What is Biden’s “Build Back Better World” (B3W)?

Is B3W Washington’s answer to China’s One Belt, One Road or a rebranding exercise for US-funded interference and the blocking of development abroad?

June 23, 2021 (Brian Berletic - NEO) - Announced at the archaic “Group of 7” summit (G7) in mid-June - the “Build Back Better World” (B3W) initiative is billed by Western governments and the Western corporate media as a plan that “could rival” China’s One Belt, One Road initiative (OBOR). 

Yet even its announcement - surely the easiest phase of the overall initiative - fell flat. Not a single actual example was provided of what B3W would provide prospective partners beyond the vaguest platitudes and most ambiguous commitments. 

A “fact sheet” provided by the White House for what is essentially a US-led project  - rather than clarify or solidify B3W’s vision - instead seems to suggest the “initiative” is serving as a rebranding exercise behind which US meddling abroad will continue. 

The White House document mentions, “Development Finance Corporation, USAID, EXIM, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency,” as being involved - all of which are admittedly arms of US political interference abroad, not agencies involved in driving actual development. 

USAID - for example - is mentioned by name 40 times in the US Joint Chiefs of Staff’s counterinsurgency manual (PDF) which describes the tools and techniques the US military can use to defeat insurgency abroad - tools and techniques that are admittedly just as useful at undermining, overthrowing, and replacing a targeted government with. 

In many instances, “counterinsurgency” strategies are employed by the US for precisely this purpose - cementing in power a client regime selected by the US to replace a targeted government toppled by Washington. USAID’s role is augmenting the insurgency-counterinsurgency strategy, not actually spurring development in any given country.  

Other pillars of B3W like the “Millennium Challenge Corporation” qualify development through influencing policymaking. 

One project on the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s official website featured in a post titled, “Social Inclusion in MCC’s Mongolia Compact: Affordable Water for all in Ulaanbaatar,” illustrates that US-funded “development” in Mongolia regarding “affordable water for all” is not building physical infrastructure that actually brings affordable water for all - but instead consists of conducting surveys and pressuring policymakers. 

Rather than images of American construction crews building pipelines, digging wells, or putting up permanent water towers serving entire communities, the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s website features people with clipboards knocking on doors. 

Myanmar: A “Sneak Peak” at America’s B3W in Action 

Instead of actual development, US “development” agencies like these often channel money into political opposition groups specifically to block the construction of national infrastructure that would solve issues like energy, water, and food shortages - often predicated on false socio-political pretexts like “human rights” and “environmental” concerns.

In Myanmar for example, US government-funded opposition groups have worked for years to block the construction of Chinese-led projects including dams that would generate electricity, contribute to flood control, and aid in agricultural irrigation. 

China’s Space Program Makes its Mark

June 19, 2021 (Gunnar Ulson - NEO) - China’s growing technological prowess is on clear demonstration not only across telecommunication markets around the globe, but high up above it, in space. 

China’s space program overseen by the China National Space Administration (CNSA) has this year made several landmark accomplishments. 

It began the construction of its own space station. Called Tiangong, the first of several modules (Tianhe) was launched in April with a successful supply mission launched and then docked to it the following month. 

In the coming months, crewed flights and additional supply missions to the Tianhe module will be launched with additional modules to enlarge the station following next year. 

China is the third nation to place in orbit its own space station, following Russia and the United States. 

Tiangong joins in orbit the International Space Station (ISS), a joint project between the US, Russia, the European Space Agency (ESA) and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). While the ISS hosts visitors from nations all around the globe, the US has specifically banned certain nations including China from sending participants. 

Increased tensions between the US and Russia has put in question not only the future of the ISS itself but future cooperation between these two established space powers in general, with the latter of the two opting for greater cooperation with China regarding both Tiangong as well as planned projects around and on the Moon. 

Also in May 2021, China marked the successful landing of its Zurong rover on the surface of Mars. Part of the Tianwen-1 interplanetary mission launched in 2020, China has become only the second nation ever to successfully land and operate a rover on the surface of Mars. 

This follows a similar and also successful Lunar program featuring CNSA’s Chang’e spacecraft series. Lunar orbiters, landers and rovers helped China hone the skills required for similar exploration on Mars. The program culminated in the Chang'e 5 mission to Earth’s moon in 2020 where CNSA landed, collected samples from the Moon’s surface and returned them to Earth. 

US Marine Corps Rebuilt to Confront China

June 17, 2021 (Brian Berletic - NEO) - The US Marine Corps has after nearly a century of integrating tanks into its fighting forces, abandoned armored warfare in favor of missiles and drones to "confront China" in the Indo-Pacific region. 

The Marine Times in a 2020 article titled, "The Corps is axing all of its tank battalions and cutting grunt units," would explain: 

...the Corps is making hefty cuts as the Marines plan to make a lighter and faster force to fight across the Pacific to confront a rising China.

As part of Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. David Berger’s plan to redesign the force to confront China and other peer adversaries by 2030, the Marines are axing all three of its tank battalions, and chucking out all law enforcement battalions and bridging companies..."

Since the announcement, the Marine Corps’ tank battalions have been fully deactivated. 

Defense News in another 2020 article, this one titled, "Here’s the US Marine Corps’ plan for sinking Chinese ships with drone missile launchers," would note: 

The U.S. Marine Corps is getting into the ship-killing business, and a new project in development is aimed at making their dreams of harrying the People’s Liberation Army Navy a reality.

The article cited Marine Corps requirements and development chief Lieutenant General Eric Smith, who would explain: 

“They are mobile and small, they are not looking to grab a piece of ground and sit on it,” Smith said of his Marine units. “I’m not looking to block a strait permanently. I’m looking to maneuver. The German concept is ‘Schwerpunkt,’ which is applying the appropriate amount of pressure and force at the time and place of your choosing to get maximum effect.”

Smith describes a concept where the U.S. fleet can herd Chinese ships into a contested area where the Marines can do damage from the shore.

The invocation of "Schwerpunkt" - a concept utilized as part of Nazi Germany's war of aggression against both Western Europe and the Soviet Union during World War 2 - is incredibly instructive in understanding the pathology at play within US foreign policy and defense strategy. 

Washington’s Obsession with Primacy 

Washington's overall strategy toward China is one of encirclement and containment along with the preservation of what US policymakers call America's "primacy" over the Indo-Pacific region - a region the US itself is not located in. 

US in Afghanistan: A War By Any Other Name...

June 11, 2021 (Brian Berletic - NEO) - If the promise of a US withdrawal from Afghanistan has been met by extreme skepticism by not only the American public, but by the rest of the world, the US government has only itself to blame. 

The White House published, "Remarks by President Biden on the Way Forward in Afghanistan," on April 14, 2021 included the US President claiming: 

Over the past 20 years, the threat has become more dispersed, metastasizing around the globe: al-Shabaab in Somalia; al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula; al-Nusra in Syria; ISIS attempting to create a califit [caliphate] in Syria and Iraq, and establishing affiliates in multiple countries in Africa and Asia.  

President Biden would continue by claiming:

With the terror threat now in many places, keeping thousands of troops grounded and concentrated in just one country at a cost of billions each year makes little sense to me and to our leaders.

And finally, he would claim: 

I have concluded that it’s time to end America’s longest war.  It’s time for American troops to come home.

And yet - even after reading through the rest of President Biden's remarks - it is abundantly clear that the US is not ending its longest war. 

It is simply planning to wage it by another name - an extensive proxy conflict where the US will continue artificially propping up a client regime in Kabul, continue paying the salaries of some 300,000 Afghan troops, maintain an extensive army of private contractors numbering in the thousands, and the continued operation of at least a few American bases - including most likely an air base. 

Far from a withdrawal and just as Biden's predecessors have done - including President Barack Obama whom he served as Vice President with - the door is being left open not only for a continued, perpetual US military presence in Afghanistan, but the possibility of a troop surge at a moment's notice. 

The US maintains military units thousands of soldiers strong capable of deploying anywhere in the world within 18 hours of being notified. 

Is the "3 Seas Initiative" the West's Answer to China's Belt and Road?

June 9, 2021 (Brian Berletic - NEO) - To counter not only China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) but also Russia's growing ties with Western Europe, an "alternative" infrastructure drive is being proposed that if and when completed, Washington, London, and Brussels hopes will further contain Russia and cut China off from European markets. 

Called the "Three Seas Initiative," it is described in a Bloomberg op-ed titled, "This Is How Europe Can Push Back Against China and Russia," as:

...a joint endeavor by 12 eastern members of the European Union to update the physical and digital links between the Baltic, Adriatic and Black Seas.

The op-ed argues that the initiative is the only way to fight off "Russian bullying and Chinese meddling." 

But upon closer scrutiny - even the selling points made by the author - Andreas Kluth - reads instead like a thinly veiled attempt to bully and meddle in Europe - and at the expense of the obvious opportunities trade and ties with Russia and China will bring. 

Kluth's argument includes blaming the Soviet Union's neglect of Eastern European nations as the reason they lack modern infrastructure today, claiming: 

Though economically vibrant, most of this region still lags the rest of the bloc in infrastructure. Travel by road and rail takes two to four times longer on average than in the rest of the EU. 

What’s missing in particular is good highways, railway tracks and gas pipes running north and south. This is a legacy of the Cold War. The Soviet hegemons made sure that Russian gas, tanks and troops could easily move east-west, but cared not a hoot about other connections among the countries they occupied.

Yet the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 - 30 years ago. If Eastern Europe currently still lacks modern infrastructure - it would be more appropriate to state that it is Brussels who "cares not" about making improvements.