This call by Russia and China, however mildly expressed, has the sound of an “intervention” to it.
Russia and China said on Tuesday they wanted a summit of permanent members of the UN Security Council amid what they called heightened political turbulence, with Moscow saying they believed the United States was acting in a destructive way.
The two allies, whose relations with the West are under increasing strain, made the call for a UN summit in a joint statement after talks between the two countries’ foreign ministers. …
Moscow has long been unilaterally pushing for such a summit.
The statement did not mention the United States by name. But Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was cited by the TASS news agency as telling a news conference after talks with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi that Moscow and Washington were both unhappy with US behavior.
Given President Biden’s obvious frailty and his administration’s reckless and decidedly unconstructive behavior in a number of matters, it’s not unjustified. The question is what the agenda would be, if driven by Moscow and Beijing. Another question: have they been talking with London and Paris behind the scenes? Will they do so? (More fundamentally, perhaps, is there any point in talking to London and Paris? The general public seems to have about the same level of sanity and common sense everywhere — compromised, but intact — but much of the Western governing elite appears afflicted with a bizarre, furtive dementia. That applies to our British and French allies as well as the crowd in Washington, D.C.)
We can tend to forget that the whole world is living through the American nightmare with us because of who we are. It’s been hard to keep up with all the policy reversals since 20 January, but someone out there is affected by each one of them, and they’ve got to be wondering where this is all going. America is nuclear armed, a guarantor — with force — of treaty obligations in every hemisphere, the state whose currency anchors international finance, the first voice of every global vehicle and clearinghouse on the planet — and yet it’s evident that “we” are not being straightforward with the world about who’s in charge.
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Think about it. We’ve got nuclear-capable B-1 bombers deployed to Norway right now, virtually unknown to the American public; the explanation, such as it is, is about showing force in the Arctic. The B-1 can carry a tremendous array of weapons, and it is also asserted that putting the bombers in Norway affirms the strength of the NATO alliance. What exactly we would bomb on behalf of NATO up there above the Arctic Circle is an interesting question; there are certainly things to bomb, they tend to be Russian installations, and it is not clear what would make us choose to attack them. Perhaps you have to have worked targeting during the Cold War to understand why the Russians would expect U.S. operational thinking to have a level of rigor to it.
The B-1 in Norway is an unprecedented situation, and being executed under a president who can’t successfully read a line off a Jumbo Tron. We flew global-strategic B-2 bombers into Portugal last week, bringing the forward-staged nuclear-capable bomber count even higher but without clarifying what this is about. A change in our baseline strategic posture is a heavily freighted way to send subtle signals. If we’re slinging around nuclear-triad components in Europe, we should at least have some beef we’ve expressed to Russia that she could decide whether or not to take for action. There’s no evidence, in a formal sense, that we do.
Russia, whatever the manifold faults of her leadership (and whatever aggressive deceptions attend her own military posture), has a right to ask what’s up with that. Especially after Biden called Vladimir Putin a “killer,” and asserted that Putin would “pay the price” for allegedly trying to influence the American electorate against him in 2020 — and the reaction of the administration and the “watchdogs” of the U.S. media was to casually end the discussion with Jen Psaki’s statement that Biden didn’t regret saying it. Since the theme of Russia’s culpability comes from the U.S. intelligence apparatus over which Biden exercises command and control, it’s not unreasonable for any foreign leader, not just Putin, to wonder if charges he’ll have to “pay a price” for can be produced on demand at any time. That’s not actually a traditional basis for state relations.
And that’s just one of the erratic-looking things going on. Our wide-open southern border isn’t just a horror show for alarmed Americans. It makes our nation look to the world as if we are “not under command,” like a ship at sea without propulsion or steering, unable to avoid colliding with others.
Foreign governments, unlike TDS-addled Americans, were never deceived that Trump was cognitively deficient. Some of them found him annoying; none of them doubted that he was in charge, and that he understood the decisions that went forth over his signature.
There is manifestly an excellent reason to harbor such doubts about Biden, however. And the prospects for instability to come out of that are real and immediate. (After the Democrats on Capitol Hill floated their proposal a few weeks ago to spread around responsibility and controls for executing the nuclear SIOP, foreign governments can be pardoned for a sense of uneasiness.) If Biden isn’t in charge of the nukes, who is? If Biden is in charge of the nukes, what are we thinking??
It’s probably not merely coincidental that the summit Russia and China are proposing is for the Permanent 5 of the UN Security Council. This has been from early days the club of the nuclear-armed great powers. It no longer includes all the nuclear-armed powers, but it exists because of that distinction. That is the signal I read in the Russian and Chinese proposal, and I recommend that Americans reflect soberly on how it has come to this.
If there is opportunism in the proposal from the Asian contingent of the Perm-5, as we would expect — well, someone we out in the public can’t see will be deciding how to respond in our name, and on our dime, to what Putin and Xi have in mind. Anyone who really thinks it will be Kamala Harris hasn’t caught up yet. Whether “Biden” declines a summit or accepts one, decisions could be made that will affect all of us, but without true accountability.
It cannot be overemphasized how scripted, cynical, and planned it would look if the summit proposal became an excuse to transition the administration to Harris. But the proposal is going to become something. A Perm-5 summit proposal to address issues with a Perm-5 member is a rare thing, and not one that can simply fade away afterward without resolution. A gear seems to be shifting. Strap in tight.