Entangled on all sides by problems, America is losing global power and influence, and world public opinion is turning into a “second superpower”.
By asking the question of who rules the world, we tend to believe the standard of the thesis that the main actors in international affairs are the states, and mainly the great powers. Therefore, we primarily consider their decisions and the existing relations between them. It's right. But we should also bear in mind that this level of abstraction can be quite misleading.
Of course, states have a complex internal structure, and internal concentration of power greatly affects the elections and decisions of their political leadership, when the population as a whole finds itself on the sidelines and is deprived of any influence. This happens even in the most democratic societies, and for the rest this situation is an obvious given. We cannot get a real idea of who rules the world, ignoring the “masters of humanity,” as Adam Smith called them. In his time these were the merchants and industrialists of England; in our times these are multinational diversified corporations, huge financial institutions, retail empires, and the like.
But following Smith, it would not be superfluous to consider the "base principle" that guides "the masters of mankind": "Everything is for itself and nothing for others." In other words, it is the doctrine of a sharp and endless class war, which is often one-sided, causing harm to the population of the countries and the world as a whole.
In today's world order, the rulers of mankind institutions have enormous power, not only internationally, but also within their states. They rely on these institutions in the protection of their government and in providing economic support in many different ways.
When we think about the role of the hosts of humanity, we will definitely turn to the current state policy priorities such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership. This is one of the agreements on the rights of investors, which in propaganda and comments is falsely called the “free trade agreement”. Such agreements are confidential, and only hundreds of corporate lawyers and lobbyists who prescribe the most important details have access to them. The goal here is to take them in an expedited manner, in Stalin, eliminating the discussion and giving the opportunity to say only "yes" or "no" (because of which it always turns out "yes").
Authors of such agreements very succeed, which is not surprising. And the people? They are not essential. The consequences of this can be easily predicted.
The neoliberal programs of the last generation helped to concentrate power and wealth in the hands of small groups, and at the same time, they have undermined functioning democracy. But because of this, also I woke up and indignant opposition, most notably in Latin America, as well as in the global power centers.
The European Union (EU), which became one of the most promising projects after World War II, was on the verge of destruction due to the most serious consequences of the policy of belt-tightening during the recession, which is condemned even the economists of the International Monetary Fund (but not the political forces of the fund series).
Democracy in Europe is weakened, and the decision-making process has moved to Brussels, where he took over the officials. A northern banks discard them his long shadow.
Leading directions center parties quickly lose their members, who are moving either to the right or to the left. The executive director of the Paris-based research group EuropaNova explains this general disappointment with “the mood of evil powerlessness, as the real opportunity to influence the course of events escaped from the hands of national political leaders [who should in principle be subject to democratic politics] and passed into the hands of the market, European Union institutions and corporations” - quite in the spirit of the neoliberal doctrine.
Very similar processes occur in the United States, and for similar reasons. And it is a matter of great importance, it is important not only for the country but for the whole world by virtue of American power.
Strengthening the opposition to the neoliberal onslaught brings to the fore another very important aspect of standard conventional wisdom, when society is pushed aside, often disagreeing with the role of the spectator (and not the participant) that has been approved for him by liberal democratic theory. Such disobedience is always of concern to the ruling class. Following the spirit and letter of the American storiesGeorge Washington considered commoners "dirty and disgusting people showing inexplicable folly in their lower class."
In his book Violent Politics, which has become a brilliant review of the rebel movements, beginning with the American Revolution and ending with modern Iraq and Afghanistan, William Polk concludes that General Washington “wanted so much to push aside those militias he despised that this man almost decided to lose the revolution. " In fact, “he could have done this”, if not for the active intervention of France, which “saved the revolution”. Up to that point, partisans, whom we call today “terrorists”, were victorious in it. And the British-style Washington Army lost the battle over and over again and nearly lost the war. ”
The common feature of a successful insurgency, Polk writes, is that after a victory, popular support weakens, and the leadership begins to suppress "dirty and disgusting people" who actually won the war with their guerrilla tactics and methods of terror. It does this out of fear, fearing that commoners will defy class privileges. Over the years, the contempt of the elite towards the “lower class” of these people takes on many different forms.
Nowadays, a call to passivity and obedience (“moderation in democracy”), which liberal internationalists advocate, has become one of the forms of such contempt, reacting in this way to the dangerous consequences of the 1960 popular movements expressed in democratization.
Sometimes states still prefer to follow public opinion, which causes a huge rage and outrage at government centers. One of the most dramatic cases occurred in 2003, when the Bush administration demanded from Turkey to join the invasion of Iraq.
95% of the population of Turkey opposed such a course of action, and to the amazement and dismay of Washington, the Turkish government supported the views of the people. Turkey was strongly condemned for such a refusal of responsible action. Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, who was called by the press "commander in chief of idealism" in the American administration, in every way blasphemed the Turkish army for committing illegal actions and demanded an apology. The unperturbed and respected commentators, who were not very touched by this and other innumerable manifestations of our legendary “longing for democracy”, continued to praise President George W. Bush for his dedication to the cause of “promoting democracy” and sometimes criticizing him for his naive thinking and belief in that an outside power can impose its democratic aspirations on others.
Turkish society was not alone. Global opposition to US-British aggression was overwhelming. According to international polls, the level of support for Washington's war plans barely falls short of 10% in almost all countries. Such opposition has caused strong protests from around the world and in the United States. Perhaps it was the first time in history, when the imperial aggression roundly condemned even before its official start.
Journalist Patrick Tyler wrote in the New York Times that "there are two superpowers in the world: the United States of America and world public opinion."
Unprecedented protests in the United States became a manifestation of discontent aggression that began several decades earlier. Their participants criticized the US war in Indochina. This protest movement has become a large-scale and highly influential, although it is too late.
In the 1967 year, when the anti-war movement gained significant strength, military historian and Vietnamese specialist Bernard Fall (Bernard Fall) warned: "Vietnam as a cultural and historical education ... is threatened with complete destruction ... because the countryside of this country is literally perishing under the blows of the most powerful in the world military machine operating on an area of this size. "
However, the anti-war movement has become a force that can not be ignored. And it could not ignore the actions of Ronald Reagan, who, after coming to power, determined to launch an attack on Central America. His administration has decided to follow the example of John F. Kennedy, who twenty years earlier started the war against South Vietnam. But she had to back out due to strong public protests, which were not in the early 1960-x.
That attack was scary enough. His victims have not recovered so far. But what happened in South Vietnam, and later in all of Indochina, where the “second superpower” began to protest against the conflict much later, was incomparably worse.
It is often said that the strong public opposition to the invasion of Iraq has not conceived his action. I think this statement is incorrect.
Undoubtedly, the invasion was quite horrible and terrible its consequences. Nevertheless, it could be much worse.
Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and the other high-ranking officials in the Bush administration could not even think about the measures, which 40 years earlier went to President Kennedy and President Lindon Dzhonson, as they know that this will cause protests.
Western Power under pressure
Of course, much can be said about the factors determining state policy, which are set aside when we adhere to the standard idea that states are actors in international affairs. But even with such non-trivial reservations, we can accept this view, at least as a first approximation to reality. In this case, the question of who rules the world will immediately lead to fears about the strengthening of Chinese power and the challenge that Beijing is throwing the United States and the "world order" about the new Cold War, quietly smoldering in Eastern Europe, the global war on terror, American hegemony and American decadence, as well as other similar concerns.
The challenges that Western power faced at the beginning of 2016 of the year were covered in the generally accepted framework by the Financial Times chief commentator on international affairs, Gideon Rachman. He began with a review of the Western picture of the world order: “Since the end of the Cold War, the overwhelming power of the American armed forces has been central to international politics.”
This is of particular importance in three regions: in East Asia, where “the US Navy is used to treat the Pacific Ocean as an“ American lake ”, in Europe, where NATO (read - the United States, which share as much as three-quarters of NATO military spending) guarantees the territorial integrity of its member countries, and in the Middle East, where there are giant naval and air bases of the United States, in order to "reassure friends and intimidate enemies."
The problem of today's world order, Rahman continues, is that "in all three regions, this established security procedure is challenged." Russia intervened in Ukraine and Syria, and China turned the nearby seas from an American lake into “disputed waters.”
Thus, the fundamental question of international relations is whether the United States should recognize that other major powers in their regions should also have certain zones of influence. ” Rahman believes that they should, because of "the dispersal of economic power around the world - in combination with simple common sense."
Of course, the world can be viewed from different angles. But let us confine ourselves to the three regions, which are certainly very important.
Call today: East Asia
Let's start with the "American Lake". There may be some surprise at the message that appeared in mid-December 2015 that “the American B-52 bomber, which carried out a routine flight over the South China Sea, unintentionally flew into a two-mile zone over the artificial island built by China”. The fact is that, according to representatives of the military department, this caused “sharp contradictions between Washington and Beijing.”
Familiar with the grim history of the 70 nuclear era, people are well aware that incidents of this kind often lead the world to a dangerous line of nuclear war, threatening complete annihilation. You do not need to be a supporter of provocative and aggressive actions of the PRC in the South China Sea, in order to note that this incident did not occur with a Chinese nuclear bomber in the Caribbean or off the coast of California. China does not claim to create a “Chinese lake” in these regions. Fortunately for the whole world.
Chinese leaders are well aware that their maritime trade routes are surrounded by hostile powers, for example, Japan in the Straits of Malacca and other places, and that these hostile powers are supported by compelling US military power. Accordingly, China is implementing its expansion westward very carefully, putting a major investment and implementing actions designed for integration.
In particular, these actions are carried out within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which includes the countries of Central Asia and Russia, and soon will enter India and Pakistan. Iran in this organization is an observer, and the United States in this status was denied. They were also asked to close all military bases in the region. China is building a modern version of the ancient Silk Road, intending not only to unite the region under its influence, but also to enter Europe and the oil producing regions of the Middle East. Beijing invests a lot of money in the creation of an integrated energy and commercial system in Asia, and also builds numerous high-speed railways and pipelines.
One component of this program is the construction of the highway, which will pass to the highest mountains in the world to the Chinese-built Gwadar port in Pakistan. This port will protect the oil supplies from possible US intervention.
China and Pakistan hope that this program will also help accelerate the development of industry in Pakistan’s territory and give Islamabad additional incentives to suppress domestic terrorism, which also creates problems for China in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. The United States, which provides Pakistan with extensive military assistance, does not deal with economic issues there. Gwadar will become for China part of the "pearl thread" in the composition of several bases that are being built in the Indian Ocean for commercial purposes, but which can also have military applications. According to estimates for the future, China will be able, over time, to demonstrate its military might even in the Persian Gulf, which will be the first time for it in modern history.
The overwhelming US military power is protected from all of these actions, unless there is a nuclear war to the complete destruction, in which case the United States will also be destroyed.
In 2015, China has created Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, becoming its major shareholder. At the opening of the bank, which was held in June in Beijing, attended by 56 countries, including US allies Australia, Britain, and others. They did this in spite of Washington's wishes. The US and Japan was not there.
Some analysts believe that the new bank could create competition Bretton Woods institutions (IMF and World Bank), in which the United States has the right of veto. There is also a calculation that the SCO will eventually become a counterweight to NATO.
Call today: Eastern Europe
Referring to the second region, Eastern Europe, where the border between Russia and NATO is brewing crisis. This is a very important point.
In his instructive and prudent scientific study of this region called Frontline Ukraine - Crisis in the Borderlands (Frontline Ukraine - Crisis on the Border), Richard Sakwa very convincingly writes that “the Russian-Georgian war in August 2008 of the year, according to in fact, it was the first war to stop the expansion of NATO. " Ukrainian crisis 2014, the second such war. It is not clear whether humanity will survive a third war. "
The West believes that NATO expansion is beneficial. It is not surprising that Russia, as well as most of the “global south”, has a different opinion on this subject, like that of some influential Western experts. George Kennan at the outset warned that NATO expansion was a “tragic mistake”, and was joined by high-ranking American statesmen who wrote an open letter to the White House, in which they called the alliance's promotion “political mistake of historical scope”.
The current crisis began in the 1991 year, when the cold war ended and the Soviet Union collapsed. At that time there were two opposing views on the new security system and on the political economy of Eurasia. According to Sakwa, one concept called for “the expansion of Europe”, in the center of which was to be “the European Union with the adjacent Euro-Atlantic military and political community. On the other hand, there was the idea of a large continental Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok with many centers, including Brussels, Moscow and Ankara, but with a common goal - to overcome the differences that have long pursued the continent. ”
The main supporter of big Europe was the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. This concept had European roots in de Gaulle’s political movement and in other initiatives. But when Russia began to collapse under the pressure of the devastating market reforms of 1990, this concept faded. It began to revive with the restoration of Russia, which began to look for its place in the international arena under Vladimir Putin, who, together with his associate Dmitry Medvedev, repeatedly called for the geopolitical unification of all of big Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok in order to create a true "strategic partnership".
These initiatives were met with “polite contempt,” Sakwa writes, since they were considered “no more than a cover for the secret revival of“ great Russia ”and a split in relations between North America and Western Europe. Such concern originates in the earlier fears of the Cold War over the fact that Europe can become a “third force”, independent of the great and small superpowers, but gradually moving closer to the latter (this can be traced to Willy Brandt and other initiatives) .
The West reacted to the collapse of Russia with triumphalism. This collapse was greeted, calling it “the end of history” and the final victory of Western capitalist democracy, as if Russia was instructed to return to the status it had before World War I, and again become an economic colony of the West.
The expansion of NATO began without delay, in violation of Gorbachev’s verbal assurances that the Alliance’s forces would not move east even when the Soviet leader agreed to unify Germany’s membership in NATO. It was a striking concession in the light of historical events. During the discussion, the parties spoke about East Germany. The possibility of expanding the alliance outside of Germany with Gorbachev was not discussed even in private.
Soon NATO really went beyond the borders of Germany and came close to the borders of Russia. The main mission of NATO was officially replaced, and now the alliance has received a mandate to protect the "critical infrastructure" of the global energy system, sea routes and pipelines. Thus, the zone of action of NATO has become global. Further, in accordance with the concept of NATO, which was completely revised by the West, its doctrine declared a “duty to protect”, which contrasts sharply with the official version of the UN. Now, NATO can act as an interventionist force under US command.
Of particular concern to Russia are plans to move NATO to Ukraine. These plans were publicly announced at the NATO summit in Bucharest in April 2008, when Georgia and Ukraine were promised prospective membership in the alliance. The wording was unambiguous: “NATO welcomes the Euro-Atlantic aspirations of Ukraine and Georgia to join the alliance. Today we agreed that these countries will join NATO. "
When the pro-Western candidates won in Ukraine’s 2004 revolution of the year, State Department spokesman Daniel Fried hurried there, stressing that “the United States supports Ukraine’s aspirations to join NATO and the Euro-Atlantic community.”
Russia's concerns can be easily understood. They were outlined by foreign affairs specialist John Mearsheimer in the leading journal of the American establishment, Foreign Affairs. He wrote that “the pivotal cause of the current crisis [in Ukraine] is the expansion of NATO and Washington’s desire to divert Ukraine from the Moscow orbit, integrating it with the West.” Putin considered this a "direct threat to Russia's key interests."
“Who can blame him?” Asks Mirshaymer, pointing out that “Washington may not like Moscow’s position, but he must understand its logic.” It is not very difficult. In the end, as everyone knows, "the United States cannot accept the fact that the distant great powers deploy their armed forces anywhere in the Western Hemisphere, and even more so on their borders."
In fact, the United States takes a much tougher stance. They cannot reconcile with what is officially called “successful disobedience” of the Monroe Doctrine of 1823 of the year, which proclaimed (so far not implemented) US control over the Western Hemisphere. A small country, daring to demonstrate such a successful disobedience, can be subjected to all the "punishments of the earth", as well as a powerful embargo - what happened to Cuba.
We do not need to ask how the United States would react, enter the countries of Latin America in the Warsaw Pact, and start Mexico and Canada to consider this possibility. Even the slightest hint of the first test step in this direction would have been stopped with “maximum rigidity”, to put it in CIA terminology.
As in the case of China, do not need to have a positive opinion for an understanding of the logic of Putin's motives and actions toward them. It is important to understand this logic, instead it send to his curse. As in the case of China, the rate is extremely high. There literally is a question of survival.
Call today: the Islamic world
Now let us turn to the third region is of great concern. It is the Islamic world (mainly), as well as the scene of the global war on terror, which is in the 2001 11, after the terrorist attacks in September declared George W. Bush. More precisely, re-announced.
Global war on terror declared coming to power the Reagan administration. She frantically rant about "the plague spread by vicious opponents of civilization itself" (the words of Reagan) and about "returning to barbarism in the modern era" (the words of its Secretary of State George Schulz).
The original global war on terror was quietly removed from history. It was quickly turned into a brutal and destructive terrorist war that hit Central America, southern Africa and the Middle East. The dark consequences of this transformation we still feel today. Because of this, the United States was even condemned by the United Nations International Court of Justice (which Washington did not listen to). In any case, this war was on the wrong side of history, and therefore it was quietly "gone."
The success of the Bush-Obama version of the global war on terror can be easily assessed by direct examination. When this war was declared, the targets for defeat were limited to a small corner of tribal Afghanistan. The terrorists were defended by Afghans, who for the most part disliked them and despised them, but were forced to give shelter according to the tribal code of hospitality. This puzzled the Americans when the poor peasants refused to "surrender Osama for an astronomical sum of 25 million dollars for them."
There is every reason to believe that in the case of a carefully organized police operation or even serious diplomatic negotiations with the Taliban, suspected of committing crimes 11 September could well have been betrayed to American justice. But this option was not even considered. Reflexes turned on instead, and large-scale violence was preferred. But not to overthrow the Taliban (it came later), but to demonstrate American contempt for the Taliban's conditional offers about the possible extradition of Osama bin Laden.
We do not know how serious these proposals were, since nobody has ever considered them. Or maybe the United States simply decided to "show its muscles, win and intimidate everyone in the world." They don't care about the suffering of the Afghans and how many people we will lose. ”
This is the opinion of the respected warlord and opponent of the Taliban Abdul Haq (Abdul Haq), one of the many opponents of the American bombardment, launched in October 2001 of the year. He called these bombings a “big obstacle” for attempts by his supporters to overthrow the Taliban from the inside, believing that such a task was within their reach.
His point of view was confirmed by Richard Clark (Richard A Clarke), who was in the White House under President George W. Bush as chairman of the Counter-Terrorism Security Group, when plans were made to attack Afghanistan. Clark recalled that at one of the meetings, when the president was informed that the attack would violate international law, he shouted in a small meeting room: "I don’t care what the international lawyers say, we still kill some people for ass." Leading aid organizations that worked in Afghanistan also resolutely opposed the attacks. They warned that millions of people are on the verge of starvation, and that the consequences can be dire.
I hardly need to remind you what years later were these unfortunate consequences for Afghanistan.
Further, under the sledgehammer of America came to Iraq.
The American-British invasion, carried out without any plausible excuse, is the gravest crime of the 21 century. This attack caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in a country where civil society was already destroyed by American and British sanctions. The two eminent diplomats who introduced them called these sanctions "genocide" and resigned in protest. The invasion led to the emergence of millions of refugees, destroyed most of the country and provoked an interfaith conflict, which today tears apart Iraq and the entire Middle Eastern region. This is a monstrous fact in our intellectual and moral culture, although the informed and enlightened circles called it affectionately and affectionately - “the liberation of Iraq”.
Surveys of the Pentagon and the British Ministry of Defense showed that only three percent of Iraqis admit that the actions of the American military in their country are legitimate, and less than one percent believe that the “coalition” of American and British forces benefited their security. At the same time, 80% opposed the presence of coalition forces in Iraq, while most supported attacks on coalition forces. Afghanistan has been destroyed to such an extent that it is simply impossible to conduct reliable polls there; however, there are indications that the relationship there is about the same. In Iraq, the United States suffered a crushing defeat, abandoned its official military goals, and left the country under the pressure of the only winner, who became Iran.
His sledge hammer waving US and elsewhere, above all, in Libya, in which the three traditional imperial powers (Britain, France and the United States) received the Security Council resolution number 1973 and then it broke, sending its air force to help the rebels.
As a result, the possibility of a peaceful settlement through negotiations disappeared, losses sharply increased (at least 10 times, as indicated by political scientist Alan Kuperman), Libya turned into ruins, was in the hands of the warring factions, and recently became the basis for "Islamic state", which uses its territory for the implementation of terror.
As African expert Alex de Waal (Alex de Waal) notes, the imperial triumvirate ignored the very reasonable diplomatic proposals of the African Union. Huge flows weapons and jihadists flowed into western Africa (which is now the leader in terrorist killings) and into the eastern Mediterranean, causing the spread of terror and violence. And because of the NATO attacks, refugee flows poured from Africa into Europe.
This is another triumph of "humanitarian intervention." As the long and often dismal history shows, there is nothing unusual in this, since everything started four centuries ago.