Randall L. Schweller is a professor of political science at the Ohio State University. His article The Age of Entropy. Why the New World Order Won't Be Orderly was published by Foreign Affairs this June. The author joins the existing opinion that the US hegemony in nearing its end. He believes that the very concept of hegemony when one or several powers shape the world order making others follow the established rules is gradually becoming a thing of the past.
The new world to emerge will have a variety of powers - including nations, multinational corporations, ideological movements, global crime and terror groups, and human rights organizations - jockeying with each other, mostly unsuccessfully, to achieve their goals. International politics is transforming from a system anchored in predictable, and relatively constant, principles to a system that is, if not inherently unknowable, far more erratic, unsettled, and devoid of behavioral regularities. In terms of geopolitics, we have moved from an age of order to an age of entropy. The US realizes it has no superiority it had before. Burdened with enormous public debt, Washington has narrowed down its foreign policy goals to a short list of priorities. The US has become weaker, but it is not the only reason Pax Americana is downgrading. The US is not as resolute as it was when it comes to taking advantage of its strong points. The concept of new political order has been on the radar screen of Western political science for ten years. It all started with The Choice: Global Domination or Global Leadership by Zbigniew Brzezinski. The author paints the new global disorder as a decisive factor of contemporary geopolitical landscape. He has no doubt of American preponderance (American global hegemony is now a fact of life) but recognizes the difficulty of a unilateral foreign policy. Brzezinski puts together a well thought out plan for continued American global supremacy through multilateral (though not equal) arrangements. These arrangements should be more comprehensive than the ones adopted after 9/11. The author believes that geostrategy presupposes the use of force to advance the global interests, settlement of conflicts and other crucially important missions. The global leadership envisions the priority of soft power, cooperation with allies, and US role as intermediary and other endeavors sparing US budget and the lives of Americans. That’s what Brzezinski believes to be the right choice.
The number of publications devoted to the new world order is on the rise. Having diplomatic flotsam and jetsam separated from real meaning, the gist of new US foreign policy boils down to the following. The United States is not as strong as used to be and global leadership becomes a too heavy burden. It intends to use more complicated ways to remain number one in the world. America evidently tries to keep away from getting directly involved in large-scale conflicts. At the same time it pours fuel into the fire keeping the hotbeds simmering while it is staying aside. The goal is keeping tensions up in the key areas of the world to provoke brain and capital drainage in other countries to make it flee to the safe haven called America. Brzezinski paints the world order as a combination of natural factors which in large measure are a result of targeted actions undertaken by the United States to influence the international situation.
The recent events in the Middle East, the success of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant on Iraqi battlefields and the promulgation of caliphate on the territories under the organization’s control in Syria and Iraq - how does it all dovetail with the US global interests? Many opponents of Obama, including Republicans, say it’s a failure of US Middle East policy. True, it would be right to say it’s a flop having in mind the mission of maintaining the world order and world supremacy. But remembering Brzezinski and his world disorder, domination and leadership concept the things look quite different…
At least four factors make one doubt it’s a Washington’s foreign policy failure we’re talking about. First, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant uprising was to great extent provoked by the anti-Sunni politics of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki who has been squeezing Sunni Muslims out state structures and law enforcement agencies. He dismissed the 100-thousand Sahwa anti-Islamists Sunni group to make many of its fighters join the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant ranks. There are the results of anti-Sunni attitude of al-Maliki. Let’s not forget he has been a US puppet from the very start and Washington has never made an attempt to stop him. Fanar Haddad, a Middle East specialist at the Singapore Middle East Institute, affirms that the divisions between Sunni and Shiite Iraqis started exactly after the United States intervention. It could be said that the situation is a result of targeted efforts.
Second, many experts emphasize a number of differences existing between the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and Al Qaeda, the former leader of jihadist movement. The Islamic State is more radical. It has become a major reason for breaking up with Al Qaeda. At the same time the ISIS is more technologically advanced, it adroitly uses Twitter and other networks, it adapt its production to be used by smartphones and even has a network of its own information agencies. Rand Corporation has studied more than 200 documents of the ISIS captured by military and given to it by the Department of Defense. There were some yearly accounts among the intercepted papers. The Rand Corporation experts believe the accounts are up to par exceeding in excellence many documents of the same type issued by transnational corporations published for shareholders and investors. The papers provide scrupulous records of the deeds, things like: blasts, murders, elimination of block posts, seizing populated areas, the acts committed by suicide bombers and the number of newly-converted. The very use of Western ways of doing things speaks more eloquently than any sensational revelations.
Third, another issue is the personality of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. According to Department of Defense records, al-Baghdadi was held at Camp Bucca as a ‘civilian internee’ by US Forces-Iraq from early February 2004 until early December 2004, when he was released. A Combined Review and Release Board recommended the ‘unconditional release’ of al-Baghdadi and there is no record of him being held at any other time. In 2014, it was reported by The Daily Beast that al-Baghdadi was captured in 2005 and held at Camp Bucca, a US-controlled detention facility in Iraq, until his transfer to Iraqi control in 2009 under an agreement signed by President George W. Bush the previous year. The same newspaper reported that al-Baghdadi had issued a threat on his release in 2009, saying, "I'll see you in New York", recalls Army Colonel. Kenneth King, then the commanding officer of Camp Bucca. King didn’t take these words from Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as a threat. King figured that al-Baghdadi was just saying that he had known all along that it was all essentially a joke, that he had only to wait and he would be freed to go back to what he had been doing. “Like, ‘This is no big thing, I’ll see you on the block,’” King says. King had not imagined that in less than five years he would be seeing news reports that al-Baghdadi was the leader of ISIS, the ultra-extremist army that was sweeping through Iraq toward Baghdad. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi lost no time to make it to the top to head the most influential militants’ group. The story is eloquent enough.
And by no stretch of imagination could one understand the reasons defining the America’s reluctance to lift a finger as its ally is suffering one defeat after another from the organization hostile to the United States. The U.S. is sending another 300 troops to Iraq to beef up security at the U.S. Embassy and elsewhere in the Baghdad area to protect U.S. citizens and property. The White House announced that President Barack Obama had already directed that 200 troops be sent to reinforce security at the embassy, its support facilities and Baghdad International Airport. That raises the total U.S. troop presence in Iraq to approximately 750 totally. As a result of red tape the issue of selling F-16 fighters and Apache helicopters to Iraq by the United States being swept under the rug. As a result fighter aircraft have been delivered by Russia.
Looks like the defeat of Nouri al-Maliki meets the goal pursued by the United States. The new world order is marching on…