By Jose Luis Fiori, Prensa Latina contributor.
Shortly after September 11, 2001, I became known as a “neoconservative” that placed human rights and democracy promotion at the forefront of U.S. foreign policy…(but) today, I am much more cognizant than I once was of the limitations of American power and hence much more skeptical of calls to promote democracy in China, Egypt, Iran etc. Above all, the United States must be more careful about the use of military power than it was in the heady days of the “unipolar moment.”
Boot, M. What the Neocons Got Wrong. And How the Iraq War Taught Me About the Limits of American Power. Foreign Affairs Today, March 10, 2023
And so, after defeating and destroying Iraq, the United States lost political control of the country to Iran, its main competitor and adversary in the Middle East. Subsequently, it suffered successive setbacks in its invasions and “endless wars” in Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and Yemen, and in its failed attempt to isolate and suffocate the Iranian economy.
Now, Washington is involved in a new war, on Ukrainian territory, without being able to clearly define its objectives in this conflict, nor does it have the slightest chance of achieving a definitive victory on the battlefield without going through a direct war with the greatest atomic power on the planet.
Still, there are many analysts who believe the United States has achieved a strategic victory in Ukraine by eliminating rough edges and strengthening its military ties with the European Union, with the “English-speaking peoples” and with some traditional Asian allies.
However, they do not take into account that the “bloc” formed by the US and its satellites and military protectorates has always existed, since the end of World War II, and that none of these countries -starting with Germany, Italy and Japan- ceased to be occupied by American bases and became “atomic protectorates” of the United States.
Nor was it noted that the increased military convergence, led by the G7, has become the down side of its growing isolation from the rest of the Eurasian, African and Latin American world.
Just look at the dwindling support they receive from these countries in their attempt to surround, isolate and economically suffocate their enemies, particularly Iran, Russia and even China, from the point of view of the trade and technological war unleashed since the Donald Trump administration.
It is not surprising, therefore, that the US and its satellites increased their rhetorical, diplomatic and ideological aggressiveness, adopting a growing militaristic stance, even without assessing the ultimate consequences of this almost irrational reaction to the loss of global power they have exercised for the last 300 years.
As if the “North Atlantic” countries and their small Asian satellites were losing their direction and the very sense of absurdity of some of their absolutely decomposed and almost ridiculous initiatives, from the point of view of their global dispute.
Starting with President of the US Congress, Nancy Pelosi´s visit to Taiwan, who did it in an absolutely temperamental and juvenile way, without taking into account its medium and long-term consequences, which ended up consolidating and crystalizing China´s claim and power over its “rebel island”, created with US military support in 1946.
Then, the feverish speeches of the American and European authorities are absolutely “possessed” by “Russiaphobia” similar to several others they have had in the past, as if Europe could not remain united without the demonization of an external enemy, such as de Islamists, the communists and the Jews.
Not to mention almost ridiculous episodes, such as the delirious case of the “balloon wars” initiated and quickly ended by a completely disoriented Biden administration. Or, the “arrest warrant” issued against the president of Russia by an institution created by the Europeans and completely demoralized and delegitimized by the Americans.
Or even, and more irresponsibly, the sending of a military drone to the Russian war zone, in Crimea, ending with the crash and loss of equipment brought down by Russian planes without any response or continuity, characterizing a totally thoughtless initiative on the part of Washington.
All this was accompanied by increasingly aggressive and incongruous language, which is already being used by the two “suicide terrorists” who headed Trump´s foreign policy, Mike Pompeo and John Bolton, and which continues to be used by the two “liberal-internationalist-missionaries” who command Biden´s foreign policy, Anthony Blinken and Jack Sullivan -with the fundamental difference that the two Democrats see the world as a struggle between “good” and “evil”, and they clearly consider themselves representatives of the “good”, with the mission of converting the world to their values.
The problem is that behind all of these more visible “errors” there have been more miscalculations and longer-term strategic concepts, which are progressively leading the United States and its satellites to a “dead end”.
The first of these, more directly linked to the beginning of the war, was the refusal to negotiate, discreetly and diplomatically, the neutralization of Ukraine and the construction of a new map of long-term security and strategic balance in Europe.
And, the second mistake, which was an immediate consequence of the first one, was to boycott the peace negotiations that were underway between Russia and Ukraine during the first week of the war, betting on the success of the economic war that was already planned and that would be immediately unleashed by the G7 countries against Russia.
Two crucial decisions and two strategic miscalculations -as history shall show- that were guided by the same vision of the “Biden missionaries” who, since the beginning of their administration, have been trying to divide and polarize the world, forcing a new Cold War between democratic and autocratic countries, so defined by the United States in an “autocratic” and unilateral way.
These two decisions were backed by the same certainty that the US and its satellites could impose an immediate and humiliating defeat on Russia by strangling its national economy with a package of economic sanctions of unknown dimensions, involving the European blockade on Russian oil and gas trade and the expropriation of Russian reserves and assets deposited in G7 banks and, finally, by suspending all financial relations of the Russian economy with these same countries and all others capable of supporting the sanctions ordered globally by Americans and Europeans.
In both cases, however, it appears that the United States and its satellites have been gravely mistaken.
First of all, because most states in the international system have been extremely reluctant to enter into a new Cold War, and have resolutely resisted taking sides in the Ukraine conflict, refusing to support the economic sanctions applied by Americans and Europeans against Russia.
Of the 193 countries with a seat in the UN, only 47 supported these sanctions, many of which are absolutely insignificant, as is the case of Andorra, Monaco, Iceland Liechtenstein, Micronesia, San Marino or Northern Macedonia, among others.
Secondly, recent research by European and North American universities indicates that the majority of the world´s population -living outside the countries of the minority coalition of the US and its European and Asian satellites- do not see the world as they see it and do not support the war or the economic sanctions against Russia.
They do not consider themselves less democratic than the Americans or Europeans, and maintain that the “Western coalition” is involved in the Ukraine conflict in defense of its geopolitical interests, and not in defense of supposedly universal values or human rights.
But, what is worse from the Euro-American point of view, is that after these initial errors of assessment, the “devastating” economic war unleashed against Russia was not successful, or at least, it did not achieve its objectives. It did not manage to instantly strangle the financial capacity of the Russians to sustain their offensive in Ukraine, nor did it have the expected impacts on the internal functioning of the Russian economy, which managed to circumvent the commercial and financial siege by opening new markets, redesigning its national economic strategy and reaching, in 2023, positive economic growth, according to the IMF.
In this sense, the American and European strategists were wrong once again, because their financial sanctions and trade blockade against Russia ended up having an absolutely destructive effect on European economies, which are facing accelerated deindustrialization -as is the case of Germany- or social and political disintegration -as can be seen in France and the United Kingdom, whose forecasts suggest that by 2030 the UK may have already become a country with a per capita income lower than that of Poland, which until today was a supplier of cheap labor to the British economy. Partly because of Brexit, it is true, and partly because of its increasingly aggressive involvement in the European escalation against Russia.
Crises and economic and social disintegration, ultimately triggered by economic sanctions that cut off Europe´s cheap energy, reduced the competitiveness of itseconomies and directly hit people´s wages, through inflation and rising energy and food costs.
Communicating vessels that are also acting in the current financial crisis of the North American and European banks, pressured by the increase in inflation and interest rates, and also by the loss of credibility of their public bonds, after freezing and expropriating Russian reserves and investments.
In summary: from most any point of view, the evolution of the international situation reveals that the bloc formed by the US and its satellites is increasingly isolated, more aggressive and with no way out.
The Biden administration is unable to clearly define the objective of its increasingly direct involvement in the Ukraine war. How far does it want to go? What are its expectations and possibilities beyond publicity?
And, the same can be said of its increasingly aggressive policy towards China: what are its objectives and how far is it willing to go in its dispute over the South China Sea and in its defense of Taiwan, facing, in this case divisions and fractures within the Euro-American bloc itself?
To these uncertainties and the progressive loss of direction of US foreign policy, we must add an increase in the aggressive division and polarization of US domestic policy itself, which does not allow any long-term forecast other than the joint aggressiveness of the two us political parties against China.
At the same time, it is precisely at this point that the Americans have been suffering their greatest setbacks, and demonstrating enormous misunderstanding of the facts, leaving them with an increasingly explicit call to their military might.
These are almost threats: the announcement of new weapons, a significant increase in the military budget for 2023, a blank check for the war in Ukraine and the revival of old alliances, as in the case of the AUKUS initiative, with the UK and Australia, loyal members of the former “English-speaking colonial family”.
Such militaristic obsession may be the reason why the US failed to anticipate or predict what was undoubtedly its greatest diplomatic defeat since the “hostage crisis” in the US embassy in Teheran in 1979: the announcement, made in Beijing, on March 15th, of the agreement negotiated by China on the pacification of relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia, and the upcoming restoration of diplomatic relations between the two countries, along with their mutual commitment to uphold the principle of national sovereignty.
In the 1950s, the US built its power scheme in the Middle East with the support of Iran, Saudi Arabia and Israel. In 1979, it lost Iran and it is now losing Saudi Arabia.
In other words, the agreement negotiated by China distances the US from the Middle East and announces the arrival of Chinese influence without any new war, on the contrary, through peace diplomacy, which adds to the 12-point Peace Plan presented by China for the governments of Russia and Ukraine, and also to the governments of other countries directly involved in that war, starting with the United States.
China´s diplomatic initiatives in Asia, Europe, Africa and Latin America anticipated Chinese President Xi Jinping´s announcement of his Global Civilization Initiative, the most ambitious universal peace project ever presented to the peoples of the world by a great power and a great civilization.
Putting it all together, in addition to the internal struggle that today divides American society, one can better understand how the US lost its plumb line and today is the greatest threat to world peace, because it perceives the loss of its world leadership and feels threatened by an increasingly violent internal struggle.
Right now, you can expect any kind of madness from the US government and its European satellites, which are also increasingly cornered and without any kind of new project for the world system other than retreat by shooting.