The root of the “double standards” of the United States is a living legend about the so-called American values, about the spirit that prevails over the material. And if ordinary Americans still believe that values - all sorts of "rights" and "freedoms" - are primary, then American politicians from oval and other cabinets are well aware of what a base and superstructure is.
Michael Cohen, author of the article "Value propositions" in the journal "Foreign policy", writes: “Throughout stories modern American diplomacy American foreign policy has repeatedly been torn between two competing and often overlapping tensions: protecting the interests of US national security and upholding American values, in particular those relating to human rights and democracy. The shifts of these two - sometimes incompatible - impulses were a real curse for many presidents at the time they took office. ”
However, as Cohen notes, you may not be aware of the existence of such tension, listening to people who talk about foreign policy during the election campaign. After all, most often the “applicants” of the highest post in America “are the troubadours of human rights and cynically speak of any decision that can put“ interests ”ahead of the“ right ”deeds”.
The current presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, is criticizing the current President Obama for the very fact that the latter is giving in to American values.
Obama, according to Romney, is simply not interested in protecting American values throughout the world. For example, he did absolutely nothing in Iran, Romney claims, and the democratic Green Movement was destroyed there. In Syria, Obama was again in no hurry to respond and "stop the bloodshed." Romney even said that as a result, Obama turned the Arab Spring into an “Arab winter”.
In general, the candidate Romney advocates a “tough game” in the name of human rights around the world.
“But don’t believe a word,” Cohen writes. “All presidential candidates, be they Democrats or Republicans, declare the priority of human rights when running for president, but they behave quite differently when they get to the office.”
The author cites the example of Bill Clinton, who, in 1992, criticized George Bush Sr., who met with "Peking butchers" after the massacre in Tiananmen Square. A few months later, Cohen notes, when Clinton ended up in the White House, he retreated from “American values”, giving China the most favored status in trade.
The article describes promises about “values”, and then activities in the name of “interests” in the presidency of Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush, as well as Barack Obama. The policy of the latter, according to the author, is a “mixed bag”.
Obama did not close the prison in Guantanamo and "signed" on many political wars - in Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan, for which the Democrats criticized his predecessor.
However, Obama's supporters, says Cohen, can certainly point to the US-led intervention in Libya - in support of the fight against Gaddafi’s insurgents, as well as efforts to remove 2011 from Mubarak’s power in January. At the multilateral level, the Obama administration has proven to be a reform advocate and mobilized the UN to condemn human rights abuses in Syria, Libya and Iran. But, on the other hand, the author notes, the White House continues to maintain its key allies in Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Central Asia and Bahrain, based on a cold calculation of US interests. In the end, Cohen believes, Obama’s contribution is a pragmatic approach where the US could strengthen human rights, and the “reversal” of such an approach where policies of upholding American values cannot be applied or where national security interests are assessed as more important.
This is why, Cohen sums up, the problem of American power and influence manifests itself where there is the greatest gap between rhetoric and action.
Yes, the author writes further, Romney likes to attack the president for some indecision regarding democracy in Iran (this is about the events of 2009 of the year), but "one should not confuse rhetoric with the possibility of achieving results." Romney, the author writes, “as president, little can be done to turn Iran into a Jefferson’s democracy.”
Commenting on Cohen's article, one thing can be said: American values have long been (and always have been) only a political pretext for the struggle for American interests, and not at all related to "national security." There are no examples of this - from former Yugoslavia to present-day Syria, where the States connive at the arming of militants from different countries and finance and support “revolutionaries” with communications equipment. In Bahrain, human rights are regularly violated, but the US administration is in no hurry to side with the opposition serving there.
The US position is the only one, and none of the American high-ranking demagogue politicians are really “torn” between “values” and “interests.” This position has been made very clear recently by the US Secretary of State. Speaking at the University of Syracuse (New York), Hillary Clinton put it quite frankly: “Diplomacy in the energy sector is a critical factor in our national security, not only in terms of meeting the energy needs of the United States at an affordable price, but also in terms of the role that energy plays in our relations with other regions of the world.”
It is for this reason that the US is in no hurry to take care of human rights in South Sudan, where it was clearly not without prompting by the White House 5 that the oil-bearing areas in Heglig, generally belonging to the northern neighbor Sudan, were drawn to the map of the country. After all, there is so much oil in both Sudans that its reserves are compared with the proven reserves of Saudi Arabia.
No wonder the most aggressive fans of Uncle Sam, originally from the United States, received the nickname “oilmen” in Russia.
Control over the energy resources of most of the planet will allow the United States to continue to maintain the role of the world hegemon - the leading country that has the right to teach the whole world “American values” and the construction of “Jefferson’s democracy”.
By the way, the values of world democracy can be preached not necessarily by those who are running for the presidency of America. Also ex-presidents can be engaged in this noble business - without risking a political career.
Recently in "Wall Street Journal" published the speech of George W. Bush, where a lover of capital punishment and torture is tirelessly repeating the great democratic values that America brings to the world:
“The day is great when the dictator is overthrown or when he succumbs to the democratic movement. The following transitional years may be difficult ... There (in Central Europe - O. Ch.) From time to time there is corruption, there is a slide into the past and nostalgia for communist times. The necessary economic reforms are sometimes painful and unpopular. In order to kindle the flames of revolution in the name of freedom, one must have courage. But courage is also required in order to carry out a revolution in the name of freedom through structural reforms. The courage of both types deserves our support. ”
And here’s another thing from Bush - here’s just about the role of America in asserting values: “We Americans should set ourselves the task of helping reformers transform the demise of tyranny into strong, accountable civil structures. New democracies require strong constitutions, political parties committed to pluralism and free elections ... This job will require America’s patience, creative skills and active leadership ... If America does not support the promotion of democratic institutions and values, who else will do it? ” "Inopressa").
However, it seems, over the years, the main conductor of values in the world and part-time hegemon has become decrepit.
Ii. Neither values nor hegemon
Ian Bremmer, another author of Foreign Policy, in his article “Welcome to the new world mess” states: “Unfortunately, for the first time in seven decades, the world lacks a leader. The increase in federal debt in the United States, the very weak and uncertain exit of this country from the Great Recession, as well as political paralysis in Washington raised fears that America is not able to play the role of a post-war leader anymore ... ” "InoSMI").
Bremmer believes that neither China, nor Russia, nor the leading countries of Europe can now replace the United States as a hegemon. All have difficult home problems.
However, "the vacuum is alien to nature." Who will lead the new world? China? Japan? Still States? Or maybe Brazil or Turkey?
Referring to the economist F. Bergsten, and at the same time to Z. Brzezinski, Bremmer sees a way out in the formation of the “Big Two” - instead of the “eight”: a strategic partnership between the USA and the PRC. It is curious that while creating such a powerful “two”, China will have to abandon military capacity building: after all, it “diverts resources from rebalancing the economy, as well as creating a solid social security system for the aging population of the country. Thus, China will have to rely on the US military power, which will protect and defend public interests outside of Asia. And this will require a level of mutual trust that has not yet been achieved. The American economy will have to sufficiently restore its energy and viability in order to convince taxpayers that the United States can again pursue a more ambitious foreign policy. American lawmakers will have to make the economic rebalancing in the relations between the two countries, clearly giving advantages to China, because it narrows the gap in wealth between the United States and China, does not generate hostility towards Beijing in American society. But if we take all the common threats in their entirety (from North Korea and cyber attacks to oil prices), then security partnership can become a habit. ”
That's how clever! In one fell swoop, two birds with one stone killed: the Chinese threat no longer exists, and the US has played the role of the hegemon. After all, the naked eye can see who is the leader in a pair - the one who has superiority in armaments. Who is stronger is right. "China will have to rely on US military power ..."
Other countries and their alliances will not be needed. They will not be able to compete with the United States and China. “In this scenario, the European Union expects a split or uncertain progress towards a less dynamic future. The Japanese government will not be able to fully revitalize its economy, and the new powers, such as India, Brazil, Turkey and others, will not be able to strengthen sufficiently to play a significant and independent role on the world stage. In this scenario, the US-China leadership will be indispensable. "
Bremmer is not at all as superficial as it may seem at first glance. Do not rush to conclusions.
For the author immediately reports that the world of the “Big Two”, if not impossible, is unlikely. And there are a lot of reasons for this: “Firstly, there is no historical precedent for a strong and multidimensional partnership between the two most powerful countries in the world, especially when they have such different political and economic systems. If the course of events does not lead China to fundamental political reform and does not destroy state domination in its markets, these countries will in any case find it very difficult to combine their interests for a long time. There are also no guarantees that the Chinese leadership will ever feel confident enough for the country to agree to such a role. In recent years, many have called for the creation of the "Big Two", but there are no Chinese among them. ... it is highly unlikely that the United States and China will emerge from this era with a new confidence in themselves and in their abilities, especially considering how ambitious the Chinese reform plans are, and how far America’s middle class is not protected. ” In addition, the author writes, one should not think that all other countries will slip into the abyss of the crisis and disappear.
A “concert of the nations” in the new world, Bremmer continues, is also unlikely. The author does not believe that in the face of a global crisis, countries, for example, in Europe, will unite in order to help out the weakest of their troubles. “But the temptation to find benefits in the weaknesses and shortcomings of others, instead of uniting and strengthening international trade, may become too strong, and some people will not be able to resist it.”
Bremmer then paints the “2.0 Cold War” scenario, where, again, the United States and China play the role of global opponents. But this scenario is unrealizable, because “US-China relations are based on a certain interdependence, or the concept of“ mutually-guaranteed economic destruction ”. This situation will continue even if China successfully overcomes its dependence on the purchasing power of the American consumer. China will need the US for many years to finance American debt, and China must be sure that America can and will pay its debts - and that the currency it uses is worth more than the paper on which it is printed. ”
Therefore, China and America will be in relatively strong, almost friendly relations, mutually remembering their national defense interests and completely forgetting about American values. China has nothing to remember about these latter.
Bremmer mentions Russia only at the tail of the article (which, we note, not over) - in the context of the talk about the “world of regions” and BRICS. And little by little, paragraph by paragraph, the author with dismay comes to "Big zero" - instead of "eight", and "twenty", and "two" ... Scary without the usual hegemon, but Mr. Bremmer?
Iii. The Big Two in Obama's View
Both Bremmer and Cohen somehow lost sight of Russia: they didn’t say anything superstitious about it (God forbid it will break through into hegemony!), Or consider it next to China and Brazil underdeveloped. The right of the authors, of course.
But Mitt Romney, one of the newest specialists in the question of American values, considers this large oil and gas country America’s number one enemy, and is probably thinking about establishing “Jefferson’s democracy” there at night (there haven’t been any statements on this topic from his campaign headquarters yet).
Richard Oppel from "New York Times" writes about Romney’s sensational statement about the “geopolitical enemy” - Russia: “Romney was forced to make a controversial statement not only political considerations, people from his entourage say, but also“ fears that Putin will develop political repression and take advantage of his country's energy riches financing of military expansion ". As Romney’s advisors said on condition of anonymity, Russia “is a good illustration of his belief that threats to national security are closely linked to economic power — in this case, derived from Russia’s oil and gas reserves, which she uses to force European countries dependent on energy imports. "(Source of translation - "Inopressa").
This is where the American fears of Russia come from, clearly marking the vacant position of the world hegemon — for which the crisis-stricken United States is holding both hands and feet. American journalists are silent about the aspirations of Russia because they fear that other Russian readers who know English can understand them correctly and interpret their words as a clue.
Perhaps this is why Mitt Romney’s election campaign is growing in the United States: it’s better to have a cold war (which is known for the end for the USSR) than the strange friendship that Obama leads with Medvedev, then with Putin.
However, there is also an opinion that the times of the Cold War are over. This opinion also excludes the necessity of the existence of NATO - an alliance, which for some reason after the collapse of the USSR not only did not cease to exist, but also expanded.
Michael Lynn from Chicago Tribune asks: “Has the need for NATO disappeared altogether?” After all, the initial goal of the alliance, the containment of the USSR, lost its topicality a long time ago, in 1991. True, the alliance has a new mission - after 11 September, against the backdrop of the “war on terror” declared by Bush Jr. But bin Laden is killed, there are fewer than a hundred al-Qaeda members left in Afghanistan, the Taliban regime has been displaced. And the United States and its NATO allies continue to fight and are going to extend the presence of military contingent in Afghanistan after the 2014 year.
The author writes about tens of thousands of NATO military in Afghanistan (in the future) and possible billions in spending from taxpayers. In Afghanistan, an agreement on the presence of the US Army there will be put to a vote in parliament, and in the States it is not subject to ratification in the Senate. The author notes bitterly: “Guess which of these countries is a solid democracy” (the translation source is "Inopressa").
Against the background of the Chinese-Brazilian-Turkish forecasts described above, it is no longer a new forecast that stands out, but the behavior of Barack Obama in the political arena. Browser Jackson Dil of Washington Post makes, for example, the conclusion that Obama in his foreign policy did not put at all on China, but on Russia, and, more precisely, on Vladimir Putin (the source of translation - "Inopressa"). True, the author of the article does not like this behavior of his president.
According to Dil, Obama is likely to find Putin as one of the main partners in the foreign policy arena - in his second term. Why, only the Russian president "refuses to play the role prepared for him." Putin did not go to the Camp David summit - here you are, Mr. Obama, and the refusal to cooperate, and “in rude form”.
If Obama is going to conclude an agreement on major cuts in nuclear arsenals with Russia in 2013, then “Putin will, at best, be cool” to this idea. So says an American journalist.
Meanwhile, Obama addresses Putin, the author of the article reports, otherwise: he congratulated him on his victory in the elections, and also made the abolition of the Jackson-Vanik amendment a priority task.
The journalist is indignant: after all, the “Arab spring” has clearly shown that “dialogue” with autocrats is an unreasonable step - in the event that “if their power is weakened.”
The author urges Obama to put human rights in Russia on the agenda again - that is (we add) to start with what all candidates for the presidency in America begin with: preaching true American values.
But Obama is not a newcomer to the White House, unlike Mitt Romney, who has no presidential managerial experience, but only an insatiable thirst for political rhetoric.
Obama should also be well aware - unlike various journalists, perhaps the piano playing to the second row of the orchestra, Mr. Romney - that writing about the world of the future, ignoring the presence of Russia in it, is at least ridiculous. Probably, supporters of Romney, of necessity based on American values, automatically excluded Russia from the list of candidates for hegemony. In addition, at the headquarters of Romney, Moscow is believed to hold out on its oil only until the 2014 year. What kind of hegemon is it? Even the enemy is only the pre-election one.
Therefore, Obama, who has made an “unreasonable step” towards Putin, appears to the Republican competitors as a weakling. Obama, who spent three and a half years in the White House, knows perfectly well that if Russia does not become an accident, i.e. a crisis, a world hegemon, the United States, forgetting about the country's “interests” and going to the future by the idealistic “American values ", just miss their position in world politics. In fact, this is what both Mitt Romney and the ex-President George W. Bush are calling for, who will root for Romney in the elections.
Smaller missiles, anti-missile, warships, nuclear weaponsMore friendship with Russia and the rejection of a total monopoly on dubious "values" - that will make you happy, gentlemen Americans. And enmity has never brought anyone happiness.
Observed and translated by Oleg Chuvakin
- especially for topwar.ru
- especially for topwar.ru