At home and abroad, the governing philosophy of the Biden administration amounts to political desertification.
President Biden on a call with Ukraine’s President Zelensky. (The White House/Twitter)
One of Rome’s fiercest enemies said of the Romans in A.D. 83, “They make a desert and call it peace.” Looking back on 2021, it can be said of the Biden administration that they are also making a desert, at home and abroad, but calling it progressive.
At home, the Biden administration began cultivating the desert by demonstrating conclusively that the administration strongly supports the concentration of federal power as long as it lies in the right hands–the left’s hands. Democrats not only excused, but many applauded criminal acts when they were directed against American society–particularly its European or Christian foundations, facts of American history that are morally repugnant to the left.
Inciting unrest is an old and trusted tactic of the political left to shake the average citizen’s confidence in his government. This tactic is common at home. Lawless, open borders and the widespread tolerance for the looting of stores, ransacking of federal property, violent assault, defacement of public monuments, as well as the defunding and defaming of police, are the hallmarks of the administration’s domestic desertification program.
Abroad, the Democratic Party’s globalists, who passionately supported military intervention attacking Serbia during the 1990s along with Syria and Libya during the Obama years, are now urging the Biden administration to extend their romantic vision of a worldwide liberal democratic revolution to Russia. Instead of acknowledging that Ukraine has offered Russia’s enemies an opportunity to outflank her, Wendy Sherman flew to Geneva with her delegation to demand that Russia submit its national interests to those of Washington and NATO Allies. These interests are morally superior than Moscow’s in Ukraine.
Even the Republicans, the “Placebo Party,” borrow the globalist Democrats’ bellicose rhetoric. Remember, the Placebo Party is the party that pours hundreds of billions of federal dollars into national defense without regard to combat reliability or effectiveness of the armed forces, let alone the monstrous overhead of three- and four-star generals and admirals that would shame any respectable banana republic. Biden’s unabated campaign against Russia was made possible by the Placebo Party. This makes Biden’s foreign policies a bipartisan affair. It glorifies emotion and wishful thinking, rather than diplomacy or accommodation.
The sad truth is that Republicans are not less distant from the achievement concrete goals of strategic significance to the United States as are the Democrats. As a result, the left has encountered almost no opposition from the faux right.
The point is, thanks to bipartisan support from the Washington community, Sherman’s mission to Geneva was always doomed to failure. Reality is not compatible with the delusions of moral superiority that dominate thinking within the Beltway. Closed minds will always resist any new ideas. Peter Drucker said, “People in any organisation are always attached to obsolete.” Washington’s outdated view of the world is certain.
Washington’s unwillingness to discriminate among states on the grounds of power, interest, and circumstance now confronts a serious challenge to its leadership of NATO, together with its military dominance, from Russia, a great power in its own right. Russia is not the Soviet Union.
Moscow runs a Russian state that is based on Orthodox Christianity and Russian culture. This means that Putin will likely take control of Eastern Ukraine to the Dnieper River. He will not recognize Ukraine’s historical claim to Crimea. This does not mean Putin isn’t sensitive to Russia’s limitations. On the contrary, he knows that the economic foundations of Russia’s military power will not support a larger war, something the Russian people do not want. Putin must also consider Beijing’s interests and desires, as Beijing wants to trade with Europe. Any more than the seizing of Eastern Ukraine could jeopardize China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which links Asia and Europe in commerce.
President Biden would do well to consider America’s limitations. It is morally reprehensible to treat Ukraine’s status as a means, instead of an end embodied in Ukraine’s own national purpose. An absence of viable U.S. military options makes it foolish to continue a policy that is unrelentingly hostile to Russia. U.S. forces are in a precarious position and have no other options. U.S. Ground Forces will not prevail in Eastern Ukraine, regardless of the U.S. Air and Naval Forces’ efforts. “To promise to defend Europe without troops,” Eisenhower warned, “would be in the nature of a bluff.”
A long, arduous, and exhausting conflict, rather than a decisive victory, would then ensue–the worst possible outcome for an American society intolerant of heavy casualties and the reduced living standards that such a war would entail. This is the kind of “progressive desert”, which no American wants.
Douglas Macgregor, Col. (ret.) is a senior fellow with The American Conservative, the former advisor to the Secretary of Defense in the Trump administration, a decorated combat veteran, and the author of five books.