Slowly but surely, countries in the Middle East are resisting US dictates and drifting away from the US orbit. The latest is Egypt. From Tom Luongo at strategic-culture.org:
Amidst all of the truly terrible things happening geopolitically around the globe I find it’s important to take that big step back and assess what’s really going on. It’s easy to get caught up (and depressed) by the deluge of bad news emanating from the Trump administration on foreign policy matters.
It seems sometimes that it’s pointless to even discuss them because any analysis of today will invariably be invalidated by the end of the week.
But that’s also why the big picture analysis is needed.
Resistance to the US empire’s edicts is rising daily. We see it and we see the counter-reactions to them from the useful idiots who make up Trump’s Triumvirate of Belligerence – John Bolton and Mikes Pompeo and Pence.
It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about sovereigntist movements across Europe threatening the apple cart of the wicked European Union or something as small as Syria granting Iran a port lease in Latakia.
The Trump administration has abandoned diplomacy to such an extent that only raw, naked aggression is evident. And it has finally reached the point where even the world’s most accomplished diplomats have dispensed with the niceties of their profession.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov continues to talk in the bluntest of terms.
At an annual address to Moscow’s diplomatic academy, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov hailed on Friday a new geopolitical era marked by “multipolarity,” stating that “the emergence of new centers of power to maintain stability in the world requires the search for a balance of interests and compromises.” He said there was a shift in the center of global economic power to East from West, where a “liberal order” marked by globalization was “losing its attractiveness and is no more viewed as a perfect model for all.”
“Unfortunately, our Western partners led by the United States do not want to agree on common approaches to solving problems,” Lavrov continued, accusing Washington and its allies of trying to “preserve their centuries-old domination in world affairs despite objective trends in forming a polycentric world order.” He argued that these efforts were “contrary to the fact that now, purely economically and financially, the United States can no longer—singlehandedly or with its closest allies—resolve all issues in the global economy and world affairs.
“In order to artificially retain their dominance, to regain indisputable positions, they employ various methods of pressure and blackmail to coerce economically and through the use of information,” said Lavrov.
There is a lot to unpack in this statement, but it was significant enough that it was written up in Newsweek of all places without much, if any editorialization.
Lavrov understands the totality of the conflict and how deep it goes into the psyche of American and European leadership. There is a sense of entitlement that they will not let go of willingly or nicely.
And this explains the continued ramping up of aggression by the Trump administration on the world stage. No issue is too small to respond to. And that’s your biggest clue that there is real fear growing in the West’s halls of power.
Countries like Iran, Lebanon and Russia can do the simplest things – take a meeting with Egypt or Azerbaijan, sign an oil exploration contract, finance a railway – and the US will now come down on them like the proverbial bomb cyclone to freeze them out of the global financial system.
But talk is cheap. Meetings are as well. Upsetting the global supply chain for Aluminum or oil is expensive, even for the US
And that’s why in the end the goal of this resistance is not to win a decisive, satisfying victory, but to survive long enough for the opponent to finally have no option but to stop and go home.
The ever-expanding Secretary of State Mike Pompeo goes around the world like a mafia don, lying about everything and demanding fealty but walks away empty-handed. The blackmail only works on the weakest and most isolated, Ecuador, and where the stakes are really low, Julian Assange.
He did so to such an extent in Latin America the Chinese Ambassador to Chile said, “Mr. Pompeo has lost his mind.”
Ecuador is about to find out just how expensive US and IMF largesse can be. This was the essence of Pompeo’s statement about China destabilizing Venezuela. Because Maduro rejected US and IMF help and took Russian and Chinese money instead, the US had to respond by destabilizing the country – sanctions, threats, blackouts, asset seizure and regime change operations.
It’s Venezuela’s fault for choosing the wrong friends.
Choose better everyone or we won’t be responsible for what we do next.
Guess what? Turkey and Pakistan will suffer from these same external shocks – false-flags, regrettable sanctions, etc. – until either the current governments are removed from power or they take IMF blood money.
Read the whole quote from Ambassador Bu, it’s quite a thing to see.
And it’s indicative of where the major players are at this point. China is opening up a new rail link to North Korea, in blatant defiance of US pressure surrounding nuclear talks.
Exasperation with Pompeo was on the scene in Lebanon a couple of weeks ago where His Rotundity reiterated the worst lies and made demands on the Lebanese that couldn’t be met. The response to that was President Aoun visiting Moscow soon after, cutting major deals with Vladimir Putin and Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin and denounced the US’s behavior in Venezuela, receiving Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza after Pompeo went to hit the buffet table again.
Not only was Aoun talking to Russia about port upgrades at Tripoli but also rebuilding a gas pipeline to Iraqi Kurdistan. These discussions wouldn’t be happening if the players involved thought such a thing would be blown up a couple of days later.
If a US Secretary of State bloviates in public and no one actually listens to him does he even matter?
Unfortunately, for the time being, yes. Because while there is a petrodollar system, the US dollar still dominates world trade and the servicing of debt around the world, leverage will be applied. The problem comes when there that leverage dissipates and those trade dollars are not used to fund new debt to keep the financial screws tight.
But the biggest bit of resistance comes from Israel’s southwestern border.
Donald Trump’s plan for an Arab NATO and his “Deal of the Century” hit the skids as the biggest military in the proposed alliance, Egypt, said no. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi visits the White House on a Tuesday and laughs in Trump’s face on Wednesday.
And then he too, invites the Russians to sit down for a friendly chat about increasing trade and resuming direct flights between Cairo and Moscow, suspended since the 2015 after an ISIS bomb killed 224 Russians on a flight from Cairo.
Any idea of an Arab military alliance to assist in the defense of the now greater Israel, thanks to Trump’s handing them the Golan Heights, without Egypt is laughable.
Egypt was the lynchpin to that plan and they explicitly turned Trump down because:
Egyptian authorities were partially motivated by uncertainty over President Trump’s re-election and whether his successor would scrap the entire initiative — just like Trump himself scrapped the Iranian Nuclear Deal.
El-Sisi rightly understands that the US makes deals of convenience and then breaks them when they are no longer so. And so, without Egypt to protect Israel’s southernwestern flank it makes it far more difficult for them to oppose the Shia crescent that is now forming in the wake of the US’s failure in Syria.
For now, the status quo remains in Iraq as the government there isn’t ready, by all accounts, to push the US forces out officially. A lot will ride on what happens with the expiration of the oil waivers granted to eight countries last year, allowing them to import Iranian oil without US reprisal.
We’ll see just how far the US is willing to go to upend the oil markets currently riding high due to supply constraints from Venezuela and Iran. Trump has called for Saudi Arabia to pump more to lower prices but that’s fallen on deaf ears as well, since the Saudis need far more than $70 per barrel to balance their budget.
Trump’s foreign policy team are rapidly reaching their moment of truth. Will they start a war with Iran at the behest of the newly re-elected Benjamin Netanyahu? Or is all of this simply a huge head-fake to ensure that outcome in the lead up to Trump’s finally unveiling his Deal of the Century for Middle East peace?
Empires do not like to be disrespected. They like being ignored even less. So, I don’t think there’s any possibility of Trump’s plan working given the state of the game board. The axis of resistance, despite all the little moves, is winning the war of attrition. The US’s maximum pressure policy has a finite lifespan because leverage like all things economic has a time function attached to it.
And each small move, each deal large or small, if done in response to sanctions or behind-the-scenes pressure, changes the board state. And it is not in the make up of the people behind Trump’s policies to admit that failure. They will continue pushing until there is a catastrophic outcome.
And at that point they will no longer be able to point the finger and blame the victim.