Iveta Cherneva: The US National Security Establishment needs a Paradigm Shift. Now.
Iveta Cherneva is an Amazon best-selling author, political commentator and human rights activist. Her latest book is “Trump, European security and Turkey”. Cherneva’s career includes Congress and the UN; she was a top finalist for UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of speech in 2020. Iveta’s opinions appear in Euronews, New York Times, Salon, The Guardian, Jurist, Washington Examiner, Modern Diplomacy, Emerging Europe, EurActiv, The Fletcher Forum, LSE, Daily Express. She comments on TV and radio for Euronews, DW, Voice of America and others.
If you can sense one trend over the past weeks is that war is in the air, both on the Ukraine and the Taiwan fronts. That brings the world to a brink of war, and it seems like the US military establishment is interested in connecting the dots. They have been waiting for this for a long time.
US Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, said this week that he doesn't recognize red lines on Taiwan and Ukraine, and that is not a good thing. There is a difference between not giving up as pursuing your goals and dreams, on one hand, and not being able to hear no, especially when peace and people's lives are at stake.
Under Trump, we saw four years of withdrawal and restraint, and only strategic, surgical strikes against a very limited number of bad guys – the US national security hard-core establishment's nightmare, basically. Then there was Covid and the world stopped. The US war machine is itching and you can sense it. They have been itching for a long time. For that, they also need Congress and the Republicans who right now have other problems and are not exactly interested in war. But before that the US war machine needs something else done, in fact. Biden is kind of in the way.
President Biden said this week that the US will not be deploying troops against Russia in Ukraine, which is big news. The statement came just as Secretary Austin said he doesn't recognize red lines on Ukraine. You can tell the US war machine has been itching and waiting for this for a long time. An eventual Trump return will be bad news for them. They can't stand him but they had to tolerate him and even then, they still thought they were running the show. Recently exposed examples show that when it came to Trump, the Chair of the Joint Chief of Staff, General Milley, thought that he is the President, he decides, he gets to tell China what's really going on. Milley thought that Trump was President, but not really. Trump was painted as "unstable" and the variations of it. The Democrats and the liberal media are also at fault in creating a blanket for these kinds of transgressions. Speaker Nancy Pelosi dismissed Trump as crazy, basically agreeing Milley should take over. A recent Guardian article places Milley as the big, brave guy to "save the world from an arguably deranged US leader" – Trump. It's that idea that all the reasonable people should gang up on the rightful decision-maker as unstable and crazy, and in these very rare circumstances where you get a leader who just won't do as he is told, it is acceptable to get power out of his hands. The most powerful man in the world basically treated as someone who has no idea what he is doing and it's perhaps better to step aside. The war-monger telling the persistent war-objector that perhaps it's better that he took control for the sake of peace. The biggest lie that could be told. The ironic thing in all that is that Trump is the most anti-war President in recent American history; Trump openly claimed that Bush lied to the American people and the war in Iraq is the worst thing that happened to America in recent history. I remember Anderson Cooper at CNN being really pissed off, telling Trump that he can't say that an American President lies to the people. Why not when that's exactly what happened? This incredible alignment of liars is what's wrong with America today. In fact we need Trump back to save America from "an arguably deranged leader". General Milley has no business around national security with such flagrant disregard for lines and such pronounced tendencies of abuse of power. Milley was responsible for the drone attack on 10 people including 7 children in Kabul. He is a sadist. A friend of his incredibly pins Miley as "an obsessive constitutionalist", which is the biggest lie I have heard: "He understands the branches of government and who's got what responsibility for what." Here we have a General who thinks he is President and he decides. Literally, the biggest achievement Milley is known for is thinking he is the president in that call with the Chinese counterparts speaking instead of Trump. Milley confirmed his call to the Chinese to reassure Beijing that Trump would not mount a surprise attack, saying it was "in order to ensure strategic stability" and "were perfectly within the duties and responsibilities of the chairman". But he also instructed everyone that a nuclear attack has to go through him first. He thinks he is the boss. Milley is an incredibly dangerous man who thinks that's his show that he has the last word. The argument was that this was necessary because it was about Trump, as an exception, but men like Milley turn big exceptions into in a modus operandi.
There was much more there than rivalry between General Milley and President Trump, and it falls along very cliché, but very true lines of the old battle between democratically elected leaders against the security establishment and the industrial-military complex. It's the old battle but with a new tune.
There are significant differences between Biden and the military establishment on Ukraine, Taiwan, Iran. We can't let them have their way. That won't be good for anybody. There is a democratically-elected US President for a reason. Only Congress can declare war-proper for a reason. That's all in the US Constitution, and if the past decades gave us the shift towards "contingency operations" and the grey area of something being "not really war", then a war-proper against Russia or China would very much require Biden's green light and an okay from Congress. There is no way around that, and the US military establishment knows it. The US justice and law enforcement system cannot be twisted and abused, so that the US military establishment gets its way and leads America towards a war that they have craved for a long time.
If Biden steps down prematurely, that will be a disaster. Vice President Kamala Harris doesn't understand anything about foreign policy and military affairs. She can be swayed and told what to do by the military establishment – not because she doesn't have personality, guts and strong character to stand her ground, which we know she does, but because she can be swayed to agree on things she doesn't understand. Biden can't. I bet the hawks would love to get Biden out of the way right now. Kamala is a lawyer as a mental framework of decision-making – the DoD lawyers can create whatever they want, as my recent review of the DoD Inspector General's legal thinking and philosophy shows. They can make a military attack on children okay, technically speaking. They don't have to overpower Kamala, they only have to reason with her, recognizing her authority. She will be persuaded neatly. Kamala is not strong enough to stand up against them because she would be buttressed easily in things she doesn't understand. There is something else that's obvious to many – the cliché rallying effect: the thing that always boosts US Presidents' ratings, and the playbook of Presidents on both sides of the isle especially in the 1990s and the 2000s. Kamala cares about her popularity more than anything else. She won't care about starting a war, as long as it's couched in legalistic technocratic OK spin, which she won't recognize as a legal spin. Biden is the opposite; he is more experienced in foreign policy than anyone in the US military establishment. They were all in first grade when he was already crafting US foreign policy. As I said in my analysis and prognosis of Biden's foreign policy just before he took over, I pin Biden as a moderate centrist who is not interested in war: "The world can get ready for four years of measured, multi-region, heavy-presence, hands-on diplomacy, classical US foreign policy with no major surprises or military ambitions."
Biden is in fully functioning mental capacity. The US mainstream media pushing the narrative of an old guy who couldn't potentially know what he is talking about because he stutters, or forgets things, or confuses names is actually dangerous. It is better if Biden saves his energy and preserves his mental capacity, and doesn't speak with the media. He has to be kept mentally safe. Otherwise, it's Kamala, and that would be a nightmare. I would personally know a thing or two about people who try to take down a fully functional person as mentally unfit, only because she is inconvenient. This is the oldest trick in the book: painting someone as unstable, crazy, mentally unfit, etc. This is how you know it smells of subversive tactics.
Biden knows how to stand his ground on the major foreign policy friction points: most of the big, scary guys in the US security establishment are only boys to him. There is a very real risk that the military establishment will try to take Biden down, so that they can replace him and run the show with Kamala who would love her some rallying effect and ratings boost. As we say in Bulgarian, they will be running their horse free as they want if they can get rid of Biden. But for that, they need me. So let me say it: no, thanks. That will be very bad for peace globally and for America, which is basically bankrupt. More war is the last thing Americans needs, but you'd be surprised how many people disagree because they don't care what America needs. They can't wait to start, in fact.
More troops and military operations staged in Bulgaria in relation to Ukraine-Russia will be an absolute disaster. If I had the chance, I would tell Putin to back off because if things continue that way, that means more US military presence in Bulgaria and no one wants that. We've seen enough. The pivot to Asia meant that Eastern Europe is no longer the battle ground of the big powers. When the US military establishment arrives, they won't be asking you what you want, they just take whatever they want because you're an "ally".
That's why we need a fundamental national security shift in America immediately. Today. Americans should gravitate towards a no non-sense version of national security where the muscle is focused on securing the Southern border where is the actual national security threat right now. This is how you keep people safe. Giving a free reign in America of Mexican criminal cartels is not good for Mexican people and for American national security. Recently, the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances stated that they are 95,000 people officially registered as disappeared and 52,000 unidentified bodies in Mexico. Simply put, the Mexican cartels are carrying out a war on Mexican people and they are crossing over into the US to bring their organized crime there. I want you to open your ears and hear these numbers well – these are not women and children, and hard-working guys just looking for a better life; we are talking about mass murderers and organized criminals getting a free reign and a very scary situation. The Southern Border is the number one priority for the national security establishment but they are looking elsewhere – they are eying something sexier. The US government should be sending all forces to secure the Southern Border but they are looking elsewhere. Why isn't the biggest defense spender in the world able to secure its own border? The Southern border is a defense emergency, you can't secure it with horses and sticks. To watch this is not an embarrassment or incompetence or lack of coordination, it's a conscious policy choice. It's a sign of a political ideology at play that puts the security of the American people last. Trump's no non-sense simple approach will lead him to survive and return as President. Anyone else who has other plans will go down in flames.
The other priorities are counter-terrorism, mostly domestic-oriented without political overtones – just the crime, and also cyber security and intercepting illicit financing. That's it. You have no business around China or you'll blow us all up. The rational part of the US military club will not be for international experiments and thugary, if America is to survive.
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