trump-like demagogue – making his ascendancy less a matter of atavism than another form of the blowback to mistakes that America perpetually made abroad. If his presence shamed US foreign policy elites, it was because they helped make him possible.

      In economic matters since 1945, it is not so much that the US either forged or ruptured a rules-based order, but rather that it pivoted from one set of rules to a radically new one. For decades after the second world war, the system allowed other governments considerable room for manoeuvre in their economic policies. But then the US helped to impose a draconian neoliberal order that persists to the present day, including through international financial institutions it dominated.

      Trump’s attitudes towards war and peace were paradoxical. He beat his Republican rivals in 2016 by shockingly condemning the Iraq war, falsely claiming to have been on the right side of history all along, before going on to prevail against Clinton by appealing to veterans and other Americans fatigued by their country’s fruitless global interventionism. As a result, Biden himself ran on “ending endless wars” because Trump helped to make it an obligatory gesture.

      Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction

    • #382379
      Snort McDork
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      I'm Snort McDork and I approved this message.

      "I like Birdy Num-Nums"

      If you come for Nina Turner, Your ish better be airtight like Tupperware" -Rashida Talib

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