Blowback: the making of an anti-US coalition
In intelligence parlance, a blowback is an unexpected and adverse consequence of a covert operation. The Iranian Mullah regime may be viewed as a blowback of the CIA’s coup d’etat removing Prime Minister Mossadegh from office in 1953.
A tenet of international relations is the balance of power. To achieve a lasting peace, a powerful nation may not abuse its power. Napoleon learned it the hard way. Bismarck was wiser. After his victory over France, having achieved his objective of uniting Germany around Prussia, he played a balancing act with its two powerful neighbors, the Habsburgs and the Romanovs. To preserve his gains, he needed peace.
A powerful nation, blindly pursuing a hegemonic policy, will entice a reaction in the form of a coalition against itself. The United States is a powerful nation. It is at a crossroads. It may either take advantage of its power to attain world domination, or endeavor to achieve peace through “collective actions” and international cooperation’, as stipulated in the United Nations’ charter.
A push for hegemony
Whatever Obama may say about European history, the Enlightenment, and the birth of the United States as he did in his Brussels speech on March 26, his country’s policy, domestic and foreign, violates the United Nations’ charter and perverts the American Constitution (e.g. Patriot Act, Guantanamo, NSA surveillance, Swat teams, whistleblower hunt, Afghanistan war, Iraq invasion, Libya’s destruction, drones attacks, etc.).
Documents such as The New American Century or The National Security Strategy of the United States (2002) not to mention Zbigniew Brzezinski’s “The Grand Chessboard”, leave little doubt as to the road the United States pursues.
The policy is a covert operation. The American public, the man in the street, is unaware of it.
The United States’ first target is Russia. As noted by Jack F. Matlock Jr., former American ambassador to the Soviet Union (1987-1991), “the U.S. has treated Russia like a loser since the end of the Cold War”. (1) Vladimir Putin, as the leader of a nation whose roots go far back in history, sees it as his duty to resist such a treatment.
Barack Obama and Vladmir Putin at G8 summit 2013 (image by Wikipedia)
“Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” (2) The United States reneged on every commitment it made to the Soviet Union following the fall of the Berlin Wall. Contrary to a gentleman’s agreement, the United States attempted to bring Georgia and Ukraine into NATO, thereby threatening Russia directly.
The decision to withdraw from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty gave the United States a strategic advantage thanks to its superior technology, shredding to pieces the Mutually Assured Destruction doctrine, “MAD’ for short, which preserved world peace for over sixty years.
Washington then installed cruise missiles on the Polish borders, officially aimed at Iran which does not possess ballistic missiles! The decision to make Kosovo a sovereign state had little to do with the Kosovars who suffered greatly under the US Air Force bombing, and a lot to do with Moscow and its historical link with Serbia.
Meanwhile Putin gave the US Army access to Russian routes to Afghanistan through Caucasus and Central Asia. Called the Northern Distribution Network, the routes shortened the time and reduced the cost of re-supplying American and allied forces.
For its services, Russia was rewarded with the Magnitsky Act, a law imposing sanctions for human rights violations. Few people would contest Russia’s calamitous human rights record but the United States is not a paragon of virtue either.
Besides tortures in the Abu Ghraib prison which shocked the world, the United States’ treatment of blacks and Latinos leaves much to be desired, in spite of the civil rights movement of the 1960s.
Obama himself admitted being poorly treated at times because of the color of his skin. The nation has the largest incarcerated population in the world in both absolute and relative terms, mostly blacks.
If the United States succeeds in its quest to put down Russia, China is next. Xi Jinping knows it. Whatever misgivings he may have towards Putin’s annexation of Crimea, he must come to his rescue especially in view of the US Navy’s “pivot” to Asia which threatens China directly.
If he doesn’t, Putin is cornered. The Russian economy cannot withstand severe economic sanctions for very long. (3) His last resort is his nuclear arsenal. He may choose to press the button.
If, as reason dictates, Xi Jinping sides with Russia, the United States’ policy will have resulted in the formation of an alliance against itself. India, a long-term Russian ally, will join in despite a latent conflict with China. Brazil will follow suit.
These four nations, dubbed the BRIC by a Goldman Sachs’s analyst, are united through an economic agreement whose purpose is to free themselves from the dollar shackles. (4)
The goal is to establish an international monetary system competing with the present system — a severe blow to the United States for it would make it harder for Washington to finance its budget and trade deficits.
If push comes to shove, the BRICS could dump their U.S. Treasury notes and bonds. Their loss would be enormous but the damage to the American economy would be greater, not to mention the impact to the global economy — something nobody wishes to consider.
John F. Kennedy
There is no justification for the United States’ hegemonic policy other than a human proclivity to abuse power. Power is a good servant and a poor master. In his address to students of the American University on June 10, 1963, Kennedy reflecting on the state of the world had these words: ” [I]n the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.”
American leaders would do well to remember these words and forget their hegemonic dream for the issue today is not power but survival of the human race. Mankind may survive but only if men cooperate, as they did long ago on Eastern African plains to escape the ape status.
Jean-Luc Basle is Former Vice President Citigroup New York (retired), Associate professor Ecoles militaires de Saint-Cyr (France), Columbia University – Business School (MBA), Princeton University – Woodrow Wilson School (Mid-career fellow)
(1)The Washington Post – March 14, 2014
(3)Sanctions are an act of war. Japan went to war when the United States imposed economic sanctions.
(4)South Africa joined the group now called the BRICS.