US Foreign Policy Adrift: Why Washington No Longer Calls the Shots – from Anti-War Blog

Original: Article Here

Jonah Goldberg and Michael Ledeen have much in common. They are both writers and also cheerleaders for military interventions and, often, for frivolous wars. Writing in the conservative rag, The National Review, months before the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, Goldberg paraphrased a statement which he attributed to Ledeen with reference to the interventionist US foreign policy.

“Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business,” Goldberg wrote, quoting Ledeen.

Those like Ledeen, the neoconservative intellectual henchman type, often get away with this kind of provocative rhetoric for various reasons. American intelligentsias, especially those who are close to the center of power in Washington DC, perceive war and military intervention as the foundation and baseline of their foreign policy analysis. The utterances of such statements are usually conveyed within friendly media and intellectual platforms, where equally hawkish, belligerent audiences cheer and laugh at the warmongering muses. In the case of Ledeen, the receptive audience was the hardline, neoconservative, pro-Israel American Enterprise Institute (AEI).

Predictably, AEI was one of the loudest voices urging for a war and invasion of Iraq prior to that calamitous decision by the George W. Bush Administration, which was enacted in March 2003.

Neoconservatism, unlike what the etymology of the name may suggest, was not necessarily confined to conservative political circles. Think tanks, newspapers and media networks that purport – or are perceived – to express liberal and even progressive thought today, like The New York Times, The Washington Post and CNN, have dedicated much time and space to promoting an American invasion of Iraq as the first step of a complete US geostrategic military hegemony in the Middle East.

Like the National Review, these media networks also provided unhindered space to so-called neoconservative intellectuals who molded American foreign policy based on some strange mix between their twisted take on ethics and morality and the need for the US to ensure its global dominance throughout the 21st century. Of course, the neocons’ love affair with Israel has served as the common denominator among all individuals affiliated with this intellectual cult.

The main – and inconsequential – difference between Ledeen, for example, and those like Thomas Friedman of The New York Times, is that the former is brazen and blunt, while the latter is delusional and manipulative. For his part, Friedman also supported the Iraq war, but only to bring “democracy” to the Middle East and to fight “terrorism.” The pretense “war on terror,” though misleading if not outright fabricated, was the overriding American motto in its invasion of Iraq and, earlier, Afghanistan. This mantra was readily utilized whenever Washington needed to “pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall.”

Even those who genuinely supported the war based on concocted intelligence – that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, possessed weapons of mass destruction, or the equally fallacious notion that Saddam and Al-Qaeda cooperated in any way – must, by now, realize that the entire American discourse prior to the war had no basis in reality. Unfortunately, war enthusiasts are not a rational bunch. Therefore, neither they, nor their “intellectuals,” should be expected to possess the moral integrity in shouldering the responsibility for the Iraq invasion and its horrific consequences.

If, indeed, the US wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan were meant to fight and uproot terror, how is it possible that, in June 2014, an erstwhile unknown group calling itself the “Islamic State” (IS), managed to flourish, occupy and usurp massive swathes of Iraqi and Syrian territories and resource under the watchful eye of the US military? If the other war objective was bringing stability and democracy to the Middle East, why did many years of US “state-building” efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, for example, leave behind nothing but weak, shattered armies and festering corruption?

Two important events have summoned up these thoughts: US President Joe Biden’s “historic” trip to Cornwall, UK, in June, to attend the 47th G7 summit and, two weeks later, the death of Donald Rumsfeld, who is widely depicted as “the architect of the Iraq war.” The tone struck by Biden throughout his G7 meetings is that “America is back,” another American coinage similar to the earlier phrase, the “great reset” – meaning that Washington is ready to reclaim its global role that had been betrayed by the chaotic policies of former President Donald Trump.

The newest phrase – “America is back” – appears to suggest that the decision to restore the US’ uncontested global leadership is, more or less, an exclusively American decision. Moreover, the term is not entirely new. In his first speech to a global audience at the Munich Security Conference on February 19, Biden repeated the phrase several times with obvious emphasis.

“America is back. I speak today as President of the United States, at the very start of my administration and I am sending a clear message to the world: America is back,” Biden said, adding that “the transatlantic alliance is back and we are not looking backward, we are looking forward together.”

Platitudes and wishful thinking aside, the US cannot possibly return to a previous geopolitical standing, simply because Biden has made an executive decision to “reset” his country’s traditional relationships with Europe – or anywhere else, either. Biden’s actual mission is to merely whitewash and restore his country’s tarnished reputation, marred not only by Trump, but also by years of fruitless wars, a crisis of democracy at home and abroad and an impending financial crisis resulting from the US’ mishandling of the Covid-19 pandemic. Unfortunately for Washington, while it hopes to “look forward” to the future, other countries have already staked claims to parts of the world where the US has been forced to retreat, following two decades of a rudderless strategy that is fueled by the belief that firepower alone is sufficient to keep America aloft forever.

Though Biden was received warmly by his European hosts, Europe is likely to proceed cautiously. The continent’s geostrategic interests do not fall entirely in the American camp, as was once the case. Other new factors and power players have emerged in recent years. China is now the European bloc’s largest trade partner and Biden’s scare tactics warning of Chinese global dominance have not, seemingly, impressed the Europeans as the Americans had hoped. Following Britain’s unceremonious exit from the EU bloc, the latter urgently needs to keep its share of the global economy as large as possible. The limping US economy will hardly make the substantial deficit felt in Europe. Namely, the China-EU relationship is here to stay – and grow.

There is something else that makes the Europeans wary of whatever murky political doctrine Biden is promoting: dangerous American military adventurism.

The US and Europe are the foundation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) which, since its inception in 1949, was almost exclusively used by the US to assert its global dominance, first in the Korean Peninsula in 1950, then everywhere else.

Following the September 11 attacks, Washington used its hegemony over NATO to invoke Article 5 of its Charter, that of collective defense. The consequences were dire, as NATO members, along with the US, were embroiled in their longest wars ever, military conflicts that had no consistent strategy, let alone measurable goals. Now, as the US licks its wounds as it leaves Afghanistan, NATO members, too, are leaving the devastated country without a single achievement worth celebrating. Similar scenarios are transpiring in Iraq and Syria, too.

Rumsfeld’s death on June 29, at the age of 88, should serve as a wake-up call to American allies if they truly wish to avoid the pitfalls and recklessness of the past. While much of the US corporate media commemorated the death of a brutish war criminal with amiable noncommittal language, some blamed him almost entirely for the Iraq fiasco. It is as if a single man had bent the will of the West-dominated international community to invade, pillage, torture and destroy entire countries. If so, then Rumsfeld’s death should usher in an exciting new dawn of collective peace, prosperity and security. This is not the case.

Rationalizing his decision to leave Afghanistan in a speech to the nation in April 2021, Biden did not accept, on behalf of his country, responsibility over that horrific war. Instead, he spoke of the need to fight the “terror threat” in “many places,” instead of keeping “thousands of troops grounded and concentrated in just one country.”

Indeed, a close reading of Biden’s decision to withdraw from Afghanistan – a process which began under Trump – suggests that the difference between US foreign policy under Biden is only tactically different from the policies of George W. Bush when he launched his “preemptive wars” under the command of Rumsfeld. Namely, though the geopolitical map may have shifted, the US appetite for war remains insatiable.

Shackled with a legacy of unnecessary, fruitless and immoral wars, yet with no actual “forward” strategy, the US, arguably for the first time since the inception of NATO in the aftermath of World War II, has no decipherable foreign policy doctrine. Even if such a doctrine exists, it can only be materialized through alliances whose relationships are constructed on trust and confidence. Despite the EU’s courteous reception of Biden in Cornwall, trust in Washington is at an all-time low.

Even if it is accepted, without any argument, that America is, indeed, back, considering the vastly changing geopolitical spheres in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, Biden’s assertion should, ultimately, make no difference.

NATO hopes to launch a new defense technology accelerator by 2023 — VM Virtual Machine

STUTTGART, Germany – In less than two years, NATO hopes to have its own modified version of the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) operational. At the 31st Annual Summit in Brussels on June 14, the alliance members agreed to launch a new initiative called Defense Innovation Accelerator of the North Atlantic (DIANA), which […]

NATO hopes to launch a new defense technology accelerator by 2023 — VM Virtual Machine

Video: The Afghan Army and the Taliban Ramp Up the Fight, as Turkey Primes to Join in

By South Front Global Research, July 11, 2021South Front 9 July 2021 All Global Research articles can be read in 51 languages by activating the “Translate Website” drop down menu on the top banner of our home page (Desktop version).  Visit and follow us on Instagram at @crg_globalresearch. *** The knot in Afghanistan is tying up ever tighter, as clashes […]

Video: The Afghan Army and the Taliban Ramp Up the Fight, as Turkey Primes to Join in

NATO 2030 – NATO’s Not Going Anywhere

Take a look at this new hashtag #nato2030 all over the massive worldwide, globalist think-tanks and foundations as they “define NATO’s role in 2030″…

Chatham House – New Ideas for NATO 2030

NATO has been a bedrock of security and stability for over 70 years. But today, it is facing an increasingly complex world full of new actors, threats and challenges. How can it guarantee that it will remain fit, united and adaptable in this new world? What hard decisions does it need to take to be fit for purpose in the next decade? In his first major policy speech of 2021, NATO Secretary-General, Jens Stoltenberg, outlines his vision for NATO to 2030 with recommendations from the NATO 2030 Young Leaders – a group he appointed to advise him on how the organization can meet the demands of a rapidly changing world. The event also features the culmination of a week-long policy hackathon that will see students from 10 universities ‘pitch for purpose’ on key strategic themes for NATO 2030: Turning the tide: NATO’s role in defending and re-shaping a values-based international order Full spectrum security: building resilience against economic security risks People first: protecting populations in modern-day conflicts Innovating innovation: next steps in technology cooperation Less is more: reducing military carbon emissions How will NATO continue to be a strategic anchor in uncertain times? How will it adapt to well-known threats such as terrorism and new risks that loom from pandemics and climate change particularly as emerging and disruptive technologies (EDTs) present both dangers and opportunities for its members? And what lessons can be drawn from NATO’s experience that can apply to other multilateral organizations?

GLOBSEC – The Future of Warfare

NATO leaders have asked the Secretary-General to lead a forward-looking reflection on NATO’s future, NATO 2030. As part of this effort, NATO seeks to strengthen its engagement with civil society, youth and the private sector.  This is why NATO is launching the NATO 2030: NATO-Private Sector Dialogues. Facilitated by GLOBSEC, the dialogues will look to deepen the involvement of the private sector across the transatlantic sphere and galvanize their activity in advancing NATO’s collective security agenda. This initiative will begin with a conference on November 25th focusing on The Future of Warfare and the Role of New and Emerging Technologies that will bring together experts from the fields of technology, security, and public policy. Threats in the international security landscape have never been so diverse or so quick to materialize.  From hypersonic delivery systems to the integration of machine-human teaming on the battlefield, quantum leaps in technological development and ultra-connectivity are transforming how nations assess national security threats as well as how they organize societies and engage with citizens. This interplay between technology, society, and conflict is only just beginning, and the Transatlantic community will need critical reflection leading to action to guarantee its peace and prosperity. Going forward, and into 2021, six NATO 2030 dialogues will explore how the private sector can contribute to addressing the most pressing technology-based security risks and contribute to increasing societal resilience across the Alliance. GLOBSEC is proud to have been selected by NATO to lead the engagement with the private sector on this high-profile project. We encourage you to follow GLOBSEC on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and our website where you can find the latest news on #NATO2030​, as well as information about the upcoming conference. You can find all the information about the event here: https://bit.ly/3phVm1l

Munich Security Conference – NATO 2030 Youth Summit

Fourteen emerging leaders from across the Alliance were nominated as #NATO2030​ Young Leaders at the NATO 2030 Youth Summit to assist #NATO​ Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg with input to inform his recommendations for NATO 2030. Here, they introduce themselves and answer questions posed to them by incumbent heads of state, including Zuzana Čaputová, Boris Johnson, Kersti Kaljulaid, Angela Merkel, Mark Rutte, Pedro Sánchez and Justin Trudeau.

Atlantic Council – NATO 2030: Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on strengthening the Alliance in a post-COVID world

As COVID-19 accelerates existing global trends and tensions, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg discusses how the Alliance is embracing this new normal and preparing for the next decade and beyond. For more information, please visit: https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/event…​ —————————— Subscribe for more! https://www.youtube.com/user/Atlantic…​ Driven by our mission of “shaping the global future together,” the Atlantic Council is a nonpartisan organization that galvanizes US leadership and engagement in the world, in partnership with allies and partners, to shape solutions to global challenges. Find out more about us by visiting: atlanticcouncil.org

German Marshall Fund – NATO 2030 – United for a New Era

Speakers: Marta Dassù, Senior Director, European Affairs, The Aspen Institute; Editor-in-Chief, Aspenia Thomas de Maizière, Member, German Bundestag Wess Mitchell, Vice Chairman, Board of Directors, Center for European Policy Analysis Moderator Ian Lesser, Vice President, The German Marshall Fund of the United States At their December 2019 meeting, NATO leaders invited Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to lead a forward-looking reflection process to strengthen NATO’s political dimension. To support him in this process, Stoltenberg appointed a group of ten experts to answer a broad set of questions, including how to keep NATO strong militarily, more united politically, and how to engage the Alliance globally. In November 2020, the Reflection Group published their conclusions in a report titled “NATO 2030: United for a new Era.” Please join the co-chairs of the Reflection Group to discuss the analysis and recommendations of the report and to explore some of the key issues pertaining to the future of the Alliance.


SFU NATO Field School and Simulation Program- NATO2030 Hackathon

In on February 4th, 2021, a team of NATO Field School alumni participated in the first-ever NATO2030 Policy Hackathon, where they pitched innovative ideas to a wide NATO audience, including the Secretary General. The SFU team was the only Canadian university represented in the competition, and in the end an expert jury panel determined them to have won in their category, Reducing Military Carbon Emissions, and judged their presentation to be in 2nd place overall, tied with Harvard University.

Carnegie Europe – NATO in 2030: Adapting to a New World

With the changing nature of global security challenges, the coming decade will see NATO confronted by emerging world powers, climate change, and new disruptive technologies. Is NATO prepared for this future? Can it balance firm military commitments with political unity and a broader global mandate? Carnegie Europe is delighted to host a virtual discussion on the findings of the independent group supporting NATO 2030 (https://www.nato.int/nato_static_fl20…​), a forward-looking process initiated by the NATO Secretary General in March 2020. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg will give a keynote address, before group co-chairs Thomas de Maizière and Wess Mitchell are joined by Alexandra de Hoop Scheffer and Anna Wieslander for a discussion on the coming decade for NATO. Rosa Balfour will moderate. To submit a question for the event, please use the YouTube chat, email brussels@ceip.org, or tweet at @Carnegie_Europe using the hashtag #NATO2030​. To receive invitations to similar events and alerts of new publications, register here: https://carnegieeurope.eu/resources/r…

Woodrow Wilson Center – Is NATO Prepared for the Future

How well is NATO prepared for the future? NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg asked former German Defense Minister Thomas de Maizière and former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Wess Mitchell to co-chair an independent Reflection Group to take up the challenge.

American Council on Germany – Moving Towards NATO 2030

Dr. Thomas de Maizière, Member of the Bundestag (CDU) and former Defense Minister, and Dr. A. Wess Mitchell, Vice Chairman of CEPA and former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Europe discuss the findings of the independent Reflection Group on the future strategic concept for NATO 2030, established by Secretary General Stoltenberg, which they chaired over the course of nine months in 2020.

European CFR – NATO in a Multipolar World

Discussion on the role of NATO in a world of revived geopolitical competition with a focus on the potential of the transatlantic alliance, organised by the European Council on Foreign Relations – Sofia office. The event took place on 16 December 2020 in a hybrid format with a connection from Sofia. Interview: “NATO 2030 – United for a New Era” – key takeaways, with • Marta Dassù, Board member, ECFR; Senior Advisor for European Affairs, The Aspen Institute Speakers: • Assen Agov, Journalist, Former Member of Parliament and Chair of the Foreign Policy Committee, Bulgarian National Assembly • Dzhema Grozdanova, ECFR Council Member; Former Chair of the Foreign Policy Committee, Bulgarian National Assembly • Dragomir Zakov, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Bulgaria to NATO Moderator: Vessela Tcherneva, Deputy Director and Head of Sofia office, ECFR

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