Geopolitics is the study of how geography, culture, economics, resources, and demographics combine to influence world politics. And the reason it is critical for the leader of a nation to have firm grasp of the geopolitical world is that it gives him or her the ability to predict or at least influence international political behavior. But geopolitics isn’t as straightforward as 1 + 1 = 2; rather geopolitics is much more akin to differential equations. The world of geopolitics can be convoluted to the point of bordering on labyrinthine with plots, undercurrents, hidden agendas, and sleight of hand. Unfortunately, as former Secretary of Defense Bob Gates told us, “Joe Biden has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.” So, as you read on (and feel free to Google any statement contained herein) ask yourself if the previous administration didn’t absolutely nail the geopolitical calculus.
In his inaugural address on January 17th, 2017, President Donald J. Trump announced an America First approach to foreign policy and trade, which centers on reducing U.S. trade deficits and rebalancing burden sharing within alliances. Trump promises to “unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism” and emphasizes that “it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first.”
A little less than three months later on April 6th, and in retaliation for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s use of sarin gas in an attack against civilians, Trump hit the Shayrat Air Base in Syria that was manned with Russian troops (where do you think Assad got his chemical weapons?) with 79 cruise missiles – Interestingly, Putin and Assad waited until Chinese President Xi Jinping was at Mara Lago before launching their strike – and while I don’t have access to Putin’s and Assad’s private conversations it’s a good bet they waited so they could test Trump in front of Xi.
The day after retaliating, the Trump White House telephoned Vladimir Putin and essentially said to him, “Don’t try to embarrass me again!” in clear reference to the fact, Putin purposely sanctioned the attack while Trump was hosting the Chinese president. C’mon, do we really need to wonder why Putin took Georgia under Bush II, Crimea under Obama and now Ukraine under Biden, yet kept his troops at home during the Trump administration?
Then, a month and a half later during the week of May 20-27, 2017, Trump inaugurated the Global Center for Combating Extremism along with 55 Arab/Muslim nations. The agreements included the largest arms deal in world history ($350 billion) sending tanks, fighter aircraft, combat ships, missile defense systems, advanced radar along with communications & cybersecurity technology to the region to counterbalance the influence of Iran. The agreement also included commitments of economic cooperation (read oil production) in order to keep worldwide energy costs down. Early on in his administration Trump recognized that Putin uses energy as a weapon, and he wanted to get his “ducks in a row” so to speak to prevent the type of energy blackmail we’re now seeing in Europe.
Meanwhile, in a recent headline the Guardian (hardly a conservative news outlet) read: “Russia secretly working with environmentalists to oppose fracking.” And just this morning I read where European leaders have for several years been accusing Russia of funding radical environmental groups in Europe to steer European nations away from energy independence and thus strengthen its iron grip over the continent. Today, as nations across the globe begin shunning Russian oil in response to the Ukraine invasion, many U.S. leaders are finally getting around to questioning just how deep Russia’s ties go in the environmental community–just don’t expect to read about it in the NY Times.
Fast forward to the current Ukraine crisis, and it becomes painfully obvious that the fissures and mistrust between the U.S. and Middle Eastern leaders that were created during the Obama administration, are proving to be “a challenge” for the Biden White House. A recent Wall Street Journal report claimed that leaders in Saudi Arabia & the United Arab Emirates (UAE) declined to take calls from Biden in recent weeks. The report also said Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the UAE’s Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin, despite declining to talk with Biden.
As one would expect the Biden White House denies they were snubbed by the Saudis and the UAE—and perhaps Jen Psaki is telling us the truth, but if that were the case, shouldn’t we ask why the Saudi’s aren’t producing more oil or why haven’t they cooperated with this White House as they did with the Trump administration?
Opinion and speculation are fine but it’s always best to deal in hard facts; so, let’s be clear, geopolitics isn’t a short-pants game and nothing in the realm of geopolitics happens by accident or by coincidence; and America’s enemies look at everything from our shameful Afghanistan exit to the left’s obsession with Critical Race Theory and take their cues from there. Do the math!
Quote of the day: “Everything Counts…”—Brian Tracy