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Biden pursuing ‘hubristic, hyper-nationalist imperialist foreign policy’: Scholar

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
US President Joe Biden is addressing the joint session of Congress on Wednesday. (Photo by Reuters)

US President Joe Biden is pursuing a “reactionary, hubristic, hyper-nationalist imperialist foreign policy,” according to Professor Dennis Etler, an American political analyst who has a decades-long interest in international affairs.

Etler, who is a former professor of Anthropology at Cabrillo College in Aptos, California, said Biden's answer to America's problems, is “tax and spend” and “guns and butter.” 

The scholar made the remarks in an interview with Press TV on Friday, after Biden made in a speech to a joint session of Congress where he said he does not seek to escalate tensions with Russia, but warned Moscow’s actions have consequences and defended his administration’s “proportionate” action in slapping sanctions on Russia.

In his first address to Congress on Wednesday, Biden said that he “made very clear to President Putin that while we don’t seek escalation, their actions have consequence.”

Biden also proposed a sweeping new $1.8 trillion plan, pleading with Republican lawmakers to work with him on divisive issues and to meet the stiff competition posed by China.

The Democratic president urged Republicans to help pass a wide array of contentious legislation from taxes to police reform to gun control and immigration.

Biden's answer to America's problems, 'tax and spend’ and ‘guns and butter’

Professor Etler said that “Biden's speech to a joint session of Congress was a neo-liberals' dream. Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the US House of Representatives was over the moon. The so-called ‘progressives’ in Congress wanted more than what Biden offered but were happy with what they got. Domestically he offered what anywhere else but America would be considered a slightly right of center program of reforms. Germany, ruled for the past two decades by the conservative Christian Democrats, has had the social programs proposed by Biden for decades.”

“But, for the ‘richest country in the world’ what Biden offered is the least that is necessary to get the economy back on track. The pandemic has exposed the underbelly of US capitalism, millions upon millions of people struggling to make ends meet, who are thrown into crisis whenever they face a new challenge. The expenses associated with childcare and eldercare, or unexpected personal illness are beyond the means of increasing numbers of American families,” he stated.

“Biden’s family relief program thus resonates with an overwhelming number of Americans. Problem is, in order to do all that Biden has promised requires a vast expenditure of money he doesn’t have. The only way to finance what he has proposed is to increase taxes on the rich which in a country dominated by wealthy oligarchs is a tall order. The prospect of Biden getting his program passed as proposed are therefore virtually non-existent,” the commentator noted.

“There should be no doubt that Biden’s bevy of government initiated programs and the means to finance them will be watered down to the point that they will be unrecognizable in their present form. If anything his proposals are a sop to the Democrats in Congress who need them to placate their base. Of course, even if the whole package is enacted what is left intact is the edifice of corporate and financial capitalism. Biden's domestic programs are, hence, more show than substance,” he added.

‘Biden playing China card’

“Nonetheless, in tried and true fashion, Biden used the threat of a foreign adversary in a cynical ploy to gain bipartisan support for his multi-trillion-dollar economic relief packages. In order to get Congress and the American people to rally around the flag the full weight of his reactionary, hubristic, hyper-nationalist imperialist foreign policy was brought to bear. His arrogant, condescending attitude towards China was most glaring. The ‘China card’ was dealt right out of the Cold War playbook. Create a foreign enemy who can be hyped as an existential threat to the sacrosanct ‘American Way.’ No matter that it’s the US that threatens China and not the other way around. So, no one should expect any let up in the China-bashing posture of the US,” he explained.

“Only time will tell, but sooner than later push will come to shove and there will have to be a reevaluation on the US side of its China policy. But, at present taking an aggressive stance against China is the sine qua non of US foreign policy. From the Chinese perspective the points of contention between the two sides are non-negotiable. China will not give an inch,” he stated.

“As the world slowly recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic it is a booming China that will rescue the ailing economies of the world as it has done in the recent past. Washington's attempts to contain China's growth and development are thus bound to fail. It is the US side that will have to give ground or eventually find itself ever more isolated,” he said.

“In sum, when all the proposed spending on domestic bailouts and programs under both Trump and Biden are added up and extended over ten years they amount to about as much as the US will spend on its military budget in the same time span,” he noted.

“As the US shows no signs of retreating from its aggressive foreign policies the Democrats have thus fallen back on the two antidotes to heal the country's ills that they've tried in the past, ‘tax and spend’ and ‘guns and butter.’ History shows, however, that both nostrums are temporary fixes that inevitably compound the problems they were meant to address,” he concluded.

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