What Will be the Foreign Policy of the Next US President?
The two programs for the Trump and Biden candidacies are not similar to those of previous candidates. It is no longer a question of adjusting the United States to the changing world, but of defining what they will be. The question is existential, so it is quite possible that things will degenerate and end in violence. For some, the country must be a nation at the service of its citizens, for others it must restore its imperial status.
The U.S. 2020 presidential campaign pits two radically different visions of the United States: empire or nation?
On the one hand, Washington’s claim to dominate the world by “containment” – a strategy articulated by George Kennan in 1946 and followed by all presidents until 2016 – and on the other hand, the rejection of imperialism and the desire to facilitate the fortunes of Americans in general – a strategy articulated by President Andrew Jackson (1829-37) and taken up only by President Donald Trump (2017-20).
Each of these two camps wields rhetoric that masks its true practice. Democrats and Republicans pose as heralds of the “free world” in the face of “dictatorships”, as defenders of racial, gender and sexual orientation discrimination, and as champions of the fight against “global warming”. The Jacksonians, for their part, take turns denouncing the corruption, perversity and ultimately hypocrisy of their predecessors while calling to fight for their nation and not for the empire.
The two camps have in common only the same cult of force; whether it is at the service of the empire (Democrats and Republicans) or the nation (Jacksonians).
The fact that the Jacksonians unexpectedly became a majority in the country and took control of the Republican Party adds to the confusion, but should not confuse trumpism with what the Republican ideology has been since World War II.
In reality, Democrats and Republicans tend to be well-to-do people or professionals in new technologies, while Jacksonians – like the “yellow vests” in France – are rather poor and professionally tied to the land from which they cannot escape.
For the 2020 campaign, Democrats and Republicans are united behind former Vice President Jo Biden. He and his supporters are extremely voluble about their intentions:
“The Power of America’s Example”, by Joseph R. Biden Jr., Voltaire Network, 11 July 2019.
“Why America Must Lead Again. Rescuing U.S. Foreign Policy After Trump”, by Joseph R. Biden Jr., Foreign Affairs, March/April 2020.
And especially the statement by senior Republican national security officials to Democrat Biden :
“A Statement by Former Republican National Security Officials”, Voltaire Network, 20 August 2020.
On the contrary, Donald Trump is evasive in writing:
“Donald Trump Second Term Agenda”, by Donald Trump, Voltaire Network, 24 August 2020 (foreign policy is the small paragraph at the end of the text).
In my view, the main disputes are not stated, but are constantly implied.
The Jacksonian agenda
As soon as he took office, Donald Trump questioned the Rumsfeld/Cebrowsky strategy of annihilating the state structures of all the countries of the “Broader Middle East” without exception and announced his wish to bring home the troops lost in the “war without end”. This goal remains at the top of his priorities in 2020 (“Stop Endless Wars and Bring Our Troops Home”).
As a result, he excluded the Director of the CIA and the Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee from regular meetings of the National Security Council. In so doing, he deprived the supporters of imperialism of their main tool of conquest.
“Presidential Memorandum: Organization of the National Security Council and the Homeland Security Council”, by Donald Trump, Voltaire Network, 28 January 2017. And “Donald Trump winds up “the” organization of US imperialism”, by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Anoosha Boralessa, Voltaire Network, 31 January 2017.
There followed a battle for the presidency of this council with
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