Thursday, January 28, 2021

Joe Biden the Imperialist: "I pressed Clinton to begin air strikes against Serbia”

 By Nikos Mottas.

Joe Biden is officially the 46th President of the United States. Bourgeois media affiliated with the Democratic Party and various “progressive” voices, in the U.S. as well as in Europe, have been engaged in an campaign to present the Biden administration as a factor of “positive changes” in the international political affairs.

Mr Biden is not new in politics. On the contrary, he has been a U.S. Senator from 1973 to 2009 and U.S. Vice President from 2009 to 2017. Since the beginning of the 1990s and the victory of counterrevolutions in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, Senator Biden has been a proponent of the interventionist imperialist policy of the United States. The last three decades are full of examples where the U.S. and their NATO-EU allies initiated imperialist wars under the pretexts of “democracy” and “human rights”. 

Repeatedly, over the past three decades, Biden has advocated for strong US intervention in trouble spots around the world (including Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria) in the name of democracy, stability and human rights, a well-intentioned stance that has won him devoted support as well as widespread opposition. Here is what British journalist Laura Flaunders writes in her book “The Contenders” (2008):

“On the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he has been chair or ranking minority member since the late 1990s. In recent decades, he has consistently taken an interventionist stance, promoting the idea that the US, as the lone remaining superpower, ought to step in--with the UN, with NATO, or on its own--to prevent genocide, keep the peace, and promote democracy. Under Clinton, he pushed for intervention in Bosnia, and supported NATO’s intervention in Kosovo. More recently, he has argued for an immediate intercession in Darfur, with US troops if need be.” [1]

“I pressed President Clinton to begin air strikes against Serbia”

A characteristic example of Biden's hawkish approach in foreign policy is the one of NATO's criminal intervention in the former Yugoslavia. Since 1992, when the bloodshed began in the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the Senator from Delaware had been a vocal proponent of U.S. military action in Bosnia. In 1995, under the pretext of “human rights”, he urged President Clinton to bomb Serbia in order to “free Kosovo”.

Here is what Biden himself writes in his memoirs [2]:

“I pressed Pres. Clinton to begin air strikes against Serb military positions in Kosovo and Belgrade. I kept saying to go ahead, that public opinion in Europe was running against Milosevic. But it was easy for me to say; it was Clinton who had to take the heat.

And he did. In March 1999, I introduced a resolution authorizing the president to use any means necessary to stop Milosevic’s ethnic cleansing in Kosovo. With Clinton resolved to act, NATO began bombing Serb targets in 1999.

From the first days of the bombing, the criticism of Clinton by the Republicans was withering. But through the 78 day campaign, Clinton never wavered in public. I got worried about his resolve once. Clinton asked, “What would you say to my halting the bombing?” I said, “I’d call a press conference and say you reneged on a promise. Do not yield. Milosevic will capitulate.”

I have no idea if my advice had any effect on Clinton, but he did not halt the bombings. He kept the pressure on, and it paid off.”
The US-NATO imperialist crime in Yugoslavia lasted 78 days. During this period, as Biden himself admits, was pressing Clinton to continue bombing Serbia until the ultimate capitulation of Milosevic.

Today, more than 20 years since the crime against Serbia, it is clear that the bombing of Yugoslavia was not strictly aimed at military and strategic targets as NATO claimed. The intention was the destruction of the country's civilian infrastructure and institutions and that is what the imperialists did.

Supporting U.S. interventionism in the Middle East

Yugoslavia wasn't the only target of Mr Biden's interventionist policy. As a U.S. Senator he voted in favor of the 2003 Iraq War and a few years later, during his term as the Vice President in Obama administration, he supported the imperialist wars in Libya and Syria.

As early as 1998 Senator Biden was calling for a military intervention in Iraq in order to “remove Saddam”. Back then, the U.S. Congress passed and President Clinton signed into law the so-called Iraq Liberation Act thus making regime change in Iraq the policy of the U.S. government and approving nearly $100 million to fund Iraqi opposition groups.

Two months before the U.S. strikes against Iraq, on September 1998, Senator Biden was writing in “The Washington Post”: “Ultimately, as long as Saddam Hussein is at the helm, no inspectors can guarantee that they have rooted out the entirety of Saddam Hussein's weapons program", adding that "the only way to remove Saddam is a massive military effort, led by the United States” [3].

In 2002, Mr Biden publicly adopted the false claims of U.S. President Bush and British Prime Minister Blair concerning the supposed possession of weapons of mass destruction by Saddam Hussein's regime. As a Senator he voted in favor of the military invasion in Iraq and he kept the same position even after the beginning of the war. Speaking at the Brookings Institute on July 2003, Biden said: “Nine months ago, I voted to use force and I would vote that way again today.

Even four years later, in May 2007, being the Chairman of the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee, Joe Biden supported a $120 billion spending bill that included funds for the U.S. occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan.

During his tenure as the U.S. Vice President from 2009 to 2017, Biden played a leading role in a number of wars and interventions. Throughout the eight years of the Obama-Biden administration, the U.S. launched airstrikes in at least seven countries: Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Pakistan and Yemen.

Mr Biden was U.S. Vice President when the so-called “Arab Spring” erupted in Northern Africa and the Middle East, leading to regime changes in various countries, including Egypt and Libya. The involvement of the U.S. and E.U in all these countries under the “divide and rule” doctrine not only didn't bring “peace” and “stability”, but on the contrary, it led to the perpetuation of wars, poverty and misery for the masses. Joe Biden had his own distinctive contribution to that by supporting and promoting the U.S. interventions in Libya and Syria.

Vice President Biden was also among the U.S. officials who visited Ukraine after the 2014 Euromaidan expressing Obama administration's support for the far-right, openly fascist forces which emerged in the government. For example, in March 2014, during one of his many trips to Kiev, Biden met with the leader of the fascist, neo-Nazi Svoboda party, Oleh Tyahnybok [4]. Obviously, Obama and Biden's concern wasn't about Ukraine's democratic stability, but about repelling Russia's influence in the region, within the context of the broader competition with Moscow about the spheres of economic and geostrategic influence.

A few days ago, the testimony of the new Secretary of State Antony Blinken before the Senate was indicative about Biden administration's foreign policy directions: The dangerous, imperialist policies will continue in every part of the world, from the Middle East to Latin America, in order to serve the interests of the U.S. monopoly capital.

Only the mass, organized, anti-capitalist struggle of the working class people, in the United States and throughout the world, can break the chains of imperialist oppression and end the vicious circle of wars, interventions, poverty and misery that the capital's domination has established.

[1] Flanders, Laura, 2007. The Contenders. Seven Stories Press, σελ.178 & 181.
[2] Biden, Joe, 2008. Promises to Keep: On Life and Politics. Random House, σελ. 285-288.
[3] The Washington Post, 19 September 1998.
[4] U.S. backs Ukraine, warns Russia with Biden visit:

* Nikos Mottas is the Editor-in-Chief of In Defense of Communism.