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A History of the World, BRIC by BRIC

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Posted on Apr 26, 2012
dilmarousseff (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Leaders of the BRICS countries meet in China in early 2011.

By Pepe Escobar, TomDispatch

(Page 4)

Dr. Zbig nonetheless proposes the notion of a two-speed Europe as the key to future American power on the planet.  Think of it as an upbeat version of a scenario in which the present Eurozone semi-collapses.  He would maintain the leading role of the inept bureaucratic fat cats in Brussels now running the EU, and support another “Europe” (mostly the southern “Club Med” countries) outside the euro, with nominally free movement of people and goods between the two. His bet—and in this he reflects a key strand of Washington thinking—is that a two-speed Europe, a Eurasian Big Mac, still joined at the hip to America, could be a globally critical player for the rest of the twenty-first century.

And then, of course, Dr. Zbig displays all his Cold Warrior colors, extolling an American future “stability in the Far East” inspired by “the role Britain played in the nineteenth century as a stabilizer and balancer of Europe.”  We’re talking, in other words, about this century’s number one gunboat diplomat.  He graciously concedes that a “comprehensive American-Chinese global partnership” would still be possible, but only if Washington retains a significant geopolitical presence in what he still calls the “Far East”—“whether China approves or not.”

The answer will be “not.”

In a way, all of this is familiar stuff, as is much of actual Washington policy today.  In his case, it’s really a remix of his 1997 magnum opus The Grand Chessboard  in which, he once again certifies that “the huge Trans-Eurasian continent is the central arena of world affairs.” Only now reality has taught him that Eurasia can’t be conquered and America’s best shot is to try to bring Turkey and Russia into the fold.

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Robocop Rules

Yet Brzezinski looks positively benign when you compare his ideas to Hillary Clinton’s recent pronouncements, including her address to the tongue-twistingly named World Affairs Council 2012 NATO Conference.  There, as the Obama administration regularly does, she highlighted “NATO’s enduring relationship with Afghanistan” and praised negotiations between the U.S. and Kabul over “a long-term strategic partnership between our two nations.”

Translation; despite being outmaneuvered by a minority Pashtun insurgency for years, neither the Pentagon nor NATO have any intention of rebalancing out of their holdings in the Greater Middle East.  Already negotiating with President Hamid Karzai’s government in Kabul for staying rights through 2024, the U.S. has every intention of holding onto three major strategic Afghan bases: Bagram, Shindand (near the Iranian border), and Kandahar (near the Pakistani border). Only the terminally naïve would believe the Pentagon capable of voluntarily abandoning such sterling outposts for the monitoring of Central Asia and strategic competitors Russia and China.

NATO, Clinton added ominously, will “expand its defense capabilities for the twenty-first century,” including the missile defense system the alliance approved at its last meeting in Lisbon in 2010.

It will be fascinating to see what the possible election of socialist François Hollande as French president might mean.  Interested in a deeper strategic partnership with the BRICS, he is committed to the end of the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency.  The question is: Would his victory throw a monkey wrench into NATO’s works, after these years under the Great Liberator of Libya, that neo-Napoleonic image-maker Nicolas Sarkozy (for whom France was just mustard in Washington’s steak tartar).

No matter what either Dr. Zbig or Hillary might think, most European countries, fed up with their black-hole adventures in Afghanistan and Libya, and with the way NATO now serves U.S. global interests, support Hollande on this. But it will still be an uphill battle. The destruction and overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi’s Libyan regime was the highpoint of the recent NATO agenda of regime change in MENA (the Middle East-Northern Africa). And NATO remains Washington’s plan B for the future, if the usual network of think tanks, endowments, funds, foundations, NGOs, and even the U.N. fail to provoke what could be described as YouTube regime change.

In a nutshell: after going to war on three continents (in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, and Libya), turning the Mediterranean into a virtual NATO lake, and patrolling the Arabian Sea non-stop, NATO will be, according to Hillary, riding on “a bet on America’s leadership and strength, just as we did in the twentieth century, for this century and beyond.” So 21 years after the end of the Soviet Union—NATO’s original raison d’etre—this could be the way the world ends; not with a bang, but with NATO, in whimpering mode, still fulfilling the role of perpetual global Robocop.

We’re back once again with Dr. Zbig and the idea of America as the “promoter and guarantor of unity” in the West, and as “balance and conciliator” in the East (for which it needs bases from the Persian Gulf to Japan, including those Afghan ones). And don’t forget that the Pentagon has never given up the idea of attaining Full Spectrum Dominance.


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americanme's avatar

By americanme, April 29, 2012 at 12:59 pm Link to this comment

Cliff:

Good post.

Every pig finally arrives on the Sunday dinner table.

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By Cliff Carson, April 29, 2012 at 6:26 am Link to this comment

Escobar put it plainly as a coming showdown against the American Empire:

“So this twenty-first century world of ours is shaping up right now largely as a confrontation between the U.S./NATO and the BRICS, warts and all on every side. The danger: that somewhere down the line it turns into a Full Spectrum Confrontation. Because make no mistake, unlike Saddam Hussein or Muammar Gaddafi, the BRICS will actually be able to shoot back.”

My worry for the future of America and our descendants has for some time been that America, as the bully of the world, will someday convince themselves that they are invincible.

What America needs to learn during its drunken Hegemony is that all bullies someday meet their match and life after that isn’t pretty.

The United States of America has been acting as the thief of the world and has failed to recognize that a rising tide of resentment is reaching the boiling point.

There are very few, can be counted on one hand, true friends of America, the pretend friend countries do so out of the fear of becoming victimized by the bully for not being a good toady. 

These Faux friendships are tenuous and will end immediately once the new sheriff in town asserts itself.

And that Armageddon day is coming as sure as the sun is rising in the East.

The times now demand that we change willingly, instead of at the end of a bayonet.

World Peace is yet attainable but we have to want it instead of using conflict as a money making venture.

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americanme's avatar

By americanme, April 26, 2012 at 12:58 pm Link to this comment

It’s time folks took their heads out of the dark places where they have been hiding and face the music:  Start with the samba.  Brazil has knocked the UK out of the top 5 of world economies, and is going upward.

All BRIC economies are in the top 10.

European economies are on the downslide.  As is the US.

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