Follow us on social

Screen-shot-2021-04-14-at-8.30.06-pm

Politico relays outrage that the president ‘overrode’ his generals on Afghanistan

The military doesn’t make US foreign policy decisions and there’s a reason for that.

Reporting | Asia-Pacific

If any one instance can illustrate Washington’s deference to the military on U.S. foreign policy decision making, it’s an article from Politico reporting on reaction from the Pentagon to President Biden’s decision to withdraw from Afghanistan. 

In fact, these assumptions are neatly packaged in the article’s title — “‘The Pentagon is not making these decisions’: How Biden’s team overrode the brass on Afghanistan.”

Yes, of course the Pentagon isn’t making these decisions. That’s because in our country we have this thing called civilian control of the military, and it’s the president — not the defense secretary, the joint chiefs of staff, or any other top military officer — setting the course of U.S. foreign policy. 

So yes, Biden “overrode the brass” because he’s the commander-in-chief and that’s what he’s allowed to do if he so chooses. In fact, if one of the previous three presidents had overridden the military brass, we probably wouldn’t have been mired in an endless and extremely costly conflict in Afghanistan that those same military higher-ups often admitted behind closed doors could not be won.

That tone — incredulity that President Biden had the gall to overrule the generals — is distributed equally throughout the piece, as it relays anonymous concerns that “Secretary of State Antony Blinken and national security adviser Jake Sullivan who are truly ‘running the Pentagon,’” and quotes current and former military officials — for example, Jack Keane and David Petraeus — “have lingering concerns about the withdrawal.”

The reality is that we don’t really know how the Pentagon and the entire U.S. military feel about withdrawing from Afghanistan. But available evidence shows that at least a majority support it. 

How Washington reporters cover U.S. foreign policy issues contributes significantly to American militarism; look no further than the run-up to the Iraq war for direct evidence. But most often their coverage — as in this case mentioned above — is more subtle in advancing hawkish viewpoints. That, in turn, buttresses a mindset that defaults to the Pentagon in search of answers to complex challenges abroad that most often require painstaking diplomacy and other non-military means.

Reporting | Asia-Pacific
That stinks: Global opinion of US goes down the toilet

Vilnius, Lithuania. 12th July 2023. Joe Biden, President of United States of America. Nato Summit 2023. (ArChe1993 / shutterstock)

That stinks: Global opinion of US goes down the toilet

Global Crises

Dragged down in important part by disapproval over the U.S. position on the Gaza war, the popular image of the United States abroad has declined over the past year, according to a new poll of public opinion in 34 countries released Tuesday by the Pew Research Center.

The survey, the latest in an annual series that dates back more than two decades, also found that international confidence in U.S. democracy has fallen. A median of four in ten of the more than 40,000 respondents said U.S. democracy used to be a good model for other countries to follow but no longer is. That view was most pronounced in the ten European countries covered by the poll.

keep readingShow less
Washington is not telling truth about the Gaza pier

A satellite image shows a view of the remaining section of the trident pier, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, on the Gaza shoreline, May 29, 2024. Maxar Technologies/Handout via REUTERS

Washington is not telling truth about the Gaza pier

Middle East

The Biden administration wants you to believe the U.S. is leading international efforts to get humanitarian relief into Gaza and that supplies are “flowing to Palestinians” via the military’s pier operation there.

On Monday, Pentagon spokesman Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder announced that to date,1,573 tons of aid had been delivered from the pier to the beach, including 492 tons since it reopened on Saturday after some bad weather knocked it out of commission last month.

keep readingShow less
US lifts ban on Neo-Nazi linked Azov Brigade in Ukraine

The Idea of the Nation symbol used by the 12th Azov Assault Brigade of Ukraines National Guard is pictured during a rally held in celebration of the 10th anniversary of the units foundation, Zaporizhzhia, southeastern Ukraine. Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, on May 05, 2024. Photo by Dmytro Smolienko/Ukrinform/ABACAPRESS.COM

US lifts ban on Neo-Nazi linked Azov Brigade in Ukraine

QiOSK

The State Department announced that it has lifted its ban on the use of American weapons by the notorious Azov Brigade in Ukraine, an ultra-nationalist outfit widely described as “neo-fascist," even "neo-Nazi."

The group was initially formed in 2014 as a volunteer militia to fight against Russian-backed Ukrainian separatists in the eastern Donbas region, and later incorporated into the National Guard of Ukraine, under the purview of the Interior Ministry.

keep readingShow less

Israel-Gaza Crisis

Latest