OPINION

James Stavridis: US military is apolitical and prepared for action if necessary

james-stavridis-us-military-is-apolitical-and-prepared-for-action-if-necessary

Whoever is the next president, there is growing consensus that Turkey under President Erdogan is increasingly disruptive globally in ways that are not helpful to the world order or the United States.

Of note, the activity encouraging Azerbaijan to go to war with Armenia; supporting ongoing combat in Libya; tense actions directed against Greece and Cyprus in the Aegean; confronting NATO allies at sea, notably France; creating conflict throughout the broader Eastern Mediterranean; purchasing advanced arms from Russia and using them indiscriminately; and attacking US-supported anti-ISIS fighters in Syria.

Neither President Trump in a second term, nor a President Biden, is likely to support further such behavior. And, as many Greeks will know, Vice President Biden has historically been very close to the Greek-American community and knows the history of Greece well.

A Biden presidency will be broadly supportive of international organizations (UN, WHO, NATO etc); more likely to seek negotiated solutions to security problems (for example with Iran); rejoin the Paris climate accords; seek alliance solidarity in dealing with Turkey within NATO; strengthen US relations in the Middle East with all allies including Israel and the Arab states. There will likely be a slight reduction in defense spending to support more domestic infrastructure construction. Overall, for Greece, a Biden presidency will be a net positive.

There are certainly risks to a period of disagreement about voting results, which is possible but not certain at this point. If there is uncertainty and a court battle, there are some nations that might be tempted to try and make a move, thinking the US would be distracted. This could be China against Taiwan, Russia against Ukraine, North Korea against South Korea, or Iran against Israel or an Arab ally of the the USA.

This would be a mistake, because the US military is apolitical and prepared for action if necessary. Let us hope no one attempts to take advantage.


* James Stavridis is a retired United States Navy admiral