Gilbert Doctorow, Ph.D.
Gilbert Doctorow is a Senior Research Fellow of the American University in Moscow and a Brussels-based political analyst. His last book Does Russia Have a Future? was published in August 2015. His forthcoming collection of essays Does the United States Have a Future? will be published in October 2017. © Gilbert Doctorow, 2017
It is a rare event that Foreign Affairs magazine turns over 14 pages of its "prime real estate” to a politician for a fiercely partisan programmatic statement. But that is precisely what has happened in the January-February 2018 print edition with publication of Joe Biden’s co-authored article entitled "How to Stand Up to the Kremlin. Defending Democracy Against its Enemies.”
As we know, Biden held back and did not challenge Hillary in the 2016 primaries for personal reasons relating to the recent death of his son. But as we also know, the chair of the Democratic National Committee was nonetheless considering tapping Biden to take over the party’s nomination in case Clinton crashed and burned amidst investigations into her email scandals and other alleged wrongdoing.
Biden was Mr. Clean. Now he is considered by some as the frontrunner among senior Democratic leaders for the 2020 presidential race. Almost the only mark against him is his advanced age. Thus, it should come as no surprise that he claimed and received the FA real estate.
What he has done with it is in a way instructive. By this awful confection of lies and inventions, Joe Biden provides a valuable reminder of the disaster we narrowly averted by not electing Hillary Clinton on November 8, 2016.
In this essay, Biden has taken the whole Clinton fantasy of "we wuz robbed” to explain away her electoral loss and her scapegoating the Russians, has made it his own and is using it as a platform to gain support and visibility among the Democratic party faithful.
While repeating several times in this article the soothing words that we must remain in dialogue with the Russians whatever our differences to avoid misunderstandings that could lead to war, he paints the Kremlin as a cesspool of corruption, organized crime, kleptocracy, authoritarianism. The country and its president are plain evil, intent on damaging Western democracies and raising international tensions by aggressive behavior so as to keep their own populace down and thereby consolidate their fragile hold on power.
I will not attempt to rebut Biden’s cocksure but deeply ignorant statements about how Russia is despicable and, as the title tells us, an "enemy.” Every sentence is an unsupported allegation that is used by Biden as a building brick in an edifice that is self-reinforcing but has no reality outside his say-so.
During his eight years as Barack Obama’s Vice President and handler, Biden traveled widely as emissary of the imperial presidency. He was particularly active on the borderlands of Russia. When he was not advising one or another local president or prime minister to step down so as to make way for Washington’s latest favored son, he was encouraging illusions of American hard power support for anti-Russian actions including accession to NATO. In this way he personally contributed greatly to the confrontation we now have with Moscow. But about this past we read nothing in his essay. One might imagine reading Biden that the evil and aggressive Putin regime arrived in power fully-grown.
Biden likes to talk about his own education, about the university education and professional choices of his children. He enjoys speaking on campus and likes to claim that he has a special affinity for college students and they for him. This is the context in which I heard him this past May, when he was the choice of the graduating class of Harvard to be their Speaker, whereas Mark Zuckerberg, who spoke the next day, had been the choice of the university administration. And yet, there is in Biden’s article sound reason to believe that he despises the principles of free intellectual enquiry that constitute the foundation of education.
A lengthy section of his article in FA deals with alleged Russian subversion of American democracy through use of disinformation, through illicit campaign financing and lobbying, through corrupt practices financed by money laundering, through abuse of the social networks, through cyber crime. Where there is subversion, there are dupes and agents. This is the set-up for McCarthyism that the Democratic Party is presently instrumentalizing for its partisan purposes while, by that very act, attacking the democracy and freedom of speech it says it is defending.
© Gilbert Doctorow, 2017
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Gilbert Doctorow is an independent political analyst based in Brussels. His latest book, Does the United States Have a Future? was published on 12 October 2017. Both paperback and e-book versions are available for purchase on www.amazon.com and all affiliated Amazon websites worldwide. See the recent professional review http://theduran.com/does-the-united-states-have-a-future-a-new-book-by-gilbert-doctorow-review/ For a video of the book presentation made at the National Press Club, Washington, D.C. on 7 December 2017 see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ciW4yod8upg