A global realignment is underway

There are increasing indications that the world order is changing and that the changes are not to the liking of the US and its NATO allies. The most obvious of these is in relation to China, writes Steve Bishop, who traces the origins of this global geopolitical realignment, writes Steve Bishop

The concept of the ‘new world order’, as coined by US President, George Bush, in January 1991 was an attempt to shape the post-Cold War era, following the defeat of the Soviet Union, in the image of the United States. The phrase emerged in a speech Bush made announcing the launch of Operation Desert Storm, following the Iraqi intervention in Kuwait which precipitated the first Gulf War. It was quickly seized upon by US neo-cons in particular as shorthand for US imperialism’s justification for playing the role of global policeman, justifying military intervention wherever and whenever deemed necessary.

With the strategic counterbalance to US expansionism, which the Soviet Union represented, having been taken away the only acceptable interpretation of the world for the US was one with it on top. The so-called Monroe doctrine, where the US since the 19th century saw Latin and South America as its ‘backyard’ in which to intervene as it wished, had now gone global.

While the US has undoubtedly flexed its economic and military muscle in a series of scenarios since 1991, things have not always gone according to plan. Overt and covert activity in the Middle East, previously aimed at curtailing Soviet influence, translated into attempting to stem the tide of Islamic fundamentalism resulting in the calamity of the Taliban and al-Qaeda. The origins of both can be traced back to CIA funded covert operations. In addition, the adventurist foreign policy pursued by the Iranian dictatorship, to fund a network of resistance across the region, including Hamas, Hezbollah and the Houthis, is a direct response to the failures of US Middle East policy.

The attack upon the Twin Towers in New York in 2001 sent a message to the world that the US was not invulnerable, while the disastrous invasion of Iraq in 2003, under the fictional pretext of identifying weapons of mass destruction, undoubtedly made the US and its NATO allies more enemies than friends in the Middle East. The intervention in Libya has resulted in an ongoing civil war between rival factions; the retreat from Afghanistan has left the population at the mercy of the medieval Taliban; while the covert intervention to try and unseat Bashir al-Assad in Syria has more than backfired, with unsuccessful military action leading to the reality of a major refugee crisis for Western Europe.

The US still has too much military and economic might for these scenarios to be described as US imperialism’s death throes but there are increasing indications that the world order is changing and that the changes are not to the liking of the US and its NATO allies. The most obvious of these is in relation to China.

While China has no military designs other than to defend its own territory, anti-Chinese rhetoric has been growing amongst Western politicians and media in recent years. Much of this is in response to the exponential growth in China’s economic power and its increasing influence with developing nations. Investments made on the basis of joint co-operation, collaboration and mutual trust are a far cry from the asset stripping and plundering which characterises the economic relationship of the West with the developing world.

Nations of the Global South increasingly see trade and investment with China as a more productive and sustainable option than dealing with Western backed corporations. Such successes are as a result of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), launched 10 years ago, with the aim of creating a network of mutually supportive economic relationships, not based upon exploitation and not based upon the expropriation of one state’s assets by another.

BRI is inspired by the concept of the Silk Road, established during the Han Dynasty 2,000 years ago, an ancient network of trade routes that connected China to the Mediterranean via Eurasia for centuries. The aim of BRI is to connect Asia with Africa and Europe via land and maritime networks along six corridors.

That such a strategy is a threat to the dominance of US economic imperialism, there can be no doubt, hence the increasingly vitriolic rhetoric aimed at painting China, not only as an economic danger, but also a military threat. Much of this rhetoric focuses upon the relationship of China to Taiwan, recognised in international law as Chinese territory, but increasingly used by the West as leverage with which to ‘justify’ its designs on restraining China’s economic growth.

The concept of a Chinese ‘threat’ also lies behind the justification of the US and its NATO allies of pushing to increase military expenditure and add to the level of Western military presence in Southeast Asia.

There is also concern in Western capitals that China plays a key role in the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) group, which is increasingly attracting the attention of nations of the Global South, looking to find ways to break with the US led global order.

The establishment of the BRICS New Development Bank (NDB) in 2015 was a major step forward in opening up the possibility for developing countries, and those of the Global South, to take a step towards controlling their own development programmes and reduce reliance on international finance institutions dominated by the US dollar.

In January last year South Africa’s Foreign Minister, Naledi Pandor, indicated the group’s intention to “develop a fairer system of monetary exchange”, with a view to weakening the dominance of the US dollar.
“The systems currently in place tend to privilege very wealthy countries and tend to be really a challenge for countries, such as ourselves, which have to make payments in dollars, which costs much more in terms of our various currencies,” she said.

Brazilian President, Lula de Silva, said the NDB’s goal is “creating a world with less poverty, less inequality, and more sustainability”, adding that the bank should play a “leading role in achieving a better world, without poverty or hunger”.

Former Brazilian President, Dilma Rousseff, is the new President of the NDB. In an interview following her inauguration Ms. Rousseff stressed the role of the NDB in supporting countries with regards to climate change and sustainable development goals; promoting social inclusion at every opportunity; and financing the most critical and strategic infrastructure projects.

While the BRICS countries are by no means a homogeneous group in terms of their political outlook the initiative remains an important one. The stranglehold of imperialist designed institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank, both of which are US dominated and controlled, has tied developing nations to Western economies in ways which have thwarted, rather than encouraged, their economic independence.

The tools of the imperialist banking sector are there precisely to generate dependence and keep former colonial nations within a neo-colonial orbit. The deployment of Western corporations, infrastructure and technology only serves to reinforce those dependencies over the long term. Inevitably there is often a military pay off too, with arms contracts being tied into economic support and the stationing of military bases and US hardware as part of the deal.

The fact that the concept of “de-dollarisation” is even on the agenda of developing nations, and that there is an emerging investment network which it does not control, is of concern to the US. Also, there can be no doubt that much of the current US provocation towards China stems from the fear that the unipolarity it has enjoyed, since the defeat of the Soviet Union, is not only being questioned but is being actively challenged.

Steve Bishop is a Liberation Member

Photo: 200703-N-KO930-3033 SOUTH CHINA SEA (July 3, 2020) An F/A-18E Super Hornet, from the “Kestrels” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 137 takes off from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68). The Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) Carrier Strike Groups are conducting dual carrier operations in the Indo-Pacific as the Nimitz Carrier Strike Force. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Olivia Banmally Nichols/Released)

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