Monday January 4, 2021
As Trump leaves office the only president to have not started a new war since WWII—and Joe Biden, who supported so many of America’s wars, including (vice-) presiding over the second and third Iraq Wars, heads into office—the talk is again what should be the most terrifying words anyone outside the US could hear: More American Leadership. Thing is, we haven’t cleaned up the leftovers from the last bout of leadership yet.
President-Elect Biden pulls no punches about how he feels about Trump’s lack of war, saying “Trump has abdicated American leadership in mobilizing collective action to meet new threats. This is the time to tap the strength and audacity that took us to victory in two world wars and brought down the Iron Curtain.” His SecState-nominee Antony Blinken used the word “leadership” in a speech 16 times. Biden himself wrote an essay in Foreign Affairs titled “Why America Must Lead Again.” Introducing his national security nominees, Biden said “America is back, ready to lead the world.”
Let there be no doubt, in foreign policy terms “leadership” is the bipartisan and benign euphemism for America First nationalism. And that usually means some sort of war. Biden already has his warriors in place from the Obama years: Bloody Susan Rice, Blinken at State, Lloyd Austin as Secretary of Defense. There will be others filling in the mid ranks as those principals call in their former deputies, who call theirs.