What can the regular reader think of the latest, but one of the infrequent essays of Anne-Marie Slaughter, to appear in this newspaper? First, a fragment of the opening sentence uttered at full rhetorical screech: The world is watching the US presidential election with horror: the production of hysterical political melodrama is not her strong suite!
By the second paragraph, the reader enters Ms. Slaughter’s more rational speculations about a possible, probable Foreign Policy of a Biden Administration. Or should it more rightly be named ‘Joe Biden & Sons Inc’?
The US would re-embrace multilateralism and reach out to allies and partners with renewed vigour. But it would still be more inwardly focused. It would return to the global fold on the necessity of combating climate change, pandemics and other global threats. But it would still embrace great power competition and focus on China as its main rival. It would substitute a values-based foreign policy for a power-based approach. But it would not return troops to Syria or Afghanistan and would remain sceptical about foreign intervention.
Anne-Marie Slaughter is CEO of the New America Think Tank, which places her in the category of New Democrat. As a Biden partisan the reader must acknowledge her as a Party loyalist, when considering her essay. Which postulates the puerile notion of the Three D’s : Domestic, Deterrence and Democracy.
The reader then becomes mired in Slaughter’s thicket of policy speculation, featuring the ‘Brand Names’, who might just fill those potential Foreign Policy jobs, of a potential Biden Administration. Contingency defines these speculations! The final paragraph of Slaughter’s essay leaves no doubt about Biden:
Commentator James Traub points out that phrases like “the free world” come naturally to Mr Biden, however old-fashioned they may seem to the progressive left. In this formulation, he writes, Mr Biden “would refound ‘the west’ for a new age of problems without borders”. Perhaps. Mr Biden and his advisers are still more comfortable dealing with problems that require beating or bonding with other nation states than those that transcend borders such as climate change. Still, unlike Mr Trump, they recognise the need to manage both types.
Joe Biden is the prisoner of ‘The Old Cold War’, that has become ‘The New Cold War‘, in sum, via the framing of Huntington’s xenophobia, expressed in World Historical terms, in The Clash of Civilizations and more parochially in his ‘Who Are We?: The Challenges to America’s National Identity’.
In Slaughter’s apologetic for Biden, we read about a mythic notion of a ‘return to normalcy’ after the nightmare of Trump. That is about a return to a Neo-Liberalism that continues in its state of slow motion collapse, in the face of The Pandemic and a Capitalism in constant need of Keynesian upbuilding.
Look at your choices, fellow readers, on the subject of Joe Biden’s possible advisors.
July 31, 2020
Headline: Inside the Massive Foreign-Policy Team Advising Biden’s Campaign
Sub-headline: If Joe Biden wins, here are some of the top foreign-policy experts who could be tapped for senior and midlevel jobs in the administration.
( Cost $15. 99 for access)
December 19, 2019
Headline: Why Biden’s Retro Inner Circle Is Succeeding So Far
Sub-headline: In 2019, there’s a tiny group of Democrats who believe the party hasn’t lurched leftward. Oh, and their boss happens to be winning the primary.
October 5, 2020
Headline: Just How Good Is Joe Biden’s Foreign Policy Team?
DSub-headline: It is difficult to escape the impression that a Biden administration might constitute a restoration of neoconservatism in liberal hawk garb