- Tuesday, September 15, 2020

In the three weeks since Vice President Mike Pence’s Republican National Convention speech, right-leaning broadcasters have given much play to his quoting of Robert Gates, the Obama-Biden secretary of defense who wrote in his 2014 memoir that then-Vice President Joseph R. Biden “has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.”

Yet it doesn’t occur to most that Mr. Biden’s view on Russia — by now the default “American” position — might be one of those major foreign policy wrongs. Certainly it didn’t to the convention speakers, among them Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who said, “Today, because of President Trump, NATO is stronger, Ukraine has defensive weapons systems, and America left a harmful treaty so our nation can now build missiles to deter Russian aggression.” (The third part was a reference to the Open Skies Treaty, one of the last two nuclear constraints, but you’re just supposed to take Mr. Pompeo’s word that it was “harmful” and of course that Russia has been “aggressing.”)Another speaker, former Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell, said, “When those who seek freedom take tremendous personal risk — in places like Hong Kong, Tehran or Minsk — there is no doubt who President Trump’s administration supports. We will always stand with the people who fight for their God-given freedoms.”

He just put Minsk in the same category as Tehran and Hong Kong, equating Belarus with Iran and China. It’s our most recent anti-Russian saber rattle after longtime President Alexander Lukashenko won reelection earlier last month and put a monkey wrench into our latest color revolution. Never mind that if Mr. Lukashenko falls (though many Belarusians feel he really should at least groom a mini-him and step aside), the floodgates will open to the same George Soros-led “Western” infiltration that obliterates national identity and installs “democratic reforms” — which become a march toward postmodern progressivism, whose logical conclusion we are now seeing in American streets and includes dead cops and overturned statues. This path also dictates the kind of openness toward the rest of the world that Eastern Europe so far has managed to keep itself relatively safe from as it watches how deadly our own openness has proved to us and to the societies we foist our idealism on.

Most notable is the case of Serbia and Kosovo, where our “humanitarian intervention” in 1999 flooded the region with Islamic “charities,” mosques and madrassas, eventually turning Kosovo into a disproportionately high contributor of ISIS recruits. This is a Clinton-era conflict that Mr. Grenell himself, as the special presidential envoy for Serbia and Kosovo Peace Negotiations, is dealing with 21 years later, albeit last week commendably giving the still-oblivious press an overdue tongue-lashing when a reporter tried to change the subject from Balkans to homosexuality. Our gay-obsessed journalists, meanwhile, have no clue that homosexuality is more violently unpopular in U.S.-minted Kosovo than in our reviled, traditionalist Russia or in the Russia surrogate that we bombed on Kosovo’s behalf, Serbia.

As with all nonconforming states, an ultimatum will be put before Belarus: us or them. That is, pick either the European Union or Russia. You can’t have both, for whatever reason. This shouldn’t be so, but Cold War nostalgists want their great-power rivalry back, and this is how you divide the world back into two. To hell with win-win international cooperation; it’s all about U.S. hegemony.

Nowhere was this drive better illustrated recently than in the current issue of Foreign Affairs by Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass, titled “Present at the Disruption.” Mr. Haass credited the engagement-slash-interventionist approach of the past 75 years with “the absence of great-power war” and the peaceful ending to the Cold War, but in the next breath he faulted President Trump’s reluctance “to respond at all to Russia’s military intervention in Syria, its interference in U.S. politics, or recent evidence that Russian agents paid bounties to the Taliban to kill American soldiers.” He ignores that to appease the likes of Mr. Haass. Mr. Trump has already taken sanctions to more painful levels than any of his predecessors and actually handed Ukraine lethal weapons against Russia. What else could Mr. Haass be asking for but war?

As for Syria, Russia is the country that is there legally, by invitation of the government that we’re there illegally to depose. Meanwhile, if there were much to the bounty claims, why did we stop hearing them almost immediately and instead saw a pivot to the more evident bounties by Iran? In light of the stream of hysterical accusations against Russia — the latest being that Joseph R. Biden’s dementia is Russian disinformation and the Homeland Security Department’s “warning” that “Russia is working to undermine confidence in voting-by-mail” — the boy has cried wolf too many times to be taken seriously. Even about Russian President Vladimir Putin poisoning opposition leader Alexei Navalny. (“What do you think should be done to Russia about that?” Reuters reporter Jeff Mason warmongered to the president.)The Council on Foreign Relations, a mystery to most Americans, is essentially a collection of transnational globalist imperialists angling for perpetual war. You’ll hear familiar terms like “the indispensable nation” and “American exceptionalism,” but this bipartisan roster of Never-Trumpers, these supposed avengers of the American Way, are in fact an enemy of the American republic and international law alike.

American exceptionalism “is a form of globalism,” former diplomat Jim Jatras told OANN host Liz Wheeler when Hillary Clinton was promoting it in 2016. “It really has more in common with an almost Soviet concept of extending authority and remaking the world in our own image, something the Founding Fathers never talked about. They thought of us as an example to the world, a defender and exemplar of liberty and independence. But this idea that somehow we’re going to bestride the world with fire and sword to impose our rule on other people, or to invade the world and invite the world like Hillary Clinton wants to do, there’s nothing like that in true Americanism. … I think there are a lot of admirers of the American principles — of our Constitution, of our Declaration of Independence — they’re more than willing to say, ‘Yes, America is exceptional in that sense, and we admire that, but what we don’t admire is the Hillary Clinton type of exceptionalism’ where we act as though the rules that apply to the rest of the countries of the world don’t apply to us, that we’re indispensable but you, your country, you’re dispensable.”

In case the indistinguishability between Democrat and Republican in these status quo ivory towers isn’t apparent enough, try this Haass sentence on for size: “The standing of the United States in the world has fallen, thanks to its inept handling of COVID-19, its denial of climate change and rejection of refugees and immigrants, and the continued scourges of mass shootings and endemic racism.”

In what amounts to a long endorsement for president of Kamala Harris — I mean, Joe Biden — Mr. Haass warns that if Mr. Trump gets reelected, we could all be “present at the destruction.” But Mr. Biden was present at the deception, the precedent for our intended war and the past several interventions (Syria, Libya, Iraq); it was that other strangely bipartisan area of agreement, the Balkans. In his 2008 Democratic National Convention speech, Mr. Biden’s son Beau thumped his chest on Dad’s behalf: “When Serbian thugs were committing genocide in the Balkans, Dad didn’t hesitate to call Slobodan Milosevic a war criminal to his face. And to convince Congress and our allies to act.”

Never mind that Milosevic has been reluctantly exonerated twice now by the international court after dragging him to trial and then seeing to his death; as more are now seeing, we live in an era of oft-repeated “facts” that are immune to correction.

Back at the more recent convention — the Republican one — only the president’s speech offered any reassurance about peace even as he flaunted an enriched NATO under his leadership and even as that NATO amassed on Russia’s border. Mr. Trump pointed out that in four years there have been no new foreign wars, and a week later in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, he emphasized that there wouldn’t be any, adding, “If I get along with Russia … I think it’s a good thing.”

Mr. Biden, on the other hand, has taken up his late son’s mantle for Mr. Biden, grandstanding to audiences that “I can tell you this: Vladimir Putin doesn’t want me to be president.” That’s because Vladimir Putin doesn’t hate America as much as we think he does — even if half of Americans do.

Julia Gorin was a Soviet Refusenik who came to the U.S. in 1976. She is editor of “Hillarisms: The Unmaking of the First Female President.”

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