From Argentina to the South China Sea, via Europe and the Mediterranean, the Biden administration is stepping on the gas in its imperialist policy, which is taking an even more warmongering turn than that of its predecessor.
1 A few months ago this would have seemed like a bad American TV drama script. The US sends warships, including a nuclear submarine to Argentine waters, relying on the British base in the Falklands. No one has any doubt about it, the aim is to make a statement: the new Biden administration does not like the dependence that Argentine capital is developing on Chinese demand. The Argentine government is ritually protesting. Even if it expands its borders on paper it has no real capacity to impose them. Even less so to impose them on the U.S. and British navies. next scene? Xi Jinping offers strategic assistance to Alberto Fernández.
2 In Europe, Biden is stepping up the pressure against China. Now they got the Ukrainian government to veto the sale of an aerospace company to a Chinese company. Beijing was relying on the purchase to modernize its civil aviation. Not a strategic issue, just a low blow. A sign, in reality of a much deeper game. The formal and informal diplomacy of the new Biden administration is bringing all its resources to bear, from subsidized think-tanks to international trade union organizations, in order to prevent the EU-China investment agreement from ever being ratified.
3 In the larger context of the imperialist conflict with China, he has made it clear that he will not overturn Trump’s actions in the trade war with China or restore the power of the WTO. On the contrary, both Blinken and Biden have made it clear that they are preparing for extreme competition against China. Put another way: the most aggressive measures are yet to come.
4 In the Mediterranean, the US is enticing Erdogan. A first line of negotiation is apparently on the table: the end of Russian armament in Turkey in exchange for a definitive end to US support for the Kurdish PKK-YPG. Erdogan, who has been burnt by Libya is trying to gain the support of the most imperialist Kemalist nationalism for a new plan. Its goals would be twofold. First consolidate territorial gains in Syria and eventually annex them. Secondly to resume negotiations on the future of Cyprus by imposing recognition of the island’s Turkish Republic of the North. If it succeeds, it would allow Turkey to regain options for the maritime borders it claims and the off shore gas they contain, to be partially recognized by its rivals and neighbors. For both it needs U.S. support. The anti-Turkish alliance of Emirates, Greece and Egypt that has been formalized in Athens is not going to be shaken otherwise.
5 But neither should we count on the Emirates, Egypt and the rest of the anti-Iranian alliance – which includes Israel and Saudi Arabia – to lower their stakes just because the US is changing its orientation. Quite the opposite. For Biden to remove the Houthi rebels from the list of terrorist groups and push to negotiate with Iran on a new nuclear deal may well break the rope… even promote a joint Arab-Israeli attack on Iranian facilities with consequences difficult to calculate.
6 Back in Europe, Biden seems determined to resume and accelerate the anti-Russian game as a way to subdue the EU, both from within, and from without. First step: deploy bombers in Norway in a move that Russia can only consider as a direct threat. Step two: in the face of an eventual Russian response offer Poland and other countries a Cold War-style missile deployment. It’s on the agenda of the Biden team, which is complaining about the Europeans not wanting to see the (Russian) threat: Biden wants to update America’s nuclear commitment, i.e. accelerate the new race towards war globally. The START treaty renewal was only a partial framework of containment.
7 Russia, which also signed it, has already given definite signs in the past week –missile tests, new silos, tentative deployments– that it is about to tit-for-tat on the terms Biden is proposing. China expands its nuclear program and aims to close the gap with the US. In reality, a new nuclear escalation suits all three because it serves to force other players into aligning with a specific side – notably the EU – and increase polarization around the emerging blocs.