Icarus defies hubris: Are Biden’s ‘Wings’ melting?

Biden has put the US Establishment into a bind: Can we imagine the US throwing up its hands and conceding Russian victory? ‘No’. NATO might disintegrate in the face of such spectacular failure. Will Biden become desperate? And, as many suspect, gamble by doubling-down into a worsening situation?

24 February marks the first anniversary of the war in Ukraine. Rarely does a single geo-political event so completely overturn expectations; rarely, does one geo-political event re-orientate the world map. A look at a geo-political representation of the world today would shock at how small London, Paris and Washington are shown, and how the world axis has shifted eastwards, with Eurasia the new global ‘eye’ at its centre.

To put this into perspective, one year ago the western élites gathered at the Munich Security Conference were in a delirium of excitement. It was heady, intoxicating — as delegates imagined how their sanctions on Russia would collapse its economy, and likely lead to Putin’s ouster.

It was to be the triumph of the western elites who attend Munich and Davos — vindication for their imaginings of our shared global future. And it was to be too a clear validation that it was they who were on the ‘right side of history’, in stark contrast to ‘those others’ (Russia and the ‘autocrats’) who stood unmasked as history’s ‘dark side’.

Unimaginable one year ago, Russia stands confident — and solvent! Whereas today, it is Ukraine at the brink of collapse, military entropy and bankruptcy. Twelve months ago, it was presumed that Russia’s ‘small, narrowly-focussed economy’ (as the West terms it) would fail the ‘stress test’ of being put up against the full weight of combined Western financial strength.

Instead, today there are questions asked pertaining to that presumed Western financial strength: Is the way the hyper-financialised Western system measures economic strength —  through aggregating expenditures — a valid metric of the economic resilience of the real economy?  At a time of high inflation, will an economy and currency (linked to tangible commodities) offer greater strength than ones linked to fiat paper?  Is a strategically-directed real manufacturing base a greater strength than that provided by ad hoc ephemeral financial services?

Would such questions, even for a moment, have been entertained one year ago: ‘No’.  So many ‘plates’ are shifting …

Paradoxically, in what was supposed to emerge as sublime affirmation of a Western-led, self-determining ‘Rules Order’ and an earthquake triggered under Putin, it has been rather Biden’s capacity (not Putin’s) to make sound geo-strategic calculation at the precise moment when he must make his 2024 Candidature decision that has been put into question.

Into this atmosphere of doubt, Seymour Hersh, the legendary investigative US journalist, dropped his bombshell report, asking: Can Biden be trusted (again) to not be reckless in the wake of his erratic decision to blow up the gas lifeline of close NATO ally, Germany?  No, it’s not just one instance of recklessness (Nord Stream) at issue, but that of multiple misjudgements, giving rise to mounting Deep State anger directed at Biden, and more particularly at his close team of neocons with their immature political judgements.

It is not hard to see why factions within the Deep State are “appalled”: America’s defence industry products are being consumed in Ukraine faster than they can be manufactured. The war is adversely changing the US calculus on China, as the US military inventory burns away in Ukraine, leaving the locker bare for other challenges. And the Ukraine war easily can spill across eastern Europe …

Biden has put the US Establishment into a bind: Can we imagine the US throwing up its hands and conceding Russian victory?  ‘No’. NATO might disintegrate in the face of such spectacular failure.  Will Biden become desperate? And, as many suspect, gamble by doubling-down into a worsening situation?

The bottom line is the unexpected insight (for the western élite) is that it may be the US itself emerging as the biggest loser in the war on Russia.

The Biden administration has essentially sparked a concerted push-back from the US Establishment versus Biden’s decision-making competence.  Seymour Hersh’s report; the Rand Organisation Report, the Economist interviews with Zelensky and Zaluzhny, the CSIS report, the IMF report showing Russia growing economically — and the scattered eruptions of hard reality appearing in the MSM — all attest to the circle of dissent at Biden’s handling of the Ukraine war is gathering strength.

Can Biden be removed?  Theoretically: ‘Yes’:  Sixty percent of young Democratic Party members do not want Biden to stand again. The difficulty, however, lies with Kamala Harris’ deep unpopularity as a possible successor:  The latest evidence of Harris’ fading position is a sharply critical article in the New York Times, filled with anonymous disapproval from senior Democrats, many of whom once supported her. Now, they are worried. Their fear, Charles Lipson writes, is that she’s almost impossible to drop.

The response by the West to the conundrum presented by this unexpected ‘turn of events’ is the resort to Manicheanism.

Biden’s speech at Warsaw engages with radical Manicheanism to depict Russia as the centre to the epic battle between light, and the forces of darkness. The eternal struggle that persists, that must be fought endlessly, and won crushingly:

“Stand with us.  We will stand with you. Let us move forward…with an abiding commitment to be allies not of darkness, but of light.  Not of oppression, but of liberation.  Not of captivity, but, yes, of freedom”, Biden said in Warsaw.

But Biden offered his audience no concrete plan. At Warsaw, with the sands of time running out on his Ukraine ‘project’, and with US ‘Realists’ and China ‘hawks’ gaining more traction at home, Biden elevated the struggle from the literal to the metaphysical plane. Manichaeism is nothing new — it is an ancient cult with deep roots in Latin Christianity (and likely, Biden at least partially subscribes to seeing Putin as The Demiurge, the ‘dark’ anti-God).

Simply put, by so doing, he is trying to cement America’s deep-seated missionary ethos to a ‘forever’ war against Russian ‘evil’. He hopes to tie the American ruling class to the metaphysical struggle for the ‘light’. It is intended to trump those Realists calling for policy change.

But where will this lead? Will the US be the biggest loser? This is the struggle now playing out in US politics — the Ukraine outcome effectively will be decided by America’s internal ‘war’.

There could be worse. ‘Yes’, indeed, the US ruling class are terrified that their collective mishandling of the Ukraine issue and relations with President Xi just might have brought about their worst nightmare: Russia and China moving toward a mutual defence pact.

In plain speak, the manufacturing capacity (and therefore the potential weapons-producing capacity) of China alone is equivalent to that of the US and Europe combined …


One thought on “Icarus defies hubris: Are Biden’s ‘Wings’ melting?

  • les online

    “Defeat is Unacceptable !”
    Is it believable that during the 8 years since the 2014 coup US/NATO put all their efforts solely into training the Ukraine Armed forces to be able to defeat Russia on the battlefield shouldRussia invade ? Were no advance weapons snuk into the country, prepositioned and ready, weapons that could seriously degrade the Russian forces ? The seeming cautious steady advance by the Russians suggests they include in their considerations some such ‘surprises’.
    Whatever happens, i wont be surprised as i believe for the US “Defeat Is Unthinkable !”


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