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Analysis

Trump and Biden agree: U.S. empire should reign supreme

The Party for Socialism and Liberation is running Gloria La Riva for president as an alternative to the two parties of war and capitalism

The final presidential debate of the 2020 campaign took place last night. While most of the time was taken up by vapid sloganeering or demagoguery, at least one concrete conclusion can be drawn from the event: on matters of war and empire, Donald Trump and Joe Biden fundamentally agree.

The two candidates argued about who has been more of a friend to Ukraine, which has been ruled by right wing governments riddled with overt neo-Nazis since the 2014 U.S.-backed overthrow of the country’s corrupt but democratically-elected government of President Viktor Yanukovych. Biden was tasked to be something of a colonial governor of Ukraine for a time after the overthrow of Yanukovych, overseeing the transfer of power during his tenure as Vice President to Barack Obama.

Trump on the other hand boasted about how he has equipped the Ukrainian military — where open fascists hold particular sway — with “tank-buster” weapons which Biden had been unwilling to provide himself. These weapons, ostensibly for defense against some future Russian aggression, are more likely to be used against the anti-government Ukrainians who took up arms in the country’s east in response to the 2014 right-wing putsch.

Genuflecting to the Pentagon’s “great power competition” doctrine of preparation for world war, Trump was swift to point out the severe sanctions he has imposed on Russia and the fact that he has convinced many NATO allies to contribute billions of dollars they would rather not have in order to “guard against Russia.” Trump has also scrapped important arms control treaties with Russia, increasing the likelihood that the nuclear arsenal which the Obama administration previously decided to “modernize” and expand will actually be used.

For his part, Biden pointedly reiterated the debunked claim that Russian president Putin has personally put bounties on the heads of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, as if Afghans need a monetary incentive to resist the U.S. occupation of their country. The Democrat cryptically warned that Russia would not want to see Joe Biden as president “because they know I know them, and they know me.”

China has been the primary target of renewed Cold War rhetoric by the ruling class of the United States and it was another popular punching bag for the two candidates. While Trump mostly focused on blaming China for COVID-19 and bragging about the supposed successes of his trade war, Biden reminded viewers that during his term as Vice President, B52 and B1 bombers were sent on missions to fly through China’s Air Defense Identification Zone. Biden explained that these dangerous U.S. incursions into areas surrounding China are examples of how he will make China “play by the rules.”

On the issue of peace in Korea, Biden managed to position himself to the right of Trump. Objecting to Trump’s position that his negotiations with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un have helped ensure peace, and that it is desirable to avoid war, Biden argued that Trump “legitimized North Korea”. Biden bragged about how the Obama administration engaged in a military buildup on the Korean peninsula, called Kim Jong-un a “thug” and — most ridiculously — compared Kim to Hitler.

While there are some contrasts in politics and style between the two, 2020’s final presidential debate demonstrated clearly that the political parties of the United States ruling class are united in their aggression toward China, Russia and any other entity that stands in the way of the rule of U.S. banks and corporations over the whole world.

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