The inevitable finally happened. Julian Assange bearded, tired and seven years older has been allowed to be drug from the Ecuadorian embassy in London and will almost surely be extradited to the United States. The man who is arguably the world’s most famous advocate for government transparency will be put on trial and likely convicted of publishing government secrets related to bloody accidents and conscious atrocities committed by US/NATO forces overseas.
But the question that we must often ask ourselves in regards to big time politics is “why now?”. After seven years of being trapped in a small embassy, why is this happening now? Although motivations are impossible to prove beyond a reasonable doubt we can see that there is a growing shift in Washington’s power and influence over the world shifting towards Latin America including Ecuador.
The relatively new Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno says that Assange violated the terms of asylum, and that is why they allowed the British to nab him. However
his predecessor Ex-President Correa accuses Morreno of being the “Greatest traitor in Ecuadorian history” over this issue. Who is a traitor and who is a patriot is up to debate but Correa stood up for Assange in the face of the most powerful nation on Earth for many years, he risked his entire career (and possibly life) to do so, so we can see why he feels personally betrayed. However, we must understand that giving up on Assange is not the action of one “lone gunman” but the result of a massive shift across Latin America.
Trump’s “Fortress America” policy is readily changing from theory to fact as we can see conflicts and ambitions in the Old World going stagnant while the New World is getting riled up with political change.
Ukraine is as as hard and stale as last week’s bread and despite Washington’s might, Kiev has not been able to smash militia forces in the east. Even the mainstream media is starting to question Biden’s role in profiting from the color revolution. One could say that this is just to darken his candidacy, but massive photo galleries of him inappropriately touching children should be more than enough bad PR for the task.
Syria has drawn down to a halt from a US perspective as Assad is now playing clean up with his now victorious army. Iraq and Afghanistan are still quagmires remaining in permanent stasis and not even bothering to constantly obey Washington’s interests. Haftar’s forces in Libya seem to be making massive gains against Washington backed groups and may just win one of the most pointless wars in history in start to restore Libya. In terms of color revolutions the Old World also seems to be very quiet indeed under Trump.
But let’s not go too far. The US is not running for cover or closing bases just yet, but overall, the outwardly aggressive posture of the late 90’s/early 2000’s (Serbia, Iraq, Afghanistan) is gone. For all the conspiracy theorists who think that Washington is merely interested in wars to create chaos for no other reason than the sake of chaos itself we can see that they are doing a terrible job in their “mission”. They are not launching new traditional wars. Washington is either unable or unwilling to start up a new Iraq, when just two decades ago this was an easily affordable “slam dunk”.
The whole Venezuelan crisis, the Ecuadorian political shift that crushed Assange and the possibly (probably) aided rise of Bolsonaro in Brazil ousting the previous Russia-friendly President are all signs that the shift to Latin America is really happening. We may be seeing an actual move back to some sort of Monroe Doctrine 2.0 where Washington focuses on controlling the satellites that it knows that it can control. Dealing with a rising Russia and a risen China is much easier in one’s own hemisphere, where not only are the distances massive for China and Russia, but also the political will from them is not strong enough to do anything in particular other that try to maintain the status quo in Venezuela and maybe Cuba.
Assange is the victim of this shift. If Hillary had won the election, whether there was money in the coffers to do it or not, US foreign policy would still be focussed very globally and so much so that tiny upstarts like Ecuador could stay under the pressure radar. If Washington is going to focus its massive energies on just two continents primarily then all of Latin America is going to feel the clamp down as much more attention can be paid to what is going on there. This is bad for Assange clearly, but the effects of this massive shift that seems to be happening are hard to predict with absolute clarity.
It will give Russia and China more breathing room, while at the same time it may prevent the “Fall of the American Empire” that so many bloggers in the 2nd and 3rd world dream of. It will also force the US to develop Latin America more to serve its interests which could in some ways work out for the masses in those nations. Of course sovereignty would be best, but having someone else develop your economy to serve them is much better than “old timey” colonization.
So although Assange is a bright spark of the downside to the biggest foreign policy shift in history it will probably wind up being a net gain for the world’s major powers.
Lastly Trump’s personal reaction to this issue was not surprising. Candidate Trump would admire Assange’s boldness and doing what needs to be done in spite of the “swamp”. President has to keep the military industrial complex, CIA any may others appeased so he just said “I know nothing about Wikileaks”. He officially washed his hands of this and guaranteed that Assange will spend the rest of his life in prison.