the immediate future



The world, starting with Biden.

“When the US pulls back, one of the two things is likely to happen: either another country tries to take our place, but not in a way that advances our interests and values ​​or, maybe just as bad, no one steps up, and then we get chaos and all the dangers it creates. Either way, that's not good for America”. (Antony Blinken.“Confidence, humility, and the United States' new direction in the World”. In: Foreign Policy, March 4, 2021)

Five weeks after the inauguration of the democratic government of Joe Biden, it is already possible to speculate about the next four years of American political life, and about the viability of the new foreign policy of the United States announced by the president at the Annual Security Meeting in Munich, on the of just past February 19, in which he insistently stated that “the US is back to lead”.

The coalition of forces that gathered around Joe Biden's candidacy went far beyond the Democratic Party and included sectors of the US military right. Their common goal was to defeat Donald Trump, and if possible remove him from political life in the country. But at this moment, the internal struggle within this coalition is still restricted to the dispute for the main positions of the first and second echelons of the government. Thus, what stands out most in the press at this moment are Biden's speeches and first decisions and initiatives, especially his “internal agenda”, strongly liberal and radically anti-Trump. And also in the field of foreign policy, where the government has already taken some more striking decisions that had been announced before the election.

The first initiatives taken in the field of health, environmental protection, immigration, protection of minorities and identity causes, supported by Kamala Harris, include several flags most radical of the candidacy of Bernie Sanders. Likewise, in the international field, signaling a return to the traditional multilateralism of American foreign policy, and the “globalitarian liberal-cosmopolitism” of the democrats, the Biden government returned to the Paris Agreement, to the WHO, to the G7, signed the immediate renewal of the Agreement new start of strategic arms limitation, with Russia, took the first steps to return to the nuclear agreement with Iran and gave up the immediate withdrawal of American troops from Germany.

In addition, in his speech in Munich, Biden made a great effort to reconnect with his former European allies, in particular Germany and France, and insistently underlined his warm willingness to rejoin his former partners in the group of “democratic countries” ”, to stop the advance of the “authoritarian countries”, which even without being named, have already been transformed into the new scarecrow in charge of reuniting the Atlantic bloc so successful during the Cold War. So far, no big news with regard to the governments of Bill Clinton – and especially of Barack Obama – from which almost all the main cadres of the Biden government emerged.

The problem, however, is that the future is not usually born from the good intentions of rulers. On the contrary, much more often arises from the obstacles and opposition that these rulers encounter along the way. And, in the case of Biden, the opposition and the obstacles in his way seem to be already fully drawn on the horizon close to the president and his government team – starting with the internal plan, where the main threat to his power project lurks, which will be the 2022 parliamentary elections.

In this regard, the first thing to be clear about is that Donald Trump did not fall from the sky or get to where he is thanks to the brilliance of his intelligence or the originality of his very few personal ideas. Trump was never more than one outsider, television entertainer, real estate speculator and golfer. But circumstances took care of making him president of the USA, something unimaginable for someone who never participated in any previous election nor was he actually active in the Republican Party.

However, the society that elected him president was a society divided and embittered by the economic effects of the 2008 financial crisis, and in particular by the Obama administration's anti-crisis policies that exponentially increased the concentration of income in the US, accelerating a trend that it came from before and which ended up creating two universes practically incommunicable and separated by differences in salary, color, education, culture, degree of urbanity. It would even be possible to say that Trump, despite being very rich, was put in the White House by a real uprising of the plebs of the Midwest and the regions destroyed by the closure of the old North American industry. In fact, he was only defeated in his re-election bid due to his catastrophic management of the coronavirus pandemic during 2020, second only to that of Captain Bolsonaro, and his unbelievable Minister of Health, General Eduardo Pazuello.

Despite his extraordinary health failure, Donald Trump had the support of 46,9% of the American electorate, and until today he maintains the support of most of the Republican Party, despite having left the American society and political system behind him. cracked from top to bottom, and with a growing level of polarization and violence, which should grow even more in the 2022 parliamentary elections. In addition, Trump himself has already announced himself as a likely candidate in the 2024 presidential elections, immediately becoming the main ghost that will haunt Joe Biden's term, alongside the fragile Democratic majority in Congress that will bring problems at every step that the new president takes to advance his internal agenda, especially in the field of ecology and social spending.

On the other hand, in the international field, Biden’s horizon does not seem calm either, for reasons that have to do with the four years of the Trump administration and also with the contradictions and limitations of the “liberal-cosmopolitan” project and its globalitarian utopia. At this point, the first thing that must be clear is that the world will never go back, and that the relationships that were broken, the institutions that were destroyed and the commitments that were not fulfilled by the government of Donald Trump can no longer be rebuilt and redone as if nothing had happened.

After four years, the United States lost its credibility even with its oldest and most permanent allies. Firstly, because they were attacked, as in the case of Germany and France, for example, and these aggressions are never forgotten. Second, because despite Joe Biden's warm declarations of friendship, no one can be sure that Trump himself, or any other supporter of his positions, will not be re-elected four years from now, resuming the path of conservative and aggressive nationalism of the Trump administration.

And if that goes for the allied countries, what can be expected from countries or governments like Iran, which got involved in an extremely complex nuclear deal and which was broken by the US with an ease and irresponsibility that will never be forgotten? In the international field, decisions of this level of importance and severity tend to take a long time to be taken and then digested. And yet, this time the American government threw everything into space in just four years, without warning or discussing it with anyone, and without ever having been concerned about the global consequences of its gestures. In the exemplary case of the pandemic, the US did not move a straw in favor of some kind of global coordination and leadership; on the contrary, they took advantage of the occasion to attack and leave the WHO, one of the oldest and most respected multilateral organizations created by the liberal project of global governance sponsored by the Americans since the end of the Second World War.

Finally, weighing on the heads of the Democrats, and on the future of the project of international leadership of the government of Biden, the terrible balance of what passed during the almost three decades of the unilateral power and the “liberal-cosmopolitan” project of the north -Americans. In the 1990s alone, in the midst of euphoria and celebration of the victory of the “democratic world”, during the two administrations of President Bill Clinton and the “market economy”, the US carried out 48 military interventions around the world; and after 2001, they intervened militarily in 24 countries, launching 100 aerial bombings, concentrated on countries that they called the Greater Middle East and that are part of the Islamic world. In Obama's administration alone, 26 bombs were dropped, in addition to hundreds of "warlike murders" perpetrated by US Air Force drones. In addition, during this period, the US was involved in the longest war in its history, which has lasted 20 years, in Afghanistan, the same period in which it literally destroyed the societies and economies of Iraq, Libya and Syria.

One of the most visible consequences of this continued expansionism and “liberal-cosmopolitan” warmongering was the emergence of an increasingly powerful political and military response from Russia and China, not to mention the other countries that strengthened in response to continued economic sanctions. of the American government, as in the case of Iran, or even Turkey, increasingly distant from NATO and the USA. In addition, this “missionary expansionism” by the Americans ended up opening the doors to what may have been the greatest international defeat of the USA at the beginning of the XNUMXst century: the loss of the American and Western monopoly of control over institutions and military arbitration of conflicts. world, due to the new Russian military power, which has already surpassed the North Americans in several types of weapons, and due to the success of the Chinese economic and political model, which entered the XNUMXst century with the same victorious mark as the North Americans had at the beginning of the XNUMXth century.

At this point, one thing is certain and must be considered when calculating the immediate future of Joe Biden's international proposal: the world has changed too much and will not go back, and not because of the extraordinary mistakes of Donald Trump's government. The “liberal-cosmopolitan” project no longer has the same appeal as in the past; the utopia of globalization no longer has the same appeal nor does it have the capacity to promise the same happiness as in the 1990s; the West can no longer eliminate or subdue Chinese civilization. For this reason, at this moment the Biden government is already divided on how to conduct its relationship with China, which is defined by Biden as its main competitor and as its most serious challenge: creating zero-sum games in conflict areas; promoting the advancement of economic interrelation; or finally, establishing a partnership around the theme that is also of interest to the Chinese today – the climate and ecological issue, and the energy transition in general.

Putting it all together, what can be predicted with a reasonable degree of certainty is that the Biden government will be a weak government, and that the world will go through the next few years without having another arbitral leader. With all this, the future of the Biden government, and in a way, of humanity itself, will depend greatly on the ability of the American government and all the great Western powers to understand and accept the fact that the exclusivity of the liberal economic success of the Western; and what is perhaps even more important and difficult to accept: that the moral monopoly of “Western civilization” has definitively ended, which will now have to live with a system of values ​​and beliefs of a civilization that arose and developed in a completely autonomous in relation to the “West” and in relation to all the variants of its “monotheism” and its expansionist, catechetical and conquering “enlightenment”.

* Jose Luis Fiori Professor at the Graduate Program in International Political Economy at UFRJ. Author, among other books, of History, strategy and development (Boitempo).


See this link for all articles


  • About artificial ignoranceEugenio Bucci 15/06/2024 By EUGÊNIO BUCCI: Today, ignorance is not an uninhabited house, devoid of ideas, but a building full of disjointed nonsense, a goo of heavy density that occupies every space
  • Franz Kafka, libertarian spiritFranz Kafka, libertarian spirit 13/06/2024 By MICHAEL LÖWY: Notes on the occasion of the centenary of the death of the Czech writer
  • The society of dead historyclassroom similar to the one in usp history 16/06/2024 By ANTONIO SIMPLICIO DE ALMEIDA NETO: The subject of history was inserted into a generic area called Applied Human and Social Sciences and, finally, disappeared into the curricular drain
  • Strengthen PROIFESclassroom 54mf 15/06/2024 By GIL VICENTE REIS DE FIGUEIREDO: The attempt to cancel PROIFES and, at the same time, turn a blind eye to the errors of ANDES management is a disservice to the construction of a new representation scenario
  • Hélio Pellegrino, 100 years oldHelio Pellegrino 14/06/2024 By FERNANDA CANAVÊZ & FERNANDA PACHECO-FERREIRA: In the vast elaboration of the psychoanalyst and writer, there is still an aspect little explored: the class struggle in psychoanalysis
  • Volodymyr Zelensky's trapstar wars 15/06/2024 By HUGO DIONÍSIO: Whether Zelensky gets his glass full – the US entry into the war – or his glass half full – Europe’s entry into the war – either solution is devastating for our lives
  • Letter to the presidentSquid 59mk,g 18/06/2024 By FRANCISCO ALVES, JOÃO DOS REIS SILVA JÚNIOR & VALDEMAR SGUISSARDI: “We completely agree with Your Excellency. when he states and reaffirms that 'Education is an investment, not an expense'”
  • Introduction to “Capital” by Karl Marxred triangular culture 02/06/2024 By ELEUTÉRIO FS PRADO: Commentary on the book by Michael Heinrich
  • PEC-65: independence or patrimonialism in the Central Bank?Campos Neto Trojan Horse 17/06/2024 By PEDRO PAULO ZAHLUTH BASTOS: What Roberto Campos Neto proposes is the constitutional amendment of free lunch for the future elite of the Central Bank
  • The strike at federal Universities and Institutescorridor glazing 01/06/2024 By ROBERTO LEHER: The government disconnects from its effective social base by removing those who fought against Jair Bolsonaro from the political table