Friday, April 16, 2021

I'm holding my applause

Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga call for a "united front against China"
Democrats, including the party's left-wing, are wildly cheering Biden's announcement of a planned troop withdrawal from Afghanistan by September 11th. And who can blame them? Most Americans have long grown weary of this country's "eternal war on terrorism" which has dragged on now for two decades at great cost in human lives and taxpayer dollars. It was a war that Biden supported from the start.

Called a "smart war" (as opposed to the "dumb war" in Iraq) by President Obama, the Afghan war has been backed and underwritten by the leaders of both parties and cheered on in the press. All the while meeting little resistance from a once-powerful and militant, now-dormant anti-war movement. 

But now, the great majority of Americans from right to left, support an immediate withdrawal of all U.S. troops. A poll from the right-leaning Concerned Veterans for America showed that 67% of veterans support a complete withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. 

So why am I, a long-time anti-war activist, withholding my applause for now? Two reasons: First, I'll wait until all the remaining 2,500 troops (plus thousands of U.S.-hired military contractors) are out of Afghanistan and the last missile is fired on Afghanis from a U.S. drone. You see, I've heard these withdrawal announcements before including the one made most recently by our previous president to withdraw all troops by May 1st. By delaying the withdrawal by 4 months, Biden is violating the agreement Trump made with the Afghanis. Second, I'm concerned that the announced withdrawal is really a repositioning of U.S. troops so they can be used to ramp up an even more dangerous U.S. war threat against China. 

I know that any criticism of Biden's foreign policy is difficult, if not impossible for Democrats to make right now. Just like it was when Obama was elected after the Bush years. After 4 years of Trump and with Biden's pandemic relief money flowing to cities, states, and schools, Biden deserves the ratings he's getting. 

But I'm still leery of the intentions of his new team of cold warriors now heading the State and Defense Departments just as I was of regime-changer Hillary Clinton and neocon, John McCain during the Obama years. 

It's unimaginable to me that in the midst of this global pandemic, Congress would approve a bloated ($715B) Pentagon budget with barely a note of dissent from regular democrats. This represents a leap well beyond Trump's giant gift to the warmakers. 

The day after... I started writing this post the day before yesterday's White House meeting between Biden and JapanesePrime Minister Yoshihide Suga. It was there that Biden confirmed my worst fears when he gave the clearest expression yet of his out-of-whack strategic foreign policy objective, echoing Sec. Anthony Blinken's call at last month's Alaska summit for a "united front against China."

The new strategic plan is a failed one that can only pull this country deeper into a new cold war and closer to a hot one as well. 

And if you thought the Afghan war was a dumb one...

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