JOHN KIRIAKAOU: What Would Biden’s Foreign Policy Look Like? Just Look at His Supporters

John Negroponte, the Darth Vader of U.S.  foreign policy, and a bevy of Republican former intelligence and interventionists have their reasons for liking the former VP. 

John Negroponte, center, at a military camp in Honduras in April 1984. (Alisjuli, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)

By John Kiriakou
Special to Consortium News

Many of us are counting down the days until we can throw President Donald Trump out of office, out of Washington, out of our lives, and out of the daily news cycle.  With the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, there’s even more immediacy to replacing Trump.  But what would we get with a “President” Joe Biden? What would a Biden foreign policy look like?

Earlier this month, a group of Republican former senators and congressmen endorsed Biden for president, saying that he was better equipped that Trump to run the country.  At around the same time, a large group of intelligence and foreign policy professionals, most of whom had worked for Republican presidents, also endorsed the former vice president.  That sounds pretty impressive.  But let’s look at what it really means.  It means that they believe Biden will continue an interventionist, neoliberal, pro-war foreign policy.

John Negroponte 

John Negroponte, on right, as former Secretary of State Colin Powell displays anthrax vial at UN Security Council, Feb. 5, 2003. Former CIA Director George Tenet on left. (Wikimedia Commons)

Former Ambassador John Negroponte is one of those intelligence professionals who endorsed Biden. Negroponte is the Darth Vader of American foreign policy of the past half-century. 

Negroponte was ambassador to Honduras during the Iran-Contra affair, through which covert funds from the CIA made their way to the contra rebels; ambassador to Mexico as the drug cartels consolidated their power against a corrupt government there; ambassador to the United Nations as the U.S. sought to go to war with a knowingly false narrative of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction; ambassador to Iraq during the U.S. occupation of that country; and director of national intelligence during President George W. Bush’s torture program. 

Nobody has ever accused Negroponte of being a progressive in any sense of the word.  He loves war and has proven happy to jump into it with both feet.  And he happily and publicly endorsed Biden.

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Negroponte recently told the Daily Beast what was behind his endorsement.  The interview says as much about Biden as it does about Negroponte.  At the outset, Negroponte said, “All roads lead to Trump, and I’m just not sure the country can withstand another four years with a man who has shown such disregard for the office.”  I agree. Just about every Democrat does.  Donald Trump is a bad guy.  But it’s not as simple as that.

Warrantless Wiretapping

Negroponte made a point in the interview of saying that he had disagreed with Biden on important (unspecified) issues over the years, but that Biden was “an experienced politician,” “a middle of the road kind of person,” and “a wise gentleman.”  He said, for example, that he supported warrantless wiretapping of American citizens after the 9/11 attacks. 

Presidential candidate Joe Biden in Henderson, Nevada, February 2020. (Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons)

The statement was incomplete, however. Biden also supported warrantless wiretapping, voting for the Patriot Act while a senator in 2001, voting repeatedly for its subsequent reauthorizations and then opposing weakening the measure while he was vice president in the Obama administration.

There are other reasons that Negroponte and a bevy of Republican former intelligence and foreign policy big-shots have moved to Biden. 

The former VP opposes a troop drawdown in Europe, saying that such a move would embolden the Russians, for example.  He supports a more engaged military policy against China in the South China Sea.  He supports an extension of President Barack Obama’s policy of maintaining military bases in more than 100 countries, including Forward Operating Bases across Africa.

Literally the last thing I would do is to urge anybody to vote for Donald Trump.  The president has been a disaster in every sense of the word and in both foreign and domestic policy.  The country can’t take four more years of a Trump presidency.  But Biden is no panacea. He’s a center-right placeholder.  Negroponte confirmed that.

If you think things will change in foreign policy under a President Biden, think again.  It’ll be the same old expansionist, militarist policy that we had under Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.  So go into the voting booth with your eyes open.

John Kiriakou is a former CIA counterterrorism officer and a former senior investigator with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. John became the sixth whistleblower indicted by the Obama administration under the Espionage Act—a law designed to punish spies. He served 23 months in prison as a result of his attempts to oppose the Bush administration’s torture program.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

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21 comments for “JOHN KIRIAKAOU: What Would Biden’s Foreign Policy Look Like? Just Look at His Supporters

  1. Sara
    October 8, 2020 at 13:54

    I am a French citizen, a left winger and I am scared to death at the thought of a Biden/Harris presidency. They are, contrary to Trump, warmongers and their election would be a catastrophe for the whole world, especially for Europe and the Middle East.

  2. October 8, 2020 at 08:33

    Hey John. what happens with the Quad?

  3. geeyp
    October 7, 2020 at 23:58

    I whole-heartily agree regarding Negroponte. I thought of this piece during the last day and think I get the gist of why John wrote it. Still, I think he was a little under the influence of the MSM regarding President Trump. For example, Plagiarist Joe is clearly a warmonger and President Trump is clearly not. There is more, and others have already detailed it.

  4. susan
    October 7, 2020 at 14:36

    “Anarchism is founded on the observation that since few men are wise enough to rule themselves, even fewer are wise enough to rule others” Edward Abbey

  5. October 7, 2020 at 10:54

    And many Trump supporters refuse to acknowledge his involvement with Epstein, his TREASON to 911 doing / ISIS / Epstein ISRAEL, his daily string of LIES he switched the following week etc. Trump is the SAME SWAMP! BOTH parties are corrupt and serve our REAL enemy in Tel Aviv. We need REAL CHANGE!

  6. Dao Gen
    October 7, 2020 at 10:13

    Mr. Kiriakou, this article is good, but it needs to go much further. Biden believes in an illusion — a unipolar world dominated by the US — and that’s why those Repubs like him. Biden is a Dem Neo-Neocon to their trad Neocon approach. Biden justifies US invasions and aggression abroad by claiming he is protecting democracy, while the Repub hawks simply claim might makes right. Biden’s rhetoric is prettier, but the reality is the same. And the reality includes the fact that no one in any way connected with the “Russiagate” fraud, perhaps the biggest hoax in US political history, is worthy of becoming US president. There is not a shred of hard evidence supporting the Russiagate claims, and this Big Lie has deeply injured American society and political discourse, not to mention world peace, over the last four years. Biden is known to have suggested — against all the evidence — charging General Flynn with the draconian, undemocratic, 18th-century Logan Act simply for talking to the Russian Ambassador on the phone, something perfectly within Flynn’s duties. What else does Biden know about who ordered the whole series of evidence-free Russiagate attacks on the new president, which may have been an attempted coup? The MSM refuse to ask him. And Biden also says he won’t negotiate with Kim Jong-un. This is terribly short-sighted and unacceptable. If Biden wins, Kim will probably begin testing nuclear weapons and missiles again. If Biden won’t negotiate with Kim, what does he plan to do, start WW3? His Korea policy seems extremely dangerous. In Syria, too, Biden’s advisors say they want to send more US troops back in! This, too, would be not only illegal but extremely dangerous. The US could easily end up in a shooting war with Russia or even in WW3. And then there is Afghanistan, where Biden will probably reverse Trump’s policy and maintain a strong US presence in order to support Jihadists who want to attack Russia and China, further disrupting world peace. And what about Ukraine? Obama-Biden strongly supported an illegal hard right coup against the democratically elected president of Ukraine in 2014. After the coup, Biden acted as virtual US Viceroy in Ukraine, helping to prop up ultranationalist pols and their fascist and neonazi supporters who were carrying out ethnic cleansing in eastern Ukraine. Biden reportedly loves the Ukraine hard right, and he might well try to put US missiles in Ukraine or support Ukraine military action against Russia. The current weak president of Ukraine was democratically elected, but he has almost no actual power, since he is virtually controlled by far-right fascist militias. And yet Biden says he loves these right-wing extremists. Ukraine is insolvent and may well become a failed state soon, meaning that a war based on false flag attacks might become an option for Biden, even if this causes war with Russia. Many other dangerous problem areas can be found in Biden’s probable foreign policies. In many ways Biden would surely be even worse than Trump in terms of foreign policy. When I cast my ballot, it will be for a third party. I think that’s the best clear-eyed choice.

  7. October 7, 2020 at 06:29

    Who else can you vote for who will make an end to the US war policies? Only the American people themselves can make the long overdue regime change. Hopefully the decline in living standards the widening gap between poor and rich may eventually lead to a revolution and break the oligarchic grasp of power.

  8. October 7, 2020 at 05:18

    Voting for Biden is to vote for a probable assault on Venezuela and on Iran. Trump was no interventionist in the traditional sense and failed to attack Iran when that was demanded by the foreign policy establishment. Biden likes war much more than Trump does.

  9. Charles K. Hof
    October 6, 2020 at 21:25

    Once again we are faced with just which of the two evals are better.
    The Democratic Party has once again screwed the American public. Our choices are too limited, the platform is too limited, the money is too great.
    While I think another party is in order, and an honest Party is it Republican or Democratic. We all know that just is not going to happen.
    We have often referred to as the Religiose Right infiltrating both sides, with deep pockets, and years of influence doing there Damndest to make this country a White “Christian country”.
    The disinformation that is handed out, makes real understanding almost impossible.
    The Democratic Party needs a serious overhaul. Progressives need to step in and take over. We have not just the US to save, but the planet.

  10. C. Parker
    October 6, 2020 at 17:24

    I don’t like Biden. I don’t like Trump. We’ve been warned not to waste our vote on a third Party candidate. Harris most likely be president before 2024. I know very little about her other than she seems willing to follow orders. Entering the voting booth with open eyes—is absolutely no help.

    • Scramjett
      October 6, 2020 at 21:01

      “Harris most likely be president before 2024. I know very little about her other than she seems willing to follow orders.”

      Oh! Allow me to educate you…



      Yeah, we owe Steve “The Mooch” Mnuchin to her. Thank you Ms. Harris! If he’s the foreclosure king, then she anointed him.

  11. Jeff Harrison
    October 6, 2020 at 16:05

    Our choices in the 2016 election sucked and he 2020 election is no better. Biden will do as much damage to the country internationally as Donnie Murdo.

    • Alex Cox
      October 7, 2020 at 11:06

      John’s article and the one which follows, about Europe escaping the US’s grasp, suggest that a vote for Trump might be the lesser of the two evils.

  12. Aaron
    October 6, 2020 at 15:31

    Right, I mean the country really screwed up when they picked Biden out of all the better Dem candidates, he’s literally the worst of them. This election is a big win-win for Wall Street, Israel, the military-industrial complex, insurance companies, even natural gas companies are off the hook, the health-care-for-profit industry, and any and all war-mongers and cold war fanatics who’ve made lucrative, long careers out of meddling in the affairs of other sovereign states, illegally. I get it, and yet, I just wanna survive this pandemic at this point, even if it’s Biden, right? And of course he’ll need a Dem Senate on his side to get anything done. You know, as bad as the Republican party became over the last two decades, when they are faced with some center-right dudes lately, they have moved so far to the right that it is an insane, dangerous, incredibly pyschopathic and cruel force. Just on the basic, common-sense issue of public health, we must hope that Biden wins I think.

    • Charles K. Hof
      October 6, 2020 at 21:54

      Much of what you say is shared by me. Unfortunatly there are a number of fources at play. Number one is the sudo “Christian” Right. How have worked for now decades to influence the political system. They in turn are backed by the deep pockets of Corprate America to influence Congress. The Corprate America does not care who is in place as long as they can control him/her. It is the ixploataion of America and Americans.
      If you look at who is being affected by the Carona Virous 19. Black/Brown and virually anyone who was not born in this chunck of land. (How stupid is that?) Those Black/Brown/Yellow what ever bring great ideas, great culture, different thinking and not the last but great food!
      We as a country NEED this, it will be our solution. Congress has not done its job. Time to put some real presure on them and make a solution to imagration happen!

  13. Tony
    October 6, 2020 at 15:12

    I think if you live in a swing state then it is necessary to vote for Biden but it is also necessary to get ready to oppose him once the election is over. However dreadful he is, at least Biden has not praised neo-Nazi demonstrators and nor has he made irresponsible statements about the Covid virus that have helped cause the deaths of over 200,000 Americans.

    As for Negroponte, I do not think this is a new thing. I think he supported Clinton last time.

    • Dao Gen
      October 7, 2020 at 10:36

      Tony, Biden has actually praised many fascist and even neo-nazi demonstrators, but they’re in Ukraine. For two years (2014-16) he was Obama’s point man in Ukraine propping up and legitimizing the rule of ultranationalist right-wing pols who got their support from their own fascist militias, which included many literal neonazis who wore nazi insignia and tattoos and carried pictures of Hitler. You can find pictures of them on Google. Without the implicit support of the Obama-Biden administration, it is unlikely that the 2014 fascist-supported coup against the democratically elected president of Ukraine would have taken place. Even now Biden supports the 2014 ultranationalist and fascist coup in Ukraine. The US MSM have distorted the whole narrative about the 2014 illegal coup and its fascist supporters, who are often called “freedom fighters” by the US media.

      • Donald Duck
        October 7, 2020 at 15:20

        The 2014 coup was an archetypal colour revolution. On the one hand there were the neo-nazi militias, Right Sektor Svoboda, Patriots of the Ukraine, the Azov Battalion, The Tornado Batallion and various other genuine neo-nazi thugs. Then there were the oligarchs: Kolomoisky, Pinchuk, Ahkemetov, Poroshenko and others with their hands in the till. Then there were the outside actors meddling directly into a sovereign state’s internal affairs: To wit, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) The Human Rights Watch (HRW) American Ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, and not forgetting that lovely lady, Victoria Nuland Assistant Secretary of State for East European and Eurasian Affairs, both of whom were strolling around Independence Sq, offering cookies and solace to the rioters. Other outside actors included the Janus-faced hag of Angela Merkel.

        Well the glorious revolution (sic) has seen the collapse of the Ukrainain population from 52 million in 1991 to 42 million at the present time. Ukraine is officially now the poorest country in Europe bar none. Still it was all rather fun when the Molotov cocktails were flying.

        • Martin - Swedish citizen
          October 7, 2020 at 16:23

          Yes, it was a coup, a regime change apparently planned since many years, as Ms Nuland has stated. Her tapped conversation with Mr Pyatt weeks before the coup where they discuss the post-coup government is telling, too. And the snipers killing over a hundred innocent demonstrators shot from areas controlled by the neo-nazi coup-makers. This has been meticulously studied and reported by Mr Kachanovski on CN. Repression of the Russian-speaking East, Central and South of Ukraine followed, eg the burning of the labour union house in Odessa. And Biden was a front figure. It is a shameful project, also for the EU.
          Also, what was Biden’s position on starting the war in Iraq?

      • TS
        October 8, 2020 at 05:21

        And don’t forget that Biden’s son has had his hands in the till in Ukraine since then!

  14. Realist
    October 6, 2020 at 15:08

    These same people backed Hillary Clinton in 2016. They will back Kamala Harris when Joe Biden has to leave office. They are all part of that “Big Club” that George Carlin used to speak of and from which Donald Trump was expelled. Arch-warmongers and servants of the MIC the lot of ’em. Don’t look for “Happy Days” to be here again under Joe… well except for Hunter and the rest of the grifters who cling to him like a remora.

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