Read between the President’s words and this “stable genius” is at it again with one of his Machiavellian plans. German-Polish Rivalry Trump raised eyebrows this morning when he told NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg during breakfast that “Germany is captive of Russia because it is getting so much of its […]
The Dangerous Decline of U.S. Hegemony
September 9, 2017
Exclusive: The bigger picture behind Official Washington’s hysteria over Russia, Syria and North Korea is the image of a decaying but dangerous American hegemon resisting the start of a new multipolar order, explains Daniel Lazare.
By Daniel Lazare
The showdown with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is a seminal event that can only end in one of two ways: a nuclear exchange or a reconfiguration of the international order.
While complacency is always unwarranted, the first seems increasingly unlikely. As no less a global strategist than Steven Bannon observed about the possibility of a pre-emptive U.S. strike: “There’s no military solution. Forget it. Until somebody solves the part of the equation that shows me that ten million people in Seoul don’t die in the first 30 minutes from conventional weapons, I don’t know what you’re talking about. There’s no military solution here. They got us.”
This doesn’t mean that Donald Trump, Bannon’s ex-boss, couldn’t still do something rash. After all, this is a man who prides himself on being unpredictable in business negotiations, as historian William R. Polk, who worked for the Kennedy administration during the Cuban Missile Crisis, points out. So maybe Trump thinks it would be a swell idea to go a bit nuts on the DPRK.
But this is one of the good things about having a Deep State, the existence of which has been proved beyond a shadow of a doubt since the intelligence community declared war on Trump last November. While it prevents Trump from reaching a reasonable modus vivendi with Russia, it also means that the President is continually surrounded by generals, spooks, and other professionals who know the difference between real estate and nuclear war.
As ideologically fogbound as they may be, they can presumably be counted on to make sure that Trump does not plunge the world into Armageddon (named, by the way, for a Bronze Age city about 20 miles southeast of Haifa, Israel).
That leaves option number two: reconfiguration. The two people who know best about the subject are Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping. Both have been chafing for years under a new world order in which one nation gets to serve as judge, jury, and high executioner. This, of course, is the United States.
If the U.S. says that Moscow’s activities in the eastern Ukraine are illegitimate, then, as the world’s sole remaining “hyperpower,” it will see to it that Russia suffers accordingly. If China demands more of a say in Central Asia or the western Pacific, then right-thinking folks the world over will shake their heads sadly and accuse it of undermining international democracy, which is always synonymous with U.S. foreign policy.
There is no one – no institution – that Russia or China can appeal to in such circumstances because the U.S. is also in charge of the appellate division. It is the “indispensable nation” in the immortal words of Madeleine Albright, Secretary of State under Bill Clinton, because “we stand tall and we see further than other countries into the future.” Given such amazing brilliance, how can any other country possibly object?
Challenging the Rule-Maker
But now that a small and beleaguered state on the Korean peninsula is outmaneuvering the United States and forcing it to back off, the U.S. no longer seems so far-sighted. If North Korea really has checkmated the U.S., as Bannon says, then other states will want to do the same. The American hegemon will be revealed as an overweight 71-year-old man naked except for his bouffant hairdo.
Not that the U.S. hasn’t suffered setbacks before. To the contrary, it was forced to accept the Castro regime following the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, and it suffered a massive defeat in Vietnam in 1975. But this time is different. Where both East and West were expected to parry and thrust during the Cold War, giving as good as they got, the U.S., as the global hegemon, must now do everything in its power to preserve its aura of invincibility.
Since 1989, this has meant knocking over a string of “bad guys” who had the bad luck to get in its way. First to go was Manuel Noriega, toppled six weeks after the fall of the Berlin Wall in an invasion that cost the lives of as many as 500 Panamanian soldiers and possibly thousands of civilians as well.
Next to go was Mullah Omar of Afghanistan, sent packing in October 2001, followed by Slobodan Milosevic, hauled before an international tribunal in 2002; Saddam Hussein, executed in 2006, and Muammar Gaddafi, killed by a mob in 2011. For a while, the world really did seem like “Gunsmoke,” and the U.S. really did seem like Sheriff Matt Dillon.
But then came a few bumps in the road. The Obama administration cheered on a Nazi-spearheaded coup d’état in Kiev in early 2014 only to watch helplessly as Putin, under intense popular pressure, responded by detaching Crimea, which historically had been part of Russia and was home to the strategic Russian naval base at Sevastopol, and bringing it back into Russia.
The U.S. had done something similar six years earlier when it encouraged Kosovo to break away from Serbia. But, in regards to Ukraine, neocons invoked the 1938 Munich betrayal and compared the Crimea case to Hitler’s seizure of the Sudetenland.
Backed by Russia, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad dealt Washington another blow by driving U.S.-backed, pro-Al Qaeda forces out of East Aleppo in December 2016. Predictably, the Huffington Post compared the Syrian offensive to the fascist bombing of Guernica.
Fire and Fury
Finally, beginning in March, North Korea’s Kim Jong Un entered into a game of one-upmanship with Trump, firing ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan, test-firing an ICBM that might be capable of hitting California, and then exploding a hydrogen warhead roughly eight times as powerful as the atomic bomb that leveled Hiroshima in 1945. When Trump vowed to respond “with fire, fury, and frankly power, the likes of which the world has never seen before,” Kim upped the ante by firing a missile over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido.
As bizarre as Kim’s behavior can be at times, there is method to his madness. As Putin explained during the BRICS summit with Brazil, India, China, and South Africa, the DPRK’s “supreme leader” has seen how America destroyed Libya and Iraq and has therefore concluded that a nuclear delivery system is the only surefire guarantee against U.S. invasion.
“We all remember what happened with Iraq and Saddam Hussein,” he said. “His children were killed, I think his grandson was shot, the whole country was destroyed and Saddam Hussein was hanged…. We all know how this happened and people in North Korea remember well what happened in Iraq…. They will eat grass but will not stop their nuclear program as long as they do not feel safe.”
Since Kim’s actions are ultimately defensive in nature, the logical solution would be for the U.S. to pull back and enter into negotiations. But Trump, desperate to save face, quickly ruled it out. “Talking is not the answer!” he tweeted. Yet the result of such bluster is only to make America seem more helpless than ever.
Although The New York Times wrote that U.S. pressure to cut off North Korean oil supplies has put China “in a tight spot,” this was nothing more than whistling past the graveyard. There is no reason to think that Xi is the least bit uncomfortable. To the contrary, he is no doubt enjoying himself immensely as he watches America paint itself into yet another corner.
The U.S. Corner
If Trump backs down at this point, the U.S. standing in the region will suffer while China’s will be correspondingly enhanced. On the other hand, if Trump does something rash, it will be a golden opportunity for Beijing, Moscow, or both to step in as peacemakers. Japan and South Korea will have no choice but to recognize that there are now three arbiters in the region instead of just one while other countries – the Philippines, Indonesia, and maybe even Australia and New Zealand – will have to follow suit.
Unipolarity will slink off to the sidelines while multilateralism takes center stage. Given that U.S. share of global GDP has fallen by better than 20 percent since 1989, a retreat is inevitable. America has tried to compensate by making maximum use of its military and political advantages. That would be a losing proposition even if it had the most brilliant leadership in the world. Yet it doesn’t. Instead, it has a President who is an international laughingstock, a dysfunctional Congress, and a foreign-policy establishment lost in a neocon dream world. As a consequence, retreat is turning into a disorderly rout.
Assuming a mushroom cloud doesn’t go up over Los Angeles, the world is going to be a very different place coming out of the Korean crisis than when it went in. Of course, if a mushroom cloud does go up, it will be even more so.
In a climate of outright confrontation, even the Gulf monarchies have been overtaken by a series of unprecedented events. The differences between Qatar on one side, and Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain on the other, have escalated into a full-blown diplomatic crisis with outcomes difficult to foresee. (…)
Independent freelance writer specialized in international affairs, conflicts, politics and strategies
Martin Zeis, 15.01.2017
I entrust to you the four-part series of articles written by Federico PIERACCINI about Geopolitics, Globalization and World Order.
„In this series of four articles I intend to lay a very detailed but easily understandable foundation for describing the mechanisms that drive great powers. To succeed, one must analyze the geopolitical theories that over more than a century have contributed to shaping the relationship between Washington and other world powers. Secondly, it is important to expound on how Washington’s main geopolitical opponents (China, Russia and Iran) have over the years been arranging a way to put a stop to the intrusive and overbearing actions of Washington. Finally, it is important to take note of the possibly significant changes in American foreign policy doctrine that have been occurring over the last twenty years, especially how the new Trump administration intends to change course by redefining priorities and objectives.“ Pieraccini, 19.12.2016
„The preceding three parts of this series analyzed the mechanisms that drive great powers. The most in-depth understanding of the issues concerned the determination of the objectives and logic that accompany the expansion of an empire. Geopolitical theories, the concrete application of foreign-policy doctrines, and concrete actions that the United States employed to aspire to global dominance were examined. Finally, the last bit of analysis focused particularly on how Iran, China and Russia have adopted over the years a variety of cultural, economic and military moves to repel the continual assault on their sovereignty by the West. Finally, specific attention was given to the American drive for global hegemony and how this has actually accelerated the end of the ‚unipolar moment‘, impelling the emergence of a multipolar world order.
In this fourth and final analysis I will focus on a possible strategic shift in the approach to foreign policy from Washington. The most likely hypothesis suggests that Trump intends to attempt to prevent the ongoing integration between Russia, China and Iran.“, Pieraccini, 15.01.2017
I’ve compiled the articles in one pdf-file (attached, 22 p) – separate they are available via following URLs:
Author: Federico Pieraccini
I. Geopolitics, Globalization and World Order, 19.12.2016
II. The United States and The Race for Global Hegemony, 23.12.2016
III. How a United Iran, Russia and China are Changing The World – For the Better, 01.01.2017
IV. Trump’s Delusion: Halting Eurasian Integration and Saving ‚US World Order‘, 15.01.2017
The two previous articles have focused on the various geopolitical theories, their translations into modern concepts, and practical actions that the United States has taken in recent decades to aspire to global dominance. This segment will describe how Iran, China and Russia have over the years adopted a variety of economic and military actions to repel the continual assault on their sovereignty by the West; in particular, how the American drive for global hegemony has actually accelerated the end of the ‚unipolar moment‘ thanks to the emergence of a multipolar world.
Martin Zeis, 26.10.2016
With „Washington’s Struggle: Remaining Relevant“ Frederico Pieraccini, independent freelance writer specialized in international affairs, conflicts, politics and strategies, published another article about the multifarous geopolitical shift we are witnessing.
He belonges to a networking group of investigative journalists/bloggers and historians, keeping pace with the times – like for example Michel Chossudovsky, Pepe Escobar, Alexander Mercouris, F. William Engdahl, Dmitry Orlov, A. Reavsky (alias The Saker), Thierry Meyssan et. al. . Them all are blinded out in the German Mass Media and largely in left-liberal publications like Le Monde Diplomatique and – surprisingly – are widely shunned by European altermondialist movements/organizations.
Below an excerpt of „Washingtons Struggle …“ and a list of recently written articles by Pieraccini enlarging upon additional geopolitical aspects.
25.10.2016 – Online Journal – STRATEGIC CULTURE FOUNDATION
Washington’s Struggle: Remaining Relevant
By Frederico Pieraccini *
The most important event of the past 70 years is the change in the international order, from a US unipolar domination to a new multipolar reality. The funda-mental question lies in understanding how this transition is taking place, its consequences and root causes
The transition in the international order, from a pre-WWI multipolar world to a post-WWII bipolar world, cost humanity a world war involving millions of deaths. The next stage, distinct from the conflicts between the USSR and the US, ended with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, but without the tragedy of direct confrontation. This funda-mental historical difference has its own intrinsic logic governing the relationship of forces between powers. The USSR was a country in decline, unable to continue its role on the international stage as the premier anti-hegemonic power.
The transition from a bipolar to a unipolar reality could have had nuclear con-sequences, but an agreement between the powers avoided this danger. The upshot was an unconditional surrender of the USSR, with catastrophic consequences in economic and cultural terms for the superpower to come to terms with, but at least without the explosion of a large-scale conflict.
With the end of the bipolar model, however, began what some historians declared to be the «end of history»: the transition from a multipolar world, to a bipolar world, to end in a unipolar world. From the point of view of Washington, the story ended with only one global power remaining, thereby granting the United States the power to decide matters for the whole world.
The scenario in which we live today, in terms of international law and the balance of forces, is almost unprecedented in history if looked at in the present context. It is true that the current transition from a unipolar to a multipolar reality is something similar to what has been seen in previous decades, with the transition from British hegemony in the late-nineteenth century to a multipolar situation in the period preceding the two world wars. Nevertheless, resorting to this historical analogy is difficult, given the relative absence of international rules compared to a century ago. Therefore it is difficult to use the earlier transition period to make assumptions about future trends.
The causes of change
The attitude of the US over the last 25 years has been focused completely on the achievement of global hegemony. The dream of having control over every event, in every corner of the world, has ironically led to accelerating the end of America’s unipolar moment. Of course the deep meaning of the word „control“ can be expanded upon, examining the merits of the cultural, economic and military impositions that result from a constant quest for global domination.
The US has chosen an impassable road that is full of contradictions to justify their rise as a global power. In two decades we have witnessed the dismantling of all the key principles of the balance of power between Russia and the United States, necessitating the change in international relations from unipolar to multipolar.
Full text attached
* Frederico PIERACCINI – Native of Florence, Italy, he frequently writes for L’Antidiplomatico and L’Opinione Pubblica and maintains a popular blog (in Italian), called Fractions of Reality, which seeks to present interesting information about Russia and Ukraine not widely available in the mainstream Italian media. He lives in Milan. Contact Federico at: Federico (dot) Pieraccini (at) gmail (dot) com
Nuclear War Is Not on the Table – Because It Makes No Sense
By Federico Pieraccini, 08.06.2016
Multipolar World Order: Economics Vs. Politics
By Frederico Pieraccini, 22.08.2016
Washington’s Failure In Syria Is Not About Strategy
By Fredrico Pieraccini, 11.09.2016
Why American Military Doctrine Is Doomed for Fail
By Federico Pieraccini, 02.10.2016
The global economic position of ASEAN is of pivotal importance in contemporary international relations, but similarly just as significant is the region’s strategic one vis-à-vis China and the unipolar world.
Andrew Korybko is the American political commentator currently working for the Sputnik agency. He is the post-graduate of the MGIMO University and author of the monograph “Hybrid Wars: The Indirect Adaptive Approach To Regime Change” (2015). This text will be included into his forthcoming book on the theory of Hybrid Warfare.