Biden's literal weaponization of democracy discredits U.S. soft power
Andrew Korybko
U.S. President Joe Biden. /CFP

U.S. President Joe Biden. /CFP

Editor's note: Andrew Korybko is a Moscow-based American political analyst. The article reflects the author's opinions and not necessarily those of CGTN.

U.S. President Joe Biden gave one of the most important speeches of his presidency thus far on May 3 at the Lockheed Martin Pike County Operations in Troy, Alabama that's responsible for building its anti-tank Javelin missiles. During his remarks, he boasted about how his country is literally weaponizing democracy through its military-industrial complex, which represents formal acknowledgement of a process that's already been underway for decades.

From the president's perspective, the production and export of these arms to Ukraine in its fight against Russia represents "the arsenal of democracy," which he compared to its unprecedented effort during World War II to fight Nazi Germany and the Japan Empire. According to Biden, this is a hybrid civilizational-political struggle between Western democracy and supposedly non-Western autocracies that only comes around once every six or eight generations.

Biden's warmongering words should concern the entire world. His World War II-era rhetoric about the American military-industrial complex supposedly being an "arsenal of democracy" amounts to an unofficial declaration of global hybrid war considering the context in which he made this ridiculous description. The U.S. plans to continue ramping up its military production as it wages regional proxy wars against countries like Russia under the pretext of supposedly saving Western civilization.

The real reason why the U.S. is doubling down on its military-industrial complex is because it's desperate to revitalize its shrinking economy which fell 1.4 percent in the last quarter. The American economic model has failed to reap the successes that were expected of it by its leaders, hence the need to return to massively producing weapons in an expensive attempt to stimulate it ahead of the upcoming midterm elections.

Racks sit devoid of product in a Target store in Sheridan, Colorado, U.S., March 15, 2022. /CFP

Racks sit devoid of product in a Target store in Sheridan, Colorado, U.S., March 15, 2022. /CFP

The ruling Democrats are worried that their Republican rivals might win back control of Congress so Biden is doing everything that he can to manipulate domestic perceptions in the run-up to the vote. This includes misportraying his country's unprovoked regional proxy war against Russia as a civilizational crusade comparable to World War II and artificially boosting the economy through a renewed focus on military-industrial production.

The World War II-era imagery and rhetoric is also intended to imply that Americans shouldn't complain about their current economic suffering that might last for a number of years since it's supposedly for the sake of saving Western civilization. Biden is manipulating his compatriots' patriotic sentiments for self-interested political reasons related to reducing the Democrats' expected electoral losses during the fall midterms that'll be held in half a year's time.

Awareness of these self-interested motives and the manipulative way in which the ruling party's political interests are being advanced discredits the U.S.'s soft power even more than it's already been in recent years. First, the American economic model clearly isn't producing the results that it's supposed to, hence the need to transition parts of the economy to a literal wartime footing. Second, the pretext for doing so is the false narrative that countries like Russia threaten Western civilization.

Up until this point, it was taken for granted in the West that its political model was so appealing to the rest of the world that it wouldn't need to be exported by force, let alone upheld in such a way in its transatlantic cradle where it initially emerged centuries ago. That was never truly the case, and now none other than current American president himself is indirectly acknowledging that by hyping up the supposed "threat."

This brings the analysis around to the third and most powerful point, and it's that Western democracies are more aggressive and globally destabilizing than the countries they are pointing fingers at. After all, it's not Russian President Vladimir Putin who is alluding to a third World War nowadays, but Biden and his transatlantic peers who are waging proxy war against Russia.

It's for these reasons that Biden's latest speech was arguably among the most important of his presidency thus far, but not at all in a positive way. It can be interpreted as an unofficial declaration of hybrid war that disturbingly evokes World War II-era imagery and rhetoric, which has very dangerous implications if one reflects on what that could ultimately entail. The U.S. is so desperate to slow the decline of its hegemony that it's destabilizing the whole world to this end.

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