By Keith Preston
I lean toward the view that Biden’s decision to withdraw from Afghanistan has something to do with US-China relations. It appears that the US is ceding Afghanistan to the Chinese orbit. But the question is why? Joe Biden is a career-long operative for the banking establishment (he represented Delaware in Congress, where a lot of shady banking interests are headquartered) and he is also a career-long Kissinger acolyte. The banking establishment represents the upper level of the US power elite and is a primary component of the global power elite. Kissinger likewise represents the geopolitical interests of the highest levels of the US power elite, who have long been advocates of greater integration of China into the American-led international system. Kissinger was the US diplomat who forged the original post-1949 US-China alliance in the 1970s, and Kissinger is part of the same Rockefeller-connected interests that have always favored Chinese integration.
The US ruling class is internally stratified in the same way that the wider society is stratified, and there is also stratification among the global power elite. The “conservative media” (FOX and other similar outlets) are merely the mouthpiece of the right-wing of the ruling class, that cares only about merchant class interests and keeping the loot coming for the military-industrial complex. The “liberal media” (most mainstream media) represents the left-wing of the ruling class (the “Brahmins” identified in Thomas Picketty’s recent study of the social and economic sectors that dominate Western political parties): newer and more high tech industries, the “newly rich” from outside the traditional elite, the “bourgeois bohemians” identified by David Brooks, etc. The “professional-managerial class” (what Joel Kotkin identifies as the “new clerisy” that functions as the arbiters of cultural and moral values) includes most journalists and media personalities, and this sector is the primary constituency from the Brahmin elites.
A lot of “conservative” merchant class/military elites are only concerned about keeping the grift coming when it comes to Afghanistan. And some of them are actually stupid enough to believe “what have to fight them over there so we don’t have to fight them over here.” And a lot of professional-managerial class/”new clerisy” types are stupid enough to believe the Afghan war is really about the “rights of women and girls.” But since Biden has been in office, it seems the civilian diplomatic corps has been making an effort to assert the upper hand over the military in terms of foreign policy decision-making, which is likely a manifestation of the wider conflict between the Brahmin sectors and the merchant/military sectors. While right-wing Sinophobes are fond of referring to Biden as “Beijing Biden” so far his administration has continued the comparatively hawkish approach of the Trump administration when it comes to trade with China, which is indicative of a wider ruling class consensus that China is getting “too big for its britches” when it comes to trade, and they’re worried about China pulling out the rug from underneath the US in terms of global trade relations. China is now a bigger trading partner for a greater number of countries than the US (All of this is relative of course, as US-China trade relations still thrive big picture-wise).
At the same time, Kissinger has been calling for more conciliatory US-China relations. It seems that ceding Afghanistan to China is a conciliatory move, but what does the US expect in return? A reduction in Chinese cyber theft from US companies? A Chinese trade pullback in regions of Africa, Latin America, or Southeast Asia? Opening Chinese domestic markets to greater imports from the US? China’s laying off of Xinjiang, Taiwan, or Hong Kong? Cooperation against Russia, or building US-Turkish-Chinese relations in opposition to Russia? The Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Kissinger-connected “national security” think tank, has argued in favor of trying to drive a greater wedge between Russia and China in order to weaken the BRICS. Something is obviously up, even if it is not immediately clear what it is.
Maybe the rationale for the withdrawal was simply, “What are we going to do with Afghanistan? Let’s just stick the Chinese with them!” It may also be that ceding Afghanistan to the Chinese orbit is intended as a slap in the face to Russia, which famously has its own interest in Afghanistan, perhaps as a means of weakening the BRICS. And the US will probably still get a cut of whatever China does in Afghanistan as well. Big Pharma will still have its hands in the opium trade, for instance. US capitalists will still make money off of Afghanistan, only indirectly through their holdings in China.