Confronted with the realities of life the Biden administration has in the last days acknowledged defeat in two on its most egregious and delusional foreign policy games.
The Ukrainian counter-offensive has failed. Its army is getting slaughtered on the battlefield. The ‘counteroffensive’ of the ‘NATO trained’ Ukrainian brigades has made no real progress on any front. The high level of losses of men and material make it impossible that it will ever again regain the initiative.
The U.S. aim was to integrate the Ukraine into NATO. It would then have been able to station U.S. troops in Ukraine and to put its weapons into reach of Moscow so that any independent Russian move could be countered with a threat of imminent annihilation.
After more than 20 years of pursuing that aim the U.S. threw the towel:
President Biden on Saturday said he won’t make it easier for Ukraine to join NATO, adding that the country at war with Russia has to meet the requirements to be a member.“They got to meet the same standards. So, I’m not going to make it easier,” Biden told reporters. “I think they’ve done everything relating to demonstrating the ability to coordinate militarily, but there’s a whole issue of is their system secure? Is it noncorrupt? Does it meet all the standards … every other nation in NATO does.”
And yes, that is a change. A big one:
Biden has reportedly previously expressed that he is open to removing the Member Action Plan hurdle for Ukraine to join NATO, which requires countries that want to join the alliance make reforms militarily and democratically.
Still, it is not enough:
Biden has not said anything new. Biden senses that the U.S. lost the proxy war but he must not and cannot admit it. So, in the absence of a time machine, which could have taken him all the way back to 1999 when the NATO’s expansion began unfolding, Biden simply walked back to the default position of the 2008 NATO Summit at Bucharest welcoming Ukraine into the alliance via the MAP route–as if that moment fifteen years ago is now the past and cannot be pulled back to the present. Russia is not going to accept it.
Though packaged in nice words the European Union gave Ukraine a similar negative outlook(machine translation):
An EU report on Ukraine’s membership bid states that Kiev has so far met two of the seven conditions required to start formal EU accession negotiations.
“There is progress. The report will be moderately positive. This is not about embellishing reality, but about recognizing progress, for example, there are well-known anti-corruption cases. In particular, in the case of the head of the Supreme Court Knyazev,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
“In terms of reforms, the glass would be half full, we would never take a negative tone towards Ukraine at the moment. Judicial reforms have made some progress, although there are still key ones that need to be carried out. Not everything is satisfactory.”
The much hyped counter-offensive has indeed become a death trap for the U.S. EU and NATO.
The other U.S. defeat was acknowledged by U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken at the end of his trip to Bejing:
The United States will not support Taiwan breaking away from China, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has said, amid a series of confusing statements by Joe Biden on the issue.’We do not support Taiwan independence,’ America’s top diplomat said in Beijing after meeting with Chinese president Xi Jingping.
The U.S. State Department has updated its fact sheet on Taiwan again to reinstate a line about not supporting formal independence for the Chinese-claimed, democratically governed island.
“We oppose any unilateral changes to the status quo from either side; we do not support Taiwan independence; and we expect cross-Strait differences to be resolved by peaceful means,” according to the document, referring to the strait separating the island from the Asian mainland.Last month, the State Department changed its website on Taiwan, removing wording both on not supporting Taiwan independence and on acknowledging Beijing’s position that Taiwan is part of China, which angered Beijing.
Wang gave a comprehensive explanation of the historical logic and inevitable trend of China’s development and rejuvenation, and elaborated on the distinctive features of Chinese modernization and the rich substance of China’s whole-process people’s democracy.
He urged the U.S. side not to project onto China the assumption that a strong country is bound to seek hegemony and not to misjudge China with the beaten path of traditional Western powers. “This is key to whether the United States can truly return to an objective and rational policy toward China.”
Wang demanded that the United States stop playing up the so-called “China threat”, lift illegal unilateral sanctions against China, stop suppressing China’s scientific and technological advances, and do not wantonly interfere in China’s internal affairs.
He stressed that safeguarding national unity has always been the core of China’s core interests. It is where the future of the Chinese nation lies and the abiding historical mission of the CPC.
On the Taiwan question, China has no room for compromise or concession, Wang said.
The next step for China is to stop the provocative ‘innocent passage’ drive-bys by U.S. military ships and airplanes in the Taiwan Straits. To do that it simply has to apply the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea:
Article 381. In straits referred to in article 37, all ships and aircraft enjoy the right of transit passage, which shall not be impeded; except that, if the strait is formed by an island of a State bordering the strait and its mainland, transit passage shall not apply if there exists seaward of the island a route through the high seas or through an exclusive economic zone of similar convenience with respect to navigational and hydrographical characteristics.
Right of transit passage
A view on a map shows that this evidently applies to the strait between mainland China and the Chinese island named Taiwan.
If the U.S. really has a One China policy it will have to accept that the Strait is off limits.
This double whammy of defeat in its wars on Russia and China will take some time to stick.
In the Ukraine conflict there are still dreams of creating some kind of stalemate, of implementing some kind of a Korean cease-fire demarcation line on the 38th parallel:
U.S. officials are planning for the growing possibility that the Russia-Ukraine war will turn into a frozen conflict that lasts many years–perhaps decades–and joins the ranks of similar lengthy face-offs in the Korean peninsula, South Asia and beyond.The options discussed within the Biden administration for a long-term “freeze” include where to set potential lines that Ukraine and Russia would agree not to cross, but which would not have to be official borders. The discussions–while provisional–have taken place across various U.S. agencies and in the White House.
Russia wont have any of that. It will thoroughly defeat the Ukrainian army. It will retake the parts of Ukraine which for centuries had been Russian before the communists assigned those administratively to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.
The rest of a then neutral Ukraine, cut off from the sea and the mineral riches of the east, will be handed over to the underling that Russia is willing to accept.
The double defeat in its wars against the ‘rest of the world’ marks the end of the Wolfowitz doctrine:
The doctrine announces the U.S.’s status as the world’s only remaining superpower following the collapse of the Soviet Union at the end of the Cold War and proclaims its main objective to be retaining that status.
Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere, that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power.
The end of ‘unilateral moment’ is there for anyone to see.
The Republicans will of course loudly blame Biden for this even though they are just as guilty of overreach as the other side of the isle. Biden may well have to sacrifice Blinken as the pawn guilty of losing the game.
Anyway, neither will help him to get reelected.
It is, by the way, not just a coincident that Israel, on the same day of the U.S. admission of defeat, got whacked by fighters of the Palestinian resistance. This another of those U.S. sponsored global problems that China is eager to solve.