Where military interventions lead U.S.: old objectives, new means, or war as it is

Recently, the US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken made an interesting statement: “We will not promote democracy through costly military interventions or attempts to overthrow authoritarian regimes by force. We have tried this tactic in the past. No matter how well-intentioned it was, it didn’t work. It brought a bad name to the advancement of democracy and led to the loss of the confidence of the American people”. 

It is true that “costly military interventions” and “attempts to overthrow authoritarian regimes by force” brought their American initiators a bad name, although Washington’s admission of this fact sounds unexpected.

Donald Trump tried to do without costly military interventions, but he was defeated in a clash with the “deep state”, the forces of which formed the current US administration. Anthony Blinken in 2003 supported the invasion of US troops in Iraq, in 2009 he advocated the invasion of US troops into Libya. He was the US Deputy National Security Advisor under Barack Obama, when his administration was preparing the “Arab Spring” in the Middle East and stimulated coup d’etat in Ukraine in 2014. It would be both naive and reckless to assume that, after becoming the 71st US Secretary of State, Blinken will pursue a course different from the one he followed in the past.

What is it about?

Almost simultaneously with Blinken’s speech, the White House published the transitional provisions of the National Security Strategy:

“The United States should not and will not participate in ‘eternal’ wars that cost thousands of lives and trillions of dollars. We will work responsibly to end the longest US war in Afghanistan. The question is not whether we will support democracy, but how we will do it. We will use the power of our example. We will push others to carry out key reforms, abolish bad laws, fight corruption (I recall how Hunter Biden and the Ukrainian company Burisma fought against corruption with the participation of Biden the Pope – A.K.), and stop unjust practices. We will stimulate democratic behavior”.

Great! Americans have always been willing to “support democracy” and “stimulate democratic behavior.” They even have military interventions – “humanitarian”, as in 1999 during the bombing of Yugoslavia or in 2001 during the invasion of Afghanistan. And when you cannot win, you must at least in words promise “to end the longest war.”

Clausewitz said that “war is nothing more than the continuation of politics with the involvement of other means”. So the United States continues its policy, attracting “other means”. Joe Biden made this very clear, saying the other day:

“By my order on February 25, 2021, the US Armed Forces launched a targeted strike on infrastructure in Eastern Syria that was used by Iranian-backed non-state militias”. Donald Trump and Barack Obama could have spoken about their policies in about the same way.

At the same time, speaking of “other means” used by the Biden administration, which has been performing its duties for only a month and a half, it should be noted that this team increases the importance of information, ideological struggle in its foreign policy (from the quoted Blinken statement, this is clearly seen).

The so-called hybrid war is gaining more and more importance, where the main battle is the battle for the hearts and minds of people, where propaganda, becoming the main weapon, overshadows missiles. And the Internet and social networks give conflict participants completely unthinkable means of warfare.

And it is also cheaper than classical interventions, as a rule, displeasing their own citizens. Agitation (information, psychological, hybrid) wars are increasingly being waged not by single bloggers, but by special military units.

And in war as in war. There is every reason to believe that the Biden administration will intensify “support for democracy.” A course has been taken to establish total censorship both in the American media and on the World Wide Web.

At the same time, the classical methods of waging war are not discarded from the account. There is no reason for complacency. One must be prepared for strikes from overseas from the most unexpected side.

Anton Kanevsky, FSK


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