by Ramin Mazaheri and cross-posted with PressTV
What the four-year epoch of Donald Trump has made staggeringly clear to non-Americans is that no one – not even a democratically-elected American – will be able to even moderately alter the US capitalist-imperialist foreign policy trajectory without undergoing a no-holds barred attack aimed at bringing that person down.
What the election of Joe Biden (although “installation” is clearly more accurate) shows is that the current American elite is wrongly yet firmly guided by the the self-serving and evangelical ideas which have dominated US foreign policy since the implosion of the USSR in 1991: “the end of history”, unipolar dominance and “humanitarian interventionism”.
Trump’s defeat is still an assumption, but – given that the Supreme Court will likely continue to sidestep the issue of state executive orders for mail-in ballots that bypassed a democratic check and balance by the legislative branch – the staggering burden of proof on those who claim a criminal conspiracy of electoral fraud have a lot of proving to do, and in a very short period of time.
What’s certain is that Trump was undoubtedly the one person who put fear into the all-smothering US establishment in my lifetime, and probably yours. He dared to cast mainstream doubt on the elites’ versions of free trade (neoliberal capitalism) and foreign policy (imperialism), and he progressed the American conversation from Eisenhower’s seemingly technocratic “military-industrial complex” to the far more nefarious yet accurate “Deep State”.
Yes, Trump has weakened America domestically via his policies of deregulation and liberal (not neoliberal) capitalism, but this column talks about the new post-Trump realisations now breaking over the non-American world:
Trump has irrevocably changed foreign perceptions of America – in it’s cultural, social, political and economic totality – because the world witnessed the shocking extremism the US establishment/1%/Deep State/military-industrial-media complex/etc. was willing to use day after day just to take him down.
Trump showed the world who they are really dealing with: forces much stronger than even the US executive
Few Americans wanted to openly admit that what Trump initially suggested to the world was actually a new type of global competition, instead of one predicated on the usual American, “You’re either with us and for goodness and progress, or against us and for the terrorists”. But that was a major change, and it was predicated on Trump’s non-mainstream politician admission that America had fallen so far that people had to actually do some work to “Make America Great Again” – he essentially admitted it was no longer a unipolar world.
Trump openly promised death to Iran, Palestine and Cuba, but in 2016 part of his shock was that he clearly had accepted a multipolar world as he shockingly talked about extending an olive branch to Russia and a purchase order to China.
Trump saw that because of the financial crimes and corruption of the US elite, as well as their failed neoliberal response to the Great Recession, it was undeniable that America (and it’s European allies) had degraded and been equalled, or in some areas surpassed by, China and Russia. Trump admitted this, and thus the businessman wanted to “do business” with America’s two recalcitrant peers while still crushing revolutionary, sovereignty-demanding or just smaller nations with the competitive might the US still had held on to.
Trump – of course – was not just unhindered but applauded by the US Deep State in expanding upon the existing policy of crushing revolutionary countries, but he was clearly forced into antagonising those two American equals when initially he obviously did not want to.
So what does Trump’s ousting now mean for those two major countries? It means normal, peaceful relations with the US are now impossible for at least four years. How can they possibly conclude otherwise?
Why would China, Russia, or the other undoubted enemies of Washington possibly expect any detente with the US from 2021 onwards when the Trump era has unequivocally proven to them that such detente will never be permitted by the US elite at any cost?
It is now crystal clear that the US president does not shape foreign policy – he only implements it. If he doesn’t we see what happens: the US establishment was aghast at his calls to prosecute “crooked Hillary”, but Trump looks like he will be the first ex-president to ever face prosecution.
Who is actually giving the foreign policy orders? Feel free to guess my opinion, but we know it is certainly not public opinion. Trump obviously tried to please public opinion and pull out of Afghanistan, Somalia and elsewhere and we all saw what happened – he was absolutely vilified for it in all the US power circles.
There are countless articles in American mainstream media which prove this analysis right; which confirm that Biden will be even more belligerent to China and Russia; which confirm he will use the same drones and sanctions on all “un-invadable” nations as Trump did. It’s clear from Biden’s statements and cabinet choices that – in policies towards non-Americans – he is going to deploy the worst of Trump’s tools but, crucially, combine them with the worst of phony Clintonian “humanitarian interventionism”.
So why would China or Russia kowtow to Biden when the 2016-2020 era shows that total belligerence is the only possibility Washington permits? Why would China or Russia expect Biden to extend mutually-beneficial cooperation? It’s not going to arrive, and part of Trump’s downfall was that he even tried.
One must look at it from the perspective of non-Americans: 2016-2020 has been incredibly shocking in the way that a political newcomer who seemed to want peace in some places was pulled down by a myriad of rabid and hysterical monkeys. Biden and the US establishment wants the non-American to act as if 2016-2020 never happened, but who could possibly forget what shockingly terrible actions were on display in the US over the past four years to prevent any new policies, especially in foreign relations?
Obama was a successful ‘brand change’, but Biden will not be
In 2016 the US was already so weakened by its Great Recession-inducing financial crimes that Trump came to the fore. In 2020 the US is even more gutted, due to this spectacularly awful year. So why would Russia and China not meet the confrontations which Washington is clearly still intent on posing to them?
Biden has none of Obama’s charisma, youth, acting ability, etc. He behaves like an old grandfather who will do anything to earn the attention and admiration of his grandchildren, not someone who can credibly back up claims of being the competent leader of the self-appointed “leader of the free world”.
That is why China is now showing a shocked Australia who really needs who economically via unprecedented tariffs. It’s why Russia is sending the S-400 defense system to Turkey and is having their ambassador to Israel stick up for Iran no matter who it offends. It’s not a question of America being too “weak” nor realpolitik but common sense – the fall of Trump emphatically proves detente with the US is simply not going to be permitted.
More of these challenges to the US will occur in the next four years because that is all Washington wants. Of course the American people don’t want that: half the American people voted for Trump, after all, and we know that they meant nothing to the American elite for four years; the half-leftist Bernie Sanders supporters were similarly shut out once their vote has been used to push out Trump.
When we consider that 2016-2020 was more an American cultural era of “Trump, the ousting” rather than “Trump, the democratically-elected leader” it’s clear that for non-Americans Trump truly heralded the end of global cultural domination by the US, which started after World War II. Didn’t everybody say that would happen in 2016, after all? They were right, but usually for the wrong reasons. It’s no coincidence that the Iranian term gharbzadegi – or “Westoxification” – goes back to the 1940s.
Yet despite their increased division and overall weakness Washington still expects non-American nations to accept the exact same amount of smothering domination as in 1991, 2001, 2007 and even 2015.
The US is trending in the right direction economically and culturally? The election of Biden has restored US prestige? The manner in which he won inspires confidence? Biden has a foreign policy agenda which is going to be less belligerent than Trump’s unprecedented call to end America’s endless foreign wars? The US has a Belt and Road Initiative which I don’t know about?
Let’s take this moment to realise that an unprecedented, four-year confusion has come to an end: It’s clear that US reformism lost.
It wasn’t a great reformism, but it was something different and positive in some ways. To stop it the US elite gutted their own nation’s psyche, culture, integrity, friendships, families and communities.
On a visceral level, which is not yet registered intellectually, the world saw that proposing changes away from US unipolar domination inspired shocking, debasing cultural war every day for the last four years – is that a system to have faith in, or a system to give in to?
The weakest nations of the world will be pushed into line with post-Trump US leadership, but the strong nations wouldn’t be strong if they had faith in the restoration of the Washington establishment, which Biden represents. Biden is certain to keep challenging strong nations, no matter how unjust or foolish that is.
However, it’s obviously incredibly unfortunate that the moderate reforms suggested by Trump – especially the peaceful ones in foreign policy – could not even be attempted. Maybe some other American will try, but they should now be prepared to undergo the Trump treatment.
Dispatches from the United States after the presidential election
4 years of anti-Trumpism shaping MSM vote coverage, but expect long fight – November 7, 2020
US partitioned by 2 presidents: worst-case election scenario realized – November 9, 2020
A 2nd term is his if he really wants it, but how deep is Trump’s ‘Trumpism’? – November 10, 2020
CNN’s Jake Tapper: The overseer keeping all journalists in line (1/2) – November 13, 2020
‘Bidenism’ domestically: no free press, no lawyer, one-party state? (2/2) – November 15, 2020
Where’s Donald? When 40% of voters cry ‘fraud’ you’ve got a big problem – November 17, 2020
80% of US partisan losers think the last 2 elections were stolen – December 3, 2020
Trump declares civil war for voter integrity in breaking (or broken) USA – December 5, 2020
Mess with Texas via mail-in ballot? States secede from presidential vote – December 8, 2020
Ramin Mazaheri is currently covering the US elections. He is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’ as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’, which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.