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Why Biden won't be the hawk president?

Author : Serhiy Zvyglianych

Source : 112 Ukraine

At the stage of the change of power in Washington, a number of experts in Ukraine and Russia said that the new US President Joe Biden would be more radical in the international arena than Donald Trump, right up to the outbreak of new wars
22:20, 15 February 2021

U.S. President Joe Biden
Reuters

The argument goes something like this: there is nothing better for mobilizing and uniting an American society torn apart by contradictions than a series of quick victorious campaigns somewhere far from their own borders. And Biden, they say, being vice president under Barack Obama, had a hand in ensuring that the United States waged four wars simultaneously.

Indeed, in 2002 Joe Biden supported the invasion of Iraq, then came out in support of the military operation in Libya and said that the United States should pursue a more aggressive policy in Syria. The Washington Post claims that Anthony Blinken, who once called the invasion of Iraq an example of "tough diplomacy," and received the post of Secretary of State under Biden, advised the politician to take exactly this position. This is another argument in favor of the tough Biden theory.

However, the situation in the United States and on the world stage now looks in such a way that it is highly unlikely that Biden will become a hawk. And that's why.

During his first visit to the Pentagon, Biden said that the United States should use military force on the world stage "only as a last resort." "The main and inalienable mission of the Pentagon is to deter aggression from our enemies and, if necessary, to fight and win wars to keep America safe. But I believe that force should be the last resort, not the first priority", said the American leader. And while he diluted his peace message with the traditional assurance that, as supreme commander in chief, he would not hesitate to use force to protect important interests, it looks like nothing more than a curtsey towards the military and a show of strength of his own military forces.

Donald Trump was a very popular president among the military. Barack Obama handed over to his successor an army worn out by constant budget cuts and at the same time forced to fight. Democrats cut the Pentagon budget to increase social benefits. Trump, on the other hand, did not start a single new war, withdrew troops from Syria and Afghanistan - and at the same time directed funds from the budget to support the Pentagon. The salaries of military personnel also increased. So, in 2019, they were increased by 2.6% - even such an insignificant increase was the largest in the last nine years. In addition, Trump has increased the number of military personnel. State orders for the modernization of the army and navy grew.

Related: Ukraine's GDP falls by 0.7% in last quarter of 2020

Trump Pentagon chief Christopher Miller publicly voiced sentiment in the military last fall: "Many are tired of the war - I'm one of them ... [Our guys] must go home." Opinion polls show that most ordinary Americans are also tired of foreign policy commitments and want the authorities to pay more attention to domestic problems, which are reducing the quality of life of many citizens.

Therefore, the tactics of a quick victorious war today are not so effective, since it rests on the issue of supporting both the army and society as a whole.

In addition, the question arises: where to fight? Afghanistan is a smoldering conflict that no other American president will get involved in anymore. On Yemen, Biden has already made it clear that the US intervention will henceforth be only diplomatic and humanitarian. In Syria, Washington is busy supporting the Kurds against the Turkish army in the north of the country. In Iraq, the government is dissatisfied with the American military presence in the country, and it is possible that American troops will soon relocate from the central regions to the north - also to support local Kurds.

Today, the most promising conflict points on the world map are Iran, North Korea and Taiwan. All three will have global consequences. In addition, Biden is a supporter of the nuclear deal with Iran and competition with China exclusively in trade. Although Biden criticized the Chinese policy towards the Uyghurs and Taiwan, he noted the desire to work with the regime. The likely presence of nuclear weapons in the DPRK makes Washington nervous, but the United States has put up with this for many years, since at the moment the Korean technologies do not allow them to threaten US territory. The DPRK problem will still appear on Washington's agenda, but this is not a matter of today, and any president in Biden's place would postpone its solution, since it would be painful. In fact, even Trump realized this.

The hands of the new US administration in the international arena are also tied by the country's internal problems. America's ability to be an effective defender of democracy was greatly weakened after the storming of the Capitol and the polarization of the country during the Trump years. Undoubtedly, the White House will strongly and loudly support sanctions against Russia and China, continuing the general line of the Trump administration. At the same time, the government will focus on social policy, in which the Democrats are traditionally stronger. After all, the main task of the party for these four years is to prevent the return of Trumpism. And by getting involved in a global conflict that will hang anchored in the American economy and cause rejection of society, the Democrats will only bring it closer.

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