Biden is on the verge of making the same dangerous mistakes as the presidents before him

Business Insider

President Joe Biden during his inauguration at the US Capitol, January 20, 2021. Patrick Semansky/Pool via AP

If the escalating tensions between the United States and China aren’t causing you concern yet, you’ve not been paying attention. There’s a lot going on right now in our Covid-besieged world. Antagonism between the United States and China is only one source of concern. The broken relationship between the US and Iran is another.

Iran responded by firing missiles at Iraqi air bases housing US forces. The bad blood between Tehran and Washington derives from many sources. Yet one proximate cause stems from the Trump administration’s unilateral decision to exit the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the so-called Iran nuclear deal, as a part of a crude «maximum pressure» campaign. That campaign failed abysmally, and in a hopeful sign, the Biden administration has now signalled its interest in rejoining the JCPOA.

Sadly, the Trump administration’s reliance on coercion in dealing with Tehran falls within a tradition of American statecraft which long predates Trump himself. Since World War II and especially since the end of the Cold War, a succession of administrations, Democratic and Republican alike, have opted for force, overt and covert, direct or through proxies, to shore up US global preeminence. Trump revived the incendiary slogan «America First.» But keeping American first, by whatever means necessary, defines the through line of US policy going back several decades. This aptly describes the situation in which the United States finds itself today, mired in senseless «forever wars,» maintaining over 800 foreign bases, seeking to contain the rise of China by military intimidation, and expending roughly a trillion dollars a year for what is loosely termed national security, even as hundreds of thousands of Americans are felled by disease.

Interestingly, American public opinion has been moving in the direction of non-intervention. President Dwight Eisenhower once warned against the dangers of the «Military Industrial Complex.» Simply put, the defense industry is big business. The defense industry is not the only one exerting influence on Washington. Institutions such as the two that we are privileged to lead offer an alternative conception of America’s role in the world, emphasizing military restraint and diplomatic engagement.

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Source: Frank Giustra and Andrew Bacevich | Business Insider

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