Tag Archives: Multipolarity

The World According To Vladimir Putin, by Pepe Escobar

Vladimir Putin wants Russia to cherish its past and hold on to its traditions. He also thinks the American woke movement is loony tunes. He’s right on both counts. He’s got at least 50 IQ points on most of the rest of the world’s leaders, and 100 on Biden. From Pepe Escobar at zerohedge.com:

Russian president, in Sochi, lays down the law in favor of conservatism – says the woke West is in decline…

The plenary session is the traditional highlight of the annual, must-follow Valdai Club discussions – one of Eurasia’s premier intellectual gatherings.

Vladimir Putin is a frequent keynote speaker. In Sochi this year, as I related in a previous column, the overarching theme was “global shake-up in the 21st century: the individual, values and the state.”

Putin addressed it head on, in what can already be considered one of the most important geopolitical speeches in recent memory (a so-far incomplete transcript can be found here) – certainly his strongest moment in the limelight. That was followed by a comprehensive Q&A session (starting at 4:39:00).

Predictably, assorted Atlanticists, neocons and liberal interventionists will be apoplectic. That’s irrelevant. For impartial observers, especially across the Global South, what matters is to pay very close attention to how Putin shared his worldview – including some very candid moments.

Right at the start, he evoked the two Chinese characters that depict “crisis” (as in “danger”) and “opportunity,” melding them with a Russian saying: “Fight difficulties with your mind. Fight dangers with your experience.”

This elegant, oblique reference to the Russia-China strategic partnership led to a concise appraisal of the current chessboard:

The re-alignment of the balance of power presupposes a redistribution of shares in favor of rising and developing countries that until now felt left out. To put it bluntly, the Western domination of international affairs, which began several centuries ago and, for a short period, was almost absolute in the late 20th century, is giving way to a much more diverse system.

That opened the way to another oblique characterization of hybrid warfare as the new modus operandi:

Previously, a war lost by one side meant victory for the other side, which took responsibility for what was happening. The defeat of the United States in the Vietnam War, for example, did not make Vietnam a “black hole.” On the contrary, a successfully developing state arose there, which, admittedly, relied on the support of a strong ally. Things are different now: No matter who takes the upper hand, the war does not stop, but just changes form. As a rule, the hypothetical winner is reluctant or unable to ensure peaceful post-war recovery, and only worsens the chaos and the vacuum posing a danger to the world.

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Breaking From Cycles of Destruction by Leaping to a Multipolar Future, by Matthew Ehret

Maybe the US empire isn’t in the interest of anybody, including the US. From Matthew Ehret at strategic-culture.org:

The Multipolar Alliance has demonstrated a profound understanding of the oncoming collapse and has made many maneuvers to establish a new financial, security, economic architecture, Matt Ehret writes.

During the past weeks, the world saw Eurasian nations take great strides towards the inevitable creation of an alternative financial system capable of withstanding the effects of the onrushing blowout of the $1.5 quadrillion bubble that some still wish to call the “western banking system”.

Contrasted with those ideologues committed to preserving the unipolar hegemon propels in a bid towards hyperinflationary (and possibly thermonuclear) hell, the BRICS nations have announced three new members (UAE, Bangladesh and Uruguay) to the membership roster of the New Development Bank. Additionally Russian ambitions for a new Arctic development vision that entails a multi-generational grand design for the far east and northern-most regions of Eurasia has also created a climate of long term thinking that is in total synergy with China’s 130-nation strong Belt and Road Initiative.

The Roots of the Oncoming Collapse

While many a myopic economist treat the oncoming collapse of the western banking system as a non-event (or the unavoidable effects of a pandemic), the reality is that this blowout has been a long time coming. Events associated with the Coronavirus-induced economic shutdown may prove to be the pin prick that blows the bubble, COVID-19 cannot be said by any honest person to be the actual “cause”.

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Why the 1648 Westphalian Treaty Must Be Defended as a Remedy to the Unipolar ‘Rules-Based Order’, by Matthew Ehret

Only fools think history is unimportant. From Matthew Ehret at strategic-culture.org:

The Peace of Westphalia, just like the American Revolution that it inspired, and the UN Charter that served as its continuation is like garlic to the Vampires of today’s Wall Street and City of London.

The fact is that the Peace of Westphalia, just like the American Revolution that it inspired, and the UN Charter that served as a continuation of this creative evolutionary march towards progress is like garlic to the Vampires of today’s Wall Street and City of London.

In 1999, a seemingly innocuous speech occurred in Chicago that unveiled a new paradigm in world affairs that was dubbed “the Blair Doctrine”. In this speech, Blair asserted that the realities of the new age of terrorism had rendered the respect for sovereign nation states irrelevant and obsolete requiring a superior doctrine compatible with the need to periodically bomb sovereign nations you don’t like. This new age of humanitarian bombings would be called “the post-Westphalian age”.

Recalling this speech in 2004, Blair mused “before Sept. 11, I was already reaching for a different philosophy in international relations from a traditional one that has held sway since the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648; namely, that a country’s internal affairs are for it, and you don’t interfere unless it threatens you, or breaches a treaty, or triggers an obligation of alliance.”

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Kissinger Warns Washington to Accept New Global System or Face a Pre-WWI Geopolitical Situation, by Paul Antonopoulus

Henry Kissinger is ninety-seven-years old, and that evidently is an age where you can speak your mind without worrying about upsetting apple carts. From Paul Antonopoulus at globalresearch.ca:

With the White House continually provoking tensions against Russia and China, the doyen of American foreign policy, Henry Kissinger, dramatically warned Washington last week to either agree to a new international system or continue pushing tensions that are leading to a situation similar to the eve of World War One.

In a Chatham House webinar with former British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt last Thursday, 97-year-old Kissinger called on the U.S. to create a balance with existing global forces, adding

“if you imagine that the world commits itself to an endless competition based on the dominance of whoever is superior at the moment, then a breakdown of the order is inevitable. And the consequences of a breakdown would be catastrophic.”

The veteran diplomat urged the U.S. to understand that not every issue has “final solutions” and warned

“if we don’t get to an understanding with China on that point, then we will be in a pre-World War One-type situation in which there are perennial conflicts that get solved on an immediate basis but one of them gets out of control at some point.”

However, the idea that the U.S. should stop imposing its will on everyone else will not be easily accepted in Washington. This is attested by the sharp rhetoric and personal insults that U.S. President Joe Biden continually levels against his Russian and Chinese counterparts, Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping.  

High-ranking Chinese official Yang Jiechi told U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken on March 18 in Alaska that “the United States does not have the qualification to say that it wants to speak to China from a position of strength.” Then, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi boldly said days later on March 22 during their meeting in Beijing that they “jointly safeguard multilateralism, maintain the international system with the UN at its core and the international order based on international law, while firmly opposing unilateral sanctions as well as interference in other countries’ internal affairs.”

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When Washington Sends a Message by Threatening War, Other Countries Hear ‘Build Nukes!’ by Doug Bandow

Washington sends so many threatening messages to so many countries that the only conclusion most of them draw is that they have to protect themselves from crazy Washington…with nukes if possible. From Doug Bandow at antiwar.com:

President Donald Trump, having launched brutal economic war against Iran while ordering the assassination of one of its top officials, appears shocked that Tehran keeps firing back, most recently at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. He remains full of threats, even though Secretary of State Mike Pompeo withdrew some embassy personnel and considered closing the facility. Despite his bluster, Trump has been a fake, a faux warrior and paper tiger, thankfully preferring so far to avoid military confrontation.

However, he recently initiated one of Washington’s patented but least effective maneuvers, having the US military sail and fly somewhere to “send a message” to an adversary. The purpose is to cow opponents into fearful submission, leaving them hunched in the fetal position, trembling in terror at the display of America’s awesome greatness. More likely, alas, dedicated nationalists abroad respond by building more, bigger, and deadlier weapons, including nuclear arms, to deter US military action.

Being a superpower is hard work. During the Cold War the US confronted the Soviet Union around the world. Since then Washington has attempted to impose its will unilaterally – “what we say goes,” intoned President George H.W. Bush. However, other countries continue to stubbornly resist America’s will, causing every recent president to at least once intone “all options are on the table” when dealing with another government.

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It’s Time for a Geopolitical Reset, by José Niño

The US government, by trying to stop the evolution of a more multipolar world order, may actually be hastening that evolution. From José Niño at mises.org:

Foreign policy seems to have been placed on the back burner in the Trump era. Domestic issues, generic outrage politics, and the present covid-19 pandemic have sucked the oxygen out of American political discourse.

The fact that the media opts to cover more sensationalist material does not make foreign policy a trivial matter. If anything, the lack of foreign policy coverage reveals the dilapidated state of contemporary political debate. When the Fourth Estate does bother to broach foreign policy it does so for the most hysterical reasons.

The ongoing Russian hysteria is the embodiment of the media’s infantile coverage of foreign policy. Although the Cold War has been over for decades, pundits on both the left and right remain convinced that Russia—a country of nearly 145 million and with an economic output smaller than Canada’s—is hell-bent on reenacting its past Cold War aspirations.

Iran has always been on neoconservatives’ minds as well. Suffering from the trauma of the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis, neoconservatives and their establishment liberal counterparts have spent decades slapping on sanctions and trying to push for regime change in Iran. Earlier this year, the neoconservative bloodthirst was partially quenched after the US government assassinated Major General Qasem Soleimani at the Baghdad Airport. In a surprising display of restraint, the Trump administration has not escalated any further in Iran and potentially thrust America into another disastrous intervention. Had Marco Rubio or Jeb Bush been at the helm, God knows where the US would find itself.

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What Does It Mean to Live in a Multipolar World? We May Be About to Find Out, by Marshall Auerback

Many people talk about the emergent multipolar world order, but few try to define what that will mean. from Marshall Auerback at nakedcapitalism.com:

The breakdown in the Sino-U.S. trade talks has led a number of commentatorsto suggest that America’s “unipolar moment” of post-Cold War preeminence is over, as Washington lashes out against a rising China, whose economic rise threatens America’s historic dominance. Direct military violence is highly unlikely, given the inherent fragility of high-tech civilization. We therefore may see Cold War–style conflict between the two superpowers, as relations in trade or national security matters become increasingly poisoned.

So what happens to the rest of us? Will a hitherto globalized world increasingly retreat into bifurcated competing blocs, much as occurred under the original Cold War? Or can the rest of the world develop a more muted and stable form of multilateralism?

After all, we are well past the point where parts of the globe are increasingly carved up via competing ideologies (e.g., capitalism vs. communism), given today’s broad embrace of various permutations of capitalism, or divided via proxy wars, or the “great game” of colonial expansion. Today, most nations focus on maximizing the relative productivity of their own respective economies, as opposed to establishing their ideological bona fides as quasi-colonial client states for either the United States or the former Soviet Union. Another important dimension to recognize is that what we understand to be global or international is, for the most part, owned and controlled by industrialized countries: 93 percent of foreign-owned production is controlled by Organization for Economic Cooperation (OECD) economies. Even the historic tendency to focus on state power should be questioned in this moment. In 2016, 69 of the world’s largest 100 economies were corporations, with their own range of interests and methods of functioning.

One of the (self-serving) fears governing the end of American hegemony is that in its absence, the world will inevitably revert to some sort of brutal Hobbesian “state of nature” characterized by a balance of power clashes, in which the strong dictate to the weak.

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Brzezinski’s Warning to America, by Mike Whitney

Zbigniew Brzezinski, a proponent of a unipolar, US-dominated world during his tenure in Jimmy Carter’s administration, later realized that the world was moving towards multipolarity and the US would have to adapt to it. From Mike Whitney at unz.com:

The liberal world order, which lasted from the end of World War 2 until today, is rapidly collapsing. The center of gravity is shifting from west to east where China and India are experiencing explosive growth and where a revitalized Russia has restored its former stature as a credible global superpower. These developments, coupled with America’s imperial overreach and chronic economic stagnation, have severely hampered US ability to shape events or to successfully pursue its own strategic objectives. As Washington’s grip on global affairs continues to loosen and more countries reject the western development model, the current order will progressively weaken clearing the way for a multipolar world badly in need of a new security architecture. Western elites, who are unable to accept this new dynamic, continue to issue frenzied statements expressing their fear of a future in which the United States no longer dictates global policy.

At the 2019 Munich Security Conference, Chairman Wolfgang Ischinger, underscored many of these same themes. Here’s an excerpt from his presentation:

“The whole liberal world order appears to be falling apart – nothing is as it once was… Not only do war and violence play a more prominent role again: a new great power confrontation looms at the horizon. In contrast to the early 1990s, liberal democracy and the principle of open markets are no longer uncontested….

In this international environment, the risk of an inter-state war between great and middle powers has clearly increased….What we had been observing in many places around the world was a dramatic increase in brinkmanship, that is, highly risky actions on the abyss – the abyss of war….

No matter where you look, there are countless conflicts and crises…the core pieces of the international order are breaking apart, without it being clear whether anyone can pick them up – or even wants to. (“Who will pick up the pieces?”, Munich Security Conference)

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The ‘War Party’ Wins the Midterm Elections, Accelerating the Transition to a Multipolar World Order, by Federico Pieraccini

The War Party sees a unipolar world, a global Pax Americana. The rest of the world has different ideas. From Federico Pieraccini at strategic-culture.org:

The outcome of the American midterm elections gives us an even more divided country, confirming that the United States is in the midst of a deep crisis within its establishment.

The midterm elections represented a substantial draw for Democrats and Republicans, a defeat for the Trump administration and a clear victory for the “war party” in Washington. The House of Representatives ended up in the hands of the Democrats, who managed to overturn the results of 2016 by winning 26 seats and bringing their majority to 219, with the Republicans with 193 seats. The Republicans, despite the feared “blue wave”, have increased their representation in the Senate, with 51 senators against the 45 of the Democrats. In terms of governors, Republicans remain ahead, with 25 red states against 21 blue. After two years of fake investigations on Russiagate, continuous attacks by the US media (except for the few pro-Trump channels like Fox News), the blue Democratic wave seemed inevitable. Instead, we witnessed a minor repetition of the 2016 elections, with Trump managing to perform above expectations.

The House of Representatives performs functions mainly related to domestic politics, while the Senate is responsible for confirming important appointments such as those to the Supreme Court. The Democrats holding the majority in the House makes Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign an uphill battle. Trump will need to be able to present to his constituents from 2019 with a series of 2016 promises fulfilled. Getting one’s legislative agenda passed with the House in the hands of one’s opponents is difficult at the best of times. For Trump the task becomes almost impossible.

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Apocalypse, Or Not? by Alasdair Macleod

The end of the American government as we know will be traumatic, but it need not be the end of the world. From Alasdair Macleod at goldmoney.com:

Members of the American libertarian movement, particularly extremist preppers, are often associated with a belief that a complete breakdown in society is the only outcome from government economic policies and will lead to complete social disintegration. At the centre of their concerns is monetary destruction, with other issues, such as the erosion of personal freedom and the right to bear arms, important but peripheral. They cite history, particularly the hyperinflationary collapses, from Rome to Zimbabwe, and now Venezuela. They draw on Austrian economic theory, which fans their dislike of government and their expectation of total chaos.

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