Biden Backs Permanent War, As Neocons Target Iran
President Biden used a nationally televised address on Oct. 19 to make the case for an escalation of U.S. support for wars to defend “democracy”. He had just returned from Israel, where he bolstered Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, and met with his war cabinet.
Biden’s strategy is to link Ukraine funding to aid for Israel, which he incorporated into the supplemental war budget he sent the next day to Congress. His proposal came at the point that the initial $113 billion appropriated for Ukraine’s proxy war against Russia in 2022 is nearly depleted; that aid for Ukraine has come under fire in the Congress, especially from conservative Republicans, and as new polls show 56% of Americans oppose any additional funding.
Thus, in his speech to the nation, Biden connected the war in Ukraine to support for Israel against Hamas. By doing so, he hopes to undercut all those who are fully behind Netanyahu, for various reasons, but oppose the corrupt regime in Kyiv. “Hamas and Putin represent different threats,” he said, “but they share this in common: They both want to completely annihilate a neighboring democracy.” He then added what no one outside of gullible, or ideologically blind, Americans could take seriously: “American leadership is what holds the world together. American values are what makes us a partner that other nations want to work with. To put all that at risk if we walk away from Ukraine, if we turn our backs on Israel, it’s just not worth it.”
For his strategy to prevail, Biden proposed a new $105 billion special appropriation, with $10.8 billion for Israel (on top of the annual $3.8 billion aid), and over $60 bn slated for Ukraine, as well as more funding for the Asia-Pacific region to counter China. This strategy was embraced by Democratic Party war hawks.Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer applauded the plan, and Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Ben Cardin concurred, saying the linkage has bi-partisan support.
In the days since the attack on Israel, supporters of permanent war have added Iran to the target list. The CEO of the pro-war Atlantic Council, Frederick Kempe, wrote an op-ed praising Biden’s speech, saying he “connected the dots between Russia’s criminal war… and Hamas’ terrorist attack on Israel, assisted by Iran”. This coincides with a traveling road show of neocons, run by Polaris National Security, and Bastion Institute. Associated with these two “think tanks” are officials who were involved in pushing the U.S. to go to war against Iraq, such as Elliot Abrams, a co-founder of the Project for a New American Century (PNAC), Doug Feith and Lewis “Scooter” Libby, who was Dick Cheney’s chief of staff.
The stated purpose of these and allied hawkish groups is to make “security issues” central to the race for a presidential candidate in the Republican party, in order to defeat Donald Trump and his “America Firsters”, who oppose involving the U.S. in these wars. Perhaps not unrelated to their efforts is Trump’s recent “100%” embrace of Netanyahu’s war strategy, which has undermined his his credibility as an adversary of the ominous “Deep State”.