by Pepe Escobar with permission and cross posted with Asia Times
What happens on November 3rd ? It’s like a larger than life replay of the famous Hollywood adage: “No one knows anything.”
The Dem strategy is crystal clear, spawned by the gaming of election scenarios embedded in the Transition Integrity Project and made even more explicit by one of TIP’s co-founders, a law professor at Georgetown University.
Hillary Clinton, bluntly, has already called it: Dems must re-take the White House by any and all means and under any and all circumstances.
And just in case, with a 5,000-word opus, she already positioned herself for a plum job.
As much as Dems have made it very clear they will never accept a Trump victory, the counterpunch was vintage Trump: he told the Proud Boys to “stand back” – as in no violence, for now – but crucially to “stand by”, as in “get ready”.
The stage is set for Kill Bill mayhem on November 3rd and beyond.
Say it ain’t so, Joe
Taking a cue from TIP, let’s game a Dem return to the White House – with the prospect of a President Kamala taking over sooner rather than later. That means, essentially, The Return of the Blob.
President Trump calls it “the swamp”. Former Obama Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes – a mediocre hack – at least coined the funkier “Blob”, applied to the incestuous Washington, DC foreign policy gang, think tanks, academia, newspapers (from the Washington Post to the New York Times), and that unofficial Bible, Foreign Affairs magazine.
A Dem presidency, right away, will need to confront the implications of two wars: Cold War 2.0 against China, and the interminable, trillion-dollar GWOT (Global War on Terror), renamed OCO (Overseas Contingency Operations) by the Obama-Biden administration.
Biden became the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1997 and was the chair in 2001-2003 and again in 2007-2009. He paraded as total Iraq War cheerleader – necessary, he maintained, as part of GWOT – and even defended a “soft partition” of Iraq, something that fierce nationalists, Sunni and Shi’ite, from Baghdad to Basra will never forget.
Obama-Biden’s geopolitical accomplishments include a drone war, or Hellfire missile diplomacy, complete with “kill lists”; the failed Afghan surge; the “liberation” of Libya from behind, turning it into a militia wasteland; the proxy war in Syria fought with “moderate rebels”; and once again leading from behind, the Saudi-orchestrated destruction of Yemen.
Tens of millions of Brazilians also will never forget that Obama-Biden legitimized the NSA spying and Hybrid War tactics that led to the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff ,the neutralization of former President Lula, and the evisceration of the Brazilian economy by comprador elites.
Among his former, select interlocutors, Biden counts warmonger former NATO secretary-general Anders Fogh Rasmussen – who supervised the destruction of Libya – and John Negroponte, who “organized” the contras in Nicaragua and then “supervised” ISIS/Daesh in Iraq – the crucial element of the Rumsfeld/Cebrowski strategy of instrumentalizing jihadis to do the empire’s dirty work.
It’s safe to game that a Biden-Harris administration will oversee a de facto NATO expansion encompassing parts of Latin America, Africa and the Pacific, thus pleasing the Atlanticist Blob.
In contrast, two near-certain redeeming features would be the return of the US to the JCPOA, or Iran nuclear deal, which was Obama-Biden’s only foreign policy achievement, and re-starting nuclear disarmament negotiations with Russia. That would imply containment of Russia, not a new all-out Cold War, even as Biden has recently stressed, on the record, that Russia is the “biggest threat” to the US.
Woke Kamala in da house
Kamala Harris has been groomed to rise to the top from as early as the summer of 2017. Predictably, she is all for Israel – mirroring Nancy Pelosi (“if this Capitol crumbled to the ground, the one thing that would remain is our commitment to our aid…and I don’t even call it aid…our cooperation with Israel.”
Kamala is a hawk on Russia and North Korea; and she did not co-sponsor legislation to prevent war against Venezuela and, again, North Korea. Call her a quintessential Dem hawk.
Yet Kamala’s positioning is quite clever, reaching two diverse audiences: she totally fits into The Blob but with an added woke gloss (trendy sneakers, the advertised affection for hip hop). And as an extra bonus, she directly connects with the “Never Trumper” gang.
Never Trumper Republicans – operating especially in Think Tankland – totally infiltrated the Dem matrix. They are prime Blob material. The ultimate neo-con Never Trumper has got to be Robert Kagan, husband of Maidan cookie distributor Victoria “F**k the EU” Nuland; thus the running joke in many parts of West Asia, for years, about the “Kaganate of Nulandistan”.
Kagan, self-glorified and idolized as a star conservative intellectual, is of course one of the co-founders of the dreaded neo-con Project for the New American Century (PNAC). That subsequently translated into gleeful Iraq War cheerleading. Obama read his books in awe. Kagan forcefully backed Hillary in 2016. Needless to add, neo-cons of the Kagan variety are all rabidly anti-Iran.
On the money front, there’s the Lincoln Project , set up last year by a gang of current and former Republican strategists very close to, among others, Blob stars such as Daddy Bush and Dick Cheney. A handful of billionaires gleefully donated to this major anti-Trump super-PAC, including J. Paul Getty’s heir Gordon Getty, the heir of the Hyatt hotel empire John Pritzker, and Cargill heiress Gwendolyn Sontheim.
Those Three Harpies
The key Blob character in a putative Biden-Harris White House is Tony Blinken, former deputy national security adviser during Obama-Biden and arguably the next National Security Adviser.
That’s geopolitics – with an important addendum: former national security adviser Susan Rice, who was unceremoniously dropped from the Vice-President shortlist to Kamala’s profit, may become the next Secretary of State.
Rice’s possible contender is Senator Chris Murphy, who in a strategy document titled “Rethinking the Battlefield” predictably goes undiluted Obama-Biden: no “rethinking”, really, just rhetoric on fighting ISIS/Daesh and containing Russia and China.
Suave Tony Blinken used to work for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in the 2000s, so no wonder he’s been very close to Biden even before the first Obama-Biden term, when he rose to the top as deputy national security adviser and then, in the second term, as deputy Secretary of State.
Close to Blinken is Jake Sullivan, who under the protective wing of Hillary Clinton replaced Blinken as national security adviser in the second Obama-Biden term. He will have a top place either in the National Security Council or the State Department.
But what about The Three Harpies?
Many of you will remember The Three Harpies, as I coined them before the bombing and destruction of Libya, and again in 2016, when their remixed version’s push for a glorious sequel was rudely interrupted by Trump’s victory. When it comes to Return of the Blob, this is the 5K, 5G, IMAX version.
Of the three original Harpies, two – Hillary and Susan Rice – seem set to snatch a brand new power job. The plot thickens for Samantha Power, former US ambassador to the UN and the author of The Education of an Idealist, where we learn that such “idealist” rips Damascus and Moscow to shreds while totally ignoring the Obama-Biden drone offensive, kill lists, “leading from behind” weaponizing of al-Qaeda in Syria re-baptized as “moderate rebels”, and the relentless Saudi destruction of Yemen.
Samantha seems to be out. There’s a new Harpy in town. Which brings us to the real Queen of the Blob.
The Queen of the Blob
Michele Flournoy may be the epitome of the Return of the Blob: the quintessential, imperial functionary of what former CIA analyst Ray McGovern brilliant christened MICIMATT (the Military-Industrial-Congressional-Intelligence-Media-Academia-Think-Tank complex).
The ideal imperial functionary thrives on discretion: virtually no one knows Flournoy outside of the Blob, so that means the whole planet.
Flournoy is a former senior adviser to the Boston Consulting Group; the co-founder of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS); a senior fellow at Harvard’s Belfer Center; under secretary of Defense during Obama-Biden; favorite of top Harpy Hillary to be Pentagon chief after 2016; and once again favorite to become Pentagon chief after 2020.
The most delicious item on Flournoy’s CV is that she’s the co-founder of WestExec Advisors with none other than Tony Blinken.
Every Blob insider knows that WestExec happens to be the name of the street alongside the West Wing of the White House. In a Netflix plot, that would be the obvious hint that a short walk of fame straight into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue looms in the horizon for the star protagonists.
Flournoy, more than Blinken, turned WestExec into a certified hit in the Beltway MICIMATT profiting from virtually no P.R. and media blitzes, and talking exclusively to think tanks.
Here’s a crucial glimpse of Flournoy thinking. She clearly states that just a benign American deterrence towards China is a “miscalculation”. And it’s important to keep in mind that Flournoy is in fact the mastermind of the overall, failed Obama-Biden war strategy.
In a nutshell, Biden-Harris would mean The Return of the Blob with a vengeance. Biden-Harris would be Obama-Biden 3.0. Remember those seven wars. Remember the surges. Remember the kill lists. Remember Libya. Remember Syria. Remember “soft coup” Brazil. Remember Maidan. You have all been warned.
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