Until the late 1980s the world, for the most part, was divided between two spheres of influence. They were belligerently nuanced as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in the case of the capitalist west and the Warsaw Pact in the case of the socialist east. To be sure, there were also other collectives, such as the Non Aligned Movement, (NAM) but these types never exerted much of an influence, at least, economically and politically. After the demise of the USSR and the East block, NATO emerged as the sole military treaty treading all over the world. For all intent and purposes, NATO is posited as nothing more than the military arm of the United States and its hard core allies of the Anglo-Saxon world. As a result, the sole hegemon has managed to conduct all sorts of wars with impunity, including the war of aggression (Iraq.) But things are changing globally, if not militarily, at least economically, politically and ideologically.
On December 2, 2011, without a whole lot of fanfare, 33 South American countries, including Cuba, announced the formation of CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean states.) It is an organization created to replace OAS (Organization of American States.) OAS, based in Washington D.C. and chartered in 1948, has 33 member states and had served as a powerful arm of the United States policy in/for Latin America. It is because of US influence, OAS managed to suspend Cuba’s membership for such a long time (since 1962.) In return, the new CELAC has purposely excluded the USA and Canada from membership. Collectively, this new entity has a population of about 600 million people and an economy that is more than half of the US in PPP (purchasing power parity.) During the ceremony, one of the leaders commented; ‘CELAC is the burial of the US Monroe Doctrine! (The Monroe Doctrine is a policy of the United States introduced on December 2,1823. It stated that further efforts by European nations to colonize land or interfere with states in North or South America would be viewed as acts of aggression requiring U.S. intervention.) Such a happening was not considered important enough to warrant adequate coverage, particularly in the Anglo-Saxon media empire.
On November 8, 2011, without a whole lot of fanfare, the Russian president and the prime ministers of Germany, France and the Netherlands collectively inaugurated the ‘Nord Stream’ in Lubmin, Germany. The ‘Nord Stream’ is a gas pipeline that takes Russia’s gas direct to Germany, crossing the Baltic Sea, but without crossing any other state. See Wallerstein’s article next column. The new states (former East bloc countries) in between Germany and Russia, on which NATO (hence the US) has been counting on, to undermine prevailing/growing Russian influence, are becoming increasingly nonviable, at least for the intended purpose. In the words of the former French foreign minister; these countries (East bloc) have become mere ‘vassal states’ of the Anglo –Saxon empire. President Medvedev recently announced that Russia will install its own barrages of missiles targeting western cities, including North American ones, if the US goes full blast with its missile shield project inside Eastern Europe. If the European sovereign debt crisis finds resolution within a more unified euro zone, (probably without countries like the UK) this on its own will spell a politically assertive Europe in the making. Again the paid media of dominant interests (Fox, CNN, BBC, etc) deliberately decided not to cover these and other important issues adequately.
On November 7, 2011 the tenth summit of SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization) took place in Saint Petersburg, Russia. According to its documents, “the SCO believes in ‘non-alignment, non-confrontation and non-interference in the affairs of other countries’ by preferring to convince the countries to solve their differences through peaceful means. The United States still relies on its military prowess to realize its own security and as well as that of its allies through military means. The SCO is working towards ending the ‘cold war’ concepts and transcending ideologies, unlike the Americans who still follow them.’’ The founding members of SCO are Russia, China and the three Stans (Kazakhstan, etc.) Today, countries like Pakistan and India are vying for membership. The American request for an observer status in the SCO was unanimously rejected. India, Pakistan and China have emphatically asserted their preference to solve their outstanding problems within the framework of SCO, rather than affiliate themselves in one form or another with the militarily minded US foreign policy. Sooner than later these two nuclear powered countries along with Iran will join the SCO. The SCO, besides having many other resources, also has 50% of the world’s gas reserve. In terms of PPP, the combined GDP of India and China alone is bigger that the US.
2011 has been an ‘uprising’ year and the Arab spring is one of its more forceful manifestation. These uprisings are still going on and it is difficult to know a priori how things will turn out in the long run. In the short run, however, all the uprisings seem to have the most important concept of ‘justice’ (economic, political, social, etc.) in their various cores, be it in Egypt, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Libya, etc. Whatever form the materialization of this aspiration takes, it would certainly spell trouble to the status-quo that is determined to leverage Israel and the various autocratic states for its policy anchorage. Last week Moslem Brotherhood won 2/3 of the parliamentary seats in Egypt and if its (MB) consolidation of state power continues, it will probably nullify the ‘Camp David Agreement’, which has served as the major pillar of Empire’s Middle East policy. The US military is forced to leave Iraq by the end of this month and pretty soon the Shiites will dominate state power in Iraq, which again spells regional strength for Iran. NATO’s Afghanistan campaign is also in trouble. Even the UK is threatening to pull out earlier (2012) before the agreed timetable (2014). Turkey (NATO member) on its part has started to question the wisdom of alienating its Middle East friends and Persian Gulf neighbors for the sake of some unrealistic/unjustifiable schema of Empire.
We believe the last remaining frontier-Africa, will also become increasingly chaotic, as the US-Africa command (AFRICOM) asserts itself and challenges the Chinese economic presence throughout the continent. In the core countries of the West, the ‘Indignados’, ‘Occupation movements’, ‘austerity strikes’, etc have started to deconstruct the prevailing global narrative, revealing the major imbalances that are at the root of the prevailing modern world system. How is the reigning hegemon reacting to all these new developments? See Klare’s article on page 54.
On Dec 1, 2011 the US Senate approved a bill. This bill explicitly authorizes the military’s indefinite detention without trial of American citizens and mandates that all non-citizens charged as terrorists—including those arrested on US soil—be detained indefinitely by the military rather than brought to trial in a civilian court. The vote passed the Senate by a wide margin, 97 to 3!
From the Roman Empire to the currently prevailing one, there has not been much learning by power occupiers, particularly when it comes to connecting with changing reality. Don’t be fooled, there is no animal on earth more irrationally bestial than the two legged Homo sapiens. As we Sophists religiously preach : ‘’Beware; the temperament of a declining empire is akin to a wounded tiger.’’ Good Day!