By Bruce Wolpe. Senior Fellow at the United States Studies Centre and Ticker News US political contributor
Biden has officially handled his first foreign policy crisis – but what does this tell us?
President Biden successfully brought the war in Gaza to an end – at least for now. How did he do it? What does it mean for his foreign policy going forward?
First and foremost, the past two weeks showed us how much Bide’s deep expertise – decades of it in the Senate as chair of the Foreign Relations Committee, and eight years as vice president under Barack Obama – and he brought it fully to bear on Gaza. He has seen war in Gaza before. He knew what to do. He knows the players. He knew how he wanted to get there.
Biden operates more inside than outside. He worked the phones – and not the UN. His language with Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu was very measured – in public. It was much harder in private. And he ratcheted it up each day — from “Israel has a right to defend itself” to “De-escalate” to “Ceasefire” – to the point where, when the moment was ripe late last week, he said: “Ceasefire. Now”.
He will do more for Palestine but in the context of a press for a two-state solution to the conflict.
Biden stands with allies. In the Gaza crisis, He supported Israel. He worked with Egypt’s al-Sisi, and the Palestinian’ Authority’s Mahmoud Abbas. And those alliances paid off.
In his broader foreign policy agenda, Biden is going forward with a “New Realism”: the projection of American values — democracy, human rights — together with the US engaging with anyone in good faith to get done what can be achieved by reaching the best working relationship without compromising US values. So this will guide what happens with Russia and China and North Korea and Iran.
With Biden, Asia is at parity with US attention to Europe and the Middle East. The first two White House visitors were the leaders of Japan and South Korea.
The top priorities are clear: Rebuild US alliances.
China: re-engage and demand clear rules for conduct in Asia. In fact, push back as needed – US allies alongside pushing with Biden.
Climate: make decisive progress possible.
Iran: a deal if it can be done.
Russia: Ukraine; cyber security; the fate of dissident Navalney.
North Korea: a deep effort to get Kim to roll back his nuclear arsenal.
What Biden accomplished last week showed us how he wants to advance US interests through his presidency.
Australia set to bid for COP29, despite lack of climate action
Australia is set to bid for the opportunity to host the COP29 climate conference, despite its lack of climate action recently
Australia’s opposition Labor party says it will bid to host the 2024 COP29 climate conference if they win the upcoming Federal Election.
They say it will be in partnership with the Pacific and Soloman Island Nations ‘if they want to.’
Australia has never hosted a United Nations climate conference but it could set them on the global stage as a leader in climate change action.
However, Australia has been dubbed a laggard on its climate change action and may not be equipped to host such a significant event.
Australia’s rocky relationship with the Solomon Islands will make the deal even more uncertain.
A recent security pact between China and the Solomon Islands has been finalised, meaning China will build a military base just Kilometres from Australia’s borders.
Australia has recently cristicised the Solomon Islands for its friendly ties to China and how that will negatively impact Australia’s national security.
Now the biggest question is do the Pacific, and the Solomon Islands, even want to partner with Australia at COP29?
Climate change has reared its head more frequently over recent years, including wildfires, ravaging floods, and extreme weather events.
This comes as millions of people in India and Pakistan experience a brutal heat wave that has left hundreds dead.
The high temperatures have been surfacing for the last two months, with the Government unprepared to handle it.
The heatwave is causing wide sweeping water shortages, heat stroke, and power outages.
The region has reached its highest April temperatures in 122 years.
Why it’s important to keep Putin weak and humiliated
Three months in and Russia has intensified its offensive in the eastern part of the nation, but its gains have been slow
America’s Defence Intelligence Agency head also says between eight and 10 Russian generals have been killed as a result of the combat.
But all Moscow has gained is a small piece of Ukrainian territory in the east.
Vladimir Putin remained tight-lipped about any plans to escalate the war during his Victory Day speech.
Some fear that Putin’s invasion of Ukraine didn’t live up to his expectations, which could force him to resort to desperate measures.
However, Ticker News spoke with Eastern Europe expert Sergej Sumlenny who says it’s important to keep Putin weak and humiliated.
How does this war end?
Sumlenny says there’s no “good exit” in sight while Putin remains in power.
“He has not entered into this war to believe he’ll finish Ukraine in one to three days, or one week top,” he says.
The Eastern European expert says the Russian army has already suffered double as much losses as the Soviet Army within 10 years in Afghanistan.
“The Russian army could not achieve any significant victory. Russian President Putin on the ninth of May on Victory Day in Russia could not present any victory. And that was a huge revelation for him and he understands it,
“So I don’t see any exit strategy for him. He clearly tries to push further without any success. Like Russia delivers war criminals to The Hague, the International Criminal Court pulls out its army out of Ukraine and establish over 300 kilometre demilitarised zone on Russian territory working into Ukraine. That would be a great end,” Sumlenny proposed.
However, he acknowledges an end could take months.
“As long as this will not be provided, Ukrainian army will continue to fight back, destroying Russian military equipment killing Russian soldiers unfortunately for Russia, until Ukrainians will push Russians out of their country, it can take months, but it will be inevitable.”
Putin is dangerous, with power or without power
The West holds talks to Putin during eight years of his war on Ukraine.
The West Hall talks to Putin after he has attacked Georgia in 2000, after he annexed Crimea in 2014, after he guessed a Syria, like since 2012, and further, and it didn’t help.
Russia was invited to every international international ground like conventional platform like g20 but Russia conceals everything. And it didn’t help.
According to Sumlenny, when Putin feels to be strong, he strikes and he kills.
“He felt very strong in February this year. That’s why he attacked Ukraine, he felt desperate or threatened by all sides. And that’s not true. But he felt very strong. That’s why he attacked, so now he feels weak,” he says.
“Of course, he’s dangerous like any dictator, but it’s better to have in him desperate and weak than strong and aggressive.”
Senate set to kill abortion rights this week
The aftershocks of the earthquake triggered in Washington last week, with the explosive leak of the first draft of an opinion authored by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, and backed in by four other Justices, including the three radical conservatives appointed by former president Donald Trump, continue to shake the foundations of the capital and the landscape across the country
USSC Bruce Wolpe joins U.S correspondent Veronica Dudo, and ticker’s Holly Stearnes join a panel on U.S. abortion rights
The magnitude of the impact of the draft opinion is simply enormous.
What has been accepted by well over 60% of the American people as a constitutional right – the ability of women to have access to abortion services – is about to be removed.
There is no good that comes from going down that road of taking rights away from people. In 1856, in the Dred Scott case, the Supreme Court held that former slaves did not have standing in federal courts because they lacked U.S. citizenship, even after they were freed.
That decision, so outrageous, contributed to the Civil War. In 1954, in Brown v Board of Education, the Court ruled that segregated “separate but equal” schools for Black students recognised by the Supreme Court 50 years earlier was unconstitutional as this did not afford equal protection under law – a right guaranteed by the 14th Amendment enacted after President Lincoln and the North won the civil war and ended slavery.
The arc of justice in other words, is best when the law advances rights – not takes them away.
33 million American women between the ages of 15 and 44 living in over two dozen states across the country will be denied access to abortion services if this draft opinion is ultimately adopted.
But nothing in the Constitution prevents Congress from enacting a law to legally establish and protect a woman’s right to have access to abortion services.
This is the basis of the Women’s Health Protection Act which passed the House last September.
The Democratic leadership of the House recognised that what everyone is facing this week was coming, and that the best protection against overturning the precedent of Roe v Wade is through legislation.
The bill provides that, “Congress finds abortion services are essential to health care. A health care provider has a statutory right under this Act to provide abortion services.”
This is the bill that the Democratic leadership will bring to the Senate this week. It will fail.
No Republicans in the House voted for this bill, which passed on a party-line vote of 218-211. There are only two Republicans in the Senate– both women, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska – who support abortion rights.
All but one or two of the 50 Democrats will support it. Bu the Senate is not a democratic institution. A simple majority vote is insufficient to pass legislation.
A bill needs a supermajority of 60 votes to pass the Senate. That is completely out of reach today for abortion rights.
The Senate could change its rules and allow the abortion rights bill to pass in this one instance by a simple majority. But that will not happen either.
At least two Democrats oppose upending this Senate tradition, and no Republican will vote against their leadership to alter the Senate to pass a Democratic bill on abortion.
This ugly hyper-partisanship will have several ramifications.
If this Senate cannot protect these rights, perhaps more Democrats in the Senate can. Democrats will use this vote to target Senate seats held by Republicans that are up in the November midterm elections in states like Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Wisconsin.
This could well energise not only Democrats but also key swing independent voters who do support, in significant numbers, abortion rights.
But the human impact on women is frightening.
The journalist who obtained the draft opinion in the leak from the Supreme Court, and broke the story, Josh Gerstein of Politico, said this last Friday:
Gerstein is right. This is the world we are in.
160 years after the Civil War, another Underground Railroad – this time to take women away from states with restrictive medical laws.
A Handmaid’s Tale come to life, as Canada pledges to open its borders to American women seeking reproductive health services.
Engraved on the pediment of the Supreme Court building in Washington are the words, “Equal Justice Under Law.”
The Supreme Court’s imminent decision and the failure of Congress to enact legislation to overturn it betrays a US political system failing to protect all women equally under law.
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