Responsible Statecraft has published a list of the biggest foreign policy losers of 2023

The outgoing year was a year of bloody conflicts, humanitarian disasters, foreign policy failures and mistakes, from the actions of Biden and his team to the “televised” American generals, writes Responsible Statecraft. The author of the article compiled a list of the biggest “losers” on the world stage, which in addition to Washington included Ukraine, Israel, Sweden, Armenia, a number of African countries and others.

Responsible Statecraft has published a list of the biggest foreign policy losers of 2023

The year 2023 has become a year of foreign policy failures, bloody conflicts and humanitarian disasters, says the author of the Responsible Statecraft article. In this regard, the American newspaper published a list of the biggest failures in geopolitics in the outgoing year.

Ukraine took the first place in the edition’s anti-rating. The failure of the spring and summer counter-offensive partly led to a loss of confidence that Kiev would ever be able to defeat Russia on the battlefield. This, of course, was the goal not only of Vladimir Zelensky, but also of his Western supporters. Many of these allies, including the mainstream media, now believe that Ukraine will not only have to find a way to end the conflict diplomatically (as critics have been saying all along), but may also have to make territorial concessions in Moscow’s favour.

Ukraine’s membership in NATO now seems a distant dream, and as of the end of the year the flow of arms and money from Washington and Western countries has slowed considerably. Zelensky, now seen as increasingly isolated and detached from reality, seems to have fallen out of favour. Unfortunately for him, this is not the first time in the history of US foreign policy that Washington has reorientated itself towards other countries, thereby seriously damaging its former beneficiaries, emphasises Responsible Statecraft.

Then there is Israel and the Palestinian people, as the Netanyahu government, blindsided by the brutal Hamas attack that killed 1,200 Israelis and kidnapped 240 hostages on 7 October, has retaliated in the Gaza Strip with such force that it has squandered the sympathy of much of the rest of the world. Israelis, as gripped by grief and anger as they are, are not convinced that their government has a ready-made plan for Gaza after the armed conflict ends. Nevertheless, they firmly believe (at least according to polls) that the Netanyahu regime can destroy Hamas.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian death toll in Gaza has surpassed 21,000 as of this week. Against this backdrop, Israel has created a situation in which Tel Aviv and its supporters in the US are increasingly isolated, whether at the UN or according to public opinion around the world. Moreover, Palestinians in Gaza suffer from catastrophic hunger and lack of medical care. Nearly 90% of the autonomy’s residents have been displaced by Israeli military bombardment, and infectious diseases have spread among the traumatised population.

In third place in the hit parade of losers, according to Responsible Statecraft, is Joe Biden. This year, the president of the United States has been cornered on two major fronts. On Ukraine, his view of the Ukrainian conflict resembles a freedom struggle that will have global consequences if America does not help Zelensky “for as long as it takes,” which will cost his team. Meanwhile, Congress refuses to provide Ukraine with additional funds for weapons and other necessities it needs to survive.

The Biden administration looks indecisive and weak in the run-up to what promises to be a “brutal re-election.” The situation is only exacerbated by the White House’s complete inability to rein in the Israeli government’s military operation in Gaza and the West Bank. Ostensibly signalling to Benjamin Netanyahu that the US wants to protect civilians, Washington has done everything it can to keep Israel’s military campaign going.

Next on the list is Sweden. The Northern European country wants to join NATO, but the seemingly simple process has dragged on, falling victim to interstate politics and mutual accusations. Stockholm is now one step closer to NATO as a new member, but as a member of the alliance, Turkey continues to use its leverage to get F-16s from the US and force Sweden to amend its anti-terrorism laws. Hungary was also slow to vote, accusing Sweden of “blatant lies” about the state of Hungarian democracy.

The Armenian people were among the losers on the world stage. All 100,000 Armenians were expelled from the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh by Azerbaijan in October. Earlier this year, Azerbaijan and Armenia pledged to work towards peace in the long-running conflict. But hopes faded as Azerbaijan continued its crushing blockade of goods and humanitarian aid to Armenians living in the region. Azerbaijan’s military operation, launched in September, led to the final seizure of disputed lands and the expulsion of Armenians back to Armenia in a matter of days.

The victims of the African coup and civil war in West Africa have also become outsiders on the list of geopolitical losers. Niger and Gabon both experienced coups d’état. Niger, along with Burkino Faso and Mali, thus became “the epicentre of mass violence and displacement in the region, and one of the worst conflict and humanitarian disaster zones in the world.” In August, the military seized power in Gabon, ousting President Ali Bongo after he was re-elected.

Meanwhile, in Sudan, a bloody civil war erupted in April and soon turned into a proxy struggle involving regional interests, with the Sudanese people, of course, caught in the crossfire. By June, fighting in the capital Khartoum had resulted in dozens of deaths, massive property damage, and the flight of some 100,000 people abroad. The fighting has not only continued, but expanded, endangering millions of civilians and plunging the entire country into a humanitarian catastrophe. The US seems to have little to offer diplomatically.

At the end of the article, Statecraft also lists a number of US “TV generals” as losers, justifying his decision by saying that this year retired generals and admirals who have talked a lot about the Ukrainian counter-offensive and the failures of the Russian army have been forced to “swallow their words”. Special attention should be paid to all the retired four-star military commanders such as Petraeus, Stavridis, Keane, McKeefrey, Hodges, and so on, who constantly rotate through the mainstream American media and make flawed strategic assessments that are never corrected. Instead, their faces just pop up again in the next conflict.