at a dead end



Mistakes and strategic blunders of a power that has lost its way

“Shortly after September 11, 2001, I became known as a 'neoconservative' who put human rights and democracy promotion at the forefront of US foreign policy… (but) today, I am much more aware than before the limitations of American power and therefore much more skeptical of calls to promote democracy in China, Egypt, Iran, etc. Above all, the United States must be more careful with its use of military power than it was in the heady days of the 'unipolar moment'” (Boot, M. What the Neocons Got Wrong. And How the Iraq War Taught Me About the Limits of American Power. Foreign Affairs Today, March 10, 2023)

On March 18, 2023, it will be 20 years since the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq, which was carried out without legitimate reason or UN Security Council approval, but which left behind 300 Iraqi dead and the famous photographic records of the atrocities committed by the Americans in Abu Ghraib prison. And just like that, after defeating and destroying Iraq, the Americans lost political control of the country to Iran, their main competitor and adversary in the Middle East.

Afterwards, the United States suffered successive setbacks in its invasions and “endless wars” in Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and Yemen, and in its failed attempt to isolate and asphyxiate the Iranian economy. Now they are involved in a new war, on the territory of Ukraine, without being able to clearly define what their objectives are in this conflict, nor do they have the slightest possibility of achieving a definitive victory on the battlefield without going through a direct war with the greatest power. atomic planet.

Even so, there are many analysts who believe that the United States has won a strategic victory in Ukraine by eliminating sharp edges and strengthening its military ties with the European Union, with the “English-speaking peoples” and with some traditional Asian allies. It was not taken into account, however, that the “bloc” formed by the USA and its satellites and military protectorates has always existed, since the end of the Second World War, and that none of these countries – starting with Germany, Italy and Japan – ceased to be occupied by American bases and transformed into an “atomic protectorate” of the United States.

It was also not noticed that the increase in the military convergence of these countries, led by the G7, has been turning into the counterface of their increasing isolation in relation to the rest of the Eurasian, African and Latin American world. It is enough to observe the dwindling support that these countries have been getting in their attempt to encircle, isolate and economically asphyxiate their enemies, notably Iran, Russia, and even China, from the point of view of the commercial and technological war that has been submitted since the administration of Donald Trump.

It is not surprising, therefore, the increase in rhetorical, diplomatic and ideological aggressiveness of the US and its satellites, which have been adopting an increasingly militaristic posture, even without assessing the ultimate consequences of this almost irrational reaction to the loss of global power exercised over the past 300 years. As if the “North Atlantic” countries and their small Asian satellites were losing their bearings and the very sense of the absurdity of some of their absolutely intemperate and almost ridiculous initiatives, from the point of view of their global dispute.

Starting with the visit to Taiwan, the president of the American Congress, Nancy Pelosi, made it in an absolutely temperamental and juvenile way, without taking into account its medium and long term consequences, which ended up consolidating and crystallizing China's claim and power over its “rebel island” created with American military support, in 1946. Afterwards, the intemperate speeches of the American and European authorities are absolutely “possessed” by a “Russian phobia” similar to several others that they have had in the past, as if the Europe could not remain united without the demonization of an external enemy, such as the Islamists, the Communists and the Jews.

Not to mention almost ridiculous episodes, such as the delusional case of the “balloon war” started and soon ended by a completely disoriented Biden government. Or the “arrest order” issued against the President of Russia by an institution created by the Europeans and completely demoralized and delegitimized by the Americans themselves. Or even, and more irresponsibly, sending a military drone to the Russian war zone, in Crimea, ending with the crash and inconsequential loss of equipment shot down by Russian planes without any kind of response or continuity, characterizing an entirely thoughtless initiative on the part of the US government.

All this was accompanied by an increasingly aggressive and intemperate language, which has already begun to be used by the two "suicide bombers" who commanded the foreign policy of Donald Trump, Mike Pompeo and John Bolton, the same one that continues to be used by the two “liberal internationalist missionaries” who command the foreign policy of the government of Joe Biden, Anthony Blinken and Jack Sullivan – with the fundamental difference that the two Democrats see the world as a struggle between “good” and “evil”, and consider themselves evidently representatives of “good”, with the mission of converting the world to their table of values.

The problem is that, behind these more visible “mistakes”, a number of errors in calculation and longer-term strategic conception have been added, which are leading the United States and its satellites, progressively, to a “dead end”. The first of them, more directly linked to the beginning of the war, was the refusal to negotiate, in a discreet and diplomatic way, the neutralization of Ukraine and the construction of a new map of security and long-term strategic balance in Europe. And the second mistake, which was an immediate consequence of the first, was to boycott the peace negotiations that were under way between Russia and Ukraine in the first week of the war, betting on the success of the economic war that was already planned and that would be unleashed. immediately by the G7 countries against Russia.

Two crucial decisions, and two strategic miscalculations – as history will demonstrate – that were guided by the same strategic vision of the “Biden missionaries” who, since the beginning of the Democratic government, have been trying to divide and polarize the world, forcing a new Cold War between democratic countries and autocratic countries, defined in an “autocratic” and unilateral way by the United States itself.

These two decisions were supported by the same certainty of the Americans and their satellites that they could impose an immediate and humiliating defeat on Russia, with the strangulation of its national economy, through a package of economic sanctions of unknown dimensions, involving the European blockade of trade of Russian oil and gas, the freezing and expropriation of Russian reserves and assets deposited in the G7 banks, and finally, through the suspension of all financial relations of the Russian economy with these same countries and all others that might support the sanctions global commanded by North Americans and Europeans. In both cases, however, it appears that the United States and its satellites have misplaced it.

First, because most states in the international system have shown themselves to be extremely reluctant to enter into a new Cold War, and have been resolutely resisting taking sides in the Ukraine conflict, refusing to support the economic sanctions applied by Americans and Europeans against Russia. Of the 194 countries with a seat in the United Nations, only 47 supported these sanctions, many of which are absolutely insignificant, as is the case of Andorra, Monaco, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Micronesia, San Marino, or Northern Montenegro, among others. Secondly, recent research carried out by European and American universities has indicated that the majority of the world's population that lives outside the countries that make up the minority coalition of the United States and its European and Asian satellites do not see the world as they do, they do not support war nor the economic sanctions applied to Russia, do not consider themselves less democratic than the Americans and Europeans, and consider that the “Western coalition” is involved in the Ukraine conflict in defense of its geopolitical interests, and not in defense of values ​​or human rights supposedly universal.

But what is worse, from the Euro-American point of view, is that after these initial errors of assessment, the “devastating” economic war unleashed against Russia was not successful, or at least it did not achieve its objectives. It did not manage to instantly strangle the Russians' financial capacity to sustain their offensive in Ukraine, nor did it have the expected impacts on the internal functioning of the Russian economy, which managed to circumvent the commercial and financial siege by opening new markets, redesigning its national economic strategy and achieving, in 2023, according to the IMF, a positive economic growth.

In this sense, the American and European strategists were once again wrong, because their financial sanctions and their trade blockade against Russia ended up having an absolutely destructive effect on the European economies, which face an accelerated deindustrialization – as is the case of Germany – or a disintegration social and political - as is being seen in France and in England itself, whose forecasts indicate that by 2030 it may already have become a country with a per capita income lower than that of Poland, which until today was a supplier of cheap labor to the english economy.

In part because of Brexit, it is true, and in part because of his increasingly aggressive involvement in the European escalation against Russia. Economic and social crises and disintegration, ultimately caused by economic sanctions that cut Europe's cheap energy, reduced the competitiveness of its economies and hit the population's wages head on, through inflation and rising energy and food costs. . Communicating vessels that are also acting in the current financial crisis of American and European banks, pressured by the increase in inflation and interest rates, and also by the loss of credibility of their public bonds, after the freezing and expropriation of Russian reserves and investments.

In summary: from every point of view that one looks at the evolution of the international situation, what one sees is that the bloc formed by the United States and its satellites is becoming increasingly isolated, more aggressive, and with no way out. The American government of Joe Biden is unable to clearly define the objective of its increasingly direct participation in the Ukrainian War. How far do you want to go? What are your expectations and possibilities beyond advertising? And the same can be said about the increasingly aggressive US policy towards China: what are their objectives and how far are they willing to go in their dispute over the South China Sea and in their defense of Taiwan, facing , in this case, divisions and fractures within the Euro-American bloc itself? In addition to these uncertainties and the progressive loss of direction in US foreign policy, there is an increase in the division and increasingly aggressive polarization of US domestic policy itself, which does not allow for any kind of long-term forecast that not be the joint aggressiveness of the two American parties against China.

At the same time, it is exactly at this point that the North Americans have been suffering their greatest setbacks, and demonstrating the greatest lack of understanding of events, leaving them with an increasingly explicit appeal to their military power. It's almost just threats, the announcement of new weapons, a significant increase in the military budget for 2023, a blank check for the war in Ukraine and the reactivation of old alliances, as in the case of the AUKUS initiative, with England and Australia, unconditional members of the old " English-speaking colonial family”.

Such a militaristic obsession may be the reason why the United States failed to anticipate or predict what was certainly its biggest diplomatic defeat since the “hostage crisis” at the US embassy in Tehran, in 1979: the announcement, in the city of Beijing, on March 15, 2023, of the China-brokered agreement on pacifying relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia, and the re-establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries in two more months, along with their mutual commitment to defending the principle of national sovereignty.

In the 1950s, the United States built its power scheme in the Middle East supported by Iran, Saudi Arabia and Israel. In 1979, Americans lost Iran, and now they are losing Saudi Arabia. In other words, the agreement negotiated by China distances the United States from the Middle East and announces the arrival of Chinese influence without any new war, on the contrary, through peace diplomacy, which adds to the 12-point Peace Plan presented by China to the governments of Russia and Ukraine, and also to the governments of the other countries directly involved in that war, starting with the United States. China's diplomatic initiatives in Asia, Europe, Africa and Latin America, which anticipated Chinese President Xi Jinping's announcement of his Global Civilization Initiative, the most ambitious project of universal pacification ever presented to the peoples of the world by a great power and a great civilization.

Putting it all together, plus the internal struggle that today divides American society, one can better understand how the United States lost its plumb line, and today is the greatest threat to world peace, because it perceives the loss of its world leadership and still feel threatened by an increasingly violent internal struggle. At this moment, one can expect any type of folly on the part of the American government and its European satellites, which are also increasingly cornered and without any type of new project for the world system other than to retreat by shooting.

* Jose Luis Fiori Professor Emeritus at UFRJ. Author, among other books, of Global power and the new geopolitics of nations (Boitempo).

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