It’s been a busy first week for the 46th President of the United States, there are the 20,000 troops occupying the capital city to organise, as well as the totally unprecedented show-trial of his immediate predecessor.
You know, usual democracy type stuff.
On top of that, Biden has now signed at least 37 executive orders in his first week. The record for any President, and more than the previous four presidents combined.
What do these orders, or any of his other moves, tell us about the future plans of the recently “elected” administration? Nothing good, unfortunately.
1. Vaccination Passports
I still remember people claiming the introduction of vaccination passports (or immunity passes or the like) was just a “conspiracy theory”, the paranoid fantasy of fringe “covidiots”. All the way back in December, when they were getting fact-checked by tabloid journalists who can’t do basic maths.
These days they are rebranded as “freedom certificates” which are “divisive, politically tricky and probably inevitable”.
Many countries are already preparing to roll it out, including Iceland the UK and South Africa. Biden’s “Executive Order on Promoting COVID-19 Safety in Domestic and International Travel” adds the US to this list:
International Certificates of Vaccination or Prophylaxis. Consistent with applicable law, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of HHS, and the Secretary of Homeland Security (including through the Administrator of the TSA), in coordination with any relevant international organizations, shall assess the feasibility of linking COVID-19 vaccination to International Certificates of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP) and producing electronic versions of ICVPs.
2. Cabinet Appointments
Biden’s cabinet is praised as the “most diverse” in history, but will hiring a few non-white people really change the decades-old policies of US Imperialism? It certainly doesn’t look like it.
His pick for Under Secretary of State is Victoria Nuland, a neocon warmonger and one of the masterminds of the Maidan coup in Ukraine in 2014. She is married to Robert Kagan, another neocon warmonger, co-founder of the Project for a New American Century and senior fellow at the Brookings Institute and one of the masterminds behind the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
The incoming Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, is also an inveterate US Imperialist, arguing for every US military intervention since the 1990s, and criticised Trump’s decision to withdraw from Syria.
Biden’s pick for Defence Secretary is the first African-American ever appointed to this role, but former General Lloyd Austin is hardly going be some kind of “progressive” voice int his cabinet. He’s a career soldier who retired from the military in 2016 to join the board of Raytheon Technologies, an arms manufacturer and military contractor.
As “diverse” as this cabinet may be in skin colour or gender…there is most certainly no “diversity” of opinion or policy. There are very few new faces and no new thoughts.
So, it looks like we can expect more of the same in terms of foreign policy. A fact that’s already been displayed in…
Despite heavy resistance from the military and Deep State, Donald Trump wanted to end the war in Iraq and pledged to pull American troops out of the country. This was one of Trump’s more popular policies, and during the campaign Biden made no mention of intending to reverse that decision.
Then, on the very day of Biden’s inauguration, ISIS conducted their deadliest suicide bombing for over three years, and suddenly the situation was too unstable for the US to leave, and Biden is being forced to “review” Trump’s planned withdrawal.
The Iraqi parliament has made it clear it wants the US to take its military off their soil, so any American forces on Iraqi land are technically there illegally in contravention of international law. But that never bothered them before.
Turns out the US can’t withdraw from Afghanistan either. Last February Trump signed a deal with the Taliban that all US personnel would leave Afghanistan by May 2021.
Joe Biden has already committed to “reviewing” this deal. Sec. Blinken was quoted as saying that Biden’s admin wanted:
to end this so-called forever war [but also] retain some capacity to deal with any resurgence of terrorism, which is what brought us there in the first place”.
As a great man once said, nothing someone says before the word “but” really counts. The US will not be withdrawing from Afghanistan, and if there is any public pressure to do so, the government will simply claim the Taliban broke their side of the deal first, or stage a few terrorist attacks.
5. …and Syria
Far from simply continuing the on-going wars, there are already signs Biden’s “diverse” team will look to escalate, or even start, other conflicts.
Syria was another theatre of war from which Donald Trump wanted to extricate the United States, unilaterally ordering all US troops from the country in late 2019.
We now know the Pentagon ignored those orders. They lied to the President, telling Trump they had followed his orders…but not withdrawing a single man. This organized mutiny against the Commander-in-Chief of the US Armed Forces was played for a joke in the media when it was finally revealed.
There will be no need for any such duplicity now Biden is in the Oval Office, he was a vocal critic of the decision to withdraw, claiming it gave ISIS a “new lease of life”. Indeed, within two days of his being sworn in a column of American military vehicles was seen entering Syria from Iraq.
6. Domestic Terrorism
We called this before the inauguration. They made it just too obvious. Before the dirty footprints had been cleaned from Nancy Pelosi’s desk it was clear where it was all going.
Within 24 hours of being sworn in as president, Biden had ordered a “review of the threat posed by domestic terrorism”.
As usual, the press are laying down the covering fire for this. Talking heads have been busily comparing MAGA voters to al Qaida in television interviews. The Washington Post and New Yorker Journal have cut-and-paste pieces about this supposed threat. Politico published an article titled “Biden vowed to defeat domestic terrorism. The how is the hard part”, which outlines what Biden could do:
Direct the Justice Department, FBI and National Security Council to execute a top-down approach prioritizing domestic terrorism; pass new domestic terrorism legislation; or do a bit of both as Democrats propose a crack down on social media giants like Facebook for algorithms that promote conspiracy laden posts.
That last part is key. The “crack down on social media” part, because the anti-Domestic Terrorism legislation will likely be very focused on communication and so-called “misinformation”.
Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez has publicly called for a congressional panel to “rein in” the media:
We’re going to have to figure out how we rein in our media environment so you can’t just spew disinformation and misinformation,”
And who will be the target of these crack downs and new legislations? Well, according John Brennan (ex-head of the CIA and accomplished war criminal), practically anybody:
.@JohnBrennan: Biden intel community “are moving in laser-like fashion to try to uncover as much as they can about” the pro-Trump “insurgency” that harbors “religious extremists, authoritarians, fascists, bigots, racists, nativists, even libertarians” pic.twitter.com/SjVXWhPhR8
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) January 20, 2021
They’re casting a wide net. Expect “extremist”, “bigot” and “racist” to be just a few of the words which have their meanings totally revised in the next few months. “Conspiracy theorist” will be used a lot, too.
Further, they are moving closer and closer toward the “anyone who disagrees with us is literally insane” model. With many articles actually talking about “de-programming” Trump voters. The Atlantic suggests “mental hygiene” would cure the MAGA problem.
Again AOC is on point here, clearly auditioning for the role of High Inquisitor, claiming that the new Biden government needs to fund programs that “de-radicalise” “conspiracy theorists” who are on the “spectrum of radicalisation”.
As I said at the beginning, it’s been a busy week for Joe Biden, but you can sum up his biggest policy plans in one short sentence: More violence overseas, less tolerance of dissent and strict clampdowns on “misinformation”.