From Arab Spring to World War
I’ve done my best to try and understand what motivations lurk behind US foreign policy. As wars of occupation under Bush shifted to semi-covert JSOC ops and R2P “humanitarian” interventions under Obama, I’ve searched out counter narratives and non-American news sources. I even invite ridicule by not automatically dismissing conspiratorial possibilities.
If I took foreign policy under the Obama brand straight, I’d say it’s incompetence bordering on lunacy.
The Arab Spring seemed like genuine sparks in countries like Tunisia and Egypt, sparks that quickly spread among people tired of being squeezed. Here is a really interesting article from May 19th, 2011 from the Guardian about how the Obama administration was choosing to respond. Almost exactly 3 years later, it reads much different than it did at the time:
Barack Obama’s speech on the Middle East was a belated response to extraordinary events over which the US has so far exercised precious little influence.
The president lavished praise on the spirit of people power that has animated this year’s “Arab spring” but also made clear that direct US involvement in the region would remain selective.
Billions of dollars in debt relief and loans for post-revolutionary Egypt and Tunisia will be a boost for troubled economies, though it will not erase the memory of long years of US support for their now deposed dictators, Hosni Mubarak and Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali.
Strikingly, Saudi Arabia, one of the most repressive countries in the Arab world and a key US ally and oil supplier, got not a single mention in the 5,400-word speech.
The emphasis is mine; we now know what Obama meant when he said direct US involvement would remain selective. Look the other way as Saudi Arabia cracked down on the upheaval in Bahrain, a shrug of the geopolitical shoulders when Egypt’s democracy movement was stomped out.
And Libya? A NATO-backed demolition job Libya still hasn’t even begun to recover from. And Syria? Arming Al-Qaeda affiliated jihadists with weapons liberated from Libya.
After thoroughly fucking up the Middle East (with a little help from our good friend, Israel) Obama declared the US was going to pivot to Asia. Ostensibly this pivot was going to be about trade and security. That’s not happening.
First, there are serious tensions in the South China Sea (this coming from the council on foreign relations, mind you):
Territorial spats over the waters and islands of the South China Sea have roiled relations between China and countries like Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Brunei in recent years, and tensions continue to escalate in the wake of U.S. President Barack Obama’s announced “pivot” of focus to the region. A handful of islands comprise the epicenter of the territorial dispute, making up an area known as the “cow’s tongue” that spans roughly the entire South China Sea. The region is home to a wealth of natural resources, fisheries, trade routes, and military bases, all of which are at stake in the increasingly frequent diplomatic standoffs.
Then there’s the ongoing coup still developing in Thailand:
Thailand’s army has declared martial law across the country to restore order following months of anti-government protests that have left 28 people dead and hundreds wounded.
An announcement on military-run television said martial law had been invoked “to restore peace and order for people from all sides”, stressing that the move “is not a coup”.
“The public do not need to panic but can still live their lives as normal,” it added.
The move, which gives the military control of nationwide security rather than the police, risks angering supporters of the government if it is seen as tantamount to a coup.
And to top things off, the clear US involvement in fomenting unrest in Ukraine, combined with those oddly timed indictments of Chinese state hackers seems to be pushing Russia into creating stronger alliances with China. At Moon of Alabama, b has a post up worth reading, titled The Non-Disastrous Russia-China Alliance. Here’s the opening paragraphs:
The President of the Russian Federation is in China and pursues various economic deals with the country. A huge gas deal, though it may not get signed yet, is in the making in which Russia will deliver natural gas and oil to China over a period of 30 years. The payments will be made in rubles and yuan leaving the dollar out of the business.
This is the long expected start of an Eurasian axis. Russia has plenty of natural resources, good basic industries and world class research and weapon productions. China has lots of people and high tech manufacturing capabilities. Together China and Russia would be a major powerblock that could exist, if needed, mostly independent of the “western” ruled global political and economic system.
Caged animals are dangerous. As the supremacy of the dollar is slowly challenged, how will western plutocrats respond?