The obvious policy proclamation masquerading as a personal take has all the hypocritical tropes of American neocon elites
The president of the United States, Joe Biden, has recently published an op-ed. Appropriately released through the Washington Post, it is, of course, really the equivalent of a regime policy declaration – a laying down of the party line, if you wish. As such, the text deserves attention, never mind that it is impossible that America’s leader, clearly challenged by worsening senescence, has written it himself. This is, to borrow a phrase from the Russia-watching crowd, America’s “collective Biden” speaking.
Translated from official jargon and scrubbed of empty rhetoric and euphemisms, the long proclamation makes only two substantial points about what the US and its “allies” (really clients and vassals) must do: Continue waging a proxy war against Russia in Ukraine and continue backing Israel in its genocidal war against the Palestinians (no, it is not a “war against Hamas,” that’s a side effect).
In that sense, there is nothing surprising, or hopeful, in collective Biden’s announcement: It took them more words this time, but this Democratic administration of neocons is simply repeating the equally tone-deaf slogan of a former Republican president representing a past gaggle of neocons: Stay the course, as George W. Bush put it succinctly during the Iraq disaster. Deja Vue all over again, in the words of America’s greatest philosopher.
But the details of the text still merit scrutiny. Let’s pick out a few highlights:
Hamas is repeatedly denounced as carrying out “pure, unadulterated evil” and such. Every fair observer would reserve such terms by now for what the Israeli are doing in Gaza. But let’s set that aside for now and let’s also set aside that we now know that substantial numbers of Israelis were killed by Israeli forces. Let’s instead focus on Hamas. Is such language factual? The rational answer to that question is not a matter of opinion, and it has to be “no”: In reality, the empirical record shows that Hamas is a resistance organization engaged in a legally and ethically justified struggle against massive national oppression. It has attacked military targets, which is legitimate, as well as committed terrorist crimes. But if any political and armed organization that does both engage in legitimate violence and terrorist crimes is carrying out “pure evil,” then almost every halfway powerful state in this world has done just that or is doing it even now. Clearly, we are dealing with an absurd statement here.
Usually, the cause of such absurdities is strategic dishonesty. That holds here as well. For the Biden administration is transparently pursuing two aims with this Orwellian abuse of terminology: First, make Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians appear, if not justified, then at least so “understandable” or “inevitable” that we stop objecting to them (and, if we are Americans, vote for Democrats, even while they support these perfectly avoidable crimes).
Secondly, prepare the ground for the proposal, following further down in the proclamation, to entirely eliminate Hamas from any post-assault settlement and, instead, “ultimately” make a “revived Palestinian Authority” rule both the West Bank and Gaza, while work on some lasting settlement continues.
This proposal is wrapped in deceptive and revoltingly cynical rhetoric: If Joe Biden has a broken heart over the slaughtered children of Gaza, then Andrew Jackson must have cried while signing the Indian Removal Act. If Biden wants a two-state solution, then why is he allowing and helping one of the “two states” to wipe out the other? If he has “counselled” Israeli leaders to refrain from excessive violence, then why has he not backed up his kind words with using his massive leverage and stopping the flow of arms, money, information, and diplomatic cover to help their genocidal attack? If Biden is worried about antisemitism spreading, why does he allow far-right Zionists to claim that their policies, which lead to deaths of thousands upon thousands of Palestinian children, are somehow “Jewish”?
Hypocrisy like that may still fool some Americans, namely those who really believe that the adequate answer to the umpteenth mass shooting at home is “thoughts and prayers.” But a US president and those writing and thinking for him would be well-advised not to embarrass themselves further before everyone else, at home and abroad.
The real policy proposal, meanwhile, is nothing else but an attempt to return to the post-Oslo Accords system on even worse terms. That means, creating a situation in which urgent, vital Palestinian needs and crystal-clear Palestinian rights will, once again, be de facto suspended in an endless dishonest “process,” which really only serves as a screen and stalling device for Israel, while the latter settles occupied land, practices the internationally recognized crime of apartheid, and conducts the occasional massacre.
But the proclamation addresses more than the Middle East. Turning on Russia, the collective Biden personalizes the issue, in bad old neocon style. Instead of any attempt at a rational – albeit critical, even hostile – approach to Moscow’s actions and interests, we find the usual daft insults: Russian President Vladimir Putin is juxtaposed with Hamas, as if he were a one-man “terrorist organization.” (Never mind that Hamas is not, actually, a terrorist organization, although it also engages in terrorist acts; see above.)
The war in Ukraine is reduced to Putin’s personal “drive for conquest,” as if there has been no history of two decades of American provocations by reckless over-expansion, bad faith, and refusal to negotiate serious issues of international security in earnest and constructively. In that regard, Russia is receiving the same rhetorical treatment as the Palestinians: When it fights, we are forbidden to notice all the very real reasons it was given to do so.
And finally, both “Putin” – read: Russia – and Hamas stand accused of two things: Wanting to “wipe a neighboring democracy off the map” and taking us to a new, vile international order, where the strong abuse the weak and might makes right.
Newsflash: Actually, neither Israel nor Ukraine are democracies. In Israel’s case, the claim is vitiated by the simple fact that its government exerts de facto control over millions of Palestinians, all of whom face discrimination and the vast majority of whom do not have a vote, or, for that matter any ordinary civil and human rights. Ukraine, meanwhile, has Vladimir Zelensky, Washington’s darling in decline, who started dismantling the country’s brittle democratic structures – for what they were worth – in 2021, well before the war, and clings to power by cooperating with a violent far-right, eliminating the political opposition, streamlining the media, and delaying elections. Again, these are not matters of opinion but facts.
Secondly, Hamas is not trying to wipe out Israel, despite endless claims to the contrary. In the past, it has repeatedly signaled a willingness to compromise and accept a two-state solution. Claiming Hamas wants the total destruction of Israel is akin to using one idiotic quote from former US President Ronald Reagan to “prove” that he wanted to erase the whole Soviet Union. Hamas also simply does not have the capacity – not by a very far stretch – to do so.
Likewise, Russia is not trying to abolish Ukraine. As its compromise proposals of late 2021 clearly showed, its key aim is a neutral Ukraine that is not used as a proxy by the West. It is true that Russia, by now, claims some Ukrainian territory. Depending on how long the war continues, it may end up claiming and taking even more. You may very well object to that. Yet it is not the same as a will to exterminate a whole state or, for that matter, its population.
Finally, regarding the warning that Hamas, Russia, and who knows who else (China? India? Brazil? Simply everyone who won’t do as told by Washington?) are hellbent on dragging us all into new dark ages of ultra-cynical realpolitik and brute force, guess what: That is precisely where we are now. And have been for the last quarter of a century, under the benevolent aegis of the USA. Don’t believe it? Ask Gaza.
In sum, all we can really learn from this letter from on-high is that the Biden administration has understood nothing and is determined to learn even less. If, in the words of the declaration, the world is ever supposed to have even a slight chance of seeing “more hope, more freedom, less rage, less grievance, and less war,” then we first need to see much less of Joe Biden and everything and everyone he stands for.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.