by Federico Pieraccini, Strategic Culture:
Chaos reigns in the United States, spreading to its closest allies. The war amongst Western elites is in full swing, manifesting itself from commercial wars to failed diplomacy, empty threats of war, corruption, and announced military withdrawals and attacks.
To sum up the last few weeks of international events, it is worth comparing the direction taken by the multipolar troika of Russia, China and Iran, and the one taken by the fading unipolar order led by the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia.
We can analyze the respective changes taking place within the unipolar and multipolar camps, especially in the economic, commercial, diplomatic and military fields. The introduction by the US of duties on imports, applied to 1,300 products, including iron and aluminum, has triggered a chain of events, including the imposition of as many duties on various products exported by the US to China. The pressure on America’s European allies continues, against the protests of France and Germany. It seems that Europe is struggling to form a common front on many issues relating from foreign policy to trade. The Western elites continue its in-fighting, between the European Union (led by Berlin and Paris) and the UK and the US, clashing over agreements between London and Brussels and Washington and Brussels. The Trump tariff war aims to deliver a blow to America’s opponents, but it risks provoking strong responses, even from allies. Moreover, many analysts and economists have warned that this form of commercial warfare risks harming American workers the most.
A divided Europe finds itself dealing with an ever-increasing need to justify its defense and security package. The British, thanks to the artificial Russian threat – characterized by fake chemical attacks, hypothetical invasions of the Baltic countries, and the situation in Ukraine – continue to sustain an environment in which Europeans seek the protection of NATO, which includes Britain’s nuclear deterrent. Looking at this critically, the intent of Berlin, Paris, and especially London and Washington, is evidently to justify increased military spending to counter an alleged threat emanating from Moscow. All this comes down to increased sales of British, German, French and, above all, American weapons to NATO and EU countries. This only serves to continue the flow of money into the coffers of the elite, thanks to artificial tensions like the one generated between Russia and the UK over the poisoning of the former Russian spy in England.
If the unipolar world seems to have thrown to the wind the concept of diplomacy and adherence to international norms – with a flurry of expulsions of diplomats, false accusations, one-sided motions in the UN’s Security Council, and ignoring the basic rules of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) – in Asia, on the other side of the globe, diplomacy continues to bear fruit. Xi Jinping just met with Kim Jong-un, in the first of a series of meetings that could bring the North Korean leader to an initial meeting with Moon Jae-in, and later with Putin. We have heard from Washington only bellicose rhetoric directed against Pyongyang, even within the confines of the United Nations. In line with the ideological attitude of American exceptionalism, the American establishment appreciates Trump’s threats, but is quite naturally less enamored with the announcement of a meeting between the American president and the North Korean leader. According to America’s traditional ideology, no negotiations are to be entered into with geopolitical opponents and peer competitors, for the simple reason that Washington is not willing to negotiate or make any concession on any matter; the only way it knows how to engage in international relations is to impose its will by any means possible. In Syria, the example is clear, where indirect or direct military force has failed to remove Assad, and now Washington finds itself isolated, mainly diplomatically, with the Geneva II Conference on Syria now replaced by the agreement reached in Sochi, from which the United States excluded itself on account of not enjoying a leading position, thereby conceding this role to Ankara, Tehran and Moscow. This is a good example of how the Western elite’s strategic attempt to overthrow Assad and partition Syria has ran into the military reality on the ground, which includes the strength of alliances (especially between Iran, Russia and China), and the willingness of Moscow and Tehran to resolve the Syrian crisis by military and diplomatic means.
In economic terms, the revolution the petro-yuan represents becomes more and more real, this new medium of exchange set to sooner or later involve Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest exporter of crude oil, with China as its largest buyer. The Western elites will try to oppose by any means possible such an arrangement, given that the petrodollar is the basis American military power. But it is an inevitable process, which must necessarily be backed up with a military component in order to discourage the United States from behaving recklessly. Iraq and other countries have been on the receiving end of America’s imposition of its petrodollar hegemony militarily. For this and other reasons, mainly related to US ABM systems placed all around Russian borders, Putin has had to resort to a very public demonstration of the Russian Federation’s means of deterrence, advertising the existence of the country’s new hypersonic weapons.
As demonstrated by the recent meeting between the defense ministers of Russia and China, the multipolar strategy is now wide-ranging, relegating Washington, Tel Aviv and Riyadh to further digging themselves into the hole they have already dug themselves into (see recent events in Syria with Israel launching 8 missiles and Trump beating the drums of war). As General Wei Fenghe stated, “We came to Moscow to let the Americans know about the close military ties between the armed forces of China and Russia.” When these two military and economic powers unite their efforts, involving regional powers and mediating over various conflicts, it becomes clear that the challenge to Washington’s hegemony is progressively leading away from an international reality consisting of one superpower to one consisting of three to four powers that maintain an international balance via diplomatic, economic and military means.