December 5, 2022

Joe Biden’s Haj Yatra

Source: @POTUS

Apparently, Biden’s Haj Yatra did not work out the way he expected. In fact, it was more of a snub like what Antony Blinken and Boris Johnson experienced. Finally, the US must look at its own deeds and history before lecturing nations on human rights and using clichés like ‘rule of law’ while trying to run a global autocracy, that too after the debacle in Afghanistan and now in Ukraine

By Lt Gen Prakash Katoch

The POTUS Joe Biden’s recent trip to the West Asia (Middle East) was a Haj Yatra (pilgrimage) going by the Hindi idiom Nau Sau Chuhe Kha Kar Billi Haj Ko Chali, which implies the cat went on a pilgrimage to Haj for washing off the sin of eating 900 rats. It was ironic that Biden had to make this visit to seek energy and hoped to integrate America with the West Asia in a security alliance after the US has been bombing, attacking and ravaging West Asian countries for decades.

Not West Asian countries alone, according to the book ‘America Invades: How We’ve Invaded or Been Militarily Involved with Almost Every Country on Earth’, authored by Christopher Kelly and Stuart Laycock, the US was militarily involved in 191 of the 194 countries recognised by the United Nations as of 2014, and 84 of those 191 have suffered actual military invasions. Former officials and veteran military officials have also been periodically revealing America’s dark secrets but successive US administrations have tried to be more roguish than the previous regimes.   

In the changed geostrategic calculus because of the Ukraine Conflict fuelled by the West, America is trying to be more friendly with India. But it has always undercut India with the CIA bedding Pakistan’s ISI. It is not just threatening India in 1971 in conjunction with the British and switching off the GPS to avoid India blockading the Karachi harbour during the 1991 Kargil Conflict

William Blum, who served in the US State Department, wrote some years ago, “Since 1945, the US has tried to overthrow more than 50 governments, many of them democratically elected; grossly interfered in 30 countries; bombed the civilian population of 30 countries; used chemical and biological weapons; and attempted to assassinate foreign leaders. In many cases Britain has been a collaborator.” Former US NSA Michael Flynn told a TV channel, “The rise of Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra was a willful decision of the US. Another former US NSA, John Bolton recently stated how he was asked to organise coups in foreign countries.

In the changed geostrategic calculus because of the Ukraine Conflict fuelled by the West, America is trying to be more friendly with India. But it has always undercut India with the CIA bedding Pakistan’s ISI. It is not just threatening India in 1971 in conjunction with the British and switching off the GPS to avoid India blockading the Karachi harbour during the 1991 Kargil Conflict. The book ‘Conversations with the Crow’, authored by Gregory Douglas, discloses that the CIA was responsible for assassinating India’s ace nuclear scientist Homi J Bhabha in an air crash and Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.  

After Bhabha, many Indian scientists have died due to accidents or other reasons, the finger for which points at the CIA while not a single scientist was targeted in Pakistan. Pakistan’s AQ Khan, who blatantly proliferated nuclear technology, was not even interrogated by the CIA. Joe Biden, tottering around with partial dementia, is no saint either. A leaked clip, taken few days after the 2016 US presidential election (before President Donald Trump’s inauguration) shows Biden calling up and threatening Petro Poroshenko, then President of Ukraine, with assassination if he cooperates with the Trump administration.

During his visit to Israel and Palestine, Biden announced a US$100 million aid to Palestine and spoke about the ‘Two-State Solution’. But he should know that as of 2021, most Palestinians were against the two-state solution. According to a poll by the Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research, 39 per cent of Palestinians favoured a two state solution, while 59 per cent rejected it. Besides, the Palestine National Authority is an interim government and when America has been creating instability (also using terrorist organisations) across the globe to further its own national interests, why would Hamas and Hezbollah not be armed and supported by rivals to keep the region in turmoil? Biden also compared Palestine to Ireland, which drew considerable criticism. 

During his visit to Israel and Palestine, Biden announced a US$100 million aid to Palestine and spoke about the ‘Two-State Solution’. But he should know that as of 2021, most Palestinians were against the two-state solution. According to a poll by the Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research, 39 per cent of Palestinians favoured a two state solution, while 59 per cent rejected it

In Israel, Biden assured that the US will never let Iran go nuclear. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), commonly known as Iran nuclear deal, talks have resumed but will unlikely succeed since any changes to the original deal will perhaps be rejected by Iran. Moreover, considering that the US is bent upon polarising the world against Russia and China, would not dare to enter into war directly with Russia or China leave aside both, and the US is losing the battle in Ukraine, China could well test an Iranian nuke on its soil (as it did for Pakistan) to hasten America’s sunset.

The Biden administration is responsible for the energy and food shortages plus the breakdown in supply chain worldwide; much more than what the pandemic caused. Europe has foolishly let itself be trapped in the US game in Ukraine; facing shortages, hosting bulk of the Ukrainian refugees, experiencing record high inflation, staring at looming recession and paying more for American energy, while the American arms industry is raking in billions. The US also is suffering inflation because the Biden administration has increased energy exports to make more money. All this has led to considerable resentment in some European countries but they are caught in a bind.

After sanctioning Russia repeatedly including Russian energy exports, Biden first sent Secretary of State, Antony Blinken to Saudi Arabia for obtaining release of more Arab oil. This was followed by British Prime Minister (now deposed) Boris Johnson as American emissary for the same mission. But both were snubbed. Finally, Biden was forced to visit Saudi Arabia himself although in his pre-election campaign, Biden had said he would turn Saudi Arabia into a pariah state, blaming Crown Prince    Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) for murdering Adnan Khashoggi.

Despite going to Saudi Arabia with a begging bowl, Biden raised the issue of Adnan Khashoggi with Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud colloquially known as MBS; in line with the self-appointed global policeman showing muscle even though the gas is badly leaking. Biden later told the media, “I was straightforward and direct in discussing it. I made my view crystal clear. I said very straightforwardly, for an American president to be silent on an issue of human rights is inconsistent with who we are and who I am….He said he was not personally responsible for it, and he took action against those who were responsible.” Naturally, Biden would not disclose which American human rights violations MBS pointed out to him in response.

It was a foregone conclusion that Joe Biden would achieve nothing from his visit to Saudi Arabia and attending the Arab Summit – after the Sardar Chuhe bit. Biden’s visit to Saudi Arabia was primarily for asking the oil-rich Gulf leaders to keep pumping more oil, which would drive gas prices down in the US; while America increased energy exports on higher prices?

It was a foregone conclusion that Joe Biden would achieve nothing from his visit to Saudi Arabia and attending the Arab Summit – after the Sardar Chuhe bit. Biden’s visit to Saudi Arabia was primarily for asking the oil-rich Gulf leaders to keep pumping more oil, which would drive gas prices down in the US; while America increased energy exports on higher prices?

The Arab Summit, held in Saudi Arabia’s port city Jeddah was attended by the Gulf Cooperation Council countries (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE) plus Egypt, Jordan and Iraq. However, no consensus emerged between Biden and other Gulf leaders at the Summit and Biden failed to win any oil and security commitments from them. Interestingly, Saudi Arabia has doubled its import of Russian oil since April at much lower prices than what it is selling to the West.

Addressing the Summit, Biden said, “The United States is invested in building a positive future of the region, in partnership with all of you-and the United States is not going anywhere.” However, the 30-minute discussion at the Arab Summit ended with Saudi Arabia saying that it did not have any additional capacity to increase oil production beyond 13 million barrels per day, according to Arab News newspaper. Saudi Arabia was also not in favour of a regional security alliance, which would also include Israel, to combat Iranian threats.

Apparently, Biden’s Haj Yatra did not work out the way he expected. In fact, it was more of a snub like what Antony Blinken and Boris Johnson experienced. Finally, the US must look at its own deeds and history before lecturing nations on human rights and using clichés like ‘rule of law’ while trying to run a global autocracy, that too after the debacle in Afghanistan and now in Ukraine.

The author is an Indian Army veteran. Views expressed are personal and do not necessarily reflect the views of https://strategicaffairsindia.in

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