Saturday, February 06, 2021

031 The Erickson Report for February 4 to 17, Page Three: Two Weeks of Stupid: Clowns and Outrages [Outrages]

031 The Erickson Report for February 4 to 17, Page Three: Two Weeks of Stupid: Clowns and Outrages [Outrages]

Now we turn to the Outrages, and this time we have just one. It's the Blahden administration.

Okay, it's more focused than that. A number of domestic moves have been encouraging, some even better than I expected. But on foreign and military policy, it's a disaster and an Outrage. Let me go through a few things in no particular order to illustrate.

For one thing, the Space Force, Tweetie-pie's vanity project, apparently is going to continue. Once established, it quickly developed institutional momentum, now preaching the Fear Merchants' classic line about "emerging threats," just now in space, and it seems he is of no mind to challenge that.

For another, take military spending in general. Despite the fact that during Tweetie-pie's regime, such spending rose 19%, Blahden is expected to resist calls from progressives to cut that budget in order to finance human needs, expected especially because even during the campaign, he said if elected he didn't foresee any significant reductions.

On Afghanistan, there are already indications that Blahden will keep US troops there past a May withdrawal deadline laid out in a deal with the Taliban. It appears the intention is to keep 2000-2500 troops there for "counterinsurgency" - apparently permanently, giving an interesting twist to the notion of "ending our forever wars."

Another forever war he is likely to continue is the drone wars. He's spoken very little on the topic, but as vice-president he advocated for what he called “counterterrorism plus,” in Afghanistan, a combination of special forces and aggressive drone bombing.

Now, I'm sure there are those who will praise his plans for Israel and the Palestinians, but they look good only by comparison to the horrendous Tweetie-pie years.

What he proposes is a return to the mushy, all-talk-no-action "support" for a two-state solution, a policy pursued by multiple previous administrations across parties, one marked primarily by tut-tutting and tsk-tsking about Israel's oppression of the Palestinians - including turning Gaza into what has been accurately described as the world's largest outdoor prison, building settlements, illegally seizing Palestinian land, and demolishing Palestinian homes - while at the same time providing Israel with billions in military support and deliberately refusing to use any of the leverage this gives the US to push for a political settlement.

One more case to mention is Venezuela, where the Blahden administration will continue to recognize Juan Guaido as president, part of a campaign to force out president Nicolas Maduro, a campaign marked by crushing economic sanctions that have cost the Venezuelan economy an estimated $194 billion, reduced import earnings by 99%, and killed tens of thousands from lack of medical supplies and medicines. And for those who would parrot the official line that the sanctions are because of Maduro's disputed 2018 re-election, I'd note that the first round of economic sanctions came in August 2017, nearly a year before that election took place.

There is a lot more to this; I had originally intended to do a whole segment about Venezuela but the time to explain it properly just kept expanding and expanding to more than I could properly present. But know this: There is a great deal to doubt and question about Nicolas Maduro but ultimately this is not and never was about him. The US has been trying to undermine or overthrow the government of Venezuela since 1998, when the people there committed the unforgivable sin of electing the socialist Hugo Chavez. Nicolas Maduro is not the cause, he is the current excuse.

Because ultimately, this is not about democracy or free elections. It is about dominance and the bipartisan foreign policy consensus which Joe Blahden embraces. Which is an Outrage.

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