Category Archives: Western Hegemony’s Collapse

Western Hegemony’s Collapse

A Pessimistic Economist Laments The End Of Order

via Moon of Alabama

The magazine for and by multi-millionaires and billionaires, The Economist, warns that the end is imminent:

The liberal international order is slowly coming apart – (archived)
Its collapse could be sudden and irreversible

For years the order that has governed the global economy since the second world war has been eroded. Today it is close to collapse. A worrying number of triggers could set off a descent into anarchy, where might is right and war is once again the resort of great powers. Even if it never comes to conflict, the effect on the economy of a breakdown in norms could be fast and brutal.

It is, in my view, true that the ‘liberal international order’, which after World War II largely regulated world trade and politics is in demise.

But who’s fault is that?

The examples The Economist gives to support its central claim point to one culpable nation:

As we report, the disintegration of the old order is visible everywhere. Sanctions are used four times as much as they were during the 1990s; America has recently imposed “secondary” penalties on entities that support Russia’s armies. A subsidy war is under way, as countries seek to copy China’s and America’s vast state backing for green manufacturing. Although the dollar remains dominant and emerging economies are more resilient, global capital flows are starting to fragment, as our special report explains.The institutions that safeguarded the old system are either already defunct or fast losing credibility. The World Trade Organisation turns 30 next year, but will have spent more than five years in stasis, owing to American neglect. The IMF is gripped by an identity crisis, caught between a green agenda and ensuring financial stability. The un security council is paralysed. And, as we report, supranational courts like the International Court of Justice are increasingly weaponised by warring parties. Last month American politicians including Mitch McConnell, the leader of Republicans in the Senate, threatened the International Criminal Court with sanctions if it issues arrest warrants for the leaders of Israel, which also stands accused of genocide by South Africa at the International Court of Justice.

It is the U.S., the country which arguably benefited the most from the liberal international order, which is actively destroying it.

Others, if they did not attract random U.S. rage and war against them, also saw some benefits from it. Those small to medium countries will most likely lose out should the current regime collapse.

That would not be unprecedented:

Unfortunately, history shows that deeper, more chaotic collapses are possible—and can strike suddenly once the decline sets in. The first world war killed off a golden age of globalisation that many at the time assumed would last for ever. In the early 1930s, following the onset of the Depression and the Smoot-Hawley tariffs, America’s imports collapsed by 40% in just two years. In August 1971 Richard Nixon unexpectedly suspended the convertibility of dollars into gold; only 19 months later, the Bretton Woods system of fixed-exchange rates fell apart.

Similar ruptures, like the examples above again caused by the U.S., may happen soon.

Interestingly the Economist does not name a solution or way to avoid it. It sees a collapse coming, blames -more or less- the U.S. for causing it, but does not point to way out of it.

That is an uncharacteristically pessimistic view for writers who otherwise like to paint a positive picture for those with big money.

Are We at War with China Already?

Xi Jinping: When will he [Blinken] leave?

Assistant: He’s leaving this evening.

Blinken was very unhappy in China

Footage is circulating on social networks in which Xi Jinping, before a meeting with the US Secretary of State, asks an assistant:

 “When will he leave?”

The conversation did not help improve the relationship. After that no one from the Chinese authorities went to accompany Blinken to the airport. Only US Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns said goodbye to him.

Blinken appeared offended and told reporters after the trip that the US was ready to increase pressure on China.

That’s the next day: A deadly China tornado rips into power line. Coincidence? Direct Energy? Magnetic Pulse? 

A tornado has ripped through China’s Guangdong province, killing five people and injuring 33.

According to local authorities, 141 factory buildings were damaged and hail stones the size of golf balls were seen hitting the ground in the city of Guangzhou.

Elon Musk, the CEO of American electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla, met with China’s Premier Li Qiang at the State Council in Beijing as the Tesla chief arrives in China for a surprise visit after canceling his visit to India.

Musk dashes to China begging for help with self-drive tech

The Tesla CEO has made a surprise visit to China to try and get permission to transfer data collected in the Asian country abroad to help improve the algorithms for his company’s autonomous driving systems, a source close to the trip said Sunday.

Chinese competitor Xpeng is currently looking to roll similar software to Tesla’s Full Self-Driving tech, which has  still not been made available to Chinese customers.

Last week Musk ditched plans to meet PM Narendra Modi because he had “very heavy Tesla obligations”.

Is Musk all of a sudden desperate for losing his Tesla business in case of China retaliation?

Trump Advisers Discuss Penalties for Nations That Move Away From the Dollar

Ed. Note: Yes, we all know, it is all about the mighty Dollar and the people behind the Dollar.  That’s why they killed Saddam, that’s why they killed Gaddafi, that’s why they attack Russia today, that’s why Biden goes to China to tell them to use only the Dollar. 

by Saleha Mohsin, Jennifer Jacobs and Nancy Cook, via Bloomberg News

U.S. dollar bills are arranged for a photograph in New York, U.S. ,

(Bloomberg) — Former President Donald Trump’s economic advisers are considering ways to actively stop nations from shifting away from using the dollar — an effort to counter budding moves among key emerging markets to reduce exposure to the US currency, according to people familiar with the matter.

Discussions include penalties for allies or adversaries who seek active ways to engage in bilateral trade in currencies other than the dollar — with options including export controls, currency manipulation charges and tariffs, the people said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

A verbal backlash against the dollar’s dominance in the global financial system gained traction in 2022, when the US led efforts to impose harsh economic sanctions on Russia, a Group of 20 nation. Russia’s central bank, government officials and some 2,500 other targets have had their access to the dollar restricted.

President Joe Biden this week signed into law a measure granting him new powers to seize Russian dollar assets to aid Ukraine’s reconstruction. The so-called REPO provision was added to a national security package to assist Kyiv and other US allies. The measure has sparked concern from many Republican lawmakers, who worry it will undermine the role of the US dollar in the global financial system.

Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, together known as the BRICS nations, discussed de-dollarization at a summit last August. That group is gaining global heft after inviting key oil-producing nations Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, along with others in an expansion move this year. Saudi Arabia and the UAE currently peg their currencies to the dollar.

Economic advisers to Trump and his campaign have talked about targeting that particular BRICS effort in a potential second term. For his part, both publicly and privately, Trump has said that he wants the dollar to remain the world’s reserve currency.

Exchange Rate

“I hate when countries go off the dollar,” Trump said in a March 11 interview on CNBC. “I would not allow countries to go off the dollar because when we lose that standard, that will be like losing a revolutionary war,” he said. “That will be a hit to our country.”

As president, Trump weighed forcibly weakening the dollar to support the domestic manufacturing sector. But now, so far he has privately said he doesn’t currently see the merits of dollar intervention, according to one person familiar with the matter. The Trump campaign referred to the former president’s latest remarks on the dollar Thursday morning.

“With Biden, you’re going to lose the dollar as the standard. That’ll be like losing the biggest war we’ve ever lost,” he said, blaming Biden’s policies for damaging views toward the dollar.

Trump has favored a stable dollar, and for other countries to match that policy by refraining from interventions seeking to devalue their currencies. With the Federal Reserve holding off on lowering interest rates, the dollar lately has been on the rise, spurring authorities overseas to consider interventions to prop up — not devalue — their currencies.

Intervention Issue

Japanese and South Korean authorities have been among those to warn against excessive moves in their exchange rates, with officials in Tokyo cautioning that they reserve the right to intervene.

The yen on Thursday hit the weakest level against the dollar since 1990. Chinese authorities have also taken steps to stem the yuan’s decline.

500 Years of Western Hypocrisy Exposed


Cameron wins the hypocrisy contest, blaming Iran for retaliation strikes on Israel

The British foreign secretary David Cameron, who served as the UK’s prime minister from 2010 to 2016, continues to set records in hypocrisy. Pressed by the reporters to clarify his position on the conflict between Iran and Israel in the context of his hawkish stance on Ukraine, Cameron simply refused to face facts which did not fit his agenda.

Pressed on Monday on LBC radio to assess the deadly Israeli strike on April 1 against the Iranian consulate in Damascus, Cameron said: “It is a matter for Israel. We have not made a comment on it. Can I understand Israel’s frustration with Iran? Yes. Absolutely I can. I am not getting into what Israel has or has not done.”

Russia’s envoy to the UN Vassily Nebenzya on the same day blasted the UK and the US for hypocrisy, putting part of the blame for Iran’s attack on the failure of the UN Security Council to condemn by a consensus Israel’s strike.

“If a Western diplomatic representation had been hit, you [the US, the UK and France] would have immediately rained down reprisals,” Nebenzya said. “And you would have argued in this very chamber that you had the right to do it.”

A few days ago, Cameron refused to condemn Ukrainian drone and missile strikes on Russian territory, even though the US officially urged Zelensky’s regime not to hit the internationally-recognized Russian territory and spare oil facilities. But Cameron defended “Ukraine’s right to hit Russian energy targets.”

While British jet fighters actively participated in the defense of Israel’s territory and Cameron called for “peace” there, for Ukraine he only had military solutions — more war, but without any risk for NATO troops. He said Ukrainians needed not Western pilots, but “more anti-aircraft systems to be given by us.”

via Sputnik

Is the Possibility of a World War Real?

by Serge Marchand and Thierry Meyssan via https://www.voltairenet.org/article220708.html#nb8

Atomic war is possible. World peace hangs on the finger of the United States, blackmailed by Ukrainian “integral nationalists” and Israeli “revisionist Zionists”. If Washington doesn’t deliver weapons to massacre the Russians and Gazans, they won’t hesitate to launch Armageddon.

According to the Book of Judges, Samson is a Jew consecrated to God. He has vowed never to cut his hair and has fabulous strength. However, his mistress, Delilah, cuts off his braids while he sleeps, depriving him of God’s help and strength. He was taken prisoner by the Philistines, who gouged out his eyes and threw him into prison in Gaza. During a sacrifice to their god, when his hair had begun to grow back, he was placed between two columns in the palace. With his bare hands, he pushed them apart, causing the palace to collapse. He committed suicide, killing several thousand Philistines in the process.

The wars in Ukraine and Gaza have led several leading politicians to compare the current period with the 1930s, and to raise the possibility of a World War. Are these fears justified, or are they just fear-mongering?

To answer this question, we’re going to summarize events that are unknown to everyone, though well known to specialists. We shall do so dispassionately, at the risk of appearing indifferent to these horrors.

First, let’s distinguish between the conflicts in Eastern Europe and the Middle East. They have only two things in common:

They represent no significant stakes in themselves, but a defeat for the West, which, after its defeat in Syria, would mark the end of its hegemony over the world.

They are fueled by a fascist ideology, that of Dmytro Dontsov’s Ukrainian “integral nationalists” [1] and that of Vladimir Ze’ev Jabotinsky’s Israeli “revisionist Zionists” [2]; two groups that have been allies since 1917, but went underground during the Cold War and are unknown to the general public today.

There is, however, one notable difference between them:

The same fury is visible on both battlefields, but the “integral nationalists” sacrifice their own fellow citizens (there are hardly any able-bodied men under thirty left in the Ukraine), while the “revisionist Zionists” sacrifice people who are foreign to them, Arab civilians.

Is there a risk that these wars will become more widespread?

This is the will of both groups. The “integral nationalists” are constantly attacking Russia inside its territory and in Sudan, while the “revisionist Zionists” are bombing Lebanon, Syria and Iran (more precisely, Iranian territory in Syria, since the Damascus consulate is extra-territorialized). But no one responds: not Russia, Egypt or the Emirates in the first case, nor Hezbollah, the Syrian Arab Army or the Revolutionary Guards in the second.

All of them, including Russia, anxious to avoid a brutal retaliation from the “collective West” that would lead to a World War, prefer to take the blows and accept their deaths.

If war were to become widespread, it would no longer be simply conventional, but above all nuclear.

While we all know each other’s conventional capabilities, we are largely unaware of each other’s nuclear capabilities. The most we know is that only the USA used strategic nuclear bombs during the Second World War, and that Russia claims to have hypersonic nuclear launchers with which no other power can compete. However, some Western experts question the reality of these prodigious technical advances. Behind the scenes, what is the strategy of the nuclear powers?

In addition to the five permanent members of the Security Council, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel have strategic atomic bombs. All except Israel see them as a means of deterrence.

The Western media also present Iran as a nuclear power, which Russia and China officially deny.

During the Yemen war, Saudi Arabia bought tactical nuclear bombs from Israel and used them, but it does not seem to have them permanently at its disposal, nor to have mastered the technique.

Only Russia regularly conducts Nuclear War exercises. During last October’s exercises, Russia admitted to losing a third of its population in the space of a few hours, then simulated combat and emerged victorious.

Ultimately, all the nuclear powers have no intention of firing first, as this would undoubtedly lead to their destruction. The exception is Israel, which seems to have adopted the “Sanson doctrine” (“Let me die with the Philistines”). It would thus be the only power to imagine the ultimate sacrifice, the “Twilight of the Gods”, dear to the Nazis.

Two critical works have been devoted to the Israeli military atom: The Samson Option: Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal and American Foreign Policy by Seymour M. Hersh (Random House, 1991) and Israel and the Bomb by Avner Cohen (Columbia University Press, 1998).

The military atom was never envisaged as a classic form of deterrence, but as an assurance that Israel would not hesitate to commit suicide to kill its enemies rather than be defeated. This is the Masada complex [3]. This way of thinking is in line with the “Hannibal Directive”, according to which the IDF must kill its own soldiers rather than let them become prisoners of the enemy [4].

During the Six-Day War, the Israeli Prime Minister, the Ukrainian Levi Eshkol, ordered one of the two bombs Israel had at its disposal at the time to be prepared and detonated near an Egyptian military base on Mount Sinai. This plan was not carried out, as the IDF quickly won the conventional war. Had it gone ahead, the fallout would have killed not only Egyptians, but Israelis too [5].

During the October 1973 war (known in the West as the “Yom Kippur War”), the Defense Minister, the Ukrainian-born Israeli Moshe Dayan, and the Prime Minister, the Ukrainian Golda Meir, again considered the use of 13 atomic bombs [6].

Mordechai Vanunu’s revelations on the front page of the Sunday Times.

In 1986, a nuclear technician from the Dimona power plant, the Moroccan Mordechai Vanunu, revealed Israel’s secret military nuclear program to the Sunday Times [7]. He was kidnapped by Mossad in Rome, on the orders of the Israeli Prime Minister and father of the atomic bomb, Shimon Peres of Belarus. He was tried in camera and sentenced to 18 years in prison, 11 of which were spent in total isolation. He was again sentenced to 6 months’ imprisonment for daring to speak to the Voltaire Network.

In 2009, Martin van Creveld, Israel’s chief strategist, declared: “We have several hundred atomic warheads and rockets and can reach our targets in all directions, even Rome. Most European capitals are potential targets for our air force (…) The Palestinians must all be expelled. The people fighting for this goal are simply waiting for “the right person at the right time” to come along. Only two years ago, 7 or 8% of Israelis thought this would be the best solution, two months ago it was 33%, and now, according to a Gallup Poll, the figure is 44% in favor.

So it’s reasonable to assume that no nuclear power, except Israel, will dare commit the irreparable.

This is precisely what Heritage Minister Amichai Eliyahu (Otzma Yehudit/Jewish Force) envisaged on Radio Kol Berama on November 5. Referring to atomic weapons against Gaza, he declared: “It’s a solution… it’s an option”. He then compared the residents of the Gaza Strip to “Nazis”, assuring that “there are no non-combatants in Gaza” and that this territory does not deserve humanitarian aid. “There are no uninvolved people in Gaza”.

These remarks provoked indignation in the West. Only Moscow was surprised that the International Atomic Energy Agency did not take up the matter [8].

It is very likely that this is the reason why Washington continues to arm Israel, even though it is calling for an immediate ceasefire: if the United States no longer supplies Tel Aviv with weapons to massacre the Gazans, the latter could use nuclear weapons against all the peoples of the region, including the Israelis.

In Ukraine, the “integral nationalists” planned to blackmail the United States with the same argument: the threat of nuclear or, failing that, biological weapons [9]. In 1994, Ukraine, which had a vast stockpile of Soviet atomic bombs, signed the Budapest Memorandum. The United States, the United Kingdom and Russia guaranteed Ukraine’s territorial integrity in exchange for the transfer of all its nuclear weapons to Russia and signature of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). However, after the overthrow of elected president Viktor Yanukovych in 2014 (EuroMaidan), the “integral nationalists” worked to re-nuclearize the country, which they saw as essential to eradicating Russia from the face of the earth.

On February 19, 2022, Ukrainian President Voloymyr Zelensky announced at the annual Munich Security Conference that he would challenge the Budapest Memorandum in order to rearm his country with nuclear weapons. Five days later, on February 24, 2022, Russia launched its special operation against the Kiev government to implement Resolution 2202. Its top priority was to seize Ukraine’s secret and illegal reserves of enriched uranium. After eight days of fighting, the civilian nuclear power plant at Zaporijjia was occupied by the Russian army.

Laurence Norman, the Wall Street Journal’s special envoy to the Davos forum on the Iranian nuclear issue, reported Rafael Grossi’s statement on the Ukrainian nuclear issue on Twitter, but did not publish an article on the subject. The information was confirmed by another journalist, this time from the New York Times, also on Twitter.

According to Argentina’s Rafael Grossi, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, who spoke three months later on May 25 at the Davos Forum, Ukraine had secretly stored 30 tons of plutonium and 40 tons of uranium at Zaporijjia. At market prices, this stockpile was worth at least $150 billion. Russian President Vladimir Putin declared: “The only thing [Ukraine] lacks is a uranium enrichment system. But that’s a technical question, and for Ukraine it’s not an insoluble problem”. However, his army had already removed a large part of this stock from the plant. Fighting continued for months. If the integral nationalists had still had them, they would have done what the “revisionist Zionists” are doing today: they would have demanded more and more weapons and, if refused, threatened to use them, i.e. to launch Armageddon.

Back to today’s battlefields. What are we seeing? In Ukraine and Palestine, the West continues to provide the “integral nationalists” and, to a lesser extent, the “revisionist Zionists” with an impressive arsenal. However, they have no reasonable hope of getting the Russians to back down, or of massacring all the Gazans. At worst, they can lead their allies to empty their arsenals, sacrifice all Ukrainians of fighting age and diplomatically isolate the puppet-state of Israel. As Moshe Dayan once said, “Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to control”.

Let’s imagine that these apparently catastrophic consequences are in fact their goal.

The world would then be divided in two, as it was during the Cold War, except that Israel would have become uninviting. In the West, the Anglo-Saxons would still be the masters, especially as they would be the only ones with weapons, their allies having exhausted theirs in Ukraine. Israel, isolated as it was in the late 70s and early 80s when it was only really recognized by the apartheid regime of South Africa, would still be fulfilling the mission it was originally entrusted with: to mobilize the Jewish diaspora in the service of the Empire, fearing a new wave of anti-Semitism.

This bleak vision is the only one that can keep the Anglo-Saxons from collapsing, and ensure that they will always have vassals, even if this will bear little relation to their power in the days of the “global world”. This is why they have placed themselves in the current inextricable situation. The “integral nationalists” and “revisionist Zionists” are blackmailing them, but they intend to manipulate them to divide the world in two and preserve what they can of their supremacy.

Translation
Roger Lagassé
Notes”

[1] “Who are the Ukrainian integral nationalists ?”, by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Roger Lagassé, Voltaire Network, 15 November 2022.

[2] “The veil is being torn: the hidden truths of Jabotinsky and Netanyahu”, by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Roger Lagassé, Voltaire Network, 25 January 2024.

[3] “Netanyahu’s Masada syndrome and the UN report by Francesca Albanese”, by Alfredo Jalife-Rahme , Translation Roger Lagassé, Voltaire Network, 7 April 2024.

[4] “The Israeli Air Force successfully implemented the “Hannibal Directive” on 7 October”, Voltaire, International Newsletter N°63, 26 November 2023.

[5] «‘Last Secret’ of 1967 War: Israel’s Doomsday Plan for Nuclear Display», William J. Broad & David E. Sanger, The New York Times, June 3, 2017.

[6] «Israël avait prévu d’utiliser l’arme nucléaire en cas de débâcle militaire», Serge Dumont, Le Temps (Genève), 5 juin 2017.

[7] “Mordechai Vanunu: “Iran poses no threat””, by Silvia Cattori , Voltaire Network, 10 November 2011.

[8] «Russia says Israeli nuclear remark raises ’huge number of questions’», Reuters, November 7, 2023.

[9] “The secret Ukrainian military programs”, by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Roger Lagassé, Voltaire Network, 31 May 2022.

Putin: A Champion of the Global South?

byJanna Kadri via: Al Mayadeen English

Moscow’s defiance of Western elements, particularly the economic sanctions and the military aid to Ukraine, has not only set an example for other nations to follow but also eroded the legitimacy of the West’s ideological supremacy.

On March 18, Vladimir Putin emerged as the winner of Russia’s presidential elections, marking his fifth term as President of Russia. This occurred despite complications. While it is common for Russia to be the target of cyber-attacks, this year has witnessed record levels of such breaches on the country’s electronic voting platform, with most attacks stemming from the US.

Putin’s landslide victory solicited positive reactions from many across the Global South. Leaders from multiple countries, including Iran, China, South Africa, Belarus, the DPRK, members of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), and several Latin American nations have welcomed his reelection.

The Collective West, on its part, has been eerily silent about the win. A few exceptions surfaced on the X platform, with, for instance, President of the European Council Charles Michel reiterating the standard accusation that Russian elections are undemocratic. “No opposition. No freedom. No choice,” the tweet read. So much for being disgruntled. Nevertheless, the bloc has obvious reasons for displaying such dismay.

Ukraine war

Two years into the war in Ukraine, discussions on a potential peace deal involving the withdrawal of Russian troops in exchange for retaining territory have begun to pick up speed. The costs of this war were paramount for both the West and Russia, but particularly for the EU. The de-industrialization accompanying sanctions on Russia has resulted in disastrous outcomes for the Euro economy, pushing millions into financial insecurity, while the bloc grapples with efforts to restore economic growth.

More concerning is a decline in US support which has placed the EU in an awkward position. Although the White House recently unveiled a stopgap aid plan for Ukraine valued at $300 million, prior delays in aid delivery, fueled by congressional disputes over the border crisis, have left NATO allies questioning the US’s commitment to the conflict.

During a recent address before Western leaders at a Ukraine-focused event, French President Emmanuel Macron echoed these concerns by questioning the wisdom of entrusting Europe’s future to the American electorate. “Should we entrust our future to the American electorate? My answer is no. Let’s not wait for the outcome,” he said.

When Macron mentioned the possibility of deploying NATO forces in Ukraine, some perceived his statement as controversial or bold, only for reports to later emerge and reveal that NATO forces are already in Ukraine. But given the fact that the Ukraine war is not considered a de facto war from the Russian perspective, one can only speculate about the potential scale of a full-fledged conflict with the NATO alliance.

Western Hegemony

From a Global South perspective, the true achievement lies in Putin’s defiance of NATO. It lies in challenging the forces that for years have kept the masses in a state of social, ideological, and historical paralysis. Where the West sees aggression and destabilization, the South sees retribution. The fact is that Russia was deceived by the West over the Minsk agreement.

If one finds it peculiar that the Ukraine war garners very little to no support in the South, the case is far from mere coincidence. The extensive legacy of the West spanning hundreds of years serves as a testament to the destructive nature of its foreign policy. In the Global South, where the collective memory of millions who perished under the weight of imperialism and military aggression remains vivid and lucid, the realities at play are crystal clear.

The Ukraine war is not merely a war for the preservation of Russia’s national security but also a war for the thousands of mothers who gave birth to malformed babies due to contamination from NATO’s use of depleted uranium ammunition in Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan and Serbia, a type of shell which has been shown to increase cancer rates and other forms of disease in targeted countries. It is a war for those thousands of people who succumbed to their illnesses as a result of sanctions that prevented the entry of crucial medical aid. It is also a war for the comrades in Iran, Indonesia, and several countries across Latin America and Africa who died resisting injustice and oppression at the hands of imperialist stooges.

This is the Way the West Ends

by ADRIEL KASONTA via Asia Times
Image: YouTube Screengrab / Getty

Ukraine’s humiliation and Gaza’s shame accelerating estrangement of West and the rest at a crucial turning point in global power relations

With the United States entangled in conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza and the threat of a war with China looming large, Professor Michael Brenner’s insights and views on the state of the US-led liberal order are arguably as timely and important as ever.

Brenner, a respected luminary on transatlantic relations and international security, is Professor Emeritus of International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh and a Senior Fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).

He has also served at the Foreign Service Institute, the US Department of Defense and Westinghouse. In a wide-ranging and no-holds-barred interview with Asia Times’ contributor Adriel Kasonta, Brenner lays out how the US and collective West lost their moral authority and way.

Adriel Kasonta: Despite what we hear from the Western political class and the compliant stenographers from the mainstream media, the world doesn’t seem to look as they want us to believe. The hard reality on the ground, known to anyone who lives anywhere but Europe or the US, is that the collective West is experiencing an accelerated decline in political and economic domains, with significant moral ramifications. Could you please tell our readers what is the root cause of this state of affairs and what is the rationale behind continuing this collective suicide?

Michael Brenner: I suggest that we formulate the issue by asking what is the causal direction between the moral decline and the collective West’s political and economic decline? On Ukraine, it has been a fundamental geostrategic error that has had negative moral consequences: the cynical sacrifice of half a million Ukrainians used as cannon fodder and physical destruction of the country, in the cause of weakening and marginalizing Russia.

The stunning feature of the Palestine affair is the readiness of immoral government elites – indeed the near entirety of the political class – to give their implicit blessing to the atrocities and war crimes Israel has committed over the past five months, which is having profound repercussions on the West’s standing and influence globally.

At one moment, they speak proudly about the superiority of Western values while condemning the practices of other countries; at another, they lean over backwards to justify far greater humanitarian abuses, to provide the perpetrator with the arms to destroy to kill and to maim innocent civilians, and in the case of the United States, to extend diplomatic cover in the United Nations Security Council.

In the process, they are dissipating their standing in the eyes of the world outside the West, representing two-thirds of humanity. The latter’s historical dealings with the countries of the West, including the relatively recent past, left a residue of skepticism about American-led claims to being the world’s ethical standard setters. That sentiment has given way to outright disgust in the face of this blatant display of hypocrisy. Moreover, it exposes the harsh truth that racist attitudes never had been fully extinguished – after a period of dormancy, its recrudescence is manifest.

As far as the United States is concerned, the reference points for this judgment are not the mythic image of “the city on the Hill”; the last, best hope of mankind; the indispensable nation for achieving global peace and stability: the Providential people born in a state of Original Virtue destined to lead the world down the path of Enlightenment. None of those idealistic standards. No, it has debased itself when measured against the prosaic standards of human decency, of responsible statecraft, of a decent respect for the opinions of humankind.

Moreover, the ensuing estrangement between the West and the rest is occurring at a turning point in international power relationships. It is a time when the tectonic plates of the political world are shifting, when the old constellations of power and of influence are being successfully challenged, when America has responded to feelings of self-doubt as the ordained global guide and overseer by compulsive, futile displays of muscle flexing.

Anxiety and self-doubt masked by false bravado is the hallmark sentiment among America’s political elites. That is a poor starting point for a re-engagement with reality. Americans are too attached to their exalted self-image, too narcissistic – collectively and individually, too lacking in self-awareness, too leaderless to make that wrenching adaptation. Those appraisals apply to Western Europe as to the United States. Leaving a diminished, aggrieved but unrepentant trans-Atlantic community.

AK: In your recent essay “The West’s Reckoning?”, you mentioned that the situation in Ukraine humiliates the West and the tragedy in Gaza shames it. Can you expand on this a bit more?

Photo: Courtesy of Michale Brenner

MB: Defeat in Ukraine entails much more than the military collapse of the Ukrainian forces that is in the cards. For the United States has led its allies into what amounts to a campaign to permanently diminish Russia, to neutralize it as a political or economic presence in Europe, to eliminate a major obstacle to consolidating American global hegemony.

The West has thrown everything they have into that campaign: their stock of modern weapons, a corps of advisers, tens of billions of dollars, a draconian set of economic sanctions designed to bring the Russian economy to its knees and a relentless project aimed at isolating Russia and undermining Putin’s position.

It has failed ignominiously on every count. Russia is considerably stronger on every dimension than it was before the war; its economy is more robust than any Western economy; it has proven to be militarily superior; and it has won the sympathies of nearly the entire world outside the collective West.

The assumption that the West remains custodial of global affairs has proven a fantasy. Such comprehensive failure has meant a decline in the United States’ ability to shape world affairs on matters economic and security. The Sino-Russian partnership is now ensconced as a rival equal to the West in every respect.

That outcome derives from hubris, dogmatism and a flight from reality. Now, the West’s self-respect and image is being scarred by its role in the Palestine catastrophe. So, now it faces the double challenge of restoring its sense of prowess while at the same time regaining its moral bearings.

AK: Is it accurate to say that Ukraine and Gaza are connected in the sense that both indicate a failing liberal international order that is attempting to prevent itself from collapsing and causing turmoil as it descends into oblivion? If so, what are some potential outcomes for the future?

MB: Let’s bear in mind that the liberal international order serves Western interests above all. Its workings were biased in our favor. That’s one. The regularity and stability that it produced, for which the IMF, World Bank, etc were the institutional cynosure, ensured for decades that it would go unchallenged. That is two.

The rise of new power centers – China, above all, and the wider centripetal forces redistributing assets more generally – has left the United States and its European dependents with two choices. Accommodate themselves to this new situation by: a) hammering out terms of engagement that accorded a larger place for the newcomers; b) resetting the rules of the game so as to remove the current bias; c) adjusting the structure and procedures of international institutions in a manner reflecting the end of Western dominance; and d) rediscovering genuine diplomacy.

Nowhere in the West has that option been seriously considered. So, after a period of ambivalence and muddling, all signed onto an American project to prevent the emergence of challengers, to undermine them and to double down on assertive policies to yield nothing, to compromise nothing. We remain locked on that course despite serial failures, humiliations and the impetus given the BRICS project.

AK: According to some Western politicians and policymakers, other global powers are often treated as passive actors without agency or power to shape the world according to their national interests. This Manichean worldview is marked by a distinction between the “rules-based order” and international law or “democracy vs authoritarianism.” Is there an alternative to this thinking and what are the chances of change occurring before it’s too late?

MB: See above response. There are no signs that Western leaders are prepared intellectually, emotionally or politically to make the necessary adjustments. Necessity is not always the mother of invention. Instead, we see stubborn dogmatism, avoidance behavior and a deeper plunge into a world of fantasies.

The American reaction to manifestations of declining prowess is denial along with compulsion to reassure itself that it still has the “right stuff” through increasingly audacious acts. We are seeing where that has led in Ukraine. Far more dangerous is the reckless dispatch of troops to Taiwan.

As for Europe, it is evident that its political elites have been denatured by 75 years of near-total dependence on America. A complete absence of independent thinking and willpower is the outcome. In more concrete ways, Europe’s vassalage to the United States obliges it to follow Washington down whatever policy road the seigneur takes – however reckless, dangerous, unethical and counterproductive.

In predictable fashion, they have walked (or run) like lemmings over whatever cliff the United States chooses next under its own suicidal impulses. So it’s been in Iraq, in Syria, in Afghanistan, in regard to Iran, in Ukraine, on Taiwan and on all matters involving Israel. The string of painful failures and heavy costs produces no change in loyalty or mindset.

A printed photograph of a US Army soldier in a chair among the trailer trucks, and electronics which sold for the price of iron at a bazaar outside airfield in the Bagram district north of Kabul, Afghanistan, on May 19, 2021. Photo: Asia Times Files / AFP via Anadolu Agency / Haroon Sabawoon

It cannot – for the Europeans have absorbed totally the habit of deference, the Americans’ worldview, their skewed interpretation of outcomes and their shamefully fictitious narratives. The Europeans no more can throw this addiction than a life-long alcoholic can go cold turkey.

AK: There has been a lot of discussion about the negative impact of neoconservatism on US foreign policy and the world. In essence, neoconservatism seeks the role of the US to dominate not only the Western Hemisphere (as per the Monroe Doctrine) but the entire world, as per the Wolfowitz Doctrine.

Although some US think tanks are now advocating for an end to the “never-ending wars” in the Middle East and for Europe to continue the US-provoked proxy war with Russia, it seems that the neoconservative ideology has taken on a new guise of “progressivism” and “realism”, and now aims to focus solely on China, even to the point of replicating the Ukraine scenario in Taiwan. How accurate is this assessment?

MB: The entire foreign policy community in the United States now shares the basic tenets of neoconservatives. Actually, the scripture is Paul Wolfowitz’s notorious memorandum of March 1991 wherein he laid out a comprehensive, detailed strategy for systematizing American global dominance. Everything that Washington is doing, and thinking, now is derivative of that plan.

Its core principles: the United States should use all the means at its disposal to establish American global dominance; to that end, it must be ready to act preventively to stymie the emergence of any power that could challenge our hegemony; and to maintain full spectrum dominance in every region of the globe. Ideals and values are relegated to an auxiliary role as a veneer on the application of power and as a stick with which to beat others. Classic diplomacy is disparaged as inappropriate to this scheme of things.

For Biden himself, a confident, assertive, hard-edged approach to dealing with others derives naturally from belief in Americanism as a Unified Field Theory that explains, interprets and justifies whatever the US thinks and does. Were Biden reelected, this outlook will remain unchanged. And were he to be replaced by Kamala Harris mid-term, which is likely, inertia will keep everything on the fixed course.

AK: Do you think the United States is destined to remain a global empire, constantly in conflict with anyone it perceives as a potential threat to its world dominance? Or is it possible for the country to become a republic that collaborates constructively with other global players to achieve greater benefits for its citizens and the broader international community? As the saying goes, “Those who live by the sword, die by the sword,” right?

MB: I’m a pessimist. For there are no signs that either our rulers, elites or public are susceptible to coming to terms with the state of affairs depicted above. The open question is whether this pretense will simply persist as a gradual weakening of global influence and domestic well-being unfolds, or, rather, will end in disaster.

Europeans and allies elsewhere should not accept to be sideline observers nor, even worse, become co-inhabitants of this world of fantasy as they have in Ukraine, on Palestine and in demonizing China.

Michael Brenner is the author of numerous books and over 80 articles and published papers. His most recent works include “Democracy Promotion and Islam”; “Fear and Dread In The Middle East”; “Toward A More Independent Europe”; “Narcissistic Public Personalities & Our Times.”

His writings include books with Cambridge University Press (“Nuclear Power and Non Proliferation”), the Center For International Affairs at Harvard University (“The Politics of International Monetary Reform”), and the Brookings Institution (“Reconcilable Differences, US-French Relations In The New Era”). He is reachable at mbren@pitt.edu

Russia’s Conditions for Strategic Arms Talks

by Gilbert Doctorow via Gilbert Doctorow

Western media have mentioned Vladimir Putin’s remarks a week or so ago that Russia will not enter into new negotiations on strategic arms limitations with the United States while the USA is doing everything possible to inflict a strategic defeat on his country in the Ukraine war. Strategic arms talks cannot be separated from the rest of the relationship between the countries, said Putin.

This position was amplified a day ago by a senior Russian diplomat, Dmitry Polyansky, first deputy permanent head of Russia at the United Nations. His statements have received little if any attention in our media, though they were broadcast on prime time news in Russia.

What is entirely missing in Western reporting, to my knowledge, is a context for these Russian position statements that goes back in time further than a few weeks. Let us try to address that lacuna here and now.


Contrary to what one might expect, pursuit of strategic arms treaties with the Soviet Union and then with Russia was never championed by doves in the USA, who were more interested in people to people exchanges, increased cultural, educational and commercial relations…in détente in its widest sense. Many of these doves even believed that Russia and the United States could and should be friends, acting in consort to address the problems of humanity.

No, the champions and chief negotiators of strategic arms treaties were always the hawks in United States political circles. It was they who saw in these agreements the possibility to continue trade, diplomatic and other policies that would prevent the USSR’s economic development and reduce its more general threat to American global interests while providing guard rails against the relationship erupting into war threatening life on earth, and most especially life and prosperity in the US of A.

The last iteration of these American initiated arms control talks was the negotiation of the New START agreement in the presidency of Barack Obama. This took place against the background of the widely advertised “Reset” of relations, which was intended to move beyond the open hostility between the two countries in the summer of 2008 during the Russia-Georgia war under George W. Bush. At that time, armed conflict in the Black Sea was averted only by Turkish intervention, preventing entry through the Dardanelles of American naval vessels.

In that crisis atmosphere, ‘wise men’ from among active and retired U.S. Senators, former senior government officials and including the most notable celebrity of the time, Henry Kissinger, formulated a road map for bringing US-Russian relations back from the brink which they passed along to both candidates for the presidency, Barack Obama and John McCain. The underlying logic was to improve the atmospherics while doing nothing to change the substance of America’s containment policies towards the Russian Federation in the spirit of Cold War I. Following Obama’s inauguration in 2009, this was rolled out as the ‘Reset.’ The logic given to the American public was that despite their adversarial positions, the United States would cherry pick those issues where a cooperative relationship with Russia would serve American interests and pursue them in the months ahead.

For those who wish to understand the origins and sense of the ‘Reset,’ there are several highly pertinent and detailed essays in my Stepping out of Line: Collected (Nonconformist) essays on Russian-American relations, 2008-2012.

One might well ask why the Russians played along with the American initiative in 2008 which fell far short of their hopes for a new détente? The answer is very simple: the Kremlin held a weak hand of cards, one that was as bad, possibly even worse than the Soviet Union held when it negotiated the first treaties on arms limitations with the United States in the 1970s. Its armed forces were still far from being restored from the self-destruction and chaos of the Yeltsin years. This was demonstrated to the glee of Western military analysts who commented on the performance of Russian troops in their engagements in Georgia. Moreover, even if Russia held some better cards, its then President, Dmitry Medvedev, was, shall we say, naïve and inexperienced in international relations. He hoped that gestures of good will towards the Americans would be reciprocated. Needless to say, they were not.

So what has changed now for Russia to declare arms limitations talks inseparable from negotiations on the full scope of US-Russian relations? The answer to that question goes back to 2018 and Vladimir Putin’s announcement of his country’s latest strategic arms systems which, for the first time in Soviet and RF history, placed Russia as much as a decade ahead of the United States in developing, producing and deploying strategic weapons. The hypersonic missiles and other state of the art systems that Putin presented at his State of the Nation address back then were said to be invincible and would nullify entirely the nuclear first strike capability that the United States under Bush had been investing hundreds of billions of dollars to achieve by its global anti-ballistic missile installations.

In 2018, Putin’s announcements of strategic superiority over the United States were taken to be a bluff. There was the common belief among U.S. elites that the Russians could never produce these weapons in numbers sufficient to pose a threat to American superiority.

Now, in 2024, Putin has been proven right and the doubters and scoffers in the Collective West have been proven wrong about Russia’s ability to put on standby, ready for launch, weapons that the USA still has not succeeded in passing trials. Moreover, the two years of the Russia-Ukraine war have demonstrated that Russia possesses conventional weapons which are equal to or superior to the best that NATO can bring to the battlefield.

Whereas a couple of years ago major media in the West spoke of China as the world’s fastest rising military power, second only to the USA, and Russia was said to be just a spoiler, a star on the decline, today the The Financial Times, The New York Times and their confrères in the USA and Europe do not hesitate to admit that Russia is number two in the world’s league of military powers.

This, my friends, is the proper context for reading Mr. Polyansky’s declarations in the United Nations. The worm has turned.

For the full English translation text of Polyansky’s address in the UN, see: https://russiaun.ru/ru/news/180324

Not Bibi, But the UAE Behind US Plan to Build Pier on Gaza

via The Cradle

The Emirati government reportedly threatened to suspend work on an Arab–Israeli land route if aid does not reach Gaza

US plans to construct a temporary port on the shores of Gaza are reportedly the result of Emirati pressure on Washington.

“UAE pressure on the US administration led to the recent announcement by President Joe Biden regarding plans to construct a port for humanitarian aid entry into Gaza,” Israeli news site I24 reported on 10 March, citing exclusive sources.

“Abu Dhabi warned of potentially suspending work on the land trade line if aid does not reach Gaza, highlighting the UAE’s growing dissatisfaction with Benjamin Netanyahu’s government’s policies,” the sources told the Israeli outlet.

They added that the UAE has lost hope in Netanyahu’s government, specifically due to its continued blocking of roads and border crossings and obstruction of efforts to bring in aid to the Palestinians.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog tried to mediate between Netanyahu and Emirati leadership during his last visit to the Gulf state in November 2023 but failed as UAE President Mohammed bin Zayed (MbZ) “refused to engage in dialogue” with the prime minister, according to I24 sources.

In response to the severe humanitarian crisis in Gaza and the famine overtaking the strip, the UAE introduced the plan to the US, with Washington welcoming the plan. Emirati and Palestinian businessmen are reportedly supporting the initiative.

The land route, which I24 said Abu Dhabi threatened to suspend its work on, was reported on by Hebrew and western media at the start of February.

According to Channel 13, ships unload goods in the UAE and are trucked into Saudi Arabia before reaching Jordan and entering Israel via the Jordan River Crossing, helping Tel Aviv bypass Yemen’s Red Sea blockade on Israeli shipping.

Israel’s Broadcasting Corporation reported on 7 March that an Emirati officer made a secret visit to Tel Aviv that week to discuss efforts to bring aid into Gaza.

The report came a day after two Israeli officials said that Tel Aviv would begin allowing aid through its territory into the north of Gaza and cooperate with Cyprus to establish a sea route.

A source told Hebrew Channel 13 that the UAE will fund and lead these efforts. Abu Dhabi did not comment on the matter.

The Hebrew radio report coincided with US President Joe Biden’s announcement that Washington will build a temporary pier on the shores of Gaza to bring in “large” amounts of humanitarian aid.

While the war in Gaza has soured Israeli–Emirati ties, the US-sponsored peace accords between the two states are unlikely to be threatened, according to analysts who spoke with the New York Times (NYT) on 10 March.

The UAE also confirmed in a written statement to NYT that ties with Israel will help facilitate aid entry into Gaza.

“The UAE believes that diplomatic and political communications are important in difficult times such as those we are witnessing,” the statement read.