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muriel_volestrangler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-07-09 07:13 AM
Original message
Biden outlines US foreign policy
Source: BBC

US Vice-President Joe Biden has outlined the Obama administration's foreign policy direction, promising a new American tone in the world.

Mr Biden, addressing a security forum in Munich, said Iran's nuclear threat could be fought with a missile defence shield - if it was cost-effective.

He also said that fighting the Taleban in Afghanistan needed a combined effort, with Pakistan a key player.

His wide-ranging speech covered climate change and the global economic crisis.

Read more: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/7876184.stm



There are many possible takes on the speech, it seems - take your pick from:

US will consult with Russia on missile defence, Biden vows
U.S. to continue missile defense against Iran-Biden
US to lead, act aggressively on climate
Biden says U.S. willing to talk to Iran
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Why Syzygy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-07-09 07:23 AM
Response to Original message
1. When may we expect an explanation
as to WHY we should be fighting the Taliban?
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Ghost Dog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-07-09 10:25 AM
Response to Reply #1
11. Because the "cold war" was "over",
and the US govt., any US govt., needs enemies, in order to keep US proles in line, under thumb (and US armaments corporations in profit).

But, we know that already.
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Cass Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-07-09 08:39 PM
Response to Reply #1
24. Many in the world accept the explanation that the Taliban harbored OBL
and Al Qaeda, hence the nearly global support for Bush's invasion of Afghanistan following the 9/11 attacks.

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Why Syzygy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-08-09 12:40 AM
Response to Reply #24
25. DU one time visitor posted:
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

What everyone is calling "tribes" are nations in the eyes of most of the people who live there-- Afghanistan is an arbitrary collective of ethnic groups pulled together unwillingly under a nation-state. Taliban is simply a word that refers to they who study the Koran devotedly and literally, but it has become an empowered force to reckon with, thanks to our sloppy and deliberate covert activities based on greed, imperial desire, and meddling in others' business. The idea that bombardment from the air somehow extinguishes a people's passion is not only absurd but proven wrong. And the idea that one could ever fight a war on something as vague as "terror" is even more twisted than trying to fight a war on "drugs." Both are poorly-defined concepts, when, in the case of the former GWB was referring actually to resistance fighters who resorted to criminal means like attacking the WTC; or, in the case of Ronald Reagan, when he was actually not referring to drugs themselves but to their channels of distribution and those who abused them.

I am hopeful that Obama has taken a hard line in this regard throughout his campaign in order to convince his critics that he was willing to take a tough Bushlike stance on certain foreign policy initiatives and create a sense of contiguity in the Middle East. But now it's time for him to tack and change course. If the US really does care about the future security of our world, and about the welfare of all human beings--be they "women and girls" or anyone who deserves to live life with dignity and human rights--then what we should be doing instead of dropping bombs is listening to ALL sides, and that means taking a better inventory of who all these sides really are and what they are wanting. I'm sure each side is wanting something very legitimate, very reasonable. Before "death to all Americans" was mouthed, I am sure a US bomb fell somewhere and someone was hurt or killed-- and before that there was probably something much more understandable-- much deeper pain and suffering that was decades, centuries, even millennia old. We are blind to this-- completely ignorant of it in fact. I am disappointed that Obama, with all his education and wisdom, is not more appreciative of this complexity.

We could begin our listening process and our facilitation of peace by helping to convene (but not dominating, or even presiding over!!) a major international peace conference in Central Asia, aimed at letting the different peoples of different nations (and by this I mean the actual ethnic groups throughout and across the false boundaries imposed by various regimes, including our own) voice their own desires and their own hopes for the future. It would only be through this kind of constructive process that we can actually remediate the incredible damage that the Bush administration has done and provide a solid foundation by which we attract less terrorism and anti-US sentiment. What is the point of seeking out bin Laden anyway? He is indeed a criminal mastermind, but what will capturing him do when terrorism is a phenomenon unto itself? To do that would be like trying to capture and quarantine the first person who spawned the HIV virus, as if that would stop the disease from spreading further than it already has. The only way to reverse this process is by fighting fire with water, not fire... disempower this anti-American movement by changing what "America" IS abroad-- show that America is growing up, willing to listen, willing to facilitate dialogue, willing to support human dignity and the lives of civilians who are committed to peace-- not some contrived idea of "liberty" for the few and "democracy" only for those who play by our rules.
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Ghost Dog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-07-09 07:38 AM
Response to Original message
2. Isn't this Ms. Clinton's job?
Edited on Sat Feb-07-09 08:01 AM by Ghost Dog
Is Mr. Biden really, or Ms. Clinton, really up to speed on the contemporary international panorama?

... Today even the most power hungry strata within the American ruling class, including the Republican Party and a right-wing faction of the Democrats, admit that the future belongs to a multi-polar world order. The question is how fast at this juncture the world economic crisis, whose focal points are in the U.S. and Britain, would accelerate the trend of diminishing economic and consequently military power of the U.S. and Europe.

According to the most recent forecast by the U.S. National Intelligence Council (NIC), Global Trends 2025, by mid 20s the international system will be a global multi-polar one with disparity in national power continuing to narrow between developed and developing countries.

With little ambiguity, the intelligence report reveals that owing to the rise of emerging powers, a globalizing economy, an historic transfer of relative wealth and economic power from west to east, and the growing influence of non-state actorsthe international system- as constructed following the Second World War will be almost unrecognizable.

/... http://mathaba.net/news/?x=617014
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Dover Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-07-09 08:37 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. I see a global elite attempting to retain control on a global level, and privatized interests
particularly of critical resources is still a HUGE hurdle. In other words, those who currently have the resources to help guide a mutually beneficial change remain self-interested....at least in the short run. And there is not yet a global infrastructure or legal body to thwart or counteract those private interests. So we have a long way to go, and THE PEOPLE must claim their due in designing this 'new world' or it will be designed FOR them.

Not to mention serious climate changes that we must learn to handle cooperatively...because despite our differences this planet belongs to ALL of us and we will sink or swim together. As these changes occur they will no doubt drive that point home...
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Ghost Dog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-07-09 09:50 AM
Response to Reply #3
6. Indeed. Compare and contrast
this:

We wont pay for the crisis. The rich have to pay for it !

Anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist, feminist, environmentalist and socialist alternatives are necessary

We the social movements from all over the world came together on the occasion of the 8th World Social Forum in Belm, Amazonia, where the peoples have been resisting attempts to usurp Nature, their lands and their cultures. We are here in Latin America, where over the last decade the social movements and the indigenous movements have joined forces and radically question the capitalist system from their cosmovision. Over the last few years, in Latin America highly radical social struggles have resulted in the overthrow of neoliberal governments and the empowerment of governments that have carried out many positive reforms such as the nationalisation of core sectors of the economy and democratic constitutional reforms.

In this context the social movements in Latin America have responded appropriately, deciding to support the positive measures adopted by these governments while keeping a critical distance. These experiences will be of help in order to strengthen the peoples staunch resistance against the policies of governments, corporations and banks who shift the burden of the crisis onto the oppressed. We the social movements of the globe are currently facing a historic challenge. The international capitalist crisis manifests itself as detrimental to humankind in various ways: it affects food, finance, the economy, climate, energy, population migration and civilisation itself, as there is also a crisis in international order and political structures.

We are facing a global crisis which is a direct consequence of the capitalist system and therefore cannot find a solution within the system. All the measures that have been taken so far to overcome the crisis merely aim at socialising losses so as to ensure the survival of a system based on privatising strategic economic sectors, public services, natural and energy resources and on the commoditisation of life and the exploitation of labour and of nature as well as on the transfer of resources from the Periphery to the Centre and from workers to the capitalist class.

The present system is based on exploitation, competition, promotion of individual private interests to the detriment of the collective interest, and the frenzied accumulation of wealth by a handful of rich people. It results in bloody wars, fuels xenophobia, racism and religious fundamentalisms; it intensifies the exploitation of women and the criminalisation of social movements. In the context of the present crisis the rights of peoples are systematically denied. The Israeli governments savage aggression against the Palestinian people is a violation of International Law and amounts to a war crime, a crime against humanity, and a symbol of the denial of a peoples rights that can be observed in other parts of the world. The shameful impunity must be stopped. The social movements reassert their active support of the struggle of the Palestinian people as well as of all actions against oppression by peoples worldwide.

In order to overcome the crisis we have to grapple with the root of the problem and progress as fast as possible towards the construction of a radical alternative that would do away with the capitalist system and patriarchal domination. We must work towards a society that meets social needs and respects natures rights as well as supporting democratic participation in a context of full political freedom. We must see to it that all international treaties on our indivisible civic, political, economic, social and cultural rights, both individual and collective, are implemented.

In this perspective we must contribute to the largest possible popular mobilisation to enforce a number of urgent measures such as:

- Nationalising the banking sector without compensations and with full social monitoring,

- Reducing working time without any wage cut,

- Taking measures to ensure food and energy sovereignty

- Stopping wars, withdraw occupation troops and dismantle military foreign bases

- Acknowledging the peoples sovereignty and autonomy ensuring their right to self-determination

- Guaranteeing rights to land, territory, work, education and health for all.

- Democratise access to means of communication and knowledge.

The social emancipation process carried by the feminist, environmentalist and socialist movements in the 21st century aims at liberating society from capitalist domination of the means of production, communication and services, achieved by supporting forms of ownership that favour the social interest: small family freehold, public, cooperative, communal and collective property.

Such an alternative will necessarily be feminist since it is impossible to build a society based on social justice and equality of rights when half of humankind is oppressed and exploited.

/continues... http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=1...


with this:

Some 2,500 representatives of the world's business and political elite, including 41 heads of government and scores of cabinet ministers, are attending the annual World Economic Forum, which opened Wednesday in the Swiss alpine resort of Davos. This year's forum, taking place in the midst of a global financial meltdown and economic slump that have shattered the complacent verities about the superiority of the "free enterprise system," presents a picture of deep crisis and disarray among the leaders of world capitalism.

The mood that prevails, according to all accounts, is one of gloom and foreboding. While it is generally acknowledged by the participants that they confront the most serious economic crisis since the Great Depression, the speeches and discussions have underscored the lack of any agreement on the basic causes of the crisis or any unified conception as to how it should be addressed.

The Washington Post quoted media baron Rupert Murdoch as saying the participants were "depressed and traumatized," adding that "$50 trillion of personal wealth" had vanished since the crisis worsened last September with the collapse of the US investment bank Lehman Brothers.

The Post went on to quote the billionaire hedge fund manager George Soros, who said, "The size of the problem confronting us today is larger than in the 1930s."

...

One year ago, after the initial collapse of the US housing market and eruption of the credit crisis, concern at the forum over these worrisome developments, which had been almost universally unanticipated, was tempered by assurances from American bankers and politicians that the disorder would be quickly resolved and that, in the worst case scenario, a US recession would be mild and brief. Most of the discussion centered on the widely held notion that the problems in US financial markets would not spread to Europe or Asia, due to the phenomenon of "decoupling."

Robert Greenhill, the forum's chief business officer, set the tone for this year's forum by declaring, "The meeting was founded at a time of division and uncertainty in the 1970s and this year is a return to its roots. People are coming to compare notes on what they need to do to emerge from a serious crisis."

Just how serious and universal a crisis was underscored on the opening day of the forum by the International Monetary Fund's downwardly revised estimate of world economic growth for 2009 of a mere 0.5 percent, including major contractions in the US, Britain, France, Germany and Japan. That followed the previous week's IMF forecast that world trade volumes would shrink 2.8 percent in 2009. Also on Wednesday, the International Labour Organization warned that some 51 million jobs could be lost worldwide this year.

The two dominant and interrelated features of this year's forum are a general sense of shock and near-panic over the inexorable and rapid manner in which the crisis has overtaken the efforts of central banks and governments to shore up the banks and revive economic activityamounting to trillions of dollars in loans, guarantees and cash infusionsand the devastating loss of American prestige and credibility.

/... http://wsws.org/articles/2009/jan2009/pers-j31.shtml

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biopowertoday Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-07-09 09:13 AM
Response to Reply #2
4. This is Clinton's role to play but Joe wants the action!!
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Muttocracy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-07-09 10:24 AM
Response to Reply #4
10. doesn't Obama pick who does what? nt
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jillan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-07-09 12:05 PM
Response to Reply #4
14. Actually - Obama should be there -remember our last Prez and his disgusting backrub?
Yep. Same conference.

Obama is obviously busy with domestic issues and sent his VP, who knows personally most of these world leaders.
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muriel_volestrangler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-07-09 03:20 PM
Response to Reply #14
20. No, it's not the same conference
This one is the 45th Munich Security Conference; Bush's horrible faux pas was at a G-8 meeting. The G-8 meetings are traditionally attended by the national leaders; the Munich Conference does not normally make the news much at all - it gets a mixture of leaders, defence ministers and so on. It's just because it's the first meeting with international politicians for Obama's administration that it's made the news.
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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-07-09 12:45 PM
Response to Reply #2
17. In other words, we blew our post-WWII position. Or, rather the Reaganites and Bushwhacks blew it,
although it can be traced back further, to the assassinations of JFK, RFK and MLK, in the 1960s, and to LBJ and the Vietnam War.

"With little ambiguity, the intelligence report reveals that 'owing to the rise of emerging powers, a globalizing economy, an historic transfer of relative wealth and economic power from west to east, and the growing influence of non-state actorsthe international system- as constructed following the Second World War will be almost unrecognizable.'"

We could have used our wealth and high status to create a more just and peaceful world. Instead, the Reagnites and Bushwhacks (with no little help from DINOs) turned us into a hated and hypocritical "evil empire," in which our military has been hijacked for corporate resource wars, and our corpo/fascists' ugly intentions toward the rest of the world are perfectly expressed by the loan sharks at the World Bank/IMF, which destroyed economy after economy in South America, for instance, until the financial dragons turned on us, and began eating us alive as well.

It is so saddening to contemplate this history, considering what might have been. And it is enraging when you read James Douglass' book, "JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters." America did not just fall apart. America was taken apart--and its ideals of peace, justice and democracy--systematically destroyed, at home and abroad, by traitors within our own government and their multinational corporate puppetmasters and war profiteers.

Saddening, enraging and...galvanizing? Yes, I believe so. I think American Revolution II is already under way. I think it started on 11/3/04, with the election fraud activists--so marginalized then, and their work so important now to understanding what happened, and what to do about it. The corporate-run 'TRADE SECRET' voting machines that were fast-tracked all over the country, during the 2002 to 2004 period, were not just aimed at continuing the Forever War, but were additionally--and maybe primarily--aimed at the Financial 9/11 that was engineered this September, two months before the Bushwhacks left office (having received immunity for their many crimes in exchange for their not nuking Iran and leaving the White House peacefully when the time came). Their final evil act: an induced Great Depression. An easily preventable Great Depression, including the hand-over-fist final looting of the American people, of an additional one trillion dollars into the pockets of the super-rich.

Can we take back the tattered ruins of our country, create American Revolution II, and restore it to the country it could have been, back when JFK and RFK were still alive? Yes! It's not going to be easy. But YES! I believe that totally. It will take keeping our eyes open--never to be fooled again by corporate 'news' monopoly narratives--hard work--grass roots organizing, rebuilding our democratic institutions--persistence and patience. And we have a model right here in our hemisphere--in the amazing, peaceful, democratic, leftist revolution that has swept South America. Look into countries like Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Argentina--who were hit by "shock and awe" economics before we were--and see what's really going on, among the people and politically--the news you never get here. Some of the primary lessons I've gleaned from research into the South American movement, that I think are applicable here: 1) Transparent vote counting, honest elections. 2) Grass roots organizing. 3) Think big.

We can overcome the corpo/fascist lock on most media with transparent vote counting. (Almost all votes in the U.S. are now counted with 'TRADE SECRET' code, owned and controlled by rightwing corporations). The South Americans have bad media--worse than ours. But they've been able to elect good leaders, because of tenacious work on transparent vote counting and other democratic rules and processes.

Grass roots organizing--badly needed here. That is the basis of all leftist victories in South America--networks of grass roots level social organizations, able to deliver the votes, and also to set the political agenda.

Think big? Think this: We charter these monstrous, multinational corporations that rule over us, to do business in the U.S., through STATE chartering systems. Like voting systems, the power still resides with the states--where ordinary people still have potential influence. We, the people, have the right--and the potential power--to pull corporate charters, dismantle them, and seize corporate assets for the common good, with or without cause. This is the proper order of things. We are the sovereigns in this land. Corporations do business with our permission, and only with our permission, and we can place whatever conditions that we think are in our interest, on their activities. This sovereign power EXISTS--it is just not being used properly and in our favor.

Like I said, think big. Hugo Chavez and the people of Venezuela did--and now they benefit from a 60% cut of the profits from Venezuela's oil resource, which is being used for education, medical care, and infrastructure and small business development. Think beyond just taxing Exxon Mobil fairly. Think of pulling their corporate charter when they fuck us over.

We have bigger, more difficult problems to solve than South America--including dealing with our war machine and its horrendous wars, and our secret government which supports and connives for war. We are at the heart of an 'evil empire' that is ravaging the world, not just us. A great deal of trouble has been taken to manipulate, brainwash and disempower our people, in ways that are not easy to see and overcome. South America had heinous dictatorships to overcome, and still have vast poverty that they are trying to solve. But they do not have the Pentagon--or Lockheed, or Bechtel, or Halliburton. They do not have out-of-control banks and financial institutions sucking the lifeblood out of their countries, as we do. It's in their past--the World Bank/IMF did the same to them, but the scale of it here is just mind-boggling.

So it's going to take time (it took the South Americans about a decade), and it's going to take quite a lot of persistent, patient hard work. But it can be done. And I believe it will be done, and our grandchildren will bless us for it. American Revolution II: the end of Corporate Rule.
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clixtox Donating Member (941 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-07-09 08:17 PM
Response to Reply #17
23. Another fabulous, recondite post! Thank You!

I dream of the day when most posts here on DU are as informative and well written as Peace Patriot's post invariably are!
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ohio2007 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-07-09 09:17 AM
Response to Original message
5. Iran's nuclear threat could be fought with a missile defence shield
sounds like star wars II talk...but the Russians say nyet to that proposal
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Romulox Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-07-09 09:52 AM
Response to Original message
7. Star Wars, War in Pakistan/Afghanistan continues, permanent bases in Iraq
"change"!
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jillan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-07-09 12:06 PM
Response to Reply #7
15. Biden is completely against Star Wars - fyi. I don't know Obama's position,
but Biden has spoken out loudly against Star Wars.
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Romulox Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-07-09 01:09 PM
Response to Reply #15
19. Didya READ the OP? Apparently Joe is in favor of Star Wars as of last week.
:hi:

"Mr Biden, addressing a security forum in Munich, said Iran's nuclear threat could be fought with a missile defence shield - if it was cost-effective."
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Mari333 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-07-09 09:53 AM
Response to Original message
8. getting tired of warmongering bullshit.
The USA vision as a chest thumping 'gentler' warmongering bully.
god, it will be our undoing.
may the empire fall.
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Myrina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-07-09 10:20 AM
Response to Original message
9. I watched this speech - Joe looked tired, or not into it ...
.... not alot of the 'animated Joe' we all know and love so much. He pretty much stood up there and read.

I hope it was jet-lag and not Obama-lag. :(
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Ghost Dog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-07-09 10:30 AM
Response to Reply #9
13. I'd like to see a video of this performance.
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Muttocracy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-07-09 08:07 PM
Response to Reply #13
21. thanks for that link. nt
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Muttocracy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-07-09 08:12 PM
Response to Reply #13
22. AP has a short video clip:
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Ghost Dog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-08-09 09:35 AM
Response to Reply #22
26. Thanks. Be nice to see/hear the whole thing. The full text
of Biden's address appears to be here: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/44/2009/02/07/biden_ad...
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jillan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-07-09 12:07 PM
Response to Reply #9
16. I'm sure he was sent there to deliver Obama's message - not his own.
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Muttocracy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-07-09 10:26 AM
Response to Original message
12. thanks for the multiple sources - the best way to get the news! nt
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Runcible Spoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-07-09 12:51 PM
Response to Original message
18. oh gawd not this missile defense bullshit AGAIN
What a pointless money sink! :banghead:
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