Anti-Imperialism/Foreign Policy

Intersectional Imperialism and the Woke Cold War

The domestic US culture war is being exported to the rest of the world. I’ve been thinking for a while that the Red/Blue tribal civil war is eventually going to be a global conflict. It’s already taking root in a lot of places.

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The New Faith Prepares for a Global Crusade

On July 16, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken sent a cable to American embassies across the globe with new instructions. In the face of what he described as the growing threat from authoritarian and populist forces emanating from countries around the world, he urged U.S. diplomats to actively “seek ways to exert effective pressure on those countries to uphold democratic norms and respect human rights,” and vowed that “standing up for democracy and human rights everywhere is not in tension with America’s national interests nor with our national security.” This, he specified, must apply even to America’s allies and partners, declaring that “there is no relationship or situation where we will stop raising human rights concerns.”

U.S. President Joe Biden has explicitly characterized his foreign policy as waging “a battle between the utility of democracies in the 21st century and autocracies,” and described the world as at an “inflection point” that will determine for the future “who succeeded, autocracy or democracy, because that is what is at stake.” And while he has named China and Russia as the top threats to democracy, he has stated that, “in so many places, including in Europe and the United States, democratic progress is under assault.”

This kind of rhetoric has led many to describe Biden as gearing up to lead a new round of global ideological competition akin to the Cold War, and Blinken’s cable appears to be a step toward operationalizing this conception into everyday U.S. policy.

Many Americans, especially many American conservatives, have rather fond memories of the first Cold War (especially winning it). And the idea of promoting democracy and human rights, especially in the face of China’s many authoritarian abuses, is today a bipartisan passion in Washington.

But they should understand that, this time around, “democratic progress” and “human rights” are often going to mean something rather different than what they did during the last Cold War.

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