Monday, Dec 5, 2022

Biden’s Commitment to Today’s Liberal World Order

An apparently casual reference by a Biden economic advisor on June 30 to the administration’s support for “the future of the liberal world order” unleashed a minor firestorm of critical comment by Biden’s conservative critics.

Brian Deese, the director of Biden’s National Economic Council, said that Americans must tolerate the high price of gas at the pump to enable this country continue backing Ukraine as it fights to defend itself against the invading Russian army,

Deese’s comment came in response to a question from a CNN reporter prompted by a comment that President Biden made during a June 30 press conference at a NATO summit in Madrid. Biden said, regarding the response of the US and its allies to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, “Before the war started, I told Putin that if he invaded Ukraine, NATO would not only get stronger, but would get more united. And we would see democracies in the world stand up and oppose his aggression and defend the rules-based order. And that’s exactly what we’re seeing today.”

Deese was asked by CNN, “What do you say to those [American] families who say, ‘Listen, we can’t afford to pay $4.85 a gallon for months, if not years. This is just not sustainable’?”

A few hours earlier at his press conference in Madrid, Biden dismissed a similar question from a reporter, who said, “The war has pushed prices up. [Oil] could go as high as $200 a barrel… How long is it fair to expect American drivers and drivers around the world to pay that premium for this war?”

Biden responded with cold indifference. “As long as it takes,” the president said.

Following Biden’s lead, Deese told the CNN reporter, “This is about the future of the liberal world order, and we have to stand firm” until Ukraine defeats Russia.

Deese employed the phrase “liberal world order” as a synonym for what Biden described as the “rules-based order” that has been threatened by Russian aggression in Ukraine.

REVIVING COLD WAR-ERA CONSPIRACY THEORIES

While Biden supporters argue that Deese’s use of the phrase “liberal world order” did not have any sinister connotations, conservative media host Jimmy Dore and others have sought to connect it to classic Cold War-era right wing conspiracy theories.

Conspiracy theorists have long claimed that a secret cabal of international organizations, including the Council of Foreign Relations and the Trilateral Commission, among others, have been working for decades to undermine the authority of the US and other Western democracies, to replace them with a New World Order-type global dictatorship run by unelected liberal elites.

During the first half of the 20th century, globally prominent political figures such as Woodrow Wilson and Winston Churchill publicly used the term “New World Order” to refer to a new period of history characterized by a dramatic change in world political thought and in the global balance of power after World War I and World War II. The international agencies they created, including the League of Nations and the United Nations, were seen as opportunities to organize collective efforts, on a voluntary basis, to address worldwide problems that went beyond the capacity of individual nations to resolve, while simultaneously respecting the right of each participating nation to exercise its self-determination.

But prominent progressives of that era, such as H.G. Welles, argued that these international organizations were handicapped by their respect for individual national sovereignty, which effectively prevented them from intervening with military force to impose the will of the democratically-ruled nations of the international community on rogue states. Welles effectively redefined the phrase “New World Order” to become a synonym for the establishment of a technocratic world state running a centrally planned economy, based upon the principles of democratic state socialism.

Those who publicly supported a transition to such a world government were labeled by right-wing activists of that era as supporters of the “international communist conspiracy” and were condemned as traitors posing a threat to traditional American-style democracy. Cold War-era right-wing groups, such as the John Birch society, claimed that the welfare-state policies and international cooperation programs, such as foreign aid, supported by American liberals and progressives, would inevitably lead to the replacement of the democratic governments of the United States and its allies with a communist-led “One-World” dictatorship.

Some of the extreme right-wing conspiracy theorists of that era argued that the governments of both the United States and the Soviet Union were secretly controlled by a cabal of internationalists, “greedy” (read: Jewish) bankers, and corrupt politicians intent on using the UN as a stepping stone towards the creation of an all-powerful One-World government.

GEORGE H.W. BUSH’S VISION OF A NEW WORLD ORDER

The New World Order conspiracy theorists got a boost from a speech to Congress by President George H.W. Bush on September 11, 1990, shortly after the victory of the US- led coalition  in the First Gulf War. Bush’s speech, which was titled “Towards a New World Order”, described how “Cold War conceptions” would be replaced by a system which “involved collective security with multinational cooperation [with] new allies.”

“Now, we can see a new world coming into view. A world in which there is the very real prospect of a new world order,” the first President Bush said. “In the words of [British prime minister] Winston Churchill, a world order in which ‘the principles of justice and fair play protect the weak against the strong…’ A world where the United Nations, freed from Cold War stalemate, is poised to fulfill the historic vision of its founders.”

Bush’s hope that the end of the Cold War would enable the United Nations to become a more effective instrument for promoting world peace was unrealistic. It still lacked the necessary authority to act decisively to intervene to prevent or put an end to conflicts between nations. The collapse of the Soviet Union ended the threat of nuclear war, but it also gave rise to a series of other challenges to world peace, including a number of rogue states, ranging from North Korea to Iran to Libya, as well as the spread of international Islamic terrorism.

Eventually, Russia would reemerge as an aggressive military power under Vladimir Putin, while China would use its vast economic strength to become a major regional military power in its own right.

THE RADICAL TAKEOVER OF THE DEMOCRAT PARTY

At the same time, the radical ideological leaders of the American left emerged from their sheltered enclaves on college campuses across the country to mount a successful takeover of the Democrat party. The result is that the Biden administration’s social, economic, environmental, and energy policies are being dictated by avowed socialists, such as Senator Bernie Sanders and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and their liberal elite supporters who control the mainstream media and giant American corporate interests.

Working together, the socialist radicals and liberal elites are now using their control over the Biden White House, both houses of Congress, and the social media culture to ruthlessly pursue their liberal ideological objectives.

At the same time, the Biden administration has been trying to minimize the fact that its dogmatic anti-fossil fuel policies have resulted in high gas prices and runaway inflation. They are having a devastating impact on working- and middle-class American families and leading the economy into a recession.

AMBIGUITY OVER US GOALS IN UKRAINE

Meanwhile, some of the comments by Biden and his administration spokesmen have created ambiguity about US goals in helping Ukraine defend itself against Russia.

On March 26, at the end of a half hour speech he delivered in Warsaw, Poland, condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Biden suggested that America’s ultimate goal was to remove Putin as Russia’s leader. Biden emotionally declared, “For G-d’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.”

Similarly, on April 25, Biden Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told reporters, “We want to see Ukraine remain a sovereign country, a democratic country able to protect its sovereign territory. We want to see Russia weakened to the degree that it can’t do the kinds of things that it has done in invading Ukraine.”

Biden’s March 26 comments labeling Putin a “butcher” and later calling for his removal from power seemed to directly violate the decades-old US policy against instigating regime change in a foreign nation. Biden’s statement was immediately walked back by Secretary of State Antony Blinken and other senior administration officials. Blinken said, “I think the president, the White House, made the point last night that, quite simply, President Putin cannot be empowered to wage war or engage in aggression against Ukraine or anyone else.” Blinken insisted that the US did not have “a strategy for regime change in Russia or anywhere else.”

The next day, President Biden responded to a reporter who asked whether he was calling for regime change in Russia with a flat “no.”

Nevertheless, Biden’s public call for Putin’s removal from power left a lasting impression, and prompted a rebuke from French President Emmanuel Macron for its unnecessary use of inflammatory language.

Austin’s April 25 remark came a day after he and Secretary of State Blinken traveled to the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv to meet with President Volodymyr Zelensky, who thanked the officials for US military aid to Ukraine and urged them to send more.

On April 26, Austin said, after meeting in Germany with the defense ministers of 40 US allies which are also sending military assistance to Ukraine, that, “Ukraine clearly believes that it can win [its war against Russia], and so does everyone here.”

Austin’s remarks were further explained by Pentagon spokesman John Kirby, who told CNN that a victory for Ukraine “is certainly in the cards. I think winning is very clearly defined by a Ukraine whose sovereignty is fully respected, whose territorial integrity is not violated by Russia or any other country for that matter,” Kirby added.

Austin’s comments lent credibility to complaints by Putin that the US and its allies are using Ukraine to fight a proxy war of attrition to fatally weaken Russia. They also gave the misleading impression that the US was giving its all-out military support to Ukraine, when in fact it was still hesitating to fully comply with Zelensky’s requests for more sophisticated Western arms to compensate for Russia’s major advantages in manpower and heavy artillery.

Ever since Putin’s military buildup along Ukraine’s borders began early this year, the Biden administration has provided more public encouragement to Zelensky than the military resources necessary for Ukraine to defend itself at the time. Before the invasion on February 24, the US was reluctant to supply all the arms and ammunition Zelensky was asking for, giving Putin the strong impression that he could get away with a quick, successful strike at Kyiv to decapitate the Ukrainian government without risking serious US or NATO retaliation.

It is likely that if Putin had been aware in February of the ultimate extent of US and NATO military support for Zelensky’s government, he would never have launched the invasion.

It is also true that the American public’s sympathy for Ukraine and its heroic defense against the vastly superior Russian invading forces was necessary to pressure Biden, every step of the way, into escalating the level of US military support for Zelensky’s forces as the fighting continued.

Austin’s optimistic comments about the possibility of an outright Ukrainian victory over Russia also came at a time when Ukraine’s military was inflicting heavy losses on Russia’s armored columns seeking to conquer Kyiv, and ultimately forced them to withdraw. The comments also ignored the fact that once Vladimir Putin committed himself to the invasion of Ukraine and the overthrow of its government, it became a war he could not afford to lose.

IS THE US STILL HOPING FOR VICTORY OVER RUSSIA?

Three months later, Russia has redeployed its troops and has made significant progress toward achieving Putin’s current goal of completing the conquest of the eastern industrial Donbas region of Ukraine by making effective use of Russia’s advantage in heavy artillery.

The high-tech long-range US weapons that Zelensky had been pleading for in April to neutralize the Russian artillery advantage are just now arriving at the battlefront in Donbas, and it is not yet clear whether the limited number available will be able to halt the Russian advance.

US officials are no longer talking so confidently about chances for a clear Ukrainian victory, and are worried about the prospect that the war of attrition with Russia could drag on indefinitely. This raises the question of how long the US and its allies will be willing to provide Ukraine with a sufficient quantity of arms and ammunition to prevent the Russian army from advancing further, let alone pushing the Russian army out of Ukrainian territory.

However, Biden’s statement last week in Madrid suggests that the US sees the war in Ukraine as a test of its resolve to protect the “rules-based order” implemented by NATO and the EU that has been largely successful at maintaining peace in Europe since the end of World War II.

In fact, Biden has pointed to the decision by Sweden and Finland to abandon their long tradition of neutrality by joining the NATO alliance. Other NATO countries, including Germany, have decided to significantly expand their defense spending, strengthening the alliance and its ability to serve as an effective deterrent against new acts of aggression by Putin in Eastern Europe.

WHO IS SETTING THE RULES?

The “rules-based order” Biden referred to in Madrid is set by international organizations, such as the UN, NATO, and the EU, which were created to foster closer cooperation and the peaceful resolution of disputes between nations. These groups protect the sovereignty of their member nations by operating on the basis of unanimous consent before embarking on a new course of action. The downside of this policy is that an inability to reach such a consensus will prevent the group from responding effectively.

The network of international organizations also includes more specialized groups, such as the World Health Organizations (WHO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Trade Organization (WTO). They are supposed to set fair standards for international trade and monetary transactions, coordinate responses to natural and manmade disasters, and foster international cooperation on efforts to achieve common goals, such as fighting hunger and poverty, promoting health and social welfare, and advancing space exploration, to name a few.

Membership in these organizations may involve a difficult trade-off for a nation between the advantages of enhanced international cooperation and the necessity to give up some of its sovereign rights to establish its own laws and standards. That tension was illustrated by the decision of Great Britain to give up its membership in the European Union, based upon the 2016 Brexit referendum in which 51.9% of British citizens voted to free themselves from the arbitrary regulations imposed upon them by the EU’s elitist governing bureaucracy, based in Brussels, Belgium.

US INTERESTS ARE BEING COMPROMISED

Conservative critics warn that Biden’s globalist policies, emulating those of President Barack Obama, sacrifice America’s ability to act independently in its own economic, diplomatic and national security self-interests. Biden’s critics, and those of Obama before him, say that their tendency to “lead from behind” by seeking a consensus from the other members of the international community before taking action handcuffs America’s ability to respond swiftly and effectively to emerging foreign threats, and compromises America’s freedom to act independently to defend its national interests. The intense pressure to reach a consensus with its diplomatic partners can also result in America agreeing to deeply flawed international agreements, such as the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which endangered rather than promoted peace in the Middle East, and compromised Israel’s national security.

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February, the attention by the US and its allies on maintaining the “liberal world order” has focused mainly on responding to Russian military aggression. But there are many other broad social and economic policy considerations involved in that commitment, spelled out more clearly in the joint statement issued following a G7 summit held in Germany in June. It drew a direct connection between a “commitment to the rules-based international order” and the long laundry list of today’s most popular liberal social causes and their ideological catch phrases.

G7 STATEMENT REVEALS ITS LIBERAL AGENDA

The statement read, “We, the Leaders of Germany, Argentina, Canada, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Senegal, South Africa, the UK, the US and the EU affirm our commitment to strengthening the resilience of our democracies and to working towards equitable, inclusive and sustainable solutions to global challenges, including climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic, and reaffirm our commitment to the rules-based international order.”

The G7 currently consists of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, and the US. The other nations mentioned in the statement were invited to the conference as guests. Russia had been a member of the G7, but was expelled from the group following its undeclared invasion of Ukraine in 2014, and its subsequent annexation of the Crimean Peninsula.

The G7 statement continued, “We remain steadfast in our commitment to defending peace, human rights, the rule of law, human security and gender equality, as recognized by international law, including the United Nations Charter, and call on our international partners to join us in these efforts…

“In sharing these values, we are stronger together and commit to supporting democracy worldwide and free and fair elections, including through electoral assistance; in the spirit of partnership fighting climate change, preventing environmental degradation and loss of biodiversity, mobilizing climate finance and supporting a just, equitable and socially inclusive transformation agenda, ensuring an orderly fair and equitable energy transition, taking into account energy security, national development priorities, viable and affordable technologies,” the G7 said.

As the statement makes clear, the US and the other G7 nations have signed on to the radical liberal “woke” agenda which prioritizes commitment to its stated ideological goals at the expense of all other more practical everyday priorities, including the cost of energy and traditional social and moral standards.

SUBORDINATING EVERYTHING TO IDEOLOGY

In a recent essay, conservative commentator Victor Hanson Davis refers to this as “the subordination of policy, expression, popular culture, and even thought to ideological mandates.” By making every aspect of society rigidly subservient to the accepted liberal dogmas, from climate change to demands for racial, economic, and gender equity, Hanson argues that the ideology will ultimately destroy any society or state by suppressing meritocracy, creativity, and freedom.

Since the 2016 presidential election campaign, the long-hallowed concept of equal justice under the law has been deliberately sacrificed in the United States, as has the political independence of federal law enforcement agencies. In politicized cases, the guilt or innocence of the accused is now to be determined solely on the basis of their ideological commitments, and more specifically, whether or not they are supporters of Donald Trump.

As a result, Hanson notes, President Obama’s liberal attorney general, Eric Holder, could be held in contempt of a Republican-led Congress and be allowed to walk free, while President Trump’s trade representative, Peter Navarro, can be summarily dragged off an airplane in handcuffs for the same offense against a Democrat-controlled Congress.

Hanson recalls that senior Obama intelligence officials “James Clapper and John Brennan lied under oath to Congress, and were rewarded with television contracts; Roger Stone did the same and a SWAT team showed up at his home. [FBI Assistant National Director] Andrew McCabe made false statements to federal investigators and was exempt. A set-up [Trump minor foreign policy advisor] George Papadopoulos went to prison for a similar charge.”

EXHIBIT A: THE DECLINE OF CALIFORNIA

Hanson cites the shocking decline of the quality of life in the state of California as his prime example of the destructive influence of extended one-party rule, driven by liberal “woke” ideology. He asks rhetorically:

“Why does the state that formerly served as a model to the nation regarding transportation now suffer inferior freeways while its multibillion-dollar high-speed rail project remains an utter boondoggle and failure?

“Why was its safe and critically needed last-remaining nuclear power plant scheduled for shutdown (and only recently reversed) as the state faced summer brownouts?

“Why did its forests go up in smoke predictably each summer, as its timber industry and the century-old science of forest management all but disappeared from the state?

“Why do the state’s criminals so often evade indictment, and if convicted are often not incarcerated — or are quickly paroled?

“Why are its schools’ test scores dismal, its gasoline the nation’s highest-priced, and the streets of its major cities fetid and dangerous?”

Hanson attributes all these problems in California to the same source. “Public policy is no longer empirical but subservient to green, diversity, equity, and inclusion dogmas — and detached from the reality of daily middle-class existence.”

He suggests that Joe Biden’s disastrous failures as president are due to his obsessive devotion to the same impractical liberal ideological concepts. The results on a national level are “soaring inflation, unaffordable energy, rampant crime, and catastrophic illegal immigration.” Whenever confronted with these failures, Hanson writes, “Biden and his team simply denied things were bad, relabeled failure as success, and attacked his predecessor and critics as various sorts of counter-revolutionaries.”

One of the main reasons why Biden’s job approval has fallen to such historically low levels is that the public now believes that he and his administration are either deliberately lying to them, or, even worse, are completely out of touch with the reality of American life today.

BIDEN HAS ABANDONED COMMON SENSE

Hanson accuses Biden of rejecting common sense by “imposing leftist dogma on every decision, [and] ignoring their real-life consequences.”

He also notes that Biden’s selection of cabinet appointees has been completely unrelated to their qualifications to oversee the branches of the federal government that are now under their control. Hanson writes, “What binds a Pete Buttigieg, Alejandro Mayorkas, and Jennifer Granholm is not expertise in transportation, border security, or energy independence, but allegiance to an entire menu of woke policies that are often antithetical to their own job descriptions.”

He also laments the fact that experts in a variety of fields are now being forced to “mortgage their experience and talent [as well as their intellectual integrity] to ideology.”

These include the many respected economists who ignored public warnings from former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, at the time Biden took office, that his reckless economic policy agenda posed a serious threat of igniting inflation, followed by recession.

The “experts” who have discredited themselves by endorsing publicly endorsing ideology over science also include “the Stanford doctors who signed a groupthink letter attacking their former colleague, Dr. Scott Atlas, because he questioned the [statements] of Dr. Anthony Fauci and [others about the source of Covid-19] who we now know hid their own involvement with channeling funding to deadly gain-of-function research in Wuhan.”

Then there were “the 1,000 medical ‘professionals’ who claimed violating quarantine and protective protocols for Black Lives Matter demonstrations was vital for the mental health of the protestors.”

Hanson warns that the same obsession with “woke” liberal ideology and political correctness now threatens the competence of the US military and its leaders, and probably contributed to Biden’s Afghan withdrawal fiasco last summer at the Kabul airport.

THE UNDERMINING OF HIGHER EDUCATION

The elevation of liberal dogmas over academic study and research has also undermined the quality of education being provided by America’s leading academic institutions. As a result, Hanson writes, “a BA from Princeton or Harvard is no longer an indication of acquired knowledge, mastery of empiricism, or predictive of inductive thinking over deductive dogmatism…

“Universities’ abandonment of test scores and diminution of grades — replaced by ‘community service’ and race and gender criteria — has simply clarified the bankruptcy of the entire higher education industry.”

As a result, a diploma from an elite school like Yale or Stamford today is merely an indication of ideological correctness rather than academic accomplishment.

Hanson writes that we are beginning to see the cumulative effect of this obsession with ideology over competence and America’s rapid and broad decline beyond California, and compares it to the despair and dysfunction which characterized life in the Soviet Union. Examples include the inexcusable baby formula shortage, the nationwide epidemic of shootings and brazen store robberies, Saturday night massacres in the streets of Chicago that have become routine, the degradation of the country’s electrical grid, soaring food and energy prices, and other parts of our economy that no longer work.

Hanson concludes, “Behind all our disasters there looms an ideology, a creed that ignores cause and effect in the real world — without a shred of concern for the damage done to those outside the [elite who support the liberal world order].”

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