Blinken Foreign Policy
It must be a sure handicap to be saddled with such a name when piloting a large government department, but US Secretary of State Antony Blinken shows no sign of that bothering him. It has, however, become a hallmark of a policy that is markedly devoid of foresight and heavily marked by stammering confusion.
On his trip to Australia, Blinken showed us, again, how morality and forced ethics in the international scene can be the stuff of particularly bad pantomime. He sounded, all too often, as an individual sighing about the threats to US power while inflating those of its adversaries. Russia and China were, as they tend to be these days, at the front of the queue of paranoid agitation.
In an interview with The Australian, Blinken was adamant that “there’s little doubt that China’s ambition over time is to be the leading military, economic, diplomatic and political power not just in the region, but in the world.” He admitted that the US had its own version of an “international order” – but that vision was “liberal”. Beijing’s was profoundly inappropriate. “China wants an (international) order, but the difference is its world order would be profoundly illiberal.”
Blinken was also pleased at what he saw on his visit to the University of Melbourne. “My stepfather is an alumnus, so that was wonderful to reconnect, also just to talk to some remarkable young Australians who are really the future of the relationship, the partnership between us – incredibly engaged, incredibly smart, incredibly thoughtful about the present and the future.” And, no doubt, handpicked for the occasion.
Russia’s behaviour was also the subject of the Blinken treatment. Australians, warned the secretary, faced a solemn choice before Moscow’s stratagems. “Russia, right now,” he told an Australian news program on the ABC, “poses an immediate challenge, not just to Ukraine … but to some very basic principles that are relevant to the security not just to people in Europe, but throughout the world, including Australia.” That’s considerable reach for a power with an economy that is only marginally larger than Australia’s.
Blinken’s babble about international liberal orders and territorial integrity echoes the Truman Doctrine in the early stages of the Cold War, one that ended up bloodied and sodden in the rice fields and jungles of Indochina. In time, variations of this same, pathetic overreading of imminent crises and threats would propel US forces into Iraq and Afghanistan, and what a supreme mess those engagements turned out to be. All that mattered were the substitutes: in the case of Afghanistan, Islamic fundamentalism twinned with terrorism; in the case of Iraq, Weapons of Mass Destruction never found and forced links with al-Qaeda never proved.
Blinken’s visit had also inspired the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison to wax lyrical about the sanctity of borders, something that proved somewhat irrelevant when Australia’s defence personnel found themselves serving as auxiliaries of US military efforts. He wanted “to send a very clear message on behalf of Australia, a liberal democracy who believes in freedom and the sovereignty of states, not just in Europe, but in our region as well – that the autocratic, unilateral actions of Russia [are considered] to be threatening, and bullying Ukraine is something that is completely and utterly unacceptable.”
Despite such statements, little is being done to stop the trains heading towards the precipice of conflict. Everything is being said about getting citizens of other countries out of Ukraine before the bloody resolution. In late January, of the 129 diplomatic missions based in Ukraine, four had announced the departure of family members of personnel: the US, UK, Australia and Germany.
There are 129 diplomatic missions in Ukraine. Of these, only 4 have declared the departure of the family members of personnel: US, UK, Australia and Germany. The rest, including EU, OSCE, CoE, NATO and UN have not expressed their intention to follow such premature steps.
— Oleg Nikolenko (@OlegNikolenko_) January 24, 2022
US President Joe Biden has been the leading voice on this move, adding kindling in urging that, “American citizens should leave, and should leave now.” In an interview with NBC News, he did nothing to quell concerns. “We’re dealing with one of the largest armies in the world. This is a very different situation and things could go crazy quickly.”
The Australians, unimaginatively obedient, have also issued similar calls of evacuation, suggesting imminent conflict. Canberra has become rather adept at evacuating embassy staff and shutting down operations in the face of a crisis. “Given the deteriorating security situation caused by the build up of Russian troops on Ukraine’s border,” Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne stated, “the Government has directed the departure of staff at the Australian embassy at Kyiv.”
Ukrainian officials have not been too impressed by these very public sentiments of jumping ship. Volodymyr Shalkivskyi, based at the Ukrainian embassy in Canberra, wished to “avoid panic and different kind of rumours that the invasion is inevitable.” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also told reporters in southern Ukraine that, “The best friend of enemies is panic in our country.”
The Ukrainian premier even went so far as to invite Biden to visit Kyiv to ease tensions, something he is unlikely to do, given the calls to evacuate US citizens. “I am convinced that your arrival in Kyiv in the coming days, which are crucial for stabilising the situation, will be a powerful signal,” Zelensky is supposed to have said in a call to the US president. He hoped that this would “help prevent the spread of panic.”
While Zelensky’s role seems increasingly marginal, one blowed sideways by the winds of events increasingly beyond his control, Blinken’s focus, and that of the Biden administration, remains affixed to the Indo-Pacific. Last year’s AUKUS agreement, negotiated in secret and in defiance of other alliances, including that with France, suggests that whatever Moscow’s intentions, China remains the primary, nerve racking concern.
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The siamese triplets, USUKA have conned germany into their circle. Making USUKAD.
The bay of pigs 1961 and the septics reaction to kruschev in 1962 and their continuing disgraceful action against castro is far worse but no different to putin objecting having NATO on such a sensitive border.
China’s power explosion is a worry to the septics but when the himalaya pact is brokered then the white man’s hold on arms and commerce is gone.
As for Taiwan, for the last 60 years, I have felt that the Taiwanese should have sent Jiang Jieshi (generalisimo chiang kai shek) and his kuomintan invaders back to china to face their war crimes.
It seems odd that Putin justifies his actions on the basis of threat of NATO heading east by potentially accepting Ukraine as a member thereby reducing the distance between east and west, yet he’s happy to reduce the distance by heading west by invading. So all the posturing is either a time waster to allow maximal troop deployment or a bad case of “attention deficit” by Vlad or an oil price “pusher”. We don’t need another world war, but a strategy of a sudden overwhelming attack such that retaliation would be difficult has some similarities to Poland 1939. The USA/NATO don’t have the matching troop numbers, so Russia will prevail.
Given what the world didn’t do about annexation of Crimea, Vlad probably thinks the same will happen. It’s not looking good and Blinky is right to pull the nationals out.
Where’s Scummo? Why haven’t Boris and Joe worked out that Scummo would be the saviour. They could send Saint Scummo to Russia to meet Putin. He could lay his hands (although I expect they would be in a jar within seconds) on him and pray for Vlad’s soul. A flash of golden light, Putin sees the errors of his way and promises to leave Ukraine alone and only do good. Hooray, Saint Scummo saves the day, and the world.
Back in ‘straya, Warmonster Reichspud is sticking swords in the latest of a long line of life size Scotty (I should be nice at least once) voodoo dolls in anger and frustration.
Excuse me while I remove my finger from my throat… the urge to gag was too great to resist; this never-ending spectacle of the American political & diplomatic apparatchik presuming to lecture the planet on the evils and risks posed to humanity by the continuing existence of Russia & China is beyond parody, albeit it’s a real and dangerous phenomenon justified by the pathological fusion of politics and commerce that typify the USA’s obsession with maintaining the largest armaments industry in the universe, to be used liberally at whim or will against whomever the latest unlucky target is targeted to be a slaughterhouse arena for the current crop of weaponry looking for a market.
Ethical issues? Forgeddit it! Collateral damage? Huh… nothing to see here! War crimes? Nah… not us!
The utterly evil hypocrisy is never admitted, always denied. The assumption of responsibility for being the planet’s premier terrorist nation is and always will be evaded and negated into a matter of miniscule proportion.
The pathological madness of always having to seek and identify an enemy has consequences, as the declining materiality of the American landscape bears witness & testament to; failing infrastructure, failing education & healthcare, failing community standards and goodwill, paranoia, murderous racism and gun killings… whilst there are no doubt ‘good’ Americans, the fight for a better society seems doomed to be lost…
And all the while, these murderous white bastards, their nation built on a legacy of inconceivably brutality; slavery, genocide of indigenous people, exploitation at every level and at every opportunity in the name of personal enrichment, drunk on hubris and a sense of entitlement that beggars the imagination, presume to lecture the planet in the most shameless propagandist terms on the existential threats posed to humanity by the continuing existence of China & Russia, both great countries that have suffered more than the American imagination can conceive, suffered, mourned, healed and rebooted into modernity with a clear-eyed comprehension of what they need to do to resist the never-ending sabre-rattling from across the oceans. I wish them both well in their fight for their freedoms and their rights to co-exist peacefully.. it will not be easy but they will prevail.
Nobodies we may be, but observation, knowledge, experience allows us to observe some obvious flaws, here. Foreign ministers here and in U K and USA are frightfully obtuse, uninformed, unhistorical and plain wrong not to see diplomatic essentials. Turning enemies east or west in the Eurasian landmass is murderous, fatal to many. If weakness associated with “appeasement” sent Germany under Hitler east, to crush Poland, it did not save the French as the madmen soon turned west. The Russians do not want a loose, dangerous, exploitable central Europe where west and east have clashing attitudes and long term interests. Every nation has some history of expansion, success, defeat, crushing loss, even disappearance, so, someone must grasp the need for all nations from the Baltic down through central Europe to Moldova, including Belarus and Ukraine, to be as neutral, co-operative, unattached as is possible, with no more Warsaw Pact, USSR, no NATO intrusion, NOTHING aggressive or threatening. But the recent visit of the UK lady was a blunt disaster of basics, and Blinken is a cracked irrelevant no-one passing by quickly, except that he fronts a nation with huge death instruments, erectile policies of bravado and supremacy. Sensible Finns, Swedes, Poles, Hungarians, even pressed Ukraine people, not Russian (as 22% are), will consider and see historical sense, from now, in neutrality where possible. We may not now have such as Gustavus Adolphus, Peter the Great, Ivan, Napoleon, Hitler, Stalin, but we have modern primitives rattling, not swords, but MIRVs of Polaris universal death.