Anthony Blinken and the intellectual bankruptcy of the Biden Administration

The American Secretary of State is adding air miles to his account this week by visiting Kiev, Berlin and tomorrow Geneva for meetings with President Zelensky, Chancellor Scholz and RF Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov respectively.  However, whether abroad or at home he is a captive of the U.S. foreign affairs community echo chamber, utterly indifferent to external stimuli and incapable of responding appropriately to the changing environment. Everywhere he repeats the mantra that Russia is about to stage a classical invasion of Ukraine, just as everywhere President Biden repeats daily that the Russians will face consequences for their actions, very grave damage to their economy as a result of American led sanctions.

Meanwhile reality develops on its own, paying no heed to the script written in stone in Washington, D.C.

The Russians have a very flexible and constantly changing set of responses to threats and opportunities. This is what makes it so difficult for us commentators to foresee the actual path to denouement.  But it is also what makes it almost certain the Russians will get what they want and change the European security architecture to their advantage in the face of American obtuseness.

A couple of days ago, several Russian news portals carried the story of a new generation Russian nuclear submarine packed with missiles capable of laying waste to half of America surfacing just outside U.S. territorial waters in a ‘peek-a-boo’ exercise to show they operate undetected by the Pentagon in permanent watch off of U.S. shores.  This may have been fake news, but if so it was seeded as a taste of what is to come shortly in real news as the Russians say ‘gotcha, the game is up’ to Washington and unsheathe their hypersonic missiles and deep sea nuclear drone on board real submarines off U.S. east and west coasts. The message: ‘Please sign here on our treaties of mutual security in Europe.’

Yesterday, another route to resolving the Ukraine confrontation in their own favor was set out for the world to see:  several legislators advanced a bill in Russia’s State Duma calling upon President Putin to recognize the rebellious Donbas republics of Lugansk and Donetsk as independent countries. This means applying to the Donbas the scenario which played out so successfully in Crimea in 2014:  they become independent, then they hold a referendum to which international observers are invited calling for unification with the Russian Federation, followed in short order by their annexation.

In such a scenario, would a shot be fired? No!  Would there be an invasion or even an attack by Russia on Ukraine to justify application of any new sanctions?  No!  Are these possibilities being entertained by Blinken & Company as the Secretary of State travels the globe to align allies?  Obviously not, and this is why his diplomatic mission is a waste of everyone’s time.

I am surprised that Foreign Minister Lavrov is going the extra mile and proceeding to meet Blinken in Geneva tomorrow. From the Russian standpoint, such a meeting would have one purpose only: to collect the written response of the American side to the draft treaties they received on 17 December. In his press conference in Kiev yesterday, Blinken said he is not carrying the written response.  Consequently, the meeting can be no more than a photo opportunity for the vacuous Mr. Blinken.

In mentioning the possible annexation of Donbas above, I do not mean to suggest that that alone will satisfy the Russians that their security concerns have been met.  So long as the United States, the U.K. and other NATO member countries supply weapons and training to the Ukrainian military, Russia cannot rest easy. And just yesterday, in a move that makes as much sense as the Ukrainian idea of applying sanctions on Russia before they break any china, the United States announced it has approved sending another $200 million in military aid to Kiev. That is to say, it continues to prioritize pouring oil on the flames rather than finding solutions with Russia.

What move the Russians might make after an annexation of Donbas will also likely depend on the overall political context, including changes of position within Europe and consultations with China at the start of February when Vladimir Putin travels to Beijing.

Resolution of the Ukraine problem for Russia absent agreement with the U.S and NATO on the country being declared neutral would be possible only by destruction of Kiev’s military infrastructure, for example by aerial bombardment and missile strikes. That would put an end to NATO deliveries of materiel, training and war games at Russia’s front porch.

Meanwhile, there are growing signs of European disillusionment with leadership on Russia relations coming from Washington. Yesterday, in his five hour address and discussion with the European Parliament meeting in Strasbourg, President Macron called for Europe to reach its own settlement with Russia as Europeans to Europeans, without U.S. participation.  Of course, Macron was grandstanding as usual and he is a lightweight in European decision-making compared to his counterpart in Berlin, the German Chancellor. However, Scholz also has been making sounds showing disagreement with the stiff-necked and utterly unrealistic sanctions policy coming from Washington. The influential business newspaper Handelsblatt had a day before indicated that the most severe sanction proposed by the U.S. administration, cutting Russia off from SWIFT, would be a grave mistake, since the Russians could in short order achieve the same functionality in international settlements via a system they will jointly operate with the Chinese, and the only loser would be Europe. This is not to mention Scholz’s defense of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline as very important to the German economy, whatever the Americans may wish.

As I say, the geopolitical landscape is changing daily. The only ones too stubbornly proud and intellectually limited to appreciate this are the top officials in the Biden Administration, including the president himself.  Yes, there will be a price to pay…

In closing, I mention that Iran’s PressTV has been closely following developments between Russia and the West, with all the more reason to do so provided by the state visit of their President to Moscow. I had the pleasure of participating in an interview with them yesterday evening and now share the link:

©Gilbert Doctorow, 2022

Post Script: 31.01.2022 In line with the argument of this article, yesterday’s News of the Week broadcast on Russian state television hosted by Dmitry Kiselyov, who may be seen as an unofficial spokesman for the Kremlin, devoted 20 minutes to the degraded state of American and European political leaders in the new millennium. NATO General Director Jens Stoltenberg and his predecessor Anders Fogh Rasmussen were singled out for being utterly out of touch with reality. But none were spared exposure of their ignorance of history and utter lack of judgment, including not ony the fools in high office like ‘Donald Trump but those seen as exceptionally brilliant in the USA like Barack Obama. The moral degeneracy of Hilary Clinton was illustrated by the widely circulated video of her rapturous smile upon learning of the brutal murder of Gaddafi. Summing up, Kiselyov complained that Moscow has no worthy interlocutor with whom to negotiate in the USA.

10 thoughts on “Anthony Blinken and the intellectual bankruptcy of the Biden Administration

  1. Well worth waking up to and for at 0200 Alaska time, Much appreciation for your ongoing dispatches, Mr Doctorow.
    I dreaded this kind of scenario unfolding upon the ascension in 2020 of the obviously declining Joe Biden and his fellow inane mediocrity running mate. His choosing Blinken—whose lobbying business portfolio specialty was facilitating Pentagon access to wanna-be upstart/startups in the mass-killing trade, was dismaying to see; however his partner in WestExec, Michelle Flournoy, was at least denied her own running the Pentagon plum job, now twice withheld from her grasp.

    However, disdainful-toward-Russia mediocrity remains the lifeblood defining this administration’s Department of State and unfortunately for the world it is abetted by callowness as expressed in the hollow Antony Blinken in his vacuous sleepwalking nonentity demeanor. This while being charged with a position befitting, and in the real world, an enormous gravitas, a quality and quantity neither he nor his predecessor will ever share.
    Fortunately, we can and must be grateful for the likes of Mr Lavrov and his team. Their professional rectitude is all that stands between humanity and the ultimate disaster for homo sapiens that we have engineered.


  2. If there is a Russian attack, whether by tanks or by ”shock & awe”, the first target of the Ukrainian response would be the Kerch bridge. It’s hard to believe that Russia would not recompense itself for the loss by annexing a good, defensible land route to Crimea. So perhaps the new map would put the eastern border of a Finlandized Ukraine at the Dneiper? This might be a dose of bitter castor oil to Western pride, but looking at it calmly hardly the end of the world.


  3. I value your analyses, Mr. Doctorow and I have become your regular reader. That said, I would not recommend that Russia agree to an independent Donbass or even its eventual incorporation into the RF. It would not “solve” the issue Russia has with US/NATO on traditionally Russian territory of Ukraine. For one, it would give the West a big psy-ops advantage because it goes against Russia’s oft-stated commitment to Minsk II. It would be seen as a big propaganda bonus: “you see Russia always used Minsk as a ruse for its aggression”. Ther Kremlin will have to deal with Kiev, sooner or later, and it is my reading of the treaty proposals to the US (,specifically their uncompromising tone,) that it had decided that from the geostrategic point of view they think it wiser to deal with the problem now, and absorb whatever the cost. Its preferable then, I believe, that Russia stick to its playbook. Like yourself, I am unsure why Lavrov agreed to meet Blinken at this time – the week when a written answer from the US is due, but again its not yet the curtains for diplomacy. I sincerely hope though that the Russian FM is not travelling only to hear Blinken to regurgitate Biden’s yesterday presser talking points on Russia, which though surprisingly coherent, fall short of what Russia needs and wants. At any rate I agree, Lavrov going to Geneva creates poor optics.
    I believe Dmitry Simes, the director of Washington’s Center of National Interest, is 100% right in what he says in the concluding remarks of his last week’s interview with Vladimir Solovyov. But unfortunately no-one inside the Beltway is listening to words of wisdom, like the ones from Simes’ org you linked to last week.


  4. Excellent and enjoyable as your work unfailingly is, Mr. Doctorow. I have become a great fan. Thank you very much for your terrific work.


  5. Also, I much enjoyed your discussion in the Press TV / Urmedium platform, which latter is very interesting independently as well.


  6. What is going on?

    This is the “true” endgame of WWII. Hitler lost the war? I daresay not. Germany and Japan were absorbed into the United States and the beat went on. And on. And on. Korea was quite clearly a continuation of WWII. Vietnam? “The Domino Theory”. Hitler’s dream of world domination lives on in the extraordinary imperialism of the United States, lives on among leaders who initially were the very descendants of the Hitler fans in the U.S.: George Bush, Jack Kennedy.

    But, you say, the U.S. is not the evil monster that was Nazi Germany! Nagasaki., millions of dead in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, extra-judicial torture and imprisonment on a grand scale with our own private concentration camp in Guantanamo. If the U.S. is not an evil monster, then we have to look hard at how to define evil monster.

    So now as the U.S. approaches the final victory over “Communism” (that Reagan and Clinton were supposed to have delivered, but not quite) having ringed Russia and China with nuclear weapons, Russia has pushed back, just as they did in WWII.

    What is my evidence? The *attitude* of the American side. The entitlement, the contempt, the exceptionalism, the superior attitude of its leaders. Their attitude that Russians are not human, not endowed with “the West’s” exceptional intelligence and ability. Beneath contempt, unworthy of dialogue, because there can be no dialogue between different a superior and an inferior species.

    What will Russia do? They will fight very hard, with everything they have, with the same tactical genius and supremely intelligent planning that, for example, defeated the Japanese army in Manchuria in a matter of weeks at the end of WWII. Exceptionalist contempt does not win battles, unless of course they are “battles” with poor nations with limited resources, and even then they usually lose.

    Please note. This contemptuous attitude is not shared by the American population at large. Americans may think they are great, but they don’t think they are members of a different species. No Strobe Talbott’s they. We are talking about the American elite.


Comments are closed.