Friday, June 18, 2021

Something to Know - 18 June

Events seem to be slowly, but effectively churning in a progressive way as of late.   The ACA seems to now be part of the permanent fiber of dependable social programs - much to the dismay of political opposition.  Also, bits and pieces of trumpian obstruction to good governance go by the wayside each day.   The Jim Crow Party is painting itself into a corner with stupid brush strokes as it flails to counter each progressive Biden success.   It is going to take a long time to completely pressure wash the stain of the degenerative government that #45 left behind, but it looks promising as of now.  By most accounts, Biden did well in his recent trip to Europe, leaving the GOP flummoxed.   David Ignatius of the Washington Post has written a column about it.   In a broader view, HCR presents her viewpoints:

Biden should make his success abroad a platform for progress at home

Image without a caption
Opinion by 

President Biden planned during his first year in office to govern from inside out, healing America's internal wounds and then turning to the world. But after a successful week of summitry abroad, maybe it's time for Biden to reverse the flow — and make his foreign success a platform for progress at home.

Biden took a simple strategy overseas, summed up in the buzz phrase, "America is back." He could trumpet a receding covid-19 pandemic and sharply rising economy to back up his claim. World leaders, even the truculent Russian President Vladimir Putin, seemed to buy into his framing of issues.
Biden finally seems to be realizing that less is more. The meandering, maddeningly loquacious personality of his years as a senator and vice president is less evident. He spares his words and avoids the woolly soliloquies that sometimes bordered on self-caricature. Instead, he offers a scrappy pragmatism, as in the phrase he repeated abroad: "The proof of the pudding is in the eating."

Biden in office is quite different from his genial public persona, insiders say. He can be brusque, short-tempered and demanding. He's like the patriarch of an Irish Catholic family — doting on some and sharp with others. He has the most disciplined chief of staff in decades in Ron Klain, a rigid backbone to Biden's ambling and sentimental manner.
The Biden foreign policy team set the table carefully for the past week's meetings, flattering each audience to encourage buy-in with the United States' agenda. The message to allies wasn't just the United States' return, but their centrality in the alliance, too. And for a Putin who craves the respect only an American president can confer, Biden offered the pre-summit fluff of calling him a "worthy adversary."
The respectful treatment of someone Biden had earlier called a "killer" rankled some critics. But diplomacy isn't talk radio. It's about achieving specific, limited goals, and in that respect, Biden's nonconfrontational approach seems to have succeeded.

Putin flexed his muscles before the summit, but so did Biden. Russian maneuvers near the Ukraine border brought sharp U.S. warning statements (and military movements) that rankled the Russian leader. A ransomware attack from inside Russia against the Colonial Pipeline led to a rare display of America's own extraordinary cyber capabilities, in the covert retrieval of cryptocurrency paid to the blackmailers.
The Biden team had a theory of the case about Putin. A sullen, isolated Russia was becoming increasingly reckless and dangerous. Its relationship with America needed "stability and predictability." Thus, the White House sought a series of conversations — on strategic weapons, cyberattacks and regional conflicts. As Biden stressed Wednesday after the Geneva summit, these discussions will be a test of Putin's intentions. "We'll find out," Biden said, if Putin actually wants a less dangerous world.
The sublime practitioners of Russia summitry, President Richard M. Nixon and his chief diplomat, Henry Kissinger, saw it as a triangular exercise with China as the third player offstage. Nixon and Kissinger used the 1971 opening to Beijing as leverage in their bargaining with Moscow. Today, the balance is reversed. By engaging an isolated Russia, Biden strengthens his position (with European allies, as well as Russians) for dealing with China, the only real peer competitor to the United States.

One underappreciated success on this trip was German support for tough language about China in the NATO communique. Germany exports so much to China that Berlin was wary of antagonizing the Chinese; German willingness to accept the first-ever NATO warnings to China probably stems partly from Biden's easing of sanctions against German companies involved in the Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia. He got criticism for that, too, but it was sensible prioritization.
Biden's next challenge, after the successful summits, is to pass key parts of his domestic legislative agenda over objections from Republicans who seem, weirdly, more antagonistic toward him than Putin. He should use the same tactics that worked in his trip abroad. Negotiate with his adversaries but remind them of his hard options. Be a pragmatic centrist, not bipartisan. Make them worry about the political dangers of obstruction.
An outside-in strategy would use Biden's new strength on the international stage to challenge Republicans: When the whole world seems to be celebrating the fact that America is back, does the GOP really think it can remain in its own bubble of resentment and lies?

When Europe and Asia are uniting with Biden to contest Beijing's agenda, do Republicans really want to appear, with their recalcitrance, as China's best friends? And really, is the GOP so brain dead it imagines — after the obsequiousness of Donald Trump — it can criticize Biden as soft on Russia?


Hitching one's wagon to a star was Ralph Waldo Emerson's advice for setting a high standard goal. 
 However, when a political party is all in on hitching its wagon to Trumpism, one has to wonder what
 goal is being set for such a lowly mark.

No comments:

Post a Comment