Biden, showing exactly the same legendary independence of mind and intellect that has characterized him since he first became a United States Senator 48 years ago, is boldly going exactly where Bolton insisted on treading.
At my age, I should have known better: Expecting the worst from idealistic American liberal Democrats will always prove you prescient and wise. But giving them the benefit of the doubt or expecting any decision from them that is decent, humane or simple common sense will blow up in your face every time.
On December 10, I suggested in these columns that President-elect Joe Biden might at least improve on the wicked, hypocritical, repressive and ruinous U.S. policies towards Latin America that he inherited from his predecessor Donald Trump. Biden, I suggested, could end Trump’s embarrassing and truly witless efforts to topple the repeatedly democratically elected government of Venezuela and replace President Nicolas Maduro with the worthless and more than slightly sinister Juan Guaido.
This should have been a no-brainer even for Biden since Guaido had been personally handpicked as Washington’s latest jaw-jutting, fake leader and favorite boy toy of the moment by then-national security adviser John Bolton, a figure so extreme, stupid and incompetent that even Republicans were embarrassed by him.
But no, Biden, showing exactly the same legendary independence of mind and intellect that has characterized him since he first became a United States Senator 48 years ago, is boldly going exactly where Bolton insisted on treading. He is doubling down on backing Guaido and maintaining the embarrassing fiction that he is the true president of Venezuela.
Biden could easily have quietly dropped the ridiculous Guaido – who has also been enthusiastically championed by such Democrat bogeymen as former secretary of state Mike Pompeo and Senators Marco Rubio and Lindsey Graham – right wing Republicans all.
Biden’s decision is at least totally consistent with his patterns of behavior in decision-making throughout his long career, past and present. After all, he signed on to the U.S. economic war to impoverish and ruin the people of Venezuela with the first imposition of economic sanctions in 2014 by his then-boss, President Barack Obama.
Biden’s eagerness – without losing a second’s sleep – about the morality of toppling the democratically elected leader of an independent nation halfway around the world from Washington was already clear in his equally enthusiastic support for the Maidan coup that to violently tippled democratically-elected President Viktor Yanukovych in Ukraine in 2014 in what Wikipedia now farcically calls “The Revolution of Dignity.”
And now, of course, Biden is even, insanely, trying to meddle in the internal political affairs of a thermonuclear superpower by lecturing President Vladimir Putin on what to do about Akexei Navalny, whom Biden and his foreign policy clowns (sorry – I should have written “team” I suppose) have clearly chosen as their Guaido clone to dismantle Russia.
Biden, like the 19th century fast-fading last Bourbon kings of France, in Talleyrand’s famous epigram, has remembered nothing and forgotten nothing. Only last week, Nobel Peace Prize winner and Oxford University personal favorite Myanmar Prime Minister Aung San Suu Kyi was toppled by the country’s armed forces after a shamelessly manipulated election “victory.” Perhaps Biden felt a particular personal empathy with her.
But not all of “the indispensable hyper-power’s” irresistible powers of influence and persuasion nor all the shining example of perfect democracy it continues to provide to the rest of the human race kept Suu Kyi in power for an extra minute. And not all of Washington’s huffing and puffing looks remotely likely to restore her to her old pretensions of office.
Guaido, Suu Kyi and Navalny are all so high on their opium dreams of democratic righteousness, global acclaim and coming total power that they will likely never wake up to the simple reality that betting on Joe Biden to dynamically propel them to victory is like booking a steerage class sailing ticket on the “Titanic.”
However, Biden’s typically anal-reactive decision to passively go on backing Guiado (sort of) may have wider and serious implications across South America.
First the continued economic and diplomatic war on Venezuela will continue to lock nations like Colombia, which have enormous problems of their own, locked into continued sterile and self-destructive isolation and confrontation with Venezuela, Biden and his secretary of state Antony Blinken will not allow them to have it any other way. Blinken’s phone conversation on January 30 with Colombian Foreign Minister Claudia Blum served notice of this.
Second, President Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, a figure so personally reckless and inept an that he and he and his entourage even spread COVID-19 to Trump’s own inner circle on a visit to Florida, looks likely to be tolerated or even encouraged by the Biden team as he continues to run the great nation of Brazil and its 200 million plus people into the ground.
Under Trump, U.S. political puppeteers negated the freely expressed will of Brazil’s people – the largest democracy in the history of South Latin America – in four honest, transparent free and fair elections that they wanted to be ruled by two successive social democratic presidents who preferred close association with Russia and China to the embrace of the United States.
But now Bolsonaro is openly and shamelessly manipulating upcoming legislative elections in Brazil to lock the political infrastructure of his dictatorship into place for a new term. So far Biden has not uttered a breath of disapproval about these outrageous moves.
Early signals from Washington strongly indicate that Biden and Blinken will push for a fig leaf of “responsible” environmental promises to slow down the destruction of the Amazon rain forest in return for going ha long smoothly with Bolsonaro’s officials on everything else.
Of course, as long as modern suburban and city “Green” Democrats are concerned, hundreds of millions of real human beings can be fed to the wolves without regret every day as long as their environmental fantasies are still fed.
Only little Bolivia, boldly reasserting its genuine democratic heroic recent achievements under President Evo Morales and his worthy new successor Luis Arces, former minister of economy and public finance, looks like holding out in the short term against Biden’s malign upholding of Trump’s hemispheric status quo.
For the rest of Latin America, the outlook remains bleak.