Ukraine war, September 9, 2023: Bankruptcy of Biden’s foreign policy revealed in G-20 Communique in New Delhi

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1) Max Bergmann, “US support for Ukraine is about to run out; Ukraine’s fortunes may be determined as much in Congress as on the battlefield,” The Telegraph, September 8, 2023m (12:17 pm);

2) Katie Rogers (New Delhi), “G20 Declaration Omits Criticism of Russia, Notes Ukrainians’ ‘Suffering’; American officials defended the agreement, saying it built on the statement released last year and that the United States was still pressing for peace in Ukraine,” New York Times, September 9, 2023 (Updated 2:39 p.m. ET);


The final Ommunique of tge G-20 Summit in New Delhi is like the final communique of a G-20 Summit held when a comet is on a dead course for the earth with which it will collide in less than a year, which addresses issues as if the comet doesn’t exist, and makes no meaningful statement about the impending collision and its impact on life on the planet.

The simple fact that Joe Biden and his foreign policy team agreed to such a communique, which marks a sharp retreat from the last G-20 communique in Bali, Indonesia, reveals in stark clarity the bankruptcy of Biden’s foreign policy and its approach to countering the civilizational threat represented by Russian imperialism and Putin’s assault on international law, the United Nations Charter, and the U.N. Charter-based international order.

The president and his advisers appear to be suffering from a form of “cognitive occlusion” which blocks their view of realities that are almost too terrifying to behold.

See, e.g.,

1) “Ukraine War, July 12, 2022: “Cognitive occlusion”–Mental defenses against hard truths; Genocide in progressm” The Trenchant Observer, July 12, 2022;

2) James Rowles, “Eight great illusions about the war in Ukraine; ‘Cognitive occlusion’,” Trenchant Observations, July 14, 1922;

3) James Rowles, “Eight great illusions about the war in Ukraine: Where we stand now,” Trenchant Observations, October 4, 2022.

The communique reveals a softness in Biden’s approach to foreign policy, in which instead of taking clear stands and exercising moral leadership as Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt did in confronting Nazi aggression, Biden is content to try to muddle through.

In the event it was more important to Biden and his team to achieve consensus on the communique than to speak directly about the approaching comet and to lead the nations of the world to urgent action to try to save the planet.

The relevant text is contained in paragraph 8 of the declaration, which states:

8. Concerning the war in Ukraine, while recalling the discussion in Bali, we reiterated our national positions and resolutions adopted at the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly (A/RES/ES-11/1 and A/RES/ES-11/6) and underscored that all states must act in a manner consistent with the Purposes and Principles of the UN Charter in its entirety. In line with the UN Charter, all states must refrain from the threat or use of force to seek territorial acquisition against the territorial integrity and sovereignty or political independence of any state. The use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is inadmissible.

Katie Rogers reports,

A painstakingly negotiated declaration Saturday evening at the Group of 20 summit in New Delhi omitted any condemnation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine or its brutal conduct of the war, instead lamenting the “suffering” of the Ukrainian people.

It was an eye opening departure from a similar document agreed to less than a year ago in Bali, when leaders acknowledged different views over the invasion but still issued a strong condemnation of the Russian invasion and called on Moscow to withdraw its troops.

To be sure, the declaration mentioned U.N. resolutions which tacitly or directly condemned the Russian invasion, but this was a poor substitute for a direct condemnation in the text of the communique.

Rogers continues, citing the lame defense of administration officials for supporting the communique.

This year, the declaration…noted the “adverse impact of wars and conflicts around the world.”

American officials defended the agreement, saying it built on the statement released last year and that the United States was still pressing for peace in Ukraine.

To fully appreciate the retreat of the West from its Bali communique in 2022, consider tge following text dealing with Ukraine from that declaration:

3. This year, we have also witnessed the war in Ukraine further adversely impact the global economy. There was a discussion on the issue. We reiterated our national positions as expressed in other fora, including the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly, which, in Resolution No. ES-11/1 dated 2 March 2022, as adopted by majority vote (141 votes for, 5 against, 35 abstentions, 12 absent) deplores in the strongest terms the aggression by the Russian Federation against Ukraine and demands its complete and unconditional withdrawal from the territory of Ukraine. Most members strongly condemned the war in Ukraine and stressed it is causing immense human suffering and exacerbating existing fragilities in the global economy – constraining growth, increasing inflation, disrupting supply chains, heightening energy and food insecurity, and elevating financial stability risks. There were other views and different assessments of the situation and sanctions. Recognizing that the G20 is not the forum to resolve security issues, we acknowledge that security issues can have significant consequences for the global economy.

4. It is essential to uphold international law and the multilateral system that safeguards peace and stability. This includes defending all the Purposes and Principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and adhering to international humanitarian law, including the protection of civilians and infrastructure in armed conflicts. The use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is inadmissible. The peaceful resolution of conflicts, efforts to address crises, as well as diplomacy and dialogue, are vital. Today’s era must not be of war.

As a comparison of last year’s and this year’s texts reveals, far from pushing the nations of the Global South to condemn Russia, Biden and his team took the easy route of acquiescence in the fence-sitting policies of these countries.

It is difficult to imagine how Biden and his current foreign policy team might devise and execute a strategy for defeating Russian aggression and imperialism in Ukraine.

Their vision seems limited to rolling the dice and hoping they might win the 2024 election.

Meanwhile, Max Bergmann reports on the potential difficulty of getting further military assistance packages approved by the House, given Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s tenuous hold on on his position. While the Pentagon can juggle funds within its huge budget, the lack of House approval for further aid to Ukraine could become a big problem, even before the 2024 presidential election which is likely to determine the nature and extent of future support for Ukraine.

Bear in mind, Donald Trump has not condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine, or ever criticized Vladimir Putin. Not once.

The G-20 communique and doubts about Republican support for Ukraine in the House of Representatives are worrisome signs.

For the first hints of defeat may be found in the the thinking of government leaders and decision makers. If Western leaders are unable to speak with moral clarity at the G-20 in New Delhi, there is little hope that they will persuade the nations of the Global South to condemn Russian aggression and imperialism and join the sanctions regime.

Indeed, they may not even seriously try.

And if they lack moral clarity in speaking to foreign leaders, where will they find the moral clarity to convince their own populations to continue military and economic assistance to Ukraine at the levels that will be required?

It is easy to condemn military aggression and barbarism in the conduct of a war.

Yet the only real question, for leaders and for each of us, is, “What are you going to do about it?”

The Trenchant Observer


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