Published 11/07/2023 16:23 | Edited 11/08/2023 17:06
The Joe Biden administration is in trouble. Although the catastrophic predictions for the North American economy have not been confirmed, the president’s image remains in check. Electoral polls released on Sunday (5) by the traditional daily The New York Times show that, if the presidential election were held today, ultra-right Donald Trump would win in the so-called “swing states”, defeat Biden in the Electoral College and return to the White House.
Luckily for the Democratic leader, the election will only take place a year from now, on November 5, 2024. However, unfortunately for him, nothing indicates that the military offensive led by Biden will be favorable to him.
Before the outbreak of war in Ukraine, in February 2022, the United States was already simultaneously escalating provocations against China and Russia. Under attack, the two countries strengthened their ties and renewed their commitment to a multipolar world order. Through NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization), Biden managed to unite much of the West – especially the European Union – into an anti-Russia and pro-Ukraine alliance.
The problem is that with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which broke out on October 7, in the Gaza Strip, there was no similar adherence to the North American position. The first weeks of confrontation coincided with Brazil’s rotating presidency of the UN Security Council (United Nations). As a permanent member of the collegiate, the United States vetoed a resolution proposed by Brazilians and supported by 12 countries – there were two abstentions. Biden’s isolation became explicit, which corresponded to a moral victory for Brazil.
If part of the mainstream media and international public opinion bought the Yankee version of the War in Ukraine, the repercussions of the conflict in Gaza are absolutely different. According to the Gaza Ministry of Health, more than 10,000 Palestinians were killed in one month (4,600 of them children), 260,000 homes were hit by Israeli bombings, 60% of the population was forced to leave their homes and 61% of jobs were closed.
The siege on the Palestinian enclave provoked one of the worst humanitarian crises in recent times. “Gaza is becoming a children’s cemetery. Hundreds of girls and boys are being killed or injured every day”, declared none other than António Guterres, UN Secretary-General, visibly shaken by the open-air genocide.
On Saturday (4), more than one hundred cities promoted the International Day of Mobilization for Peace, the End of War and Solidarity with the Palestinian People. Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets to protest the massacre perpetrated by Israel. In Washington, posters directly attacked Joe Binde, accusing him of “killing babies” and being a “war criminal”.
A day later, on Sunday (5), leaders of several UN agencies and humanitarian organizations released a joint manifesto calling for an immediate ceasefire. If in the first days of the conflict the rejection of Hamas was the fuel for the arrogance of the Israel-USA consortium, the incessant atrocities in Gaza made possible support from the international community for Biden’s unilateral position unfeasible.
Even though Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was already experiencing a period of disapproval in Israel, with a series of measures under popular opposition, the President of the United States did not mince words and actions to support him. Biden even evoked the “two-state solution”, but said nothing when Netanyahu spoke of a war between “the children of light and the children of darkness”.
“Biden’s approach could turn into a disaster,” analyzed Edward Luce in Financial Times. “If he fails to pressure Netanyahu into an unlikely change of heart, Israel must continue what the world will feel is collective punishment, even as it takes every precaution to minimize civilian deaths.”
The US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, has already used the expression “humanitarian pauses” to show what the Biden administration has demanded more from Israel. Unlike a ceasefire – which, in theory, would result in negotiations between Hamas and Israel –, the “humanitarian pause” is a mere interval between attacks so that civilians can be protected. Netanyahu wants to destroy Hamas at any cost – and Biden has become an accomplice to Israeli war crimes.
The history of the United States has already shown how a war can change the mood of the electorate. When Republican Richard Nixon was re-elected president of the country in 1972, with one of the biggest votes in American history, the White House considered that the result was an endorsement of the Pentagon’s action in the Vietnam War, despite massive and constant popular protests. The mistake was immeasurable.
The fighting in Vietnam was the first to have television coverage in almost real time, and the images of civilians hit by bombs – such as napalm bombs – increasingly shocked Americans. Furthermore, as military conscription was mandatory, children of politicians and magistrates died at the same rate as children of the working class. Dissatisfaction with the direction of the war was heightened by the Watergate scandal, which led Nixon to resign. Rarely has the credibility of the presidency of the Republic been so tarnished in the United States.
What if the conflict in Gaza is like the Vietnam War for Joe Biden? Research carried out at the end of October by The Economist showed that, among voters aged up to 30, 30% have more sympathy for the Palestinians and 17% for the Israelis. No less than 41% of these young voters disapprove of the way Biden leads the United States in Gaza. Among the electorate as a whole, support for Israel still prevails. But this segment of the electorate was one of the Democratic Party’s trump cards in the tough 2020 presidential elections.
It is worth adding that, last week, the UN General Assembly once again condemned the criminal US blockade of Cuba. A resolution against the blockade had 187 votes in favor, two against (the United States and Israel), in addition to one abstention (from Ukraine). The pro-Cuba score was expected, but the other votes confirm that North American influence is increasingly restricted.