If Biden has, in fact, received so many more votes, why is the CNN-led media flock in such a hurry to declare him the winner? Is it the media’s job to decide the winner in a democracy?
How will Trump and his sympathizers, about half of the people, react to what they must see as a provocation?
Why is Biden also offering no hope for the US itself and the world?
How to explain this utterly strange happening and where will the US be in January 2021?
November 9, 2020
On November 7, 2020, I wrote a comment on my Facebook Profile that stirred some comments:
“Led by CNN and other US media, including Fox News, most Western media now declare Biden the next US president. Is there not some kind of institution in a democracy that shall officially declare who is the winner?
It seems they want to appear ignorant about the serious constitutional crisis that is around the corner as Donald Trump is not going to accept this result.
We are in for very interesting times…”
As you see, there are three elements in this comment. Let me go through them:
“Since the mid-20th century, on January 6 at 1:00 pm before a Joint Session of Congress, the Vice President opens the votes from each state in alphabetical order. He passes the votes to four tellers—two from the House and two from the Senate—who announce the results. House tellers include one Representative from each party and are appointed by the Speaker. At the end of the count, the Vice President then declares the name of the next President.”
While this can be seen as just a formality, it isn’t when various results have been disputed; this announcement expresses an end to or settlement of those disputes and a formal recognition of the overall result. There is an informative article on all this at The Conversation from September this year.
Whether you like Trump or not, you know that he has announced that election fraud has taken place and he will take these cases to the Supreme Court. While writing this, he probably does not play golf anymore but interacts with an army of lawyers on how to prove his point. Here you can see how he tweeted his opinion too – and was censored.
Iam no expert on US politics or constitutional matters. Still, I permit myself to be highly surprised and raise the question: Has a profound constitutional crisis and months of political, if not physical, turmoil just been set in motion with yesterday’s collective media intervention into US politics?
If orchestrated, who got that idea and what do they hope to achieve? It’s obvious that Trump got much more votes than most experts and all opinion polls had predicted. He believes, he has tweeted, that he got 71 million votes and that that is the highest ever for a sitting president.
So, he is not going to give a speech in which he accepts that Biden has won. That much is clear as of now.
Be that as it may, it should be obvious that it is not the task of media to announce the results of elections in the United States or any other democracy. It’s therefore rather mind-boggling to see government representatives from around the world congratulate Biden. It seems like they are carried away from constitutional thinking and common sense by their intense hopes to see Trump out of the White House ASAP.
In effect, however, they contribute and lend legitimacy to this – dangerous – media-political game that has no place in a true democracy.
Why do the US media act the way they do?
To answer this, we may go back to a Pew Research Center analysis from last year. Its headline says it succinctly: “The U.S. Media Polarization and the 2020 Election: A Nation Divided. Deep partisan divisions exist in the news sources Americans trust, distrust and rely on.”
As shown above, CNN spearheaded this announcement of who the winner is. You’ll see in the analysis that that is also far the most preferred go-to news outlet for democrats:
Fox News, however, made a kind of turnabout and declared Biden its winner:
Fox also reported loyally that Trump has far from given up but hints that he will concede if his legal battle falls short. It chooses to “project” rather than announce the final results, and please note on the picture above that Fox even has a News Decision Desk that makes this projection (perhaps it should be renamed as a Projection Desk, instead, then?)
Media in Europe – where most people and most, if not all, NATO-allied governments – hope for Trump’s departure, follow the pro-Biden media’s campaign.
So in the United States – that many still call a democracy, even the world’s greatest – the media are now playing what I believe is a new, but alarming self-elected, role. Instead of reporting and analysing only, they also tell you – supposedly objectively – who the winner way before there is a consolidated double-checked, empirical – or evidence-based – result.
From a war and peace perspective, who is Joe Biden?
Now, let’s assume they are right and that Joe Biden has won. What is important, then, to know about him?
First, here his message about unity and him not seeing blue states and red states but united states. It’s nice but mechanical and uninventive. And here his message to the losing Trump voters. Surely well-meaning with references to goodwill, healing and the Bible. But totally inefficient to build confidence with his opponents, about half of the American people.
This type of speeches will not make peace among American citizens, particularly not at a moment when Biden speaks on the basis of a media-decided election victory.
So, domestic peace is not very likely. What about international peace?
You may start with Joe Biden on Wikipedia and scroll down to the chapter “Senate Foreign Relations Committee” and further down to “Vice president 2009-2017”.
It’s clear that Mr Biden has been a consistent supporter of all the wars the United States has started in various countries the last 30+ years. As a vice president in the Obama administration, he has a direct, significant co-responsibility for the regime-change destructions of Libya and Syria and for Obama’s drone warfare and killing of Osama Bin Laden.
In a foreign policy field where Biden used to do the right thing, in my view, namely keeping a positive attitude to China and its long-term development, he now surrounds himself with people who makes consistently negative estimates of China as a global power. Over time, and particularly since he became a candidate, he has grown more and more negative to everything China.
In an analysis in the Chinese Global Times, you’ll find this to-the-point statement – “relations (between the US and China) may still worsen but not as quickly.”
Concerning Joe Biden’s basic attitudes to Iran and what he will do as President of the United States, you need to read no more than his own words on CNN from September 13, 2020, here. Obviously, no Iranian in his or her right mind would engage in dialogue about that after what Iran has experienced with the US.
Here is how The Times Of Israel sees its super-Zionist friend.
There is, of course, more to be said about Joe Biden’s hawkish foreign policy view; here is a November 8 analysis by Jeremy Kuzmarov in CovertAction Magazine. And here is DefenceNews’ take on his security profile.
And what about Russia? Here in his own words in Foreign Policy, you get the gist of how he sees Russia – in which you can find many delightfully revealing paranoia sentences such as this: “In the face of these negative trends [in today’s Russia, JO] and the possibility that they could contribute to organized resistance, the Kremlin appears to have concluded that its best defense is a strong offense. But not content to merely crush dissent at home, it is now taking the fight to Western democracies, and especially the United States, on their turf.”
Most of Biden’s foreign policy advisers today were influential in earlier US administrations: Antony Blinken (whose father, Donald Blinken, helped fix the bombings of ex-Yugoslavia from Budapest where he was US ambassador under Clinton), is an old-timer in politics and co-founder of the WestExec Advisors. Susan Rice, policy advisor to John Kerry and Obama and defended Israel at the Security Council, pushed for tough sanctions against Iran and North Korea and advocated for U.S. and NATO intervention in Libya in 2011.
There is also Michèle Flournoy with a long career in Pentagon back to the Clinton days and – surprise-surprise – co-funder with Blinken of the mentioned WestExec Advisors. She is also the co-founder of CNAS, Center for a New American Security – one of Washington’s leading go-to think tanks on military affairs. Wikipedia offers an advertisement-like presentation telling you all the MIMAC-affiliations CNAS has. And CNASs CEO is Victoria Nuland, known for her central role in the Obama-administration orchestrated regime-change in Ukraine. Here is DefenseNews’ take on her as Secretary of Defence.
And there is William J Burns, former US ambassador to Russia and presently heading the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; he retired from formal politics in 2014, has advised several foreign policy operators, including a few with blood on their hands, but does not seem to have it on his own hands. And there is also one of the leading ‘humanitarian’ interventionist hawks, Samantha Power who has been on the side of war almost every time she had the chance.
Read this excellent article by staff writer Tracy Wilkinson in Los Angeles Times offering more background to Biden’s advisors and possible secretaries in a Biden administration. And shiver…as you also may when you read this analysis by Mariamne Everett. And Politico has a a broader list of possible Biden team members.
So! Do you think President Biden will make the UN join the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW)? That he will reduce US military budgets? Curb US arms export? Make the US a strong supporter of the UN Charter and stop US violations of international law? That he will (be able to) reduce and put under democratic control the US Military-Industrial-Media-Academic Complex (MIMAC) that has now, in a way, decided that he is the next president?
Will Biden cut down the number of USA military bases from 600+ to a handful? Withdraw secret special forces and presence worldwide – or withdraw completely from Syria and the many other places the US military operates around the world?
You may think or hope so. Hope is the last thing that leave humans. But I don’t.
And if to my surprise, he would suddenly try to do such things, he would be incapacitated by those who thrive from these world-destroying imperialist and militarist policies, the above-mentioned MIMAC.
Joe Biden is no reformer and offers no hope for a new, benign and partnership-oriented US in the world. He will be a custodian presiding over all the ways of thinking, fantasies and exceptionalist delusionary self-images that make his country (and NATO) increasingly the real Evil Empire, dangerous and outdated.
With him as president, the allies and friends of the US will relax and postpone their necessary re-orientation to a future world order in which no one exercises – or foolishly tries to exercise – full-spectrum dominance over everybody and everything.
Biden’s won’t be leadership, it will be backwardship.
And when it falls, he will be no Gorbachev. Leaders of Gorbachev’s intellectual, ethical and visionary calibre may only occur once or twice per century.
Instead, Biden will have reached the top in his 80ies only to become the captain of US Titanic.
Well, of course, CNN would not agree to any of this. Here is a November 9 frontpage presenting Trump as the self-destructive bad loser and Biden as the dynamic, great hope for America. The photos and editing is clearly part of a pro-Biden campaign and as such a fine example of how to polarize society even more.
Trump and the people of the US
Some who have read this far and think – perhaps unconsciously – in either/or terms may now conclude that I am pro-Trump. Well, if so, little do they know.
Fortunately, I am not a US citizen having to vote for either. I believe it is my right to refuse to be forced to choose between two that bad, unsavoury candidates to decide my life and shape the future of my society.
After all, it is the basic problem of democracy (but not of dictatorships) if it ends up in a no-real-choice election as a Kakistocracy which means a government that is run by the worst, least qualified, and/or most unscrupulous citizens. (And no other candidates up for choice on Election Day).
We do not yet know, of course, about voter motivation patterns this time but I would assume that Trump voters voted to avoid Biden because they hate him and everything the Democrats stand for as least as much as out of love for Trump. And vice versa that people have voted for Biden because they hate Trump and not necessarily because they love Biden.
Trump got more votes than expected, as mentioned above. One would be able to understand that four years ago; he represented something new, a new way of acting as a politician; he looked like a successful businessman with a negotiation and leadership capability beyond the average – and he was not part of the political establishment in Washington or of any of the dynasties. He promised to seek good relations with Russia and not engage in all those wars.
But four years later?
Today it is well-known and not disputed that Trump has a documented record of telling lies, denying what he has said and saying outrageous and outlandish things. He has threatened war repeatedly – even nuclear war by talking about his button being bigger than the other’s.
He has bombed in Syria and killed a top government leader of Iran.
He has withdrawn the US from a series of international accords – from the JCPOA nuclear deal with Iran which is a gross violation of international law and also imposed new sanctions on Iran and secondary sanction on allies.
He has withdrawn the US from international organisations, latest the WHO. He has started – one-sidedly – a Cold War with China that is grossly self-destructive for the US itself. He has built walls and split families and barred Muslims from around the world from entering the US.
He has been destructive and impolite to NATO allies, thrown out scores of advisers he just didn’t like. He has surprised the world repeatedly with childish (no offence to children intended!) and narcissistic tweets – and he has been more or less constantly in the limelight for sexual affairs, tax manipulation, for calling other politicians names and countries shithole…
The world has lost respect, not to mention admiration, for the United States under Trump.
He has indeed made the US (not “America”) anything but great again. If he has not started any new war internationally, he may well have started a kind of war domestically which is now already brewing and may very likely blow up in violence before January 21, 2021.
If Biden is the next president, he must spend most of his time and energy the next four years on bringing some post-Trump ‘normality’ – whatever that is – back to “America”.
It will anyhow not become great again, not matter what.
Furthermore, Trump has handled the Coronavirus worse than practically any other leader and likely caused enormous suffering and thousands of unnecessary deaths of Americans.
While in his favour, one might mention that he has not started any new international war, he has polarized the US society more than anyone in modern time. He has expressed racist, White supremacy attitudes repeatedly and staged strange photo ops with The Bible.
And conducted a war with – surprise! – those media that now announce that he has lost…
In spite of all this, half of the US citizens have now voted for him to be their president for four more years !!
In the next section below, you may see one explanation – namely, that reality is not what is real but what has been constructed. In other words, the US citizens have to a large extent been made to live in darkness about the real situation and made to believe that they have no power and that elections are not about choosing but just about voting for either Pest or Cholera and that that is democracy.
What a tragedy that no one can vote on the basis of a “best case” belief and with enthusiasm, in support of a benign vision, a better US and world for the next generations. What is left of the US democracy is, rather, a desperate vote against “the worst case” scenario.
One must ask: what is that enigmatic characteristic in such a large part of the people in the United States that made them vote for the re-election of Trump? Just how can they vote for such a personality to be their leader – for such a backwardship?
And how responsible is the Democratic Party for such a widespread feeling – where people seem willing to go for anything only to avoid democrats?
Certainly, and in all fairness, you can blame Trump for much, but the deep crisis of US society and the Empire started way before Trump entered politics.
How to understand all this?
There are of course countless causes, trends, theories and concepts – and one could write a 5-volume series of books to answer this question reasonably well. The Transnational hosts much of such materials and none of it shall be repeated here.
But a friend recently alerted me to a short article by Dutch journalist Karel van Wolferen – and that was a nice deja vue because I knew of von Wolferen’s writings about Japan when I was a visiting professor for the first time in Japan, in particular his pathbreaking book, The Enigma of Japanese Power (1990), which proved prophetic in explaining the decline of that power from about the time that book was published.
van Wolferen’s eye-opening article about the US was published on his blog in 2017 under the title, Karl Rove’s prophecy.
Here is how he starts out – and don’t miss the rest of this brilliant exposé about how US media and politics have joined forces in creating a deceptive, fake image of reality to serve elites, or oligarchs: “You have no choice”!
“In a famous exchange between a high official at the court of George W. Bush and journalist Ron Susskind, the official – later acknowledged to have been Karl Rove – takes the journalist to task for working in “the reality-based community.” He defined that as believing “that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.”
Rove then asserted that this was no longer the way in which the world worked. “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality – judiciously, as you will – we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.” (Ron Suskind, NYTimes Magazine, Oct. 17, 2004).
This declaration became popular as an illustration of the hubris of the Bush-Cheney government. But we could also see it as fulfilled prophecy. Fulfilled in a manner that no journalist at that time would have deemed possible. Yes, the neoconservatives brought disrepute upon themselves because of the disaster in Iraq. Sure, opposition to the reality Rove had helped create in that devastated country became a first rung on the ladder that could lead to the presidency, as it did for Barack Obama. But the neocons stayed put in the State Department and other positions closely linked to the Obama White House, where they became allies with the liberal hawks in continuing to ‘spread democracy’ by overthrowing regimes.
America’s mainstream news and opinion purveyors, without demurring, accommodated the architects of reality production overseen by Dick Cheney. This did not end when Obama became president, but in fact with seemingly ever greater eagerness they gradually made the CIA/neocon-neoliberal created reality appear unshakably substantial in the minds of most newspaper readers and among TV audiences in the Atlantic basin. This was most obvious when attention moved to an imagined existential threat posed by Russia supposedly aimed at the political and ‘Enlightenment’ achievements of the West…”
“The triumph of political untruth has brought into being a vast system of political intimidation. Remember then that the intimidator does not really care what you believe or not, but impresses you with the fact that you have no choice. That is the essence of the exercise of brute power.”
In my view, it can be argued that the US no longer has a Military-Industrial-Media-Academic Complex (MIMAC) but is one. The media that have stepped in and – before the final count – declared who the winner is belong to that MIMAC.
Karel van Wolferen’s description of the political untruth applies, in particular, to the MIMAC. Without it, without self-censoring media people and citizens feeling powerlessly being deprived of real choice – also the choice to go for peace – it could not exist.
Scenario 1 “Smooth Transition” – Trump concede and citizens of the United States do not take to the streets in the weeks and months to come. I would be quite surprised if that’s what is what we shall see. It’s an unlikely scenario given the pent-up tension, frustration caused by the election process on top of the usual and unresolved socio-economic problems, segregation, racism and, not the least, the Corona.
Biden will see such a non-dramatic scenario as a confirmation of his victory – at least until he begins to demolish the US that Trump built. He may very well choose some kind of war, or at least bombing, adventure to divert attention from what will look like his failures. He’s sure got enough advisors not to be prevented from military action. The ‘deep state’ running things – including the Military-Industrial-Media-Academic Complex (MIMAC) – underneath the formal Presidency will see Biden as more cooperative and predictable than Trump. Here is why:
Trump is no peace candidate, that is obvious. But a president who has not started a new war the last four years and may not do so the next four either is a problem for the MIMAC. John F. Kennedy was from when he had given this speech about a new world peace a few months before he was killed:
Trump’s performance, intellectual capacity, eloquence and elegance are not in the slightest comparable with Kennedy’s but he has said this much too:
In this scenario, we’ll just see more of the usual bad policies and militarism couched in Obama-like rhetorics.
Scenario 2 “Violence from below” – Citizens do take to violence. This could become very dangerous, nasty and tragic since there are more than enough weapons in all corners of US society. It will most likely be started mainly by Trump supporters but could soon involve other marginalised and disenfranchised groups.
Trump is president up till January 2021. He may see it fit to not try to stop it even though he is an authoritarian leader who could mass-mobilise the police and other law-and-order enforcers. He may even strengthen or encourage it with a few sentences (and then deny that he did so).
He will see it as a support for him in his role of the victim of an election conspiracy by the Democrats and their media.
Scenario 3 – “Deliberate formation of chaos or scourged earth” – The premature media decision about the election winner may, in this perspective, turn out to help Trump in making him feel even more convinced that they are covering up the fraud he insists has taken place. He chooses, therefore, to take the initiative to deliberately instigate such riots and turmoil through speeches, tweets, and behind-the-scenes encouragement to groups that are willing to take to violence in support of Trumpist America. And in that role, he might give it a full blast as a form of revenge on the Democrats and their media – which he will hate even more after CNN’s announcement of his defeat.
He may or may not leave the White House in January next year. If he does, this scenario could be a scourged earth politics with a strategy and the tactics intended to deliver a deeply scarred US to his successor, perhaps one that is beyond psychological, socio-political and economic repair for years ahead.
One way or the other, Trump may go in 2021 or 2025. Trumpism, however, will stay with almost half of the people of the United States and, as argued well here, a more professional authoritarian leader is likely to emerge.
What the West needs now
In summary, there are no scenarios for the common good, for the revitalisation of the US or for deep reforms to be discerned. Declining and fragmented as it is after the 2020 election process, there is no way the US should or can be seen as the leader of the Western or all the world.
This crisis and decline have been entirely of the United States’ own making, beginning with Clinton’s expansion of NATO and complete contempt for international law and the UN’s norms, values and provisions.
No external factors have caused this decline and soon-to-come fall of the US and its Empire. It’s just that, basically, the wrong road was chosen at each fork in the road since 1989.
The winner triumphalistically took it all and is now losing it all. It wasn’t the end of history, it was the end of the history of the US, its militarism and Empire and thereby the end of NATO, Mr. Fukuyama…
A new, more balanced world order is emerging – but because of the Westäs increasing weakness, you have heard virtually nothing about it in the Western/US-dominated press.
The West should and can be a partner in it. But that requires both a perestroika, a glasnost and a demokratizatsiya and a completely different, more humble, attitude by the US/West of itself and its place in the larger – and interesting – scheme of things to come.