Research / Geopolitics

Democracy is coming? - An interventionist take on the Tigray crisis

Abstract: Many journalists and political scientists suspect that a Democrat-led White House would quickly return to the kind of interventionalism which made Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize feel a bit rushed in hindsight, but it was still surprising how fast Biden moved to continue his former boss’ legacy. No new war broke out yet, but the first couple of months were enough to focus media attention to a number of international issues that could become bases of new conflicts any time soon. As if the new administration was slowly building up new evils and enemies for the American public, to justify an incidental invasion in the coming years, should the strategic need ever arise.

Only days after the current POTUS’ inauguration, convoys of peacekeeping forces entered both Iraq and Syria, fulfilling Biden’s promises of redeployment (ultimately reversing Trump’s policy of gradually leaving the Middle East after the previous interventions’ catastrophic consequences), most importantly as a means to keep up pressure on the neighbouring Iran.[i] As to what extent should America be afraid of Tehran is still a question, nonetheless, senior officials have been acting very serious about the issue lately. It is quite interesting how Iran did not significantly venture further in its nuclear project in the last four years (even after Trump withdrew from the JCPOA[ii]), yet within just two weeks of Biden in charge of America, the intelligence agencies suddenly ‘discovered’ that the Islamic republic will be capable of building an atomic bomb in “a matter of weeks.”[iii] With such justification, who would not approve a new invasion should Iran choose not to re-enter negotiations over its uranium enrichment plants?

Similar is the case of Myanmar. The former, pro-Western and liberal minded government was ousted during a military coup in late January, which gave all power to junta with a one-year mandate. The general who took charge of the country, almost immediately declared Myanmar a strong ally of China, something that is not taken lightly by any US government. The new Secretary of State, Antony Blinken (a long-time supporter of American interventionalism), issued a call to “reverse these actions immediately”.[iv] And while it does make sense not to let formerly allied countries fall into the hands of Beijing so easily, a full-blown intervention on behalf of Burmese democracy would be too soon for now – though it could even come to that in a few years. But right now, nor Iran nor Myanmar could be served as Biden’s show of force, and judging from his and other top officials’ past record, they are actively looking for one.

An intervention – on behalf of democracy, human rights or whatever they choose it to be – would serve a complex purpose. For one, it would show the world that America is back in business, it’s done ‘leading from behind’, it takes its self-proclaimed responsibility-to-protect seriously, and is not afraid to be active militarily in the spheres of influence of other regional and global powers. Secondly, military success in a president’s first term is always a good way to consolidate domestic public support and secure a second term more easily, as nothing sends a clearer message of competence than prowess on the battlefield, rather sadly, I might add. And thirdly, with traditional (Mackinderian) geopoliticians like Blinken at the helm, there are always plenty of strategic targets on the chessboard of our planet, and as the old saying goes, a Democrat never misses a chance to miss a chance – unless it’s about bombing civilians in a far-away country.

Where there is need…




[i] SOULEIMAN, Delil: US military convoy enters northeast Syria: report. In: i24News, 24. 01. 2021., https://www.i24news.tv/en/news/international/middle-east/1611293792-us-military-convoy-enters-northeast-syria-report (2021.02.03.)

[ii] LANDLER, Mark: Trump Abandons Iran Nuclear Deal He Long Scorned. In: The New York Times, -08. 05. 2018., https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/08/world/middleeast/trump-iran-nuclear-deal.html (2021.02.03.)

[iii] KILANDER, Gustaf: Blinken warns Iran could be on course to have enough fuel for nuclear weapon within ’weeks’. In: Independent, 01. 02. 2021., https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/antony-blinken-iran-nuclear-weapon-b1795801.html (2021.02.03.)

[iv] Top U.S. diplomat Blinken calls on Myanmar military leaders to release Suu Kyi, others. In: Reuters, 01. 02. 2021., https://www.reuters.com/article/us-myanmar-politics-usa-idUSKBN2A117K (2021.02.03.)

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