Biden Administration: Foreign Policy

A thread to discuss foreign policy under the Biden Administration.

Here’s something to start. This is good news to my ears.

2 thoughts on “Biden Administration: Foreign Policy

  1. Russia

    Good. I’m pretty upset by all four. We need to get to the bottom of this.

    2/3/2021

    What this guy is doing is impressive. This is worth listening to.

    Also, Nalvany mentions the people of Russia who are “not afraid,” “not casting their eyes downward,” not settling for corrupt government officials being the best of Russia. Sounds right to me. I also think of the similar people in Belarus and Hong Kong. Their courage and thirst for democracy are really inspiring.

    I wish there were a conservative equivalent to Nalvany in the U.S.–someone who would stand up and speak out against Trump and Trumpism.

    Secretary of State:

    2/4/2021

    2/5/2021

    op-ed by Garry Kasparov in WaPo

    What I agree with:

    They (dictatorships) must be isolated and contained, or else they spread their corruption to the free world — while using the profits from engagement to fund repression at home and aggression abroad.

    The traditional recipes of international diplomacy are worthless against a mafia dictatorship that cares nothing for ideology or national interests. Hurting the Russian people doesn’t bother Putin, so sanctions must target him and his gang directly. Putin doesn’t care about left or right; he cares about money.

    Second, unite on anti-kleptocracy measures. The recent U.S. ban on anonymous shell companies is a strong move, and Europe should be pressed to coordinate.

    Some recommendations that I’m more ambivalent about:

    First, end Putin’s asymmetrical advantage and treat his regime like it’s the target of a criminal investigation.

    and

    Blocking human rights abusers and their families from travel, freezing their assets and blocking their companies from doing business in the free world would finally take the gloves off and send the message that Putin is too toxic to keep around.

    My sense is that Kasparov is correct–this would really hurt Putin, while he’ll care less for sanctions that hurt the Russian people. (This is similar to the North Korean situation.) However, these actions are aggressive acts, similar to using military force or actions that would cause serious economic damage to a country. Why? Because all these things could be a serious threat to Putin and his power. On one hand, these actions would be a real punishment and threat. The thing is, if you push too hard, the threat can be so huge, that Putin will retaliate in an aggressive way. It’s like if you use military force on another nation, if the force is reasonable, it may not precipitate a chain reaction that can lead to war. But if the force is too significant, then it could. For example, say the U.S. exposes Putin’s corruption and that leads to even more unrest by the Russian population. If Putin feels such actions come close to ending his power, like a cornered animals, he may lash out, which can escalate into a war–either conventional, cyber, or something else.

    I feel like one alternative is to contain and isolate Putin, as Kasparov mention. The U.S. should strengthen ties with its allies, including NATO. I feel like Putin exporting corruption is a threat, changing laws and cracking down on money-laundering would be a defensive measure, protecting Western democracies from the virus of corruption. If that can be done, and the West can prevent aggressive acts (invading Georgia, annexing Crimea), then they maybe waiting out Putin might be a sound approach.

    I would be OK with the next recommendation–if this is practical and realistic for U.S. and their allies:

    Third, stop giving Putin and other authoritarian regimes leverage and legitimacy with trade deals, memberships and access. Lecturing dictators about human rights is meaningless if you’re also taking their oil, gas and cash.

  2. Foreign policy for the middle class

    Below, Jake Sullivan, the National Security Adviser, discusses a central tenet of Biden’s foreign policy–namely, that the interests of the middle class will be at the center of Biden’s foreign policy. How does a policy affect the economic well-being and security of the middle class? I really like this approach–and I wondered why no one thought of this before (including myself). I don’t know if this is going to work, but, in principle, I like it.

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