Geopolitical Plate Tectonics Shifting U.S. Away from Center Stage

Geopolitical Plate Tectonics Shifting U.S. Away from Center Stage

The failure of the Obama administration to purge its ranks of neo-conservative holdovers and embeds from the previous Bush administration has led to a geopolitical shift of major nations and regional alliances away from the United States. The presence of and policies enacted by such neo-conservatives as Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland and her counterpart for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Roberta Jacobson, have resulted in a major shift away from America by Latin America, European nations such as Germany and France, and an overall major international realignment.

And it is not just within the Obama administration ranks that neo-conservatives have done damage to the U.S. «brand». It is unusual when Iranian and German leaders agree in a critical assessment of U.S. foreign policy. Yet, that is exactly what occurred when shortly after Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei chastised the United States for «disintegrating» after the transmittal to Iran of a letter signed by 47 Republican neocon senators. The letter guaranteed instant U.S. abrogation of any P5+1-Iran nuclear pact after Barack Obama left office. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier joined Khamenei in lambasting the U.S. senators over their letter. Steinmeier’s remarks were echoed in Paris by senior French government officials.

The irritation of Berlin and Paris with Washington is not merely limited to the Iran initiative. The Germans and French, along with the Italians, are increasingly alarmed over American bellicosity toward Russia over Ukraine and other issues. Perhaps what former U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld once referred to as «Old Europe» (the original Western European members of NATO) is determining that its future does not lie in lofty transatlantic partnerships that are strictly one-way affairs, with Washington dictating the terms of the marriages, but in multilateral arrangements of a Eurasian nature.

Although the Obama administration put much stock in its «pivot to Asia,» it is Asia that is pivoting to Europe and, thus, neutralizing Washington in one of its historical spheres of influence. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), seen as a rival to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), has officially endorsed China’s Silk Road economic initiative, which promotes the development of new highway, rail, and sea lane trade routes from Asia to Europe. 

Russia has received a guarantee from China that Beijing will support India’s full membership in SCO. To balance Delhi’s entry, there is also support for extending full membership in the SCO to Pakistan, China’s longtime ally. If anything, SCO membership for India and Pakistan may serve as a tempering factor in their mutual relations, much as NATO’s leadership has often weighed in on periodic saber-rattling between members Greece and Turkey. An enlarged SCO, with Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, India, and Pakistan as members will go a long way in stopping NATO’s push eastward, as well as future plans for «color revolutions» east of the Urals.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s commitment to join SCO is bolstered by his desire to establish an Indian Ocean Regional Association (IORA) that would include India, Mauritius, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Seychelles, and other nations of the maritime region. Modi made his desire known in a recent visit to Mauritius. The creation of a ‘Mini-SCO» in the Indian Ocean with the motto «SAGAR — Security and Growth for All in the Region» will be a direct challenge to Washington and NATO which see the Indian Ocean as a playground for its military activities, which are mainly based out of the U.S. military base on Diego Garcia and smaller bases in Oman and Djibouti, and a planned airbase on Australia’s Cocos (Keeling) Islands.

Asia is also providing a challenge to the United States on the international financial front. The United Kingdom’s decision to be the first G7 country to join China’s Asian Infrastructure Development Bank (AIIB), a competitor to the Asian Development Bank run by the U.S. and Japan under the aegis of the Washington-based World Bank, resulted in a hostile interchange between London and Washington. There was talk that the British decision threatened the U.S.-Anglo «special relationship». Germany may follow Britain’s lead in joining the AIIB.

China made no secret of the fact that the AIIB, which currently has 21 members, was going to work alongside the BRICS Development Bank, a joint effort between Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa to create an alternative to the Washington-centric World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The dispute between the West and Russia over Ukraine resulted in Washington’s sanctions war hawks deciding to expel Russia from the Belgium-based Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT) network. Cutting off links between ROSSWIFT, the Russian SWIFT subnetwork, and SWIFT would have dire consequences for European economies dependent on commerce with Russia. Therefore, it came as no surprise when SWIFT announced that a Russian would serve on SWIFT’s board of directors. The decision was another sign of growing European discomfort with the sanctions «troika» in Washington that has been led by Director of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) Adam Szubin; Jennifer Shasky Clavery, director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN); and, up until he was named deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency, David S. Cohen, the Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. 

This troika, along with the neo-conservatives in the State Department’s political hierarchy, have also irritated Latin America with their aggressive economic warfare tactics against Venezuela. On March 12, 2015, the Obama administration imposed the same type of sanctions on Venezuela, including the banning of Venezuelan officials from the U.S. and the freezing of their assets, as it had earlier imposed on officials of the autonomous Russian republic of Crimea, the eastern Ukrainian republics of Lugansk and Donetsk, and Russia itself. 

Obama also declared that Venezuela posed «an extraordinary threat to the national security of the United States». Every Western Hemisphere organization, from the Community of Latin America and Caribbean States (CELAC) and the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) to the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) and Organization of American States Secretary General José Miguel Insulza, immediately condemned Washington’s actions. Not only was Washington tone deaf to the wishes of the Western Hemisphere but it made matters worse by revoking the U.S. visa of former St.Kitts-Nevis Prime Minister Denzil Douglas as a warning of what would befall any Caribbean leader who, like Douglas, steered their nation into membership of the ALBA bloc, a creation of the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

The leaning on small nations by Washington did not stop with St. Kitts-Nevis. The sanctions war hawks in Washington also chose to take action against the Banca Privada d'Andorra (BPA), a private bank in the small Principality of Andorra, nestled in the Pyrenees. The bank was accused of «laundering» money for Petróleos de Venezuela (Pdvsa), the state-owned Venezuelan oil company. 

Nations around the world are also growing wiser to the efforts by the Obama administration to foster and support so-called «themed» or «color» revolutions around the world. The failure of the George Soros/Victoria Nuland operations to oust Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski from power in Skopje in an extra-constitutional EU-directed coup and replace him with a Nuland/Soros operative, Zoran Zaev of the Soros-financed Social Democratic Party, was a rare failure for the «democracy engineers» of the State Department, CIA, and Soros’s Open Society Institute (OSI), the latter a virtual privatized CIA. 

The staying power of President Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela has angered State’s Jacobson, an untactful diplomat in the mold of the foul-mouthed Nuland. Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez recently said that Jacobson was "petulant" and «ill-mannered» as evidenced by her «way of walking, chewing». Rodriguez said that one must have «manners» in dealing with «people and with countries». Jacobson’s lack of manners is matched by Nuland who is recorded as telling the U.S. ambassador in Kiev, «fuck the EU,» and referred to German reluctance to increase sanctions on Russia as «Moscow bullshit». The Obama administration has seen U.S. relations with Latin America and Europe plummet largely as a result of the porcine mannerisms of two top female diplomats who were personally elevated into their present jobs by Hillary Clinton while she was Secretary of State.

Meanwhile, the geo-political shifting of nations and alliances continues to benefit those who decide to limit the influence-peddling from Washington. This message is becoming clear to nations that see an improvement in their lot from cooperating in non-U.S. projects from the Balkans Stream pipeline and the Silk Road initiative to ALBA and IORA. The «American brand» has lost its luster on the world stage.