Has the American Hegemon Gone Rogue?

Has the American Hegemon Gone Rogue?

During the US electoral campaign last year people of various political convictions feared that the election of Hillary Clinton as US president might lead to a military confrontation with the Russian Federation. On the other hand, Donald Trump declared that better relations with Russia appeared to him to be in US interests. That’s the way it seemed during the electoral campaign. But you know, in the west, candidates will say a lot of things to get elected before settling into the business as usual of their predecessors. The Deep State does not allow transient politicians to make big changes which harm its interests. So Trump came into power making promises to try to improve US-Russian relations only to pursue the “same ol’, same on” policies of his predecessor, Barack Obama.

Mr. Trump did eventually meet with President Vladimir Putin for lengthy talks at the G20 summit in Germany during the summer, and the feedback afterward was positive

This was what Obama intended for he did as much as he could to tie Trump’s hands, expelling, gratuitously it appears in December 2016, Russian diplomats and confiscating Russian diplomatic properties. President Trump said he was going to “clean out the swamp” in Washington, and instead “the swamp” sucked him in up to the ears. As might have been expected, neocons quickly highjacked his presidency. Virtually the entire team he brought into the White House with him is already gone. The first to be targeted was retired General Michael Flynn who lasted only a few weeks. He was forced to resign because of allegations that he had conducted inappropriate discussions with the Russian ambassador in Washington. Mr. Trump did eventually meet with President Vladimir Putin for lengthy talks at the G20 summit in Germany during the summer, and the feedback afterward was positive. But once Trump returned to Washington, he was quickly brought back into line. He had to sign a Congressional bill imposing even more sanctions on Russia.

American NGOs and the US embassy in Moscow interfered, amongst other occasions, in the 1996 Russian elections, stealing the election from the Russian Communist Party in favour of the US vassal Boris Yeltsin

“Russia-gate” was then in full swing: accusations of Russian interference in the US elections were being slung about like children throwing mud pies. Apart from there being no proof whatsoever to support anti-Russian allegations, it never occurred to the US Mainstream Media that its clamoring about Russia-gate was the crudest form of hypocrisy. Yes, of course, when did hypocrisy ever bother anyone in Washington? The alternate media eventually pointed out that American NGOs and the US embassy in Moscow had interfered in Russian domestic affairs, amongst other occasions, in the 1996 presidential elections, stealing the election from the Russian Communist Party leader in favour of the US vassal Boris Yeltsin. A cover from Time magazine even boasted of the United States helping Yeltsin to stay in power. What is good for the Russian goose obviously is not good for the American gander.

Such revelations have not calmed the anti-Russian hysteria in spite of authoritative people, including members of the US Senate Intelligence Committee, who have stated that there is no evidence of Russian interference. Mrs. Clinton, a sore political loser if there ever was one, is amongst those alleging that it was Russia’s fault she lost the elections. In fact, she lost because of being an unpopular candidate in a poorly run campaign.

The Russian Federation finally responded to Obama’s expulsion of Russian diplomats by reducing the number of US diplomats in Russia. The State Department reacted indignantly as if Obama had not thrown the first stone and then closed the Russian consulate general in San Francisco. The FBI invaded the building before the Russians had entirely left, confiscating it and taking down the Russian flag.

The State Department claimed that everything was “legal”. In American, that means “we can do whatever we like.”

President Putin should have acted immediately after Obama’s first stone, but he waited on Trump, as in fact General Flynn had encouraged him to do, in the hopes of an improvement of relations. Putin gambled and lost. He has repeated the same mistake, not acting forcefully after the closure of the San Francisco consulate general. The obvious appropriate response would have been at once to close down the US consulate in Vladivostok on exactly the same terms.

“If the United States wants to play tit-for-tat, then go ahead,” should be the Russian reply: “we can each reduce diplomatic staff to one third secretary if you like. Just say the word.”

It does not pay “to play nice” with the US government. I don’t even mention the NATO encirclement of Russia, expanding ever eastward, and then complaining that the Russian government is strengthening its frontier defences. The Russian Federation often warns of retaliation, but then fails to act. People in Washington would understand better if Russia acted more and talked less. President Putin is a wily statesman; hopefully he will abandon his illusions and learn from his mistakes.

NATO continues its encirclement of Russia, expanding ever eastward, and then complaining that the Russian government is strengthening its frontier defences

The US government has not been satisfied with picking a gratuitous fight with the Russian Federation, it has also embarked on a policy of provocations against China in the South China Sea as though it were a US, not Chinese backyard. In fact, Washington behaves as though everywhere in the world is the US backyard; it does not recognise that other powers may also have security interests along their frontiers. A few days ago, as I write these lines, a US destroyer sailed close to a Chinese claimed island in the South China Sea. A Chinese warship and fighter jets encouraged the American vessel to leave the area. Obama, not Trump, started the problems with China. We have to be grateful to the Americans nevertheless for encouraging closer Sino-Russian relations.

Washington does not recognise that other powers may also have security interests along their frontiers

Then of course there is the even more dangerous situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). During the Korean War, the United States flattened the DPRK, destroying all its cities and infrastructure, and killing an estimated 20% of the North Korean civilian population. A truce was signed in 1953 but never a peace treaty. The US government wanted to keep a large military presence in South Korea, and a peace treaty would oblige it to remove US troops. Whenever South Korea has shown some sign of wanting to get on better with the North, the United States has intervened. There have been annual joint US-South Korean military exercises, considered dangerous provocations by the North. In self-defence, the government in Pyongyang has developed a modest nuclear weapons capability based on the calculation that the United States—a Democratic or Republican administration does not matter—understands only one law which is the law of the strongest. Trump now says the time for talk is over; in fact, the US government refuses “to talk” with Pyongyang. In the UN the US president threatened to “totally destroy” the DPRK, causing widespread international consternation. China responded that it would not stand by if the United States launched a war of aggression against the North. Such a scenario has already taken place once before in 1950. The Chinese government then also warned the US to stay away from its borders. The overconfident Americans did not listen and were driven back to the 38th parallel.

During the Korean War, the United States flattened the DPRK, destroying all its cities and infrastructure, and killing an estimated 20% of the North Korean civilian population

If the Chinese intervened, the United States would face a land war in Asia, at the very least, which it would most certainly lose. I do not see how either China or Russia could permit the United States to establish itself on their frontiers. In the case of Russia, American forces would be perched 160 kilometres from Vladivostok. Trump and his neocon keepers appear ready to risk a world war, a prospect which does not seem to bother the somnolent American public. Nor does it bother Great Britain or Australia which are “ready aye ready sir” to join the fray. The Canadian government, another US vassal, has not said anything about joining a pre-emptive American war against the DPRK. But vassals rarely go against their suzerain and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, least of all.

Trump appears to want to denounce the JCPOA, re-impose extraterritorial sanctions in order to force the Iranian government to agree to a new arrangement, more to his liking and less to theirs

As if provoking a war with the Russian Federation, China and the DPRK are not enough, Trump also has Iran in his sights. He and his neocon keepers hate the “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action” (JCPOA) on Iranian nuclear development. The Iranian government agreed in effect not to develop nuclear arms for a ten to fifteen year period in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions and the establishment of normal trade and business relations with the European Union. The Obama administration almost at once went back on the agreement imposing fresh sanctions on Iran. When is the US signature on an agreement ever worth more than the paper it is written on? “Not very often” seems to be the correct reply. Trump appears to want to denounce the JCPOA, re-impose extraterritorial sanctions in order to force the Iranian government to agree to a new arrangement, more to his liking and less to theirs. Trump must also think he can force his European vassals to abandon profitable contracts in Teheran. On 6 October he talked about “the calm before the storm”. No one was sure whether he was talking about the DPRK or Iran. A week later, Trump announced that he would  not “certify” Iran to be in compliance with the JCPOA, and would impose further sanctions. According to the presidential executive order, Iran is the “world’s foremost state sponsor of terror”. This is complete rubbish, and yet another glaring example of Pot calling Kettle black. It is now reported that the hardline neocon US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, drafted the Trump statement on Iran. If true, this means that the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who opposed the non-compliance position, was not consulted or not heeded by Trump. “Moron”, Tillerson apparently said of the US president during the summer, to which Trump responded brilliantly with a challenge to an IQ test.

Already, the EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini has raised strong objections. It’s about time, and no wonder. Even the normally obedient British object to US policy. The International Atomic Energy Agency says that Iran is in full compliance with its obligations under the agreement. If the US government denounces the JCPOA, it will increase the risk of a military confrontation in the Persian Gulf. Washington might regret launching a war of aggression against Iran when it has so many others in preparation. To many western readers, it will be jarring to associate the United States with the terminology of aggression. The more discreet reference is to “illegal” wars. But where in international law does it say that the United States may make almost daily threats against other sovereign states, launch pre-emptive wars or attack other nations whenever it chooses?

The US government appears determined to feed the violence in Syria either through its continued almost open support of the Islamic State (IS) and associated groups or by backing Kurdish militias

Various US administrations have spread death and destruction across the Middle East, in Iraq and Libya, for example, and Trump has still not abandoned the bloody US intervention in Syria. There too resides the danger of a wider conflict. The US government appears determined to feed the violence in Syria either through its continued  barely disguised support of the Islamic State (IS) and associated groups or by backing Kurdish militias. The Russian government has warned Washington repeatedly to stop its interference in the campaign to rid Syria of the IS, but the United States has thus far refused to comply. It persists in the policy of destabilising the Damascus government and of partitioning the country. The US attacks on Iraq, Libya and Syria are part of a grand strategy to make the US Praetorian Guard, Apartheid Israel, the dominant force in the Middle East. Iran, it seems, is being set up as the next US target slated for destruction.

The US government—both the Obama and Trump administrations—is also busy in the Ukraine, stirring up trouble there. It was behind the coup d’état in Kiev in February 2014, as were its European vassals. It pretends not to notice Ukrainian fascist militias; indeed, it is training Kiev military forces for a penultimate attack on the Donbass, as if it believes that the Russian government could allow the success of such an operation. Basically, it is backing a putschist government which represses political dissent, bans books and celebrates Ukrainian Nazi collaborators of the Second World War. The so-called Minsk accords are a fiasco—which was absolutely predictable— allowing the Kiev regime to recover from crushing military defeats in 2014-2015 and to attack on a daily basis the Donbass territories. It has destroyed civilian infrastructure and targeted civilians. These are indisputable facts. The Ukrainian situation could go out of control at any moment, and this appears to be fine with the US government. Ultimately, the Ukraine is intended to become the buckle of the US/NATO encirclement of Russia.

In the Americas Trump has his gunsights set on Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela. In Cuba Trump is walking back Obama’s modest opening to the Cuban government on an implausible pretext, something to do with “sonic attacks” against US diplomats. In Nicaragua, the Trump administration is preparing to impose economic and financial sanctions. It is the usual Yanqui pretext about “violations of human rights and retrogression of democracy” and the usual Yanqui double standards. How can anyone take seriously the claims of a country which for more than a century has backed the Somozas, Batista, Trujillo, Pinochet and various others of their ilk, too numerous to mention? Let’s say again Pot is calling Kettle black. In Venezuela Trump backs “a colour revolution” which has thus far been unable to topple the elected government of Nicolás Maduro. The United States claims he is a “dictator”. That is hardly a good reason for intervention; the US government has supported many dictators. The problem is that Maduro is a Venezuelan patriot with considerable popular support and not Washington’s marionette. Against the Venezuelan government, Trump has threatened military action and imposed sanctions.

In Nicaragua, the Trump administration is preparing to impose economic and financial sanctions. It is the usual Yanqui pretext about “violations of human rights and retrogression of democracy” and the usual Yanqui double standards

The United States claims to be the exceptional nation and thus entitled to dominate the world and to make its own rules. It is said to be the “shining city upon a hill”. These lines worked well, especially after 1945 when the United States emerged virtually unscathed from World War II and was wealthy beyond imagination. It could buy and sell or overthrow governments almost at will. Trump seems to want to return to “the good ol’ days”, although those days are past.

The allegory of the “shining city” recalls Hans Christian Andersen’s short tale about “The Emperor’s New Clothes”. Few have the courage, and until now not US vassals, to point out that the “new clothes” are a con-man’s invention. In Andersen’s tale only a little girl is naïve enough to exclaim “But he isn’t wearing anything at all!” The “shining city”, like the emperor’s new clothes, is an invention, which in the case of the United States, is intended to justify the conduct of an imperial power as ruthless as any that has preceded it. Even a US senator, a Republican from Tennessee, Bob Corker, has recently declared that Trump’s recklessness could provoke World War III. “He concerns me,” Senator Corker said: “he would have to concern anyone who cares about our nation.” If another great power or state conducted itself in the manner of the United States, all its potential victims would be calling for collective security and a policy of containment to restrain the aggressor. Although readers may think it inflammatory, I ask you to compare the various threats of Trump and his neocon associates with those of Adolf Hitler, say in 1938-1939, prior to the outbreak of World War II. Do you see any similarities?

Until now, none of the major European states has had the courage to say, “our Hegemon has gone rogue.” Maybe the new Iran crisis will finally wake up the Europeans. Everyone’s security is at stake. Germany, France, Italy, for example, have the standing to say, as Senator Corker has done, that Trump’s conduct is alarming and that he should stop making “reckless threats toward other countries”. The Europeans can still peacefully restrain the United States if they will free themselves from its vassalage. But can they? Will they? The prospects are not good. If other nations cannot peacefully reign in the United States, I regret to say that World War III appears to be a distinct possibility.

Tags: NATO  North Korea  Obama  Trump 

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