The responses to Israel’s genocidal war in Gaza from some of the West Asian countries have set an interesting pattern. These responses defy a decades long trend of muted opposition and behind the curtain compromises. More importantly, this is yet another indication of growing assertion and independence of these countries from US hegemony. Since the 1980s, the US was able to use its military and economic power to create a complete hegemony over the ruling classes in the West Asian region. The countries which maintained their independence were exceptions, such as Syria and Iran.
What a time for American statecraft. Antony Blinken was in Kiev last week to discuss Ukraine’s rampant corruption with President Volodymyr Zelensky, by various accounts the greediest grifter of them all. Kamala Harris attended a summit in Jakarta to show Southeast Asians that America cares about them, but when the Biden regime sends Harris abroad it seems to signal just the opposite. With our secretary of state and vice-president in mind, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that American foreign policy comes to rest ever more on fictions, symbolic gestures to impress the folks back home, and pretensions—all reflecting Washington’s Great Flinch from the 21st century.
In the United Kingdom, the BBC prepared and published data from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in January about different nations’ growth forecasts for 2023 and 2024. The BBC foregrounded some really bad news for the UK. Of nine major industrial economies—the G7 (the US, Canada, Japan, Germany, the UK, France, and Canada), plus Russia, and China—the UK would be the only one to suffer real economic decline: a contraction in its 2023 GDP (its total annual, national output of goods and services). So dubious a distinction for the UK followed the long political night of rule by the Conservative Party. That night’s darker moments included austerity after the severe 2008-2009 global capitalist crash, scapegoating Europe for the UK’s economic troubles, Brexit taking place during the peak of that scapegoating, enjoyment of COVID cocktail parties by former Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government that it prohibited for the British public, and endless, transparent, and cringeworthy lying to the public when caught and exposed.
India’s Modi government is not perplexed by the decisions of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping not to attend the G20 Summit in New Delhi on Sept. 9-10. Its intuitive cognition helps to be stoical. India’s high-calibre diplomats would have divined some time ago that an event conceived in the world of yesterday, before the new cold war came roaring in, wouldn’t have the same scale and significance today. Yet, Delhi must feel disappointed, as the compulsions of Putin or Xi Jinping have nothing to do with their countries’ relations with India.
At the zenith of the mass protests in Egypt on January 25, 2011, Twitter, Facebook and other Western-based social media platforms appeared to be the most essential tools for the Egyptian Revolution. Though some observers later contested the use of the terms ‘Twitter Revolution’ or ‘Social Media Revolution,’ one cannot deny the centrality of these platforms in the discussion around the events that attempted to redefine the power structures of Egypt. It was hardly a surprise that, on January 26, the Egyptian regime decided to block access to social media in a desperate attempt to prevent the spread of the protests.
As a great protest against this U.S. offensive at the global level, the Network in Defense of Humanity-Cuba (REDH) joins the initiative launched on June 15 in Moscow, to celebrate the first International Day of Independence from U.S. Influence this July 4, 2023. This call is part of the great international project “Get out of the American Sector”, and it is necessary that it responds in turn to the need for international counter-hegemonic, anti-colonialist, anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist articulation. A recent study shows that the United States has launched nearly 400 military interventions since its independence in 1776, half of these have been carried out between 1950 and 2019.
Social movements and research institutions came together on Saturday, June 17, to flag the emerging Cold War narratives pushed by western imperialism and to call for a new movement for “non-alignment” in the Global South. The call was made over a webinar titled ‘The New Non-Alignment and the New Cold War’, organized by the No Cold War campaign and the Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research, along with ALBA Movimientos, Pan-Africanism Today, the South Korea-based International Strategy Center and the International Peoples’ Assembly. The call for a new “non-alignment” is significant considering the history of the 20th century.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken concluded his three-day visit to Saudi Arabia on Thursday, June 8. He was the second top US official to visit the kingdom in less than a month, after National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan. His visit was widely seen as a desperate attempt by the Joe Biden administration to hold on to its “closest ally” in the West Asian region. Before Blinken started his tour, he had stated that normalization of Saudi-Israel relations was one of the top priorities of his government. However, reports indicate that Blinken not only failed to get any assurance from the Saudis on that front, but had to concede some crucial ground on significant regional issues.
As the countries of West Asia have been turning more and more frequently to China for geopolitical concerns, the United States has been losing its foothold of influence in the region; a loss which is felt to be its own problem and responsibility by many. “In an attempt to salvage his country’s waning influence in the Middle East, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will embark this week on a three-day visit to Saudi Arabia,” said Al Jazeera’s senior US political analyst Marwan Bishara in a post this Tuesday, June 6, while arguing that advancing “strategic cooperation” with his Saudi and Gulf counterparts may prove to be an uphill battle.
The BRICS bloc of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa is expanding, as its members grow in economic and political influence. Together, the five BRICS members represent more than 40% of the global population, and their share of the world economy (when measured in purchasing power parity) is larger than that of the G7. The foreign ministers of the BRICS states met in South Africa on June 1 and 2. There, they discussed a series of issues, including plans to create a new global reserve currency to challenge the dominance of the US dollar. Also present at the meeting in South Africa was a group of top diplomats from countries described as “friends of BRICS”, including Egypt, Iran, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
I count the advance among non–Western nations toward what we now call a new world order the single most momentous development of our time. This turn in history’s wheel will define our century, it is not too much to say. But to listen to the speeches, pronouncements and offhand remarks of the power and policy cliques in Washington you would think there is no such elephant in the room. And so, I ask: Can I be the only one to wonder whether those shaping and conducting American foreign policy are blind to this immense global shift, or deaf to what the non–West lately has to say to the West, or too stupid to understand events, or in denial, or maybe some of all four?
Earlier this week, South African leader Cyril Ramaphosa confirmed that Moscow and Kiev had agreed to receive a mission of African leaders with their peace initiative on the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov later confirmed that the African mission was planning to visit Russia in mid-June or early July. The mission of African countries to Russia and Ukraine to end the ongoing conflict between the two neighbors is “very encouraging and unexpected,” given that African nations have not previously directly addressed conflicts outside the continent, Natalia Piskunova, an Associate Professor of African Studies and Political Science at Lomonosov Moscow State University, told Sputnik on Friday.
In his 1987 book The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, historian Paul Kennedy reassured Americans that the decline the United States was facing after a century of international dominance was “relative and not absolute, and is therefore perfectly natural; and that the only serious threat to the real interests of the United States can come from a failure to adjust sensibly to the newer world order.” Since Kennedy wrote those words, we have seen the end of the Cold War, the peaceful emergence of China as a leading world power, and the rise of a formidable Global South. But the United States has indeed failed to “adjust sensibly to the newer world order,” using military force and coercion in flagrant violation of the UN Charter in a failed quest for longer lasting global hegemony.
Capital organises globally yet workers do not. As the US-led NATO powers escalate the Ukraine conflict into a new world war, this imbalance is becoming intolerable. This paper presents the case for a worldwide anti-imperialist Left, representing ordinary people committed to a just and peaceful multipolar world order. This will serve both the national interest of every country, and the general interest of humanity. We base our case on an historical assessment of the last such organization, the Communist International or Comintern for short, founded in 1919 and dissolved in 1943.
If Emmanuel Macron got one thing done above all others during his recent summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, it was to put the question of Europe’s place in the global order before a lot of people who would rather not think about it. The French president, as is his habit, once again questioned Europe’s status in the Atlantic alliance, notably in his now-famous protest that Europeans cannot allow themselves to be “vassals” of the United States. “Strategic autonomy” must be the Continent’s aspiration, Macron asserted for the umpteenth time. Suddenly, the future of the Continent is squarely on the table.