Two officials in President-elect Joe Biden’s new administration revealed, Tuesday, January 19, 2021, the main features of Washington’s strategy towards the Middle East, Russia and China; Anthony Blinken, the candidate for the position of Secretary of State, said that during his tenure in the ministry, he would keep the US embassy in occupied Jerusalem, and would continue their recognition of the city as the capital of Israel, while the Pentagon candidate, Lloyd Austin, said that he would look for ways to avoid a dangerous escalation with Russia and China.
Washington’s new policy towards the Middle East
Anthony Blinken, the nominee for the position of US Secretary of State, revealed in statements he made while answering Senate members ’questions at a session of the Foreign Relations Committee, in order to validate the nomination of Democratic President-elect Joe Biden for him to take over the State Department in his next administration about Washington’s foreign policy. During the four-hour session, Blinken answered questions on a wide range of foreign policy topics, and explained how the Biden administration would chart a course after Trump.
In the second part of the session, Blinken was asked about the decision taken by the administration of the outgoing President, Donald Trump, regarding the transfer of his country’s embassy to Jerusalem, and his recognition of the occupied city as the capital of Israel. To respond to the candidate minister, confirming that matters in this regard will remain as they are. He also stressed that they will continue their support for Israel, which he said is the most important ally of the United States in the region.
In turn, Pentagon candidate Lloyd Austin said that Russia and China are seeking to expand their influence in the Middle East in the recent period “by increasing arms sales in order to drive a wedge between us and our partners”, and Austin added that “Russia seeks to change the security architecture of the Middle East and expand its influence in the region through Taking advantage of the administrative chaos and the emergence of frozen conflicts “, pledging to review the American presence to ensure that it is” balanced “and able to deal with challenges” including from Russia and China. ”
Relations with Russia and China
Austin said in his statements that if his appointment is approved, he will look for ways to avoid dangerous escalation and firmly protect Washington’s interests and values, indicating that he will leave the door open for cooperation with Russia in areas of common interest.
Austin also mentioned among the potential areas of cooperation is arms control, combating terrorism, preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction, and settling military conflicts in areas where US and Russian forces operate in close proximity to each other.
And he considered that extending the START-3 Treaty with Russia is in the interest of Washington.
At the same time, Austin pointed out that among the main tasks for the United States is “to deter Russia and limit its actions against vital American interests, including protecting our allies from military aggression.” He also accused Russia of violating international law and conducting behavior that contradicts American interests.
He indicated the need to preserve the conventional and nuclear military capabilities of the United States in order to deter Russia.
Austin considered it necessary to “hold” Moscow accountable for the cyber attacks on US government agencies in case the FBI and the US National Security Agency determined Russia’s “involvement” in those attacks.
As for China, Austin said that it is enhancing its influence on the economically weak states in the Middle East, but it has not yet strengthened its military presence, “considering that these actions pose a threat to the American diplomatic, military and economic influence in the region.
On a global scale, Lloyd Austin expressed his conviction that Washington’s efforts should be focused on deterring China.
On the conflict in Afghanistan, he said that he wanted this conflict to end with a political settlement, noting that Washington “wants to see Afghanistan without danger in the future,” with the need to focus on fighting terrorism.
Purging the army of “racists and extremists”
The chief of the Pentagon also touched on the most controversial issues in the United States related to racism, and Austin pledged to work to cleanse the ranks of the army of “racists and extremists.”
He also stressed that he would work hard to “eradicate sexual assault, rid the ranks of the American forces of racists and extremists, and create an environment in which everyone who is qualified and has the desire and opportunity to serve this country with honor.”
He has declared his intention to promote diversity within the military, in which largely whites hold leadership positions.
Biden inauguration as President of America
On the other hand, the new US President, Joe Biden, is preparing to take over power in a very tense atmosphere and in front of a great security warning. Acting US Defense Secretary Christopher Miller confirmed, Monday, January 18, that the FBI is helping the US military conduct an audit More than 25,000 National Guard troops are deployed to help protect the US Capitol during the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, due to security concerns.
After the attack carried out by supporters of President Donald Trump on the Congress building on the sixth of January, which killed five people and forced members of Congress to go into hiding, the US government imposed unprecedented security measures around the Capitol building, including the erection of impenetrable walls equipped with barbed wire. And a large security area is not allowed to the public to enter.
Miller said in a statement that auditing “is a natural matter for military support participating in major security events … and while we do not have intelligence information indicating an internal threat, we will spare no effort in securing the capital.”
The Washington Post reported on Monday that the FBI had warned in a law enforcement intelligence report that right-wing extremists had considered pretending to be members of the National Guard in Washington.
The newspaper also added that the report did not mention any specific plots to attack the facts of the inauguration.
The US government has banned entry to major public parks a few days ago, including the National Shopping Center in Washington, and closed bridges across the Potomac River between Virginia and the District of Columbia. More than a dozen underground stations were closed until the inauguration day, Wednesday.