Biden's biggest lie
Updated 17:35, 23-Oct-2023
U.S. President Joe Biden. /Xinhua
U.S. President Joe Biden. /Xinhua

U.S. President Joe Biden. /Xinhua

Editor's note: Radhika Desai, a special commentator on current affairs for CGTN, is a professor of political studies at the University of Manitoba in Canada. The article reflects the author's opinions and not necessarily the views of CGTN.

In his speech from the White House soon after returning from Israel, President Biden argued for an additional $105 billion in military aid for Israel and Ukraine. His big idea was that the unpopularity of the latter cause, both in Congress and in the country, would be overcome by yoking them together.

The number of lies he had to tell to make his case was breath-taking and the truths he had to utter to provide the foundation for those lies were few and far between. True, the U.S. and the world were facing an "inflection point in history." True that he was the first U.S. president to travel to Israel at war. It's likely true also that he did not wish to see U.S. troops "fighting in Russia or fighting against Russia." Why should he when he can fight Russia "to the last Ukrainian."

Surely, he lied when he said he, as U.S. president, has "no higher priority than the safety of Americans being held hostage around the world." His open favour of Israel had already upset Arab leaders. This month Jordan's King Abdullah cancelled a summit with Biden when Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al Sisi and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas were also supposed to attend. This can only endanger the lives of hostages held in Gaza, and bring the world closer to a wider Middle East war.

Biden claimed the U.S. "remains committed to the Palestinian people's right to dignity, to self-determination." In reality, the U.S. backs the Israeli punishment of the Palestinian people to the hilt and has vetoed a UNSC resolution merely calling for "humanitarian pauses" to deliver aid to Gaza, while Palestinian self-determination is postponed to some indeterminate future. This posture has caused the Oslo Accords to fail and the pro-Israel bias in U.S. policy to become ever more glaring. 

People mourn the death of their relatives at a hospital in the southern Gaza Strip, October 20, 2023. /Xinhua
People mourn the death of their relatives at a hospital in the southern Gaza Strip, October 20, 2023. /Xinhua

People mourn the death of their relatives at a hospital in the southern Gaza Strip, October 20, 2023. /Xinhua

To yoke together aid for Ukraine and Israel, Biden then proceeded to repeat a whole series of unsubstantiated claims about "mass graves" and "bodies … bearing signs of torture and rape used as a weapon by the Russians," accusing Hamas and Putin of both wanting to "completely annihilate a neighbouring democracy" when, in fact, both Israel's and Ukraine's democratic credentials are deeply tarnished, not least thanks to U.S. support and intervention.

Biden also asserted that NATO had kept peace in Europe for 75 years. Really? Over most of the period, peace was maintained by the presence of the former Soviet Union and, after its demise, NATO has continuously disrupted peace, whether in Yugoslavia in the 1990s or in Ukraine today, while calls to extend or replicate NATO in the Indo-Pacific can only bring nuclear Armageddon closer.

Going through Biden's speech with a fine-toothed comb will assuredly turn up many more lies. But let us close with the biggest lie Biden told last Thursday: "The United States is working to build a better future for the Middle East … through innovative projects like the India-Middle East-Europe rail corridor… More predictable markets, more employment, less rage, less grievances, less war when connected."

My word! What a brazen attempt to portray this geo-strategically threadbare initiative, unlikely to see the light of day, as compared to the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative that has been transforming the world for 10 years already. The advanced decay of the U.S.'s neoliberal financialized and productively debilitated capitalism has rendered it incapable of delivering peace and prosperity anywhere. Instead of an economy which produces goods and services, the U.S. is home to a financial system that is capable only of sucking value out of whatever part of the world it is allowed to get its tentacles into, and the world is increasingly aware of this.

This lies at the core of the U.S.'s loss of influence. As an increasing number of world players turn away from it, U.S. leaders must tell more lies to fund its military so at least parts of the world may be compelled to do what they will not do willingly. 

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