Why Biden is making conciliatory noises
It’s time for the big reset. And that might not help the awakened; they are being relegated to the garbage of history at a record pace
Samuel Johnson once said, “When a man knows he’s going to be hanged in a fortnight, that wonderfully focuses his mind.” If the recent hyperactivity of POTUS Joe Biden is to be believed, it seems the prospect of impending election catastrophe is having the same effect. For, hitherto imperious Democrats have backpedaled so furiously it’s a wonder to watch.
Consider a few events: the unwelcome and chastised visit to Saudi Arabia (after ransacking it for the murder of Jamal Ahmad Khashoggi); the CAATSA waiver for India (after the bloodcurdling threats of the late Daleep Singh et al regarding Ukraine); and noises made by several parties regarding the end of hostilities in Ukraine.
Behind it all is the realization that the handling of the pandemic has been royally screwed up (Biden, heavily vaccinated and medicated with the Pfizer oral vaccine himself, caught the virus from Wuhan), and that Anthony Fauci , Peter Daszak et al surreptitiously funded the gain of functional research in Wuhan was a major mistake. To be fair, even once lionized New Zealand now has a significant number of COVID deaths, but that’s hardly comforting.
Printing trillions of dollars as a panacea for COVID was an even bigger mistake, as the blowback raged 9.1%, hitting the average voter in the wallet. I personally endured the previous high inflation crisis in the United States in the late 1970s, but as a poor student it didn’t affect me much; as a family man, i’m sure i would have been severely pinched if i was an american resident and voter. I remember $1-2 gas, not $5 like it is now.
That doesn’t bode well for Biden’s Democrats in November’s midterm elections.
Inflation is no fun, as the Turkish voter also finds out. Someone will take the blame.
Inflation policy is bad everywhere, but particularly difficult in Turkey. Most voters seem to blame Recep Tayyip Erdogan https://t.co/Kk9MKBCEzK
— The Economist (@TheEconomist) July 24, 2022
I don’t think blaming Vladimir Putin for inflation is entirely effective; nor blame Donald Trump, who, after all, was the only recent POTUS not to go to war. Biden’s ratings could continue on a downward trajectory. The issue of abortion rights has woken up some faithful, but I don’t think it lasts until November.
Thus the U-turns, amusing for the impartial observer.
The energy crunch (and consequent inflation) explains the Saudi visit. The European Union, in particular Germany, is in a bad position, as evidenced by the fall of the euro to a historically low level of parity with the dollar. Germany’s GDP fell for the first time in, well… a long time. If there is no resupply of Russian gas, Europe will freeze this winter. It is therefore imperative that NATO begs, cajoles or threatens OPEC, especially the Saudis, to increase production.
There had previously been the unedifying spectacle of Biden seeking help from Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and even Iran, which his staff had all demonized earlier. If I’m not mistaken, the Saudis and the Venezuelans literally refused to take his call, which is humiliating.
There’s a subtle reason the Saudis matter to Biden: petrodollars. Who outside the United States will want all those trillions printed by the American Fed other than to buy petroleum products? The fact is that lured by the Chinese siren song, the United States has become so deindustrialized that there is not much global demand for dollars to buy American goods, except for weapons and high technology .
If oil were to be traded in a currency other than the US dollar, it would depreciate or even collapse. It’s a frightening prospect, one that could trigger a severe global recession. The Saudis need to be calmed down and/or terrified so that they don’t even think about accepting other currencies as payment. Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein talked about accepting payments in euros, etc., and we all know what happened to them.
In addition, there is an interesting little trick: the ‘Tipu Technique’. I believe the British tacitly encouraged Tipu to invade and plunder the temples of Kerala, which had grown rich over centuries of lucrative spice trade. The British saw this opportunity and allowed Tipu to transport the booty to Srirangapatnam. Then they killed him, and took all the wealth all at once instead of piecemeal. And the smart Brits came out smelling like roses, like the good guys.
They also charged the full cost of their war with Tipu to Travancore, impoverishing the latter, while maintaining the fiction that they were “protecting” Kerala. Absolutely brilliant tactic. Nice transfer of wealth from India to Britain.
This is similar to the US playbook in 1973 when OPEC suddenly tripled oil prices. The United States did not invade, which is a surprise. Why? The reason for this is that while the US also had to pay higher prices (consumers and industry felt the pain), the Deep State (and the US economy) recouped most of it by selling weapons in abundance to OPEC. It was, and still is, a zero-sum dollar recycling game for them.
But it was and is also a massive transfer of wealth to OPEC from the developing countries that could least afford it. The third world took it on the chin. Again, brilliantly done.
It is therefore imperative that the United States maintain good relations with Saudi Arabia. The moral demagoguery of the Democrats has reached a point where returns are seriously diminishing.
Forward to CAATSA (Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act). It aims to deter other countries from doing things that the US administration at the time does not like, as in the fashionable “social justice warrior” tropes, although sanctions are clearly an instrument brutal. India was threatened with this because it is buying Russian SA-400 missile defense systems, instead of American analogues like THAAD and Patriot.
As Gautam Sen of the London School of Economics put it in a penetrating commentary on Why the West is so uncomfortable with a rising India and happy to sponsor its enemiesIndia is important to US plans for continued world domination, unfortunately in a negative way as a permanent vassal, a neo-feudal low-caste lackey who exports raw materials and labor and imports manufactured goods .
And weapons, especially weapons. There has been full court press on India to buy increasing amounts of American armaments, and the Ukraine war has provided a good excuse to intimidate India (which is easily shamed by the reprimanding West ) to get rid of perfectly good Russian weapons like the SA-400 (and presumably the Indo-Russian joint venture, BrahMos).
India becoming a small arms exporter (not just a big consumer) is not part of the plan. India has been the world’s third largest arms buyer, accounting for 11% of global purchases in the recent past. Backtracking on bullying India to buy only American weapons is another tactical U-turn on the part of the United States.
Clearly, Atlanticist-minded Biden isn’t serious about Asia-Pacific, as his gutting of the Quad shows. But he must have realized from his foreign policy types that India and Japan are the cornerstones of any possible response to China’s creeping imperialism in the region. Moreover, India has already endured US sanctions and technological denials (supercomputers, cryogenic engines) without collapsing; and probably will again.
All in all, best not to totally piss India off. But Biden has no lost love for India: It was his Biden amendment that spoiled India’s cryogenic engine deal with Russia, which is the film’s central theme Rocket: The Nambi Effect. I wrote about this a long time ago in Who killed ISRO’s cryogenic engine?, as it happened in my hometown. It ruined the career of eminent aerospace engineer Nambi Narayanan and set back India’s heavy rocket GSLV for 19 years.
When it comes to the war in Ukraine, even the warmongering spokesman for the Deep State The Economistwho was enthusiastic at first, now makes conciliatory noises. Foreign Affairs, a particularly optimistic outlet, had a story titled Ukraine’s Implausible Theories of Victory: The Fantasy of Russian Defeat and the Case for Diplomacy.
The thing is, Russia has held up pretty well (certainly in the short term) against the much-vaunted sanctions, and the ruble is the best-performing currency against the dollar. The unintended consequence of the war has been widespread pain, especially in the “first world”, i.e. Western Europe and North America. It would be better, as India has always said, for there to be a negotiated settlement.
A stalemate is always a victory for Russia, as it has captured the disputed Russian-speaking parts of eastern Ukraine, created a land bridge to Crimea and now controls the Sea of Azov ports. That is the most likely outcome, as Europeans grow weary of war and Biden’s plans to fight Russia to the last Ukrainian appear to have crumbled.
It’s time for the big reset. And that might not help the awakened; they are being relegated to the garbage of history at a record pace. It’s the end of the waking century, after only a year and a half. And rightly so.
The writer has been a conservative columnist for over 25 years. His academic interest is innovation. The opinions expressed are personal.
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