• jamalrob
    2.9k
    What will the Biden presidency of the United States mean for the world?

    It falls to the United States to lead the way. No other nation has that capacity. No other nation is built on that idea. We have to champion liberty and democracy, reclaim our credibility, and look with unrelenting optimism and determination toward our future. — Joseph Biden
    Why America Must Lead Again

    This, along with the generally more bellicose tone of the Democrats over the past few years, leads me to wonder if we might be going to see an interventionist foreign policy even more ambitious and more dangerous than Bush's or Obama's. The following article from publicseminar.org argues that this may indeed be what's happening:

    The Rotten Alliance of Liberals and Neocons Will Likely Shape U.S. Foreign Policy for Years to Come

    As described in the article, Trump's term as president led to some striking cross-party unity among his opponents. Former officials of the Bush administration, and then Republican national security officials, came out in support of Biden's campaign, the latter being specifically concerned with foreign policy.

    From my point of view, this seems like it will only strengthen Biden's liberal imperialist agenda. Am I wrong? Was the neoconservative flavour of Biden's rhetoric just a reflection of his need to oppose everything Trump was seen to stand for, in this case realism and isolationism in international relations? Or will we really see the US aggressively attempting to reassert its role as world policeman? Is that even a bad thing?
  • deletedusercb
    1.7k
    I think we can be fairly certain that HIlary would have followed the neo-con agenda abroad and more aggressively than either Obama or Trump, the former more small scale interventionist (but all over the place) and the latter more isolationist in general, a businessman's attitude, possibly, about enormous expenses. I think HC could have gotten away with more. A hawk female democrat would find many liberals and lefties reluctant to criticize her. Trump or Bush would jsut have to make interventionist noises, so she would have provided more swingroom. Biden benefits as a supposed liberal, but he's kind of a gray figure. Who knows what he believes, really, or how far he is willing to go, but I think concern about an aggressive foreign policy is well grounded I think.
    Is that even a bad thing?jamalrob
    I sure think it is. It is producing more interest in terrorism. It is scaring both China and Russia. If those countries intervened as much as the US does and did worldwide they would be painted as radically aggressive imperialist nations. Their domestic policies are horrendous, but the US is aggressive and passive aggressive (with bases close to borders, etc.) in ways that are destablizing and which would not be accepted if it was China and Russia.
  • Book273
    287
    we really see the US aggressively attempting to reassert its role as world policeman?jamalrob

    I hope we do not. I suspect that, should the US attempt this, we will see dramatic reprisals from countries that are interfered with, and understandably so. The US is no longer a shining example of effective and functional democracy. I would suggest it is more the latest example of democratic chaos and near failure, which may yet occur. Hardly suitable material for a policeman.

    Should Biden pursue too aggressive a foreign policy I foresee the US being slapped down. However a war might unite the US citizenry, perhaps the real goal Biden is working toward.
  • frank
    6.4k
    Will we really see the US aggressively attempting to reassert its role as world policeman? Is that even a bad thing?jamalrob

    I think Biden is genuinely hawkish, but the pandemic, weak economy, and the need to patch up Obamacare and extend Medicaid will keep him busy.
  • Hippyhead
    1.1k
    What will the Biden presidency of the United States mean for the world?jamalrob

    A far more united global effort to fight climate change for one. Of course there's no where to go but up from here.

    This, along with the generally more bellicose tone of the Democrats over the past few years, leads me to wonder if we might be going to see an interventionist foreign policy even more ambitious and more dangerous than Bush's or Obama's.jamalrob

    BUSH: Would you like to see Saddam back in power?

    OBAMA: Would you like to see Al-Qaeda restored to it's former glory?

    TRUMP: Bring back the Islamic State?

    And if you would please sir, could you please explain why a philosophy forum which absolutely refuses to discuss nuclear weapons even the slightest little bit should be considered qualified to offer credible commentary on issues of global security?

    From my point of view, this seems like it will only strengthen Biden's liberal imperialist agenda.jamalrob

    Here's one view of the last century seen through one American's eyes.

    1) In WWI we lost about 100,000 American lives to help stop Europeans from killing each other in vast numbers in yet another totally pointless European war.

    2) Twenty years later in WWII we did the same thing again.

    3) From 1950 until 1989 we risked the nuclear annihilation of the American homeland in order to prevent Russian tanks from rolling across Europe to the English channel.

    As our reward we now get to enjoy some (certainly not all) snooty Europeans lecturing us about what baby killing war mongers we are pretty much any time we try to liberate from bondage any one else in the world. This moral "logic" is summarized as follows:

    Saving Europeans from themselves = good.
    Saving anyone but Europeans = bad.
  • Hippyhead
    1.1k
    Here's the way to attack Biden, and America more generally....

    1) Biden applied to be the American Commander-In-Chief which gives him, a single human being, a single button he could press to utterly destroy modern civilization within minutes.

    2) We American voters didn't ask him about that button.

    3) Biden said almost nothing about the button himself.

    4) And you too dear great philosopher are as equally guilty of being as utterly clueless as any of those mentioned above.

    See the problem here? You can't throw stones at Biden and America without throwing a few at yourself as well. And that is... UNACCEPTABLE!! So this line of reasoning will die a quick and quiet death.
  • Benkei
    4.1k
    The question is irrelevant because anyone elected via the banana-republic system in place in the US is unqualified to have access to that button.
  • Hippyhead
    1.1k
    The question is irrelevant because anyone elected via the banana-republic system in place in the US is unqualified to have access to that button.Benkei

    A transparent (and somewhat lazy) attempt to position yourself as being above the arguments presented, without actually meeting any of the arguments. Or even trying.
  • fdrake
    4.6k


    None of them have their mutually assured destruction certificate!
  • Hippyhead
    1.1k
    Here's an interesting thread some of you may have missed.

    https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/9544/iraq-war-2003

    Paul Edwards makes the case for aggressive military action to overthrow despots.

    In that thread I applaud the clarity of his moral vision, while debating some of his suggested tactics. Personally, that seems a constructive way to proceed on such topics. Here's an example...

    Imagine that Donald Trump (or the leader of your own country) took away your right to vote and then shot you and your friends down in the street when you dared to protest that theft. I think we all know how you would feel about such a theft and the thief. You'd be OUTRAGED!!!. And that's the appropriate way to feel. We should all be able to agree on this. If we can't, there's really no point in further conversation.

    The next question is, what to do about the theft? This is a tactical question where we can reasonably differ because none of the choices are pretty or easy. If such a discussion can be stripped of the fantasy moral superiority poses which are so popular, I'd find such a tactical debate to be reasonable and constructive.
  • Hippyhead
    1.1k
    A lineage of Democratic American presidents who had clear moral vision, and the balls to confront the gangsters. Some succeeded, some failed, all had the right idea. Best I can tell, Biden will be part of this tradition.
  • frank
    6.4k
    lineage of Democratic American presidents who had clear moral vision, and the balls to confront the gangsters. Some succeeded, some failed, all had the right idea. Best I can tell, Biden will be part of this tradition.Hippyhead

    You have to admit that some of the more recent attempts to show morally right balls ended up making things worse, as in Iraq?
  • Benkei
    4.1k
    Read the thread on the Iraq war to see how they'll contort themselves on explaining why it was a good thing.

    Because your elections are bought and paid --> everything that derives from it is circumspect. It's you and your fellow US citizens who by and large fail to grasp the US is a plutocracy. The idea that those people have "clear moral vision" to spread freedom and democracy would be absolutely hilarious if it wasn't so dangerous for the rest of the world.
  • Benkei
    4.1k
    Oh, and add to that such beauties as the "unitary executive theory" and that it was Obama who started military actions in Libya and Syria without congressional approval. Clear moral vision my fucking ass.
  • Hippyhead
    1.1k
    You have to admit that some of the more recent attempts to show morally right balls ended up making things worse, as in Iraq?frank

    So, bring back Saddam then? That's a reasonable question which members could address.

    There was a choice. Invade Iraq, leading to what we see in Iraq today. Or don't invade Iraq, and Saddam's sons would most likely now be in charge there. Both of these outcomes are highly imperfect. There is no perfect choice available.

    As a test, someone could run for high office in Iraq on the platform of bringing back a regime as close to Saddam's as possible. We could see how that vote goes.

    I do agree that tactical debates are reasonable. There are better and worse ways to confront tyrants, and all solutions are not created equal.
  • Hippyhead
    1.1k
    Because your elections are bought and paid --> everything that derives from it is circumspect.Benkei

    Ok then, you're right. So America will now bow out of all it's partnerships around the world such as NATO and then the morally superior Europeans will be free to make the best deal with Putin and the Chinese Communists that they can get.
  • Hippyhead
    1.1k
    Oh, and add to that such beauties as the "unitary executive theory" and that it was Obama who started military actions in Libya and Syria without congressional approval. Clear moral vision my fucking ass.Benkei

    If your argument is that Americans are not perfect, I agree. If your argument is that America makes mistakes, again agree.

    Are you in Europe? If yes, why not petition your government to leave NATO? Nobody is forcing you to be part of that alliance, so if you think we suck, ok, fair enough. So go do your own thing instead.
  • Benkei
    4.1k
    Simple calculus is that Saddam killed less people during his entire reign than resulted from the Iraq war and its aftermath for which the US was and is responsible as the occupying force. Democracy at gunpoint isn't freedom. And having no regard to the intracacies of tribal relationships in Iraq meant that the federalist system imposed on them was doomed to fail. At least, I cannot find any evidence in the Iraqi governates being related to tribal influence. Iraq, to this day, is too dangerous to travel under Saddam, yes people were oppressed but by and large they didn't have to fear for their lives. Nowadays, practically only Kurdish controlled Iraq is safe.

    NATO isn't just the USA and I'm not against protecting other countries from aggression - even the USA. But nuance and subtlety and actually thinking things through seem to be a problem.

    Your idea of "not perfect" is that your last two presidents exercised dictatorial powers and you applaud the "moral vision" of one of them. It's not "not perfect", it's a plutocracy. You're not living in a democracy. You have no moral standing, as a nation, to lecture other countries on democracy or freedom as you don't understand it in the first place.
  • StreetlightX
    6.7k
    Was the neoconservative flavour of Biden's rhetoric just a reflection of his need to oppose everything Trump was seen to stand for, in this case realism and isolationism in international relations? Or will we really see the US aggressively attempting to reassert its role as world policeman? Is that even a bad thing?jamalrob

    Biden's rhetoric is exactly continuous with his lifelong hawkish policy commitments, and I see very little reason to think he's taken some kind of hard turn away from that. That said, I'm curious as to how that would be exercised given that state of things atm. I don't see direct military deployment anywhere being particularly viable, given the war weariness of the domestic population (maybe to the South China Sea to try and check Chinese claims there?; Reinforcing both the Philippines and Japan?). So sanctions, trade policy, and diplomacy (especially 'renormalizing' relations with European institutions) are probably the more the likely routes of US influence wrangling. At the very least they'll likely be a significant uptick of intensity on the last two in comparison to Trump.

    If anything, I think IP and tech is where Biden is going to make his push against China. He flagged IP in particular in his FP proposals, and he's got every reason to try and maintain the supremacy of US tech. Exactly how I'm not sure. Perhaps banning Chinese tech, especially for public services (like Australia did with Chinese 5G tech). That seems to make more sense than Trump's disastrous trade wars. As for the neocons, they always wanted to wipe Iran off the face of the earth, but I don't yet see how that would fit into Biden's announced policy plans, which looks, once again, to renormalize and renegotiate nuclear treaties with them. I wonder which arena, exactly, they'd be pushing for action for (making South America a US plaything again?). I really don't know. In general Biden's FP strikes me as nostalgic and promissory, rather than concrete. Alot of it seems centred around repair and not vision - like the rest of his domestic 'policies'.
  • Hippyhead
    1.1k
    Simple calculus is that Saddam killed less people during his entire reignBenkei

    See? You haven't the slightest idea what you're talking about, which is why I'm not taking you seriously. A million people were killed in the Iran/Iraq war alone.

    Also, you continually make the classic mistake of the typical Iraq war critic. You completely ignore what Saddam (and his sons) would have done given another 20 years in power. Whatever that death toll would have added up to, it's completely missing from all your calculations.

    As you know, Iran is riding the edge of becoming a nuclear power. How do you think Saddam and his sons would have responded to that threat? There's an excellent chance that with Saddam's regime still in power we'd now be witnessing a nuclear arms race exploding across the Middle East. Instead, today's Iraqi government presents no threat to any of it's neighbors.

    But nuance and subtlety and actually thinking things through seem to be a problemBenkei

    Blah, blah, blah, thank you for the morally superior lecture. Try again when you get around to thinking things through.
  • Benkei
    4.1k
    See? You haven't the slightest idea what you're talking about, which is why I'm not taking you seriously. A million people were killed in the Iran/Iraq war alone.Hippyhead

    Irrelevant. You argued that it was just and right to invade Iraq to liberate the Iraqi people.

    Also, you continually make the classic mistake of the typical Iraq war critic. You completely ignore what Saddam (and his sons) would have done given another 20 years in power. Whatever that death toll would have added up to, it's completely missing from all your calculations.

    As you know, Iran is riding the edge of becoming a nuclear power. How do you think Saddam and his sons would have responded to that threat? There's an excellent chance that with Saddam's regime still in power we'd now be witnessing a nuclear arms race exploding across the Middle East. Instead, today's Iraqi government presents no threat to any of it's neighbors.
    Hippyhead

    I don't have a crystal ball. All I know is what happened after the invasion and that's that Iraq destabilised. All your what-ifs are neither here nor there because unprovable.

    But let's play your game. The USA's military might makes it a dangerous player especially since it's elections go to the highest bidder. It's 'leaders are currently not democratically elected and large swathes of its population are oppressed by an outsized police force, debt and wage slavery and racism. We should liberate them and install an actual democracy. Even worse, it's just a matter of time before the USA will start unjust wars because money is the predominant influence in its politics. We should therefore attack it before it unjustly attacks other countries. This is all that your argument amounts to; a license for any country to invade another.

    Pre-emptive attacks are aggression.

    Blah, blah, blah, thank you for the morally superior lecture. Try again when you get around to thinking things through.Hippyhead

    Moral superiority? I'm providing facts and draw conclusions. If you think the US isn't a plutocracy, then educate yourself but quit sidestepping the issue by handwaving this problem away.

    EDIT: Come to think of it, I'm not the one going around claiming moral superiority as grounds to kill hundreds of thousands. The hubris is all yours.
  • StreetlightX
    6.7k
    The US ought to fuck right off from anywhere possible.
  • Hippyhead
    1.1k
    As for the neocons, they always wanted to wipe Iran off the face of the earthStreetlightX

    They wish to wipe the Iranian REGIME off the face of the earth. So do most Iranians best I can tell. Just to be clear, the Iranian regime is not Iran. The Iranian regime is a relatively small group of gangsters holding the Iranian people prisoner.

    My argument is that we should share agreement that the Iranian regime is a psychopathic theocratic dictatorship, and that it is morally sound to wish them gone. Once that's done, then we can then have a reasonable debate about tactics. As example, Paul Edwards feels we should try to overthrow the Iranian regime with an air war, which I have already argued against in his thread. I prefer a more patient and peaceful strategy of attempting to bankrupt the regime through sanctions etc. Others may argue we leave the job to the Iranian people. If such debates can be stripped of the fantasy moral superiority poses, such debates seem reasonable and constructive.

    The challenge we face is that many critics of American policy cherish their fantasy moral superiority poses above all else, and once that's taken away they typically lose all interest in such subjects. I'm open minded on that for now, but my best guess is that this will be the fate of this thread.
  • Benkei
    4.1k
    I prefer a more patient and peaceful strategy of attempting to bankrupt the regime through sanctions etc.Hippyhead

    More idiocy. Sanctions have always only hurt normal people and caused untold misery for them in the process.
  • Hippyhead
    1.1k
    Irrelevant. You argued that it was just and right to invade Iraq to liberate the Iraqi people.Benkei

    If you intend to continue a pattern of blatant intellectual dishonesty it will probably be best for me to ignore you so as to preserve the peace of the thread.
  • deletedusercb
    1.7k
    There's an excellent chance that with Saddam's regime still in power we'd now be witnessing a nuclear arms race exploding across the Middle East.Hippyhead
    Truly doubtful. The US only allows Israel to have a nuclear arsenal.

    See? You haven't the slightest idea what you're talking about, which is why I'm not taking you seriously. A million people were killed in the Iran/Iraq war alone.Hippyhead

    which was a war that the US gave weapons to both sides in. Hussein was a leader that the US armed before that war. Those deaths are included in US foreign policy to some degree.

    The US neo cons glossed over and downplayed SHs use of WOMD on the Kurds when he gassed them. And SH is not the only leader the US propped up and supported despite knowing what he did. Noreiga, the Taliban as a couple of other examples, only to turn on them and Satanize them when it was convenient for the Wall St. and the military int. complex to do so.
    Saddam and his sons and their effects are partly the responsibility of the US (and England). And included technology IN SUPPORT of Iraqs potential nuclear program.

    Instead, today's Iraqi government presents no threat to any of it's neighbors.Hippyhead
    Though the invasion led to the creation of Isis and this was certainly a threat to the neighbors. Further this seems to come in some historical void. The US wanted Iraq to be a threat to its neighbors and encouraged it to fight Iran and gave it the means to do it better or worse really.

    Part of the reason it poses no threat is because it was left in a mess after a poorly carried out intervention that was based on a conspiracy of lies around 'WOMD then changed to fighting an evil regime for the people of Iraq and then didn't give a shit about them in the long run.
  • Hippyhead
    1.1k
    The US ought to fuck right off from anywhere possibleStreetlightX

    What country are you in Street? If your country is in NATO have you petitioned your government to leave that alliance? If yes, that would seem to be an intellectually honest position which I could respect.

    If I understand correctly, the EU has an economy roughly equivalent to the US. If true, then the EU should be able to afford to defend itself without reliance on America. You might be surprised how many Americans would be agreeable to such an outcome. Should Russian troops push deeper in to Ukraine, it's your continent, you deal with it.
  • Benkei
    4.1k
    Intellectual dishonesty is dodging the same issue three times in a row.

    If you think "removing dictators because freedom and democracy", which was the gist of the Iraq War thread I picked up from you isn't correct, feel free to enlighten me on what on earth you actually meant every time you agreed with Paul.

    If you think my representation of your crystal ball nonsense is incorrect, explain. Don't just handwave like a moron but try using words.
  • StreetlightX
    6.7k
    My country is not in NATO, but the US fucking right out of Europe would be great either way. The Americans 'agreeable to such an outcome' are some of the very few of them with their heads screwed on right. In any case I've little to say to a shill for American imperialism who posts pictures of war criminals in deference to them.
  • jamalrob
    2.9k
    As our reward we now get to enjoy some (certainly not all) snooty Europeans lecturing us about what baby killing war mongers we are pretty much any time we try to liberate from bondage any one else in the world.Hippyhead

    I'm not sure who you're referring to here, but note that the authors of the article that prompted the discussion and that I linked to and briefly wrote about in the OP, are American, and they don't mention the killing of babies.

    My instinctive position on the matter is probably obvious from the OP, but it's partly just that: instinctive. I'm open to other views. I was looking for some serious analysis from people who know more than me.

    Paul Edwards makes the case for aggressive military action to overthrow despots.

    In that thread I applaud the clarity of his moral vision, while debating some of his suggested tactics. Personally, that seems a constructive way to proceed on such topics.
    Hippyhead

    I've read that discussion. To me it's a very unattractive, rather deluded and unhinged vision.

    BUSH: Would you like to see Saddam back in power?

    OBAMA: Would you like to see Al-Qaeda restored to it's former glory?

    TRUMP: Bring back the Islamic State?
    Hippyhead

    Not for me thanks. Aside from the crucial fact that at least one of these achievements has been won at great cost to the people in the region, and aside from the prior role of the US in maintaining Saddam in power, in the growth of al-Qaeda, and in opening a space for the growth of ISIS by invading Iraq and then allowing the country's disintegration--aside from all of that, the US has done some good things, but it still doesn't follow that US liberal interventionism is, currently, a wise way forward that will make things better on the whole. By "liberal interventionism" I'm referring to efforts ostensibly to spread democracy or help suffering populations by means of interference in sovereign states: meddling in elections, imposing sanctions and other economic punishments, sponsoring opposition groups, regime change by direct military force, and so on. Arguably, destroying al-Qaeda and ISIS on its own doesn't commit you to the full liberal interventionist program.

    Good points, especially about Iran, which is where Biden obviously doesn't fit with the neocons. What led me to this stuff in the first place was my narrow focus on Biden's aggressive attitude to Russia.

    They wish to wipe the Iranian REGIME off the face of the earth. So do most Iranians best I can tell.Hippyhead

    Even if that's true, it doesn't mean they want the US to do it for them.
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