VP Joe Biden Accidentally Tells A Little of the Awful Truth
by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
“The long-bubbling cauldron of death gave the incipient Islamic State the time, weapons and money to build its own jihad-making capacity.”
Vice President Joe Biden’s forced apology for speaking the partial truth about the origins of the Islamic State (IS) is the most dramatic – and, for a superpower, humbling – example yet of the absolute disarray in U.S. policy in the Arab and Muslim world. The man who is, technically, the second most powerful official in the empire, was compelled to retract his earlier assertion that “our allies in the region” created the conditions for the rise of IS by funding the “proxy Sunni-Shia war.” Turkish president Recep Tayyep Erdogan – whose border is the chief conduit for Islamist fighters into Syria, and who has openly abetted the unfolding IS conquest of the Kurdish border town of Kobani – exploded in rage at being out-ed by Obama’s number two, as did the foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates, which Biden named along with Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
Biden might also have cited Jordan and Kuwait, but the biggest omission was the United States, which has on many occasions taken credit for “vetting” the dispersal of funds to “rebel” forces dominated by the al-Qaida affiliate al-Nusra, the Islamic Front, and the Islamic State.
One can imagine the cursing out Biden got from his boss, the Jihadist Supporter-in-Chief, with Obama waving his Kill List at the VP while ordering him to recant by Tuesday, when decisions to terminate with extreme prejudice are handed down from the Oval Office.
It is both obvious and amazing that Biden is genuinely ignorant of the actual workings of U.S. policy. (Alternative, he may be slipping into dementia, but I don’t buy it.) I personally believe Biden spoke from a state of deep denial, a visceral refusal to accept that the United States is no longer capable of controlling the chaos it has inflicted on the Middle East. It literally did not occur to him that the U.S. had become co-dependent with its former lackeys and satraps of the Persian Gulf who, in turn, rely on jihadist and mercenary armies to sustain their infinitely corrupt, hereditary rule. The very idea that Super Fortress America could fall so low as to depend on Turks and Arab potentates – and, ultimately, on jihadist death cults – to impose its will on the region does not compute in the vice president’s skull. Nor does it even begin to make sense to Americans of his background and worldview.
“Turkish president Recep Tayyep Erdogan exploded in rage at being out-ed by Obama’s number two.”
Most Americans understand full well that their government wreaks great violence in the world and, especially if they are white, take pride in U.S. martial prowess and ruthlessness. But, U.S. dependence on Arab emirs, sultans and kings? American reliance on head-chopping jihadists? No, no, no – this cannot be, and most Americans reject the entire proposition outright, even though the evidence is overwhelming. They cannot absorb, and thus peremptorily dismiss, the very idea that their country has been reduced to bargaining with Bedouins, even fabulously rich ones.
Race, of course, has everything to do with this cognitive disfunction – as expressed in the default Middle American foreign policy position: “Nuke ‘em all!.” Wracked with profound frustration and confusion, Joe Biden reverted to verbally “nuking” America’s underlings. He was incapable of fathoming that Obama must now, of necessity, dance with the lesser devils and treat them like belles of the ball.
The crisis began, definitively, with the fall of the U.S. puppet Hosni Mubarak, in Egypt, in 2011. Terrified that the tumultuous events in Tunisia and Cairo’s Tahrir Square might actually signal the coming of an “Arab Spring,” the U.S. and its European and royal Arab allies launched jihadist wars against secular Libya and Syria. Muammar Gaddafi was brought down after a half-year bombing campaign, but Syria’s Bashar al-Assad has hung on for almost four years with the assistance of Russia, Iran, Lebanon’s Hezbollah, and some help from Shia-ruled Iraq. The long-bubbling cauldron of death gave the incipient Islamic State the time, weapons and money to build its own jihad-making capacity, drawing tens of thousands of Islamist fighters away from their CIA, Qatari and Saudi handlers. In June, IS took Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, and announced the establishment of its caliphate – a declaration of war against Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the other royal regimes of Arabia, as well as the imperial overlord, the United States (and the “filthy French.”)
“The U.S. has no intention of destroying IS’s impressive armor and artillery capabilities.”
Turkey, which used to be the seat of the Caliphate under Ottoman rule, continued its lucrative trade in looted oil with IS, while keeping the 500-mile border with Syria open for jihadist traffic.
For domestic reasons, and to exploit new possibilities in Iraq, and to impose some discipline on those jihadists that have not yet joined IS, the United States is bombing selected IS targets. It is clear, however, that the U.S. has no intention of destroying IS’s impressive armor and artillery capabilities, which have been heavily deployed in the siege of Kobani yet only lightly damaged by American air power.
The Turks are pleased to watch as IS slaughters Kurds right across the border in territory that Ankara seeks to turn into a “buffer zone,” to be expanded into a “no fly zone,” followed by destruction of Syria’s air defenses.
Although President Obama speaks of a three-year war, his Arab allies want to finish Assad off as quickly as possible and occupy the country to prevent the IS-led jihadists from becoming powerful enough to pose an existential threat to their monarchies. Washington is also becoming anxious to quickly eject Assad, but has hands-on control of only a minority of “rebel” fighters. The U.S. also hopes to use the crisis to reestablish itself in Shia Iraq, which presents additional complications. Moreover, the U.S. and Israel are keen to maintain their influence in Iraqi Kurdistan, which puts them at cross-purposes with Turkey’s hostility to Turkish and Syrian Kurds.
Unless the U.S. wants to put hundreds of thousands of its own boots on the ground, Washington must coax and cajole its royal Arab and neo-Ottoman Turk allies to choreograph their mutual aggressions in ways that will put America on top of the pyramid at the end of the murderous process – a result that is by no means guaranteed.
Joe Biden was ruining the music, hearing his own songs of American omnipotence. He won’t make that mistake again.