Tuesday, August 31, 2021

United States has been a paper tiger and ultimately an unreliable ally.


Joe Biden wants a global democratic alliance but does he risk alienating crucial US allies?

President Biden is working to make Americans "feel better about themselves" after the turbulent Trump years, Thomas Graham says.(AP: Melina Mara)

Joe Biden's mission to rebuild America's foreign policy was already facing difficulties well before the fall of Afghanistan; snagged, ironically, on the very ideal he set to define it — the strengthening of democracy.

Many analysts argue the US President should now tone down his soaring rhetoric about building a global democratic bloc and focus instead on healing the fractured American polity.

They warn the Biden administration's current approach risks alienating crucial democratic and non-democratic allies alike and it could drive them into the hands of China.

The democracy paradox

"America is back!" President Biden proclaimed at a G7 meeting in mid-June, before immediately drawing battle lines.

Biden used the G7 summit with some of the world's most powerful leaders to lay out America's foreign policy.(AP: Patrick Semansky)

"I think we are in a contest," he said, "not with China per se, but with ... autocratic governments around the world."

It was a test, he told the gathering, that would ultimately decide whether liberal democratic values would prevail in the rapidly changing political world of the 21st century.

The self-declared leader of the free world then went on to outline the creation of the Build Back Better World Partnership initiative to rival China's Belt and Road initiative and a new global alliance to preserve democracy — a grouping of like-minded nations which America itself intended to lead.

Thomas Graham, a distinguished fellow with the Council on Foreign Relations, says the speech wasn't just pitched for international ears.

"Certainly Joe Biden was thinking about how he could make Americans feel better about themselves after four disruptive years of Donald Trump," Mr Graham says.

"But it's also important to remember that Joe Biden deeply believes in democracy."

In fact, the notion of crafting a new global democratic alliance, Mr Graham points out, has been part of Biden's political mantra for decades. It was a central theme of his election campaign in 2019.

Seen in that context, the current turmoil in Kabul represents a particular embarrassment.

Injured people taken to a Kabul hospital after suicide bombings outside the city's airport in August.

Far from preserving and strengthening democracy, the speedy withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, and that country's subsequent collapse, has left a fledgling democratic nation to fall into the hands of authoritarian extremists.

It's a point that Chinese state media has sought to capitalise on ever since.

"The death knell of US hegemony" was the way Xinhua News Agency described events, warning nations in the Indo-Pacific, particularly Taiwan, that the United States was a paper tiger and ultimately an unreliable ally.

Ni biasa lah dengan negeri US

More pragmatism, less polemic

Professor Thitinan Pongsudhirak, the director of the Institute of Security and International Studies at Thailand's Chulalongkorn University, says the situation in Afghanistan has damaged US credibility in the South Asia region.

But he told the BBC that the extent of that damage in the long term depended on where Washington goes from here.

"If [the US] fully resource their Indo-Pacific strategy, this could be a more focused foreign policy for the Biden administration, away from the Middle East and the wars that cannot be won," he said. Biden's commitment to US partnerships in the Indo-Pacific region, as detailed in the Interim National Security Strategic Guidance paper in March, could be key.

Professor Pongsudhirak's comments came as US Vice-President Kamala Harris was dispatched on a diplomatic mission to South-East Asia to bolster confidence in the United States' ongoing commitment to the region, visiting both Vietnam and Singapore.

But notably, for an administration centered on preserving and strengthening democratic values, neither [Vietnam or Singapore] fits the liberal democratic bill: the first is a one-party state and the second could best be described as a nominal democracy, where elections are conducted regularly, but where the governing party has never lost a vote.

The China syndrome

For Susannah Patton, from the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, the realities of working with countries that aren't an obvious fit underpin the dangers of adopting a values-led approach to international relations.

"Democracies should work more with other democracies to strengthen their resilience," she says, "but likewise I think almost everybody agrees that, at times, democracies will need to work with non-democracies."

"The idea that President Biden has spoken about is that the US is engaged in systems competition with China — that, as he has put it, the world is at an inflection point between democracy and autocracy," Ms Patton says.And if countering China's political and economic aggression in the Indo-Pacific is the ultimate goal, as Ms Patton suggests, then White House rhetoric about establishing a new Cold-War style alliance risks backfiring on the United States.

"For many countries in the region, the real source of China's appeal or attractiveness is not its ideological system, but they do see advantages in the economic opportunities that working with China provides."

And those "hedging" countries, as Ms Patton describes them, don't want to be forced to make a choice between American values and Chinese money.

But Australia chose 
American values (whatever it was/is at a certain point in time) to Chinese money

Hans Kundnani from Chatham House, a London-based think tank, believes many European nations also feel uncomfortable about US attempts to rally them under a flag of liberal democracy.

"People in the Biden administration would like to think that democracies all share the same interests, particularly in relation to China, but it's just much, much more complex than that," Professor Kundnani says.

"You see that particularly in terms of the difficulties the Biden administration is having getting Europeans to buy into this kind of transatlantic approach to China.

"I think the Biden administration recognises some of those difficulties or is beginning to recognise some of those difficulties, which is why I'm sceptical that this will eventually turn into a formal alliance," he says.

A matter of definition

There's also the question of what it means to be democratic.

Countries like India and the Philippines may be democracies on paper, Professor Kundnani points out, but their leaders are increasingly autocratic.

And some current NATO members like Hungary and Turkey continue to slide toward one-party rule and openly reject the idea of liberalism.

American leaders routinely describe their nation as a beacon of democracy. But the American political system has been greatly tested in recent years.Then there's the United States itself. Even if a new global alliance were to be formed, would the US be fit to lead it?

Former president Donald Trump stands accused of aiding an insurgency, while US polling suggests a majority of Republican voters believe Biden stole last year's election.

Thomas Graham says many people in Asia and the West remain unconvinced that America's internal political ructions have been put to rest.

"One of the fundamental questions that everyone is asking is who is the aberration, Trump or Biden? What's going to happen in 2024?

"Former president Trump has not faded away as many had hoped. He is still toying with the idea of running again in 2024. Even if he doesn't, it's quite likely that the Republican nominee will be someone who will pursue a foreign policy quite similar to Donald Trump's.

At CPAC, Donald Trump hinted he may run for US president again.

"So, the fears and concerns are very real, they are not exaggerated," he says.

Mr Graham believes President Biden needs to rework his foreign policy approach, to think not in smaller terms, but in more pragmatic terms.

"The President would be wise to start with a much less ambitious agenda, not gathering a community of democracies but trying to work with some key democratic allies to try to defend democracy in the areas where it has taken root."

And, he says, it's finally time for America to ditch the missionary approach to democracy that took over US foreign policy in the 20th century.

"Given the very real domestic problems of the United States — the deep polarisation, the political dysfunction — the first task, if a president is interested in advancing democracy worldwide, is healing the United States and putting the United States on a firmer democratic foundation."


  1. That’s strange. 500 yo Bullyland has been great allies with the Axis nations it defeated in WW2, Germany, Japan, Yitaly. They even became global economic superpowers under the help of the Marshal plan, MacArthur plan etc.

    500 yo Bully are also great allies with Britannia, France even though they had fought wars before with these countries. Great friends today.

    Even Viet Nam, all is forgiven, Alamak just visited, donated 1 million doses of vaccine and opened CDC Regional HQ in Hanoi, a city that they bombed just 45 years ago. Today 500 yo Bullyland is home to the worlds largest Vietnamese community outside Viet Nam. Same for Pilipinos, millions already live in the country of their former colonial master and millions more want to emigrate there. Just last week thousands of Afghans risk their lives to escape….to where? Xinjiang? Ha ha ha..

    So Everybody Loves 500 yo Bully, even autocrat Modern Mao, he sent his daughter to study at Harvard under an assumed name, keep secret, with bodyguard, while at home he pound his chest declaring education must be for the masses, not the elite, so who paid for her tuition?

    1. The US pre Cold War and post Cold War have behave differently towards the world

    2. So far all these so called intellectuals r just reflecting that contemporary indoctrination of demoNcracy is good, autocracy is bad - without reserve!

      They have forgotten that ALL the great ancient empires throughout human history r autocracy. & human history has lasted its 'cruel' rule till today! So far NO any contemporary demoNcracies have any match to that score.

      What works in these autocratic administrations for such a long proven historical fact?

      How about human being as a HERD, inherently needs leadership. & good leader needs to make hard choices that no all & sundry COULD understand & foretell with their follower-mentality. Good leadership inherently is an autocracy bcoz that final decision IS NOT a compromised!

      As such autocracy would result in evil & incompetent governance. Yet many of these cruel leaders had not lasted long too. Put pay to the self reinventing nature of the autocratic process - necessity creates opportunity that only good leader could size!

      Meanwhile demoNcracy, a modern elite invention, has failed miserably in many national governings.

      The elected top echelons feed on their interconnected self-interests to confine the given authority amongst themselves. They call that free election by the choice of the people.

      IS it?

      Or more of a flowery camouflage to con the blurred, the drugged idealists & the carpetbaggers.

      The 'good time' of many of a current western demoNcratic nations r just a abomination. Could they ever be compared to any single period of the ancient autocratic empires?

      My answer IS a resounding NO!

      The current raging covid-19 pandemic in the western developed world has proven that demoNcracy has failed & failed completely.

      FAILED bcoz the popular individualism has been over stamped on top of the overall common public good!

      How many of these individualistic causes ever take simple public common senses into consideration?

      Most of the time, the selfish individualistic freedoms, many of a time proposed by harebraineds, idealistic know-nothings & the hateful self-interest cults ONLY work within their small circles, throwing the bigger public to the onslaughting wolves - aka the SARS-CoV-2!

      The rich & able demoNcracies r bandwagoning the supply of the vaccines to themselves - many a time ONLY releasing a small quantity of the soon expired hoarding vaccines to some favoured 3rd world countries.

      Yet, there r many blurred bleeding hearts, knowingly & been brainwashed to keep chanting for their demoNcratic idols - to the extent of seeking every which way to denounce their hateful autocracies w/o given a thought that many creditable humanistic deeds have been achieved & completed in front of their f*cking eyes!

    3. What a bunch of f*cking lie!

      "autocrat Modern Mao, he sent his daughter to study at Harvard under an assumed name, keep secret, with bodyguard, while at home he pound his chest declaring education must be for the masses, not the elite, so who paid for her tuition?"

      eg Xi Mingze (习明泽) enrolled PRIVATELY at Harvard University, as a freshman in 2010, after a year of undergraduate study at Zhejiang University. She enrolled under a pseudonym, and maintained a low profile W/O ANY PERSONAL PROTECTION to avoid undue followings & favoritism.

      She had returned to China after graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 2014 majoring in psychology.

      Blurred mfer, where do u dig up the fart? Self fabricated or been fed shit by 台毒 propagandas?

  2. Telly-ban now "behaves differently"....really....

    WAR ON FREEDOMS Gay man ‘raped and beaten by Taliban monsters after being lured on social media to meeting’
    Katie Davis

    31 Aug 2021

    A GAY man was allegedly raped and beaten by Taliban thugs after being lured to meet them on social media.

    The victim thought he had been talking to another man online for three weeks and agreed to meet him, with the promise of a safe way out of the country.

    Gay men are reportedly being attacked by fighters

    But he had been deceived, and was met by two Taliban thugs who attacked and raped him, reports ITV.

    He survived the assault, but is now living in fear under the Taliban regime after they seized control of Afghanistan.

    It comes after Afghan folk singer Fawad Andarabi was allegedly shot dead by insurgents on Friday after music was outlawed by the Taliban.

    His family told the Associated Press that Fawad - who played a bowed lute called a ghichak and sang traditional songs about his country - was killed in Andarabi Valley when enforcers returned to his home after earlier searching it and even drinking tea with him.

    “They shot him in the head on the farm,” his son, Jawad, said.

    “He was innocent, a singer who only was entertaining people."

    1. has such things happened in the USA?

    2. By vigilantes yes, like everywhere else, but not by gomen, like Telly-ban claim to be.

    3. Blurred mfer, it should be "claimed" to be by the old Taliban govt!

      Oooop…. Vigilantes doing their nation's services in USofA.

      Like everywhere else!

      What a f*cked kind of fluid England used to seek excuse for yr idol.

  3. News Anchor on Afghan TV reads the "headlines" at Gunpoint....he does not want to be "headless headline"...ha ha ha...


  4. Now Telly-ban cry-baby, want to use Evil Empire's Facebook. They should use WeChat, Sina Weibo, Tencent etc to promote Telly-ban-ism.

    The Taliban's social media dilemma
    By Rishi Iyengar, CNN Business
    August 29, 2021

    (CNN Business)Days after taking control of Afghanistan earlier this month, the Taliban used its first press conference to take a swipe at Facebook in response to a question about freedom of speech.

    "This question should be asked to those people who are claiming to be promoters of freedom of speech, who do not allow publication of all information," the group's spokesperson, Zabihullah Mujahid, said. "I can ask Facebook. ... This question should be asked to them."
    The response, implying that Facebook was curbing free speech, hinted at a curious power dynamic: even as the Taliban presses for US forces to leave the country, it remains reliant on American social media companies such as Facebook (FB) and Twitter (TWTR) to get its message out, both within Afghanistan and beyond its borders. On Twitter, for example, multiple Taliban spokesmen, including Mujahid and Suhail Shaheen, have active, unverified accounts, each with more than 300,000 followers.

    But many of those platforms, including Facebook and its subsidiary WhatsApp, have said they will crack down on accounts run by or promoting the Taliban. The Taliban's efforts to push back against or circumvent restrictions on its online activities illustrate how reliant the militant group has become on Western tech companies and the internet broadly — and highlight a potential reversal from the group's rule decades ago when it banned the internet outright

    1. Wakakakakaka…

      Taliban r no blurred mfer like u, that's WHY!

      It remains reliant on social media such as Facebook (FB) and Twitter (TWTR) to get its message out, both within Afghanistan and beyond its borders BCOZ these r the social media that can reach most of the people outside China.

      WeChat, Weibo & all those Chinese social media r not widely used outside China. & Taliban has to tell their version of news to as many people as possible in the western world which r currently been blanketed with fake news & supported by blurred mfers like u!

  5. This video asks : Should the US be considered a Democracy ?

    OMG...hahahaha...thanks for the laugh of the day, LOL


    ( the truth had been out for a long loong time; just a few cursory glance at the first few comments beneath the video gives an idea that quite a few also know the truth....)

    Some of quotable quotes in the comments :

    # “The United States is also a one-party state but, with typical American extravagance, they have two of them.”
    -Julius Nyerere


    # “The Democrats & Republicans represent two wings of the same party, dedicated to maintaining corporate dominance.”


    # America - "the purest, most untainted democratic experience the world has to offer"

    Thanks, I haven't laughed that hard in years.

    # “If voting made any difference they wouldn't let us do it.” Mark Twain

    # "None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free."

  6. See, even Bully-stars love foreign citizenship. All this talk about “patiotism” and love of Motherland is fake. Given half a chance Bullylanders prefer to escape like Afghans and live somewhere else, preferably in the west. I wonder why.

    Chinese director claims actor Jet Li to be blacklisted by Beijing for having foreign citizenship
    Sylvia Looi 1 Sep, 2021

    KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 1 ― A Chinese director has claimed martial arts actor Jet Li is next to be blacklisted by Beijing purportedly for holding foreign citizenship.

    Zhou Guogang, who previously posted celebrity gossip on his Douyin account, based his revelation on a list by China's National Radio and Television Administration.

    The unverified list claimed that there will be new restrictions on celebrities who hold foreign citizenship.

    Besides 58-year-old Li, Zhou also named stars such as actor Huang Xiaoming and actress Li Bingbing.

    Zhou had sounded the warning to Li early this week, Singapore's Straits Times reported.

    “Quickly flee. Next month, the house may just collapse on you,” Zhou reportedly said.

    Besides Li who holds Singaporean citizenship, other names include actress Liu Yifei (American), actors Nicholas Tse (Canadian), Zhang Tielin (British) and Mark Chao (Canadian), and singers Will Pan (US) and Wang Leehom (US).

    Actress Vicki Zhao, 45, had her name removed from video streaming sites last week as Beijing stepped up its campaign against celebrity culture.

    Zhao had her name removed from the credits of major TV series, and a forum dedicated to the actress on social media platform Weibo was also shut down.

    No official reason was given.

    1. Wakakakakakaka…

      China is given freedom of choice for people to emigrate if there r countries willing to accept them!

      Anything wrong?

      Ain't that the same for all other countries?

      Many of these ex-Chinese r craving to return to China to seek their fortune AGAIN. Yet, the Chinese ain't no fools. “割韭菜” at the expenses of Chinese, NO MORE. Since u have emigrated then go seek yr fortune where yr heart is!

      Is that official for a blurred mfer who doesn't read Chinese?