Pretend for a moment that the United States is not engaging in another unnamed war – an unnamed war for which one Indiana marine has already lost his life. Imagine that this Syrian-Iraqi, now -Turkish, conflict is not about to be addressed by the most over-stretched, over-broke and over-exhausted military in the world. There are now Army boots-on-the-ground for the purposes of training thousands of Liberians in proper medical conduct to counter Ebola. For an instant, just suspend your conviction that the Obama Administration is aware that these West African measures also serve as a back-door method of manufacturing consent in moving beyond the innocuous “tactical strike” warfare in Syria.
Be so generous as to imagine an administration which favored collective international action over military industrial adrenaline shots in the arm of the US economy. Fabricate, if one would, a world in which America’s ally-situation against DIIASH (known as ISIL and ISIS) is not tenuous, a world where international coalitions were allowed to convene before the big brother stole away everyone’s responsibility.
Gaze into this relatively favorable alternate reality and consider Biden’s recent anti-ally, anti-coalition, anti-cooperation, anti-communication remarks. Sure, they’d still seem hapless and unmeasured. Indeed, the diplomatic value of linking Turkey, the UAE and Saudi Arabia with the DIIASH conflict origins might have seemed tactless no matter what. In any less desperate arrangement of current events, it would still not seem advisable to shun the most stable countries in the region, countries who have innate interest in maintaining their regimes of state and decimating armed organizations that present domestic threats.
Now burn that dream. Contextualize these gaffes against reality. How could Biden let this slip? How can anyone let this man go on TV anymore? We need someone to galvanize allies, not repel them or offend them. The U.S. is not in a position to make brazen remarks under the pretense of potential truth value (if Biden wanted to be consistent, he’d surely mention US Military and CIA blow back-fueling misadventures in the region and elsewhere). It is mind-blowing that our Vice President’s office could be so capricious at a time when the U.S. desperately needs unified action. The right words have the potential to save American lives. Biden needs written speeches; no more improvisation.