The unusual reality [is that the] US progressive Left — which currently dominates the Biden administration — sees America as a racist, sexist, homophobic and white supremacist country. That makes it ambivalent about America’s national interest. Even if it sees the necessity for some purposeful action in a crisis, it can’t want the outcome to benefit the US. …
The precipitate and disastrous scuttle from Afghanistan is what one would expect from a self-hating foreign policy — one that abandoned citizens, allies, billions worth of military equipment, and America’s reputation as a formidable and reliable great power.
On the other hand, Biden’s successful Ukraine policy can be bold because it’s driven mainly not by US interests but by its character as the defence of liberal principles and a rule-based international order. It seems that progressive opinion can be reconciled to bold US interventions when they are not stained by US interests and don’t seem to be a triumph for “white supremacy”.
Biden’s grand strategy … is a device that aligns US interests with progressive woke ideology. …
The new direction of US foreign policy is wokeness:
The first modest sign … came in the form of partisan politican favouritism. For instance, more than thirty of the 110 nations represented at the summit were on a State Department list that described them as only “partly free”. But Hungary, which has been marked down by the international progressive Left as “authoritarian” (at best), was excluded despite a stellar record of four peaceful changes of government following general elections since 1989.
Look more closely at those expenditures Biden is proposing to support democracy. It turns out that they will be going to programs for “women and girls”, “empowering the LGBTQI community”, and to “worker organisations”. There is at least some tension between those gifts to Biden’s progressive political allies abroad and his other professed aim of “fighting corruption”. And maybe I’m overly suspicious to wonder what “defining” a free and fair election means.
US embassy in S Korea
But quite a lot of defining and re-defining has been going on in the discussions around Biden’s grand strategy. Words and phrases like authoritarianism, populism and liberal democracy are now defined in unusual ways, sometimes even to make them mean more or less the opposite of what they have meant until recently.
Populism, for instance, if it has any settled meaning at all, is an exaggeration of democracy and thus at the opposite end of the spectrum to autocracy or authoritarianism. But it is now treated as a near-synonym to authoritarianism, or as a path to it, or as a symptom of democracy at risk or in retreat that will lead to autocracy, or as a jumble of all three.
Ditto liberal democracy. In the Biden rhetoric, democracy becomes more democratic when non-accountable institutions such as the courts, global bodies or international legal bodies take decisions that override or even replace the decisions of elected parliaments. …
Unwoke is the new enemy of the US:
Britain, Norway and Sweden are among the countries that have concluded that such legal and medical treatment of gender dysphoria is harmful to the children and unjustified medically. He asks: “Will the United States use its long financial arm to pressure Sweden, Finland, and the UK to restore ‘affirmative care’, against the judgment of experts in those countries that — unlike here — have conducted systemic evidentiary reviews?” The answer appears to be “Yes”.
Which should be newsworthy. But the mainstream media has shown little investigative interest in this major transformation of US foreign policy. …
N.S. Lyons … concludes: “In this worldview, in order for a democratic state to be a legitimate ‘Democracy’, it is not enough for it to have a popularly elected government chosen through free and fair elections — it also has to hold the correct progressive values. That is, it has to be Woke. Otherwise it is not a real Democracy, but something else.”
We once thought it legitimate to help democratic movements when their governments refused to hold elections; now we help progressive movements when their governments have defeated them in elections. That’s crossing a very important Rubicon. It is neither advancing democracy nor protecting democracy; it is tilting democracy in order to make the ballot boxes produce the result that progressives want.
That said, even if the legal “norms” it creates extend its influence, Biden’s entire grand strategy cannot succeed in the end. It’s an attempt to enforce the utopian ideological fantasies of about the one sixth of very liberal Americans upon a world composed of Muslims, Hindus, Confucians, Catholics, Protestants, Sikhs, relatively practical communists and agnostic liberals. It’s unenforceable.
In the short term, however, it has momentum in what is still the most powerful country in the world.