Joe Biden is committed to the imperatives of the bipartisan war party.
The majority of those who call themselves the “left” in the United States are really just liberals in disguise. Nowhere is this clearer than in the reaction to Joe Biden’s so-called withdrawal from Afghanistan. Squad Congresswoman Ilhan Omar and a number of “left” pundits praised Joe Biden for supposedly ending the war. Little mention was made of the scores of civilians killed by Biden’s approved drone strikes against “ISIS-K” amid the chaotic withdrawal. Biden’s history of supporting the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan in the first place was further buried underneath the heaps of praise thrown at him for ending a war that never should have started.
Make no mistake, any de-escalation of the U.S.’s military presence abroad is a good thing. However, a war criminal does not deserve praise for doing what could have been done twenty-years ago. In 2001, the Taliban offered Osama Bin-Laden in exchange for an end to U.S. airstrikes. George W. Bush and the rest of the neocon hawks in Washington declined the offer. Biden was one of these hawks on the Democratic Party side. As chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Biden supported the initial invasion of Afghanistan so long as U.S. forces carried out their so-called mission of destroying Al Qaeda.
The mission, of course, was always a big lie. Al Qaeda was the spawn of Operation Cyclone, the code name for U.S. covert support for the Mujahideen rebels that fought a bloody war against the Soviet Union and the socialist-oriented government in Afghanistan beginning in 1979. Born from this more than decade-long proxy war was an international jihadist network armed, trained, and funded by the U.S. and its Gulf allies. Biden jumped at the opportunity to wage the War on Terror along with the rest of the ruling class in the aftermath of the 9/11 tragedy because new wars were on the horizon after the collapse of the socialist bloc. NATO General Secretary Wesley Clark was told by then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld shortly after the 9/11 attacks that the U.S. would respond by invading seven countries in five years.
Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Iran rounded out Rumsfeld’s list. The list excluded Afghanistan because the U.S. was already bombing that country at the time of the secret directive. This underscores how the invasion of Afghanistan has always been linked to the fate of the entire region and indeed U.S. hegemony itself. Following his support of the war in Afghanistan, Biden pushed hard for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. He then supported Ethiopia’s overthrow of the Somali government and Israel’s bloody invasion of Lebanon in 2006. Under Obama, Biden demonstrated a modest reluctance to lend creditability to the U.S.-led overthrow of Libya but in the end rendered no challenge to the Commander and Chief’s expansion of the imperialist war machine deep into Africa and Asia.
The end result of Biden’s warmongering has been the loss of millions of lives and trillions of U.S. dollars. Furthermore, Biden’s lust for war has only rendered the world more dangerous and volatile. His past support for covert and “hot” military operations has led directly to Great Power Competition, the U.S. doctrine for maintaining military and economic supremacy amid the decline of its empire. In many ways, Biden’s support for a transition from a “hot” war to a more covert operation in Afghanistan is in keeping with the strategic shift of the Pentagon toward ensuring that Russia and China are not allowed to assume the mantle of global leadership. Russia and China share nuclear capacity with the United States, but their geopolitical vision of multipolarity and respect for international law has been deemed intolerable by a belligerent empire that views the political and economic rise of both countries as a threat to its hegemony.
That is why Biden has not only maintained Donald Trump and Barack Obama’s hostilities toward China specifically, but also escalated them in important ways. American liberals are too busy praising Biden to pay any attention to his strengthened military support to Taiwan or his ratcheting up of the propaganda war to justify economic sanctions on Russia and China. Biden has aggressively reinforced anti-China sentiment on the U.S. mainland to push through domestic and foreign policy objectives. His call for U.S. intelligence to investigate “lab leak theory” produced zero results and deflected from his failed policy to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. Constant handwringing over the South China Sea has expanded the U.S.'s military presence in the Asia Pacific, while fears of China’s economic ascendance have given Biden a “competitor” with which to deflect attention from the privatization of his infrastructure spending plans.
American liberals oppose the fight for true peace because their entire political agenda centers on the search for a “good” Democrat. No such thing exists. The Democratic Party is the War Party. Biden is but one of its most influential leaders over two-plus generations. Genuine peace emerges from anti-war struggle, not from praise of war criminals.
The correct approach to the struggle for peace is multi-faceted and indeed requires support for the full withdrawal of U.S. forces of Afghanistan. This includes the removal of NGOs posing as “aid”, unmanned aerial drones, and special operations. Furthermore, the same opportunity that existed under Trump in relation to Russia exists under Biden with regard to Afghanistan and the Middle East. When a president declares an end to a war or calls for détente with a so-called “adversary,” those who champion peace must not only be prepared to hold the administration accountable on its limited promises but also capitalize on the empire’s vulnerabilities. Nothing short of the demand for an end to all wars and the redistribution of wealth to the impoverished and exploited classes should be considered satisfactory.
At this moment, the world is being held captive to the decline of U.S. imperialism. The shackles of liberalism have caused a political decay among “left” movements in the United States that correlates with the overall decay of imperialism. American liberals only worsen the situation by painting Biden as a warrior for peace. All of the hubris and racist saviorism of liberal politics lead down only one path: that which seeks individual reward from the lords of capital and the guardians of their militarist empire. The goal of any movement should not be to stabilize the system, but to bring a modicum of power to the people on the road to revolution. Praising war criminals achieves the former and eschews the latter.
Danny Haiphong is a contributing editor to Black Agenda Report and co-author of the book “American Exceptionalism and American Innocence: A People's History of Fake News- From the Revolutionary War to the War on Terror.” He can be reached at [email protected]. Follow his work on Twitter @SpiritofHo and on YouTube as co-host with Margaret Kimberley of Black Agenda Report Present's: The Left Lens. You can support Danny on Patreon by clicking this link.