American elections are demonstrations to the world of how democracy can go bad. It is clear and simple. They are ruled by cash, run by ‘cons’ and exist inside a political system that is the most corrupt on earth.
American politics matter to the world because, quite simply, when America catches a cold, the world goes on life support.
We are going to be looking at a number of policy and leadership issues and the possibility of regime change in Washington and the potential impact, but, at the outset one issue has typified the US under Trump and that is the abandonment of all concepts outlined under the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The policies the US has enacted in the Middle East, Latin America and elsewhere have a domestic component as well, not just locking small children in cages where they sleep on filthy concrete floors but so much more.
We are going to examine some key issues and make a dangerous prediction, that despite the high levels of corruption in America’s electoral system, nothing Donald Trump can do will get him back in office.
For Trump and his friends and family, this may well mean financial disaster, prison, and scandal beyond anything the world has seen. This is not an overstatement.
Past that, assuming that we may well be dealing with a Biden presidency assuming that Biden is a “reasonable man,” the position he is honing for voters, one that has put him so far ahead in the polls, what exactly would a reasonable man do when faced with a planet that even before the COVID pandemic was in meltdown due to Trump’s policies?
An example we will use is Vladimir Putin, a man who certainly has his detractors. Yet what other world leader could be considered a loyal friend to Israel, Saudi Arabia, China, Iran, Venezuela, India, Pakistan, and Syria at the same time?
The answer? There is only one, Vladimir Putin and his secret has been to stay on a path based on international law and a secondary path of placing the long-term welfare of Russia above all. Where Trump acts like a gangster, continual bluffs and threats, Putin is the exact opposite.
Putin can even get along with Donald Trump, a person who is his exact opposite in almost every way.
For a Biden presidency to not just be successful but to restore a sense of order and survivability to the world, a world that currently isn’t surviving, the needed lessons will have to come from Vladimir Putin, not because Putin is perfect but rather because there is no one else.
Trump has been a disaster to the planet, he killed the JCPOA with Iran, he has pushed forward an arms race where the only loser is the people of Earth, and his environmental policies are “flat earth” denialism and a love of pollution and corruption.
For some the news is positive, but is it? NATO may be shattered but American forces that once protected a Europe that was threatened by no one at all are now poised to destabilize or even invade Russia.
When Russia looked to the Obama years and the overthrow of a Russian friendly government in Ukraine, they failed to see the reality of Washington, how Obama and Biden were held virtual prisoner in the White House while the CIA, Pentagon and Congress were totally controlled by elements some call “neoconservative” but even that term is oversimplistic.
Ukraine was the “deal breaker” between the US and Russia and the media has pushed the concept that George Soros and Hillary Clinton are responsible for staging a fake revolution there. Yes, the revolution was fake, NATO trained snipers killed demonstrators and extremist puppets were placed in power but was it by “liberal Democrats” in Washington or was it by the cabal that put Donald Trump in office?
Ukraine is key in many ways. The relationship between the US and Russia is a vital one and, quite frankly, Vladimir Putin’s steady policies and careful pronouncements in comparison to others, Trump certainly, who lack statesmanship or even rationality, has made Russia’s position in the world more important than its actual military or economic power.
When damning Trump, one must separate what Trump has actually done, and reliable accusations from those around him, Mattis, Bolton and others confirm that Trump has personally profited from business deals with Saudi Arabia, China and other nation. Trump pushed through arms deals with the Saudis leading to continued war on the stricken people of Yemen.
Trump turned on Iran, backed out of a treaty and has tried to crush that nation. It was Trump that personally ordered the murder of General Soleimani, who was on a diplomatic mission. This was a war crime and this act led to a crushing defeat for American forces in Iraq, an embarrassment for Trump and an act that exposed the real weakness of the US military.
It was Trump that excused, perhaps more than “excused” the brutal murder of Jamal Khashoggi at the hands of Saudi Arabia. Khashoggi was far more a Trump enemy than one of Saudi Arabia as he was a correspondent for the Washington Post, a powerful newspaper owned by Trump’s personal enemy Jeff Bezos, a real billionaire and wealthiest man on the planet.
The plan to assassinate Venezuelan President Maduro traces back to Trump as the Americans arrested in that attempt had worked for Trump personally and were funded directly through the White House.
Do we want to talk about the militarization of space? Trump threw down the gauntlet but now the US is “crying the blues” because it believes Russia has “Trumped” America by placing a satellite killer in orbit.
Trump wanted to do this first. We might add, however, that there are no confirmations that the aforementioned Russia weapon exists and trusting media reports based on intelligence received from the White House is unwise.
While befriending Russia, Trump’s version of “befriending,” he has chosen to surround Russia with powerful radars and anti-ballistic missile systems, quickly followed by deployment of short and medium range missiles, acts that required abrogating the treaties that successfully prevented nuclear war decade upon decade.
If Trump has his way, American missile systems would be deployed in Belarus and Moscow would be less than 3 minutes from attack by Trump’s “super duper rocket.”
Let us say, for sake of conjecture, that Joe Biden is elected. Polls currently put Trump’s chances at less that 1% though more realistic assessments place his chances at 50/50. You see, you do not really need anyone to vote for you at all to be elected president, well not exactly true, but it certainly seems that way.
The first issue would be treaties. Most recent is the Open Skies treaty of 2002, which Secretary of State Pompeo announced in May of 2020 that the US would abandon. Open Skies had raised trust levels based on mutual surveillance of arms deployments in accordance with treaty obligations, part of “trust but verify” that the US has walked away from.
Biden has promised to restore Open Skies.
In February 2021, when most expect Trump to be gone, the last START treaty between the US and Russia will expire. An extension was already in the offing, but the key issue of China has made START treaties more complicated.
Though China has a relatively small nuclear arsenal and her military, as with Russia, is largely defensive in nature, China’s level of military spending brings her to the table. Though dwarfed by the US in overall military expenditures, China is second to the US, spending 5 times more than Russia.
The list of treaties abandoned by the US, as of the end of 2018 is considerable.
- Intermedia Range Nuclear Forces Treaty
- The Paris Climate Agreement
- The Trans-Pacific Partnership
- South Korean trade deal (KORUS)
- The Singapore Agreement
- The UNHRC
- JCPOA Iran
A blanket restoration of “all of the above” may well not be warranted. However, when supposedly “harsh” trade negotiations coincide with personal financial deals, the resulting “product” has to be suspect. From Forbes:
“John Bolton’s book on his time in the White House isn’t a deep dive into Asian economic dynamics. But written between the lines in bold font is a timely illustration of why China is eating Donald Trump’s lunch.
In The Room Where It Happened, former national security adviser Bolton dishes plenty about a “stunningly uninformed,” erratic and incompetent U.S. president. The most tantalizing sections dramatize Trump’s desperation to win not just Xi Jinping’s help in getting reelected, but his yearning for a connection with China’s leader. Trump, as per Bolton, even once told Xi “I miss you,” sounding like some lovelorn teenager.
The more important story, though, is Bolton’s assertion that Trump’s Asia strategy is just theater. Trump’s summits with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un? Elaborately-choreographed stunts the White House knew would yield a “substance-free communique” and “press conference to declare victory,” Bolton writes.
Trump penalizing Chinese telecommunications firm ZTE for violating North Korea and Iran sanctions? A mere excuse, Bolton argues, for Trump to be “writing Xi personal handwritten notes.” Trump’s late 2019 comment that “we are with” Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protesters? In private, Bolton reports, Trump said “I don’t want to get involved” for fear of irking Xi.”
One must also note that it was John Bolton that pushed Trump to abandon JCPOA and the Paris Climate Accords. Bolton also pushed for the US to militarily back an Israeli attack on Iran as well.
It is just such a scenario that is seen as one of the probable “October Surprise” plots the White House will turn to as political hopes fade.
The key issues, morally at least, are those that involve human rights, an area where Biden has been strongest, but with limitations as well.
Former President Jimmie Carter was, and is to this day, America’s primary voice on behalf of human rights and the only American leader to openly challenge Israel’s miserable record in this area.
It was Netanyahu that convinced Trump to abandon the US Human Rights Council, an act previously though unimaginable, for their brutal treatment of Palestinians under their apartheid rule.
Past Carter, Senator Bernie Sanders, himself a Jew, has set forth policy goals that would restore America’s standing as a leader in human rights.
Do note that it was Trump’s policies under Bolton that led to the Caesar Law, turning America from its already irrational policy of regime change and support of terrorism against the Syrian people to outright starvation and butchery. From Joss Harrison at US Centre:
“In recent months, Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, has begun to lay out his foreign policy vision. In a New York Times interview, he declared, “When I am president, human rights will be at the core of US foreign policy.” There are some promising parallels between the ideas Biden has set out and the policies pursued by the 1976-80 Democratic administration of Jimmy Carter. This is a welcome development, for no president since Carter has centred their foreign policy strategy on human rights in quite the same way.”
Another issue that requires reassessment is America’s actual role in a Post-Trump world. With America buried by endless trillion in new debt after the economic collapse brought on by Trump’s failure to address the pandemic, the engine that drives the military industrial complex has been shaken to its roots.
Since the Reagan presidency, the policy of the US has been domestic rule through elites, the one percent that now controls 70 percent of the wealth while reducing the other economic sectors, hourly workers, management and small business owners, to near-minimum wage earners.
The bleeding has been engineered in interesting ways, tax policies for sure, but dramatic increases in healthcare and education costs have been significant as well. Nearly 50 million Americans with a partial college education owe an average of $35,000 in educational debt at an average interest rate of nearly 10%. Medical bills cause even more poverty. From the Guardian:
“According to a study published in February 2019, about 530,000 bankruptcies filed annually are because of debt accrued due to a medical illness. The study found that even the Obama administration’s landmark Affordable Care Act (known as Obamacare) has failed to change the proportion of bankruptcies caused by medical debts, with poor health insurance cited as one of the main culprits.
Republicans and Democrats are currently at loggerheads over Trump administration plans to further weaken Obamacare by making it easier for states to opt out of certain requirements and offer cheaper plans that could further exacerbate the situation. And health insurance has emerged as one of the signature issues of the 2020 election, and the fight for the Democratic presidential nomination with senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren promising a total overhaul and Joe Biden and others pledging milder reforms. What all sides admit is that the current system is broken.”
However, it was Reagan that began the war on trade unions with “Right to Work” laws. With the demise of unions, wages for industrial workers have gone down by 40% and along with lowered wages the disappearance of real health insurance, paid vacations, and safe working conditions.
Then again, the other issue, job security. You see, the new America is a nation of temporary workers, “burger flippers” and “bean counters” who can be replaced by outsourcing to first China, and now under Trump’s new proposals, India. American workers are told they are worthless and unnecessary.
This is the United States that was, and perhaps is, expected to lead the world into a post-pandemic recovery. The truth? The time for looking to America, even an America under a “reasonable” Joe Biden, is long over. America is more than wounded.
Gordon Duff is a Marine combat veteran of the Vietnam War that has worked on veterans and POW issues for decades and consulted with governments challenged by security issues. He’s a senior editor and chairman of the board of Veterans Today, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”