ANALYSIS - Blinken's Case For Restrained Globalism Unlikely To Become US Policy


ANALYSIS - Blinken's Case for Restrained Globalism Unlikely to Become US Policy

WASHINGTON (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 05th March, 2021) Secretary of State Antony Blinken in his first foreign policy speech clearly made a case for pursuing a restrained form of globalism, although it does not appear to be a genuine shift in US strategy given recent aggressive actions, former security and intelligence officials told Sputnik.

At the US State Department on Wednesday, Blinken delivered his first major address highlighting the administration's foreign policy priorities, top amongst which was supporting democratic values overseas though peaceful means.

Former President Donald Trump was a huge critic of what he called "globalism," and felt US policy should focus on boosting the homeland.

In his speech Wednesday, Blinken mentioned the word "home" at least nine times and vowed that the United States would not promote democracy through costly military interventions.

"Blinken made a case for restrained form of globalism, citing the importance of recognizing that the condition of others has a major impact on domestic health security and economic welfare. I read his emphasis on achieving influence by setting a good example and avoiding military campaigns linked to regime change as hopeful," former US Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy Chas Freeman told Sputnik.

Freeman said the speech was explicitly directed at a domestic audience though with awareness that foreign audiences would hear it too. He said it was also a civics lesson for a public that remains ignorant of the realities of statecraft.

The speech was in part a response to the growing criticism of the Biden administration as "resurrectionist," Freeman added.

He said it sought to restore the sense that foreign policies serve purposes that are important to the public, which has become cynical and skeptical about government intentions and performance.

Freeman said Blinken described US competition with countries like China as a test of democracy to deliver benefits other systems allegedly cannot.

He said the description echoed Blinken's theme of "foreign policy realism and restraint."

The Biden administration in recent days publicly voiced support for the efforts of Venezuelan opposition exiles while exchanging attacks with Iranian-backed militias. The White House is also mulling delaying the US withdrawal in Afghanistan.

Freeman said the only way Blinken's speech can achieve credibility is by its words becoming actual, detailed policies, which is something that has yet to occur.

"The implications for Venezuela and Iran will depend on the extent to which Blinken's words become deeds," he said. "One can hope but not be sure that, for both these countries, it may mean dialogue and a helping hand rather than invective and blockade aimed at regime as well as policy change. But it will take time for this to happen, if it ever does. And in both cases, there will be ferocious domestic and foreign opposition for such a shift in policy to overcome."

The administration was unlikely to bite the bullet of initiating such needed but politically demanding policies until it had dealt with more immediate problems, Freeman predicted.

The speech, therefore, was "a holding action politically, deferring domestic political combat till later, when higher priorities, like confirming a cabinet and passing COVID-19 have been achieved," he added.

"I take it as sincere but, as I say, too vague to be reliably translated into policy predictions," he said.

Former CIA station chief and founding member of the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) group Philip Giraldi observed that Blinken had acknowledged the failure of previous administration efforts to spread democracy.

"I am a bit confused by it. It is quite sensible to conclude that US military intervention and/or attempts at regime change have been both unsuccessful and have also 'given democracy promotion a bad name,'" Giraldi, head of the Council for the National Interest, said. "At the same time that Blinken was disavowing previous policies of regime change, he is saying [that] the United States is increasing its footprint in Syria and Afghanistan while also staying in Iraq against the will of that country's parliament."

Blinken also had yet to demonstrate that the Biden administration was turning away from the confrontational policies that previous president Trump had pursued against Venezuela and Iran where the stated intention of the "maximum pressure" economic warfare waged against them was to bring them democracy, Giraldi said.

"If Biden were not doubling down in all those places I would welcome what appears to be a shift in policy, but until that happens it might best be regarded as an attempt to put lipstick on the pig," Giraldi concluded.