Has the unipolar world finally come to an end?

157 posts / 0 new
Last post
ikosmos ikosmos's picture

test bump...............

Pondering

Thanks for bumping, great thread. The following posts were on the first page and didn't get much notice.

6079_Smith_W wrote:

Was there ever a unipolar world? I don't think so.

Even when there were two or more it usually wasn't another "pole" that kept any of them in check. It was their own hubris and weakness, and a much more diffuse and powerful geopolitical web.

And turning point? Never mind that things are in play right now. Turned how? A strategic point that has been under Russian dominance remains under Russian dominance.Them freaking out in order to ensure that doesn't go sideways is not what I would call an turning point.

The world is a boiling caldron of competing interests that no single entity controls.

sherpa-finn wrote:

Two quick points: some things have indeed changed significantly over the past couple of decades - re BRICS, even some of the global financial architecture, etc. OTOH, some things have not changed significantly at all ..... see chart below.

My own assessment / proposition is that mobilising citizens to push for incrementally progressive multilateral agreements between nation-states on a range of key issues (environmental standards, labour rights, tax justice, arms control, etc, etc) is the most promising political strategy for the 21st century if citizens hope to secure and exert some degree of countervailing power against global corporate and imperial interests. I am not suggesting its any sort of a slam dunk, - but its a reasonably credible political strategy (IMHO).

To be generous, not all Babblers share this view for a range of reasons.  But pending the spontaneous global revolution - and resisting any cocooning inclination to retreat into "socialism in one state" (province / village) - I have yet to hear a compelling, alternative strategy that addresses the obvious need for substantive changes at a global scale.

That is absolutely true. Difficult though it may be forcing our governments to negotiate trade deals based on citizen rights and well-being is the modern path to revolution in a democracy.

montrealer58 montrealer58's picture

When the central global point of military and economic power is in the same place as the central global point of the population, at least the 'pole' will be correctly aligned. With 5% of the world's population, that point sure isn't the United States.

montrealer58 montrealer58's picture

Democracy always caps an invasion into aboriginal territory in such a civilized way.

Jacob Richter

Outside periods when organized labour is at its most militant, multipolar rivalries have shown to benefit workers' bargaining power, working conditions, political engagement, and other factors.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Russia and the Latin American Leap to Multipolarity

Oriental Reveiw wrote:
Russia’s role as a global strategic balancer and irresistible economic partner is now clear to all in the hemisphere, and it is rapidly creating a new geopolitical reality in the US’ backyard that could slam the nail in the coffin of unipolarity.

The article reviews the evolving relationships between Russia and Latin American countries, excluding Mexico, and how much that has changed during the era of Putin's Presidency and the return from the "ashes of the Soviet collapse".  It is really quite unprecedented and out-does anything similar in the Soviet era.

Is the multi-polar world irreversible? Probably.

By the same token, this irreversibility may explain the feverish, war-mongering, blood-thirsty, atrocity-loving actions of the Empire in Washington. They want to stop the world changing and all they really have left is endless violence. Hence we see support for ISIL in Syria to overthrow the regime disobedient to the Empire; right next door the US bombs the very same fighters to support a puppet regime that replaced Saad'am Hussein. In Ukraine, the Empire unblinkingly funds fascists and ex-Nazis to ethnically clease NovoRussia. The US funds Israel's final solution of the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. And on and on. The Sauron-like  lidless eye of the Empire reaches far. But the world is changing.

 

And the monster is enraged.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s

speech and answers to questions during International Youth Forum Seliger on 27 August 2014

Lavrov wrote:
Due to the collapse of a binding bipolar chassis, which held the world together during the Cold War, international relations have become extremely unpredictable and are fraught with a huge number of risks. This contradicts the forecasts made in the late 1980s and early 1990s about “the end of history” and the spread of Western standards and uniformity. It was an illusion, a fantasy and, if you prefer, a mistake.

The current stage of international relations is marked by a transition to a fundamentally new world order – a polycentric model based on due regard for the appearance of new economic and financial centres. And political weight comes with economic and financial influence. Transition to a polycentric world order reflects an objective trend according to which the world order should be based on the world’s cultural and civilisational diversity. This is objective reality, which no one can deny.

Note, not a bipolar world. A multipolar polycentric world.

Lavrov wrote:
The number of challenges we are facing has not diminished. It would seem that international terrorism, drug trafficking, illegal migration, the danger of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, epidemics and regional conflicts should encourage the international community to join forces against these common threats. But possible collective efforts in dealing with these challenges on the international stage are hampered by the determination of the United States and the West as a whole to preserve their global domination, to which they have become accustomed over the past centuries, and to delay the development of a multipolar and polycentric world, which, as I have said, is the objective trend in global development.

The whole piece is worth reading carefully, outlining as it does the Russian view of recent events and providing a kind of summary of events relating to Ukraine over the past number of months.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Interesting remarks from Lavrov about the Arctic and Baird's typical incendiary and stoo-pid comments. It's good to know that we're not the only ones who are noticing what asshats the Harper jackboot Conservatives are.

Quote:

Question: The Russian American Pacific Partnership (RAPP) is to hold its regular meeting in September 2014. What is the Russian stance on the Arctic development prospects in conditions of the currently tense Russian-US relations?

Sergey Lavrov: Military rhetoric must never apply to the Arctic. A Canadian colleague said the other day that Canada, or he personally, was concerned about Russia’s activity in the Arctic, and that Canada would be prepared for a military stand-off with the Russian Federation in the northern latitudes. A day later, his press service said he had been misunderstood, and that his statement had been distorted. Unfortunately, I don’t believe that it was distorted. Sometimes he makes such statements. His predecessor also said that Russia had no such right.

As you remember, when our great Arctic explorer Artur Chilingarov and his team planted the Russian flag at the bottom of the Arctic Ocean beneath the North Pole, Canada also voiced terrible accusations towards Russia and claimed that it was trying to seize territories just like during the Gold Rush. This is foolish. We don’t want the Arctic to become a stage for confrontation. There is the Arctic Council, whose members are the five countries that have direct access to the Arctic Ocean. This legitimate format guarantees the rights of regional countries, so that they can work out the rules of regional cooperation and those for the safe and frugal use of the region’s colossal resources.

The first inter-governmental agreements on preventing and containing Arctic oil spills have already been signed. Therefore, Greenpeace need not worry because, instead of merely heeding these concerns, we share them. As opposed to loud protests, members of the Arctic Council take real action to preserve the environment of this unique region. This body stipulates special programmes to support indigenous Arctic nations and to preserve their lifestyle, traditions and culture. Recently, Arctic Council members decided to accept observers. This was a long process. Several EU countries, China, India and a number of other countries, including Japan and Korea, have joined in.

The approved decision expressly states that Arctic countries, members of the Arctic Council, determine cooperation rules in the Arctic. When we meet during this forum, no one mentions any conflicts or talks about confrontation. Everyone is interested in developing this region on the basis of cooperation, respect for international law, including decisions to demarcate the boundaries of the continental shelf. Russia is actively involved in this work. We have already proved our rights to the entire Okhotsk Sea. The process of formalising continental shelf rights is currently being finalised. This will be a lengthy procedure. We are confident that we have everything we need to formalse Russia’s rights to the entire continental shelf in the Arctic Ocean.

What is also of note is that Canada and Russia have at least one thing in common; both countries - with the North West Passage in Canada and the "North East Passage" in Russia - take the view that these are territorial waters, domestic waters, and not international waters. You wouldn't know that judging from Baird's typically stupid Russophobic remarks. But perhaps he can't help himself.

Lavrov makes specific reference to Greenpeace and indigenous arctic nations. Those Conservative idiots could learn something from him about that. While he disagrees with Greenpeace, Lavrov actually takes the time to address their concerns.

Lavrov has, in a number of pieces that I have read lately, addressed this "winner take all" attitude in politics, and its harmfulness. I think we could learn from this discourse; we need to learn how to torpedo and sink these obstinate and hateful political views, in which democracy simply becomes a series of short term dictatorships. If you don't take people's legitimate interests into account, then you will be creating more conflict and problems. Western politicians don't ever seem to get this. We on the left must because it is us, and not the political right, who will make the world a safer place. They seem to just want war, judging by morons like Baird and Harper.

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

Yes, the foolishly jingoistic statements by Baird look very bad in comparison to the diplomatic, sensible and moderate statements by Lavrov.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

The Bear and the Dragon.

 

Interesting remarks by P Escobar. Brilliant, really. "Bide your time and hide your abilities." lol. Thanks to TINA, Thatcher style, the West is really going down the sewer thanks to the 1%, the neo-cons and their coup in Ukraine, and so on.

The future is Asian.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

A great piece by Sergei Glaziev, advisor to Russian President Putin.

 

Glaziev wrote:
U.S. actions in Ukraine should be classified not only as hostile with regard to Russia, but also as targeting global destabilization. The U.S. is essentially provoking an international conflict to salvage its geopolitical, financial, and economic authority. The response must be systemic and comprehensive, aimed at exposing and ending U.S. political domination, and, most importantly, at undermining U.S. military-political power based on the printing of dollars as a global currency.

The world needs a coalition of sound forces advocating stability —in essence, a global anti-war coalition with a positive plan for rearranging the international financial and economic architecture on the principles of mutual benefit, fairness, and respect for national sovereignty.

Communists! aha ha ha ha ha!

Well, not quite. Glaziev writes about a social/conservative synthesis which has more in common with the cock-eyed views of the Harper Conservatives. But there are some elements that are interesting.

Quote:
A new world order could be based on a concept of social-conservative synthesis as an ideology that combines the values of world religions with the achievements of the welfare state and the scientific paradigm of sustainable development.

The threat of war and the Russian response.

Slumberjack

A world order based on Russia's version of Capitalism or the western neo-liberal version still leaves us with Capitalism.  It really isn't a multi-polar model being advanced if economic alternatives have no place at the tables of either side of what, at bottom, constitutes a similar ideology of growth mainly for the benefit of oligarchs around the world.  Multipolarism that employs an overarching Capitalist model is actually unipolar in effect, only that there are more hands vying for a grasp at the wheel.  From the standpoint of everyone left out of the deliberations as to who will share control, I suspect that it all must look the same.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

A world dominated by a Nazi-like hegemon that indiscriminately starts wars wherever and whenever it likes, killing millions, versus a world in which the critical global problems are addressed and military confrontation is reduced ... and you say "What's the difference?"

That's a failure of imagination on your part. Big time.

Slumberjack

If anything, I think our experience here on the board has highlighted the importance of occasionally stepping back to reassess what is being championed as an alternative.  The 'enemy of my enemy is my friend' approach tends to draw upon the imagination a little too much at times, and necessarily so if this position is to be maintained.

6079_Smith_W

Slumberjack wrote:

It really isn't a multi-polar model being advanced if economic alternatives have no place at the tables of either side of what, at bottom, constitutes a similar ideology of growth mainly for the benefit of oligarchs around the world.

Not the same thing.

Political balance can sometimes involve balance of ideologies or class, but not necessarily.

We have always had the former in situations like the ongoing balance of power between Spain, France, England, and the Ottoman Empire.

The latter? On an international level those entities we now resist - the nation state, mercantilism, and private finance -  were themselves initially challenges to empire. And imperialism in the last 500 years has often been tied to imposition of an economic system, but there's no polar balance there. Usually it is limited to struggles within nations.

 One could say organizations like the UN is one form of balance, but it is really limited in its power by those same states it was designed to balance.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

The Russian President, V.V. Putin, has made a substantial speech at the Valdai (debate) Club and a full transcript is now available. There is also a video with the English language subtitles.

(The video includes the other speakers as well and I think some quick question and answer remarks which are probably good to look at. The whole video is almost 3 hours. Amazing. I mention this as well because Putin's ability to participate in such lengthy debate, much of it extemporaneous (as well as prepared remarks) is really an amazing contrast to most of our Western politicians who are, sadly, characterized by an inability to string a few coherent sentences together. I wish our own politicians, whatever their stripe, could do as well. )

In the remarks, Putin outlines his views of the current changes, from the dictat of the US in the unipolar world to a new, poly-central, multi-polar world. It's clear that he views such changes in a positive light.

V.V. Putin wrote:
Today’s discussion took place under the theme: New Rules or a Game without Rules. I think that this formula accurately describes the historic turning point we have reached today and the choice we all face. ...

As we analyse today’s situation, let us not forget history’s lessons. First of all, changes in the world order – and what we are seeing today are events on this scale – have usually been accompanied by if not global war and conflict, then by chains of intensive local-level conflicts. Second, global politics is above all about economic leadership, issues of war and peace, and the humanitarian dimension, including human rights....

Yes, many of the mechanisms we have for ensuring the world order were created quite a long time ago now, including and above all in the period immediately following World War II. Let me stress that the solidity of the system created back then rested not only on the balance of power and the rights of the victor countries, but on the fact that this system’s ‘founding fathers’ had respect for each other, did not try to put the squeeze on others, but attempted to reach agreements.

The main thing is that this system needs to develop, and despite its various shortcomings, needs to at least be capable of keeping the world’s current problems within certain limits and regulating the intensity of the natural competition between countries.

It is my conviction that we could not take this mechanism of checks and balances that we built over the last decades, sometimes with such effort and difficulty, and simply tear it apart without building anything in its place. Otherwise we would be left with no instruments other than brute force.

So, what happened in Putin's view?

V.V. Putin wrote:
But the United States, having declared itself the winner of the Cold War, saw no need for this. Instead of establishing a new balance of power, essential for maintaining order and stability, they took steps that threw the system into sharp and deep imbalance.

The Cold War ended, but it did not end with the signing of a peace treaty with clear and transparent agreements on respecting existing rules or creating new rules and standards. This created the impression that the so-called ‘victors’ in the Cold War had decided to pressure events and reshape the world to suit their own needs and interests. If the existing system of international relations, international law and the checks and balances in place got in the way of these aims, this system was declared worthless, outdated and in need of immediate demolition.

Pardon the analogy, but this is the way nouveaux riches behave when they suddenly end up with a great fortune, in this case, in the shape of world leadership and domination. Instead of managing their wealth wisely, for their own benefit too of course, I think they have committed many follies.

And so on. Very clear.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Maybe V.V. Putin's clearest comments on the unipolar world...

Quote:
Colleagues, this period of unipolar domination has convincingly demonstrated that having only one power centre does not make global processes more manageable. On the contrary, this kind of unstable construction has shown its inability to fight the real threats such as regional conflicts, terrorism, drug trafficking, religious fanaticism, chauvinism and neo-Nazism. At the same time, it has opened the road wide for inflated national pride, manipulating public opinion and letting the strong bully and suppress the weak.

Essentially, the unipolar world is simply a means of justifying dictatorship over people and countries. The unipolar world turned out too uncomfortable, heavy and unmanageable a burden even for the self-proclaimed leader. Comments along this line were made here just before and I fully agree with this. This is why we see attempts at this new historic stage to recreate a semblance of a quasi-bipolar world as a convenient model for perpetuating American leadership. It does not matter who takes the place of the centre of evil in American propaganda, the USSR’s old place as the main adversary. It could be Iran, as a country seeking to acquire nuclear technology, China, as the world’s biggest economy, or Russia, as a nuclear superpower.

Interestingly, Putin expressed disagreement with the idea that a poly-centric world is automatically more safe and stable than the unipolar one. There is a great deal of work required to make the world a safer place, it is by no means an automatic process.

V.V. Putin wrote:
At the same time, the formation of a so-called polycentric world (I would also like to draw attention to this, colleagues) in and of itself does not improve stability; in fact, it is more likely to be the opposite. The goal of reaching global equilibrium is turning into a fairly difficult puzzle, an equation with many unknowns.

So, what is in store for us if we choose not to live by the rules – even if they may be strict and inconvenient – but rather live without any rules at all? And that scenario is entirely possible; we cannot rule it out, given the tensions in the global situation. Many predictions can already be made, taking into account current trends, and unfortunately, they are not optimistic. If we do not create a clear system of mutual commitments and agreements, if we do not build the mechanisms for managing and resolving crisis situations, the symptoms of global anarchy will inevitably grow.

Today, we already see a sharp increase in the likelihood of a whole set of violent conflicts with either direct or indirect participation by the world’s major powers. And the risk factors include not just traditional multinational conflicts, but also the internal instability in separate states, especially when we talk about nations located at the intersections of major states’ geopolitical interests, or on the border of cultural, historical, and economic civilizational continents.

Ukraine, which I’m sure was discussed at length and which we will discuss some more, is one of the example of such sorts of conflicts that affect international power balance, and I think it will certainly not be the last ...

 

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

More on the crumbling Yanqui Empire and the end of the Unipolar dictat by the lidless eye in Washington.

Pepe Escobar wrote:
There’s hardly a more graphic illustration of where the multipolar world is going than what just happened at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Beijing.

Take a very good look at the official photos. This is all about positioning – and this being China, pregnant with symbolic meaning. Guess who’s in the place of honor, side by side with President Xi Jinping. And guess where the lame duck leader of the “indispensable nation” has been relegated. The Chinese can also be masters at sending a global message.

How's it feel to be so "indispensable", Uncle Sam? aha ha ha ha ha!

Quote:
Gorbachev was spot on in Berlin when he stressed how, breaking the promise personally made to him by Bush the father, NATO embarked on an eternal eastward expansion; and how the West – essentially the US plus a few European vassals – now seems obsessed in launching a new cold war, with the new Berlin Wall – metaphorically – transplanted to Kiev.

In conclusion, then,

"A quarter of a century after the fall of the Berlin Wall the US, for all practical purposes, is run by an oligarchy. Europe is geopolitically irrelevant. “Democracy” has been degraded to self-parody in most of the West. “Humanitarian” – as well as neo-con - imperialism in Iraq, Libya, Syria, and beyond has led to disaster after disaster. Financial turbo-capitalism is a time bomb.

Russia and China may not be proposing an alternative system – yet. Still, as the dogs of war, of hate, of inequality - bark, the China-Russia caravan passes. The caravan is selling Eurasia economic integration – not bombs. Real Asia-Pacific integration may still be a long dream away. Yet what APEC has shown – graphically – once again is the spectacular implosion, in slow motion, of the former indispensable nation’s geopolitical dominance."

From "running dogs" to "barking dogs". Heh. But Escobar has such a way with words, huh?

The American Century is over. The Eurasian Century has begun.  Too f*cking bad, Uncle Sam.

 

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

Salon has an interesting article by Patrick L. Smith about the big picture internationally. He seems to agree that the American Century is indeed over, but as an American he is not as gleeful about it as ikosmos. His conclusion:

Patrick L. Smith wrote:

The obvious question is what we are watching as all these events unfold and then coalesce into a single reality. This peculiar moment seems to make this reality clear. Nostalgic for the period of primacy known as the American Century, the U.S. cannot accept its passing. Logically enough, the task becomes essentially destructive of the world as it is a-borning — an effort, in the end, to destroy history itself.

The planet’s other major powers, for all their imperfections and, indeed, disgraces, understand that their time has come, parity between West and non-West is upon us. This is the core reality, not to be lost sight of. China’s and Russia’s domestic problems are rather like America’s; they are to be resolved by Chinese, Russians and Americans, a point we understand easily when it comes to the interference of others but not the other way around, when the question is our interference elsewhere.

All too bad. But only for those who insist on holding on to the wrong end of the stick. This century’s winners and losers are not yet clearly marked — I have to preserve my optimism on this point — but with each passing event, each mistake, who is fated for which side becomes a little more evident.

I like the thought a Chinese scholar-turned-diplomat-turned scholar again made at a dinner in Beijing the other night, as passed on by a friend. He spoke of Ukraine, but the remark applies across the board. “From our perspective, we see all of this agitation as noise at the surface,” he said. Then he cited that scene from “Macbeth” at Dunsinane Castle, “Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

The Chinese — always attuned to the long view. Who are the idiots in this man’s rendering?

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

The dominance of the views of such neo-cons as Brzezinski, Wolfowitz, etc., and bare-faced li*rs like Colin Powell (over fictitious WMDs in Iraq) as well, leads to the sort of catastrophic "failures" of US foreign policy that we've seen in the former Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Ukraine, and so on. The beat just goes on.

I put "failure" in scare quotes because, failing to obtain their desired results, Plan "B" for the Empire is general chaos and death. Literally. This is the legacy of the USA.  There is a myopic ideology of an "indispensable" country, meaning, of course, that EVERYONE ELSE IS DISPENSABLE AND SUBJECT, LITERALLY, TO EXTERMINATION, which is pronounced, noisily, even by this lame duck President. The hubris is ... breathtaking. And monstrous.

The venomous Russophobic and Putin-phobic campaigns, with the volume turned up as high as Cold War I, puts back the solution to critical regional and global problems by years or even decades. The American Nero fiddles while the rest of the world, for all they care, can burn to the ground.

There is a complete unwillingness to accept that other countries have interests of their own, that the USA is not the provider of blessings but rather, more often than not, is the instrument of mass death, and this is demonstrated by the frothing hatred towards Russia's President and that country generally. The Russians are failing to conduct themselves as "losers" of the Cold War, failing to crawl on their belly when the Master speaks, failing to allow the US to defecate in their face and meekly ask for seconds, faling to submit when ethnic Russians are "cleansed" from Ukraine, and so on.

All this makes the neo-cons, and those who follow them, rabid and frothing with rage. The "losers", it turns out, like their sovereignty, have their own view of the world, aren't interested in secret scum-bag deals with the USA, who always, in any case, renege on their promises (the most important of which was the "solemn" promises to Gorbachev that NATO would not move one inch closer to Russia), and have, at very long last said, "No," to the bully.

This "No" is leading to a chain of events, inexorable as life, in which the bully will be ignored, restrained, and finally tamed. That is, of course, if the bully doesn't kill everyone and everything on this Planet.

When the British Empire was in decline, when the Soviet regime was in decline, these regimes did not lash out like the beast - the lidless eye of the Five Eyes - in Washington does. This is a different sort of Empire ... a truly global Empire and the first of its kind. May it be the very last on Planet Earth.

 

 

 

 

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Gorbachev in Berlin

Gorbachev makes a call for strong efforts to improve dialogue in Europe generally as a means to ease tensions and solve problems. The following re-interates what I  have noted above. But perhaps coming from such a source it will be more persuasive.

Mikhail S. Gorbachev wrote:
Our conference is being held simultaneously with the celebrations of the 25th anniversary of the fall of the [Berlin] wall that divided Germany and Europe. I would like first of all to congratulate the Germans, and all of us, on the anniversary of this truly historic event.

Historic shifts that seem unexpected to contemporaries may later appear inevitable, preordained. But let us recall the time when it was all happening and how tumultuous and urgent the process of change was. Its outcome -- the peaceful unification of Germany -- was possible only because it had been prepared by great changes in international politics and in the minds of people.

Those changes were triggered by Perestroika in the Soviet Union....

Not just in our country, but in many European countries as well, doubts and apprehensions were being raised by the process of unification. One could understand the doubts of Margaret Thatcher, François Mitterrand and other leaders. After all, the tragedy of the Second World War was still fresh in memory. There were other reasons, too, for their wariness.

Even more, the people of our country, which suffered the most from Hitler's aggression, had reasons for concern.

Meanwhile, the events were unfolding with increasing speed, with the people being the main actor -- the people who demanded change and declared their intention to live in a united country: "We are one nation."

During a meeting of the Soviet leadership in January 1990, we discussed the evolving situation and came to the unanimous conclusion that the Soviet Union should not stand in the way of unification -- but that it must happen in a way that would be in the interests of the whole of Europe and of our country as well as the Germans themselves.

If we had evaded a realistic and responsible assessment or taken a different decision, the events could have taken a very different, dramatic turn. And the use of force could have led to bloodshed on a large scale.

To reiterate my own point, Gorbachev says exactly the same thing...

M. S. Gorbachev wrote:
The end of the Cold War was just the beginning of the path towards a new Europe and a safer world order. But, instead of building new mechanisms and institutions of European security and pursuing a major demilitarization of European politics -- as promised, incidentally, in NATO's London Declaration -- the West, and particularly the United States, declared victory in the Cold War. Euphoria and triumphalism went to the heads of Western leaders. Taking advantage of Russia's weakening and the lack of a counterweight, they claimed monopoly leadership and domination in the world, refusing to heed words of caution from many of those present here.

The events of the past few months are consequences of short-sighted policies, of seeking to impose one's will and faits accomplis while ignoring the interests of one's partners.

A "shortlist" will suffice: the enlargement of NATO, Yugoslavia, particularly Kosovo, missile defense plans, Iraq, Libya, Syria.

To put it metaphorically, a blister has now turned into a bloody, festering wound.

NDPP

'Russia Uses Language Washington Understands'  -  by Finian Cunningham

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article40235.htm

"Has Russia reached the limit of its diplomatic tolerance of the US and its NATO allies? The announcement this week that Russia is to begin deploying long-range bombers in the Gulf of Mexico - America's own backyeard - suggests so.

But the first point to note is that Russia is not doing anything illegal. It has a legal right to fly its warplanes in any international airspace it chooses..."

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Mark Sleboda, who writes on all things Russian and is a steadfast supporter of the rights of the Novorossiyans, notes a change.

A big change.

Mark Sleboda wrote:
Russian Swift, BRICS bank, China defends ruble. The revolt has begun at last. Independence from West's global financial slavery and blackmail is at hand. It will not be an easy path to freedom, but no path worth traveling ever is...

The Central Bank of Russia recently launched a SWIFT-style payment system to move away from Western financial dominance. You can read the piece over here.

CBR launches SWIFT alternative for domestic payments

RT wrote:
SWIFT is a global banking transaction system used by most international banks. The information the system carries, including payment instructions, is securely exchanged between financial institutions. It began operating in 15 countries in 1973 and is now used in 210 countries.

What with the actions of Visa and Mastercard (even today in relation to Crimea, spiteful really!) following the Western sanctions against Russia, the Putin regime is looking to make the Russian financial institutions safer from these politically motivated actions. 2014 has been a year of closer relations with China, and the member states of BRICS, as well as prospective new members, I think Sleboda is pointing to a new trend.

Russia finally said, "No". And perhaps the feverish animosity isn't all that surprising.

NDPP

The Empire is Crumbling, That is Why it Needs War  -  by Andre Vltchek

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/12/26/the-empire-is-crumbling-that-is-w...

"It is clear that the Empire is preparing for the final assault. It will not back down. It will attack, destroy and annihilate. No idea when but it will. And it will happen sooner rather than later, and with tremendous force.

The voices of the voiceless are now resonating louder and louder - we make sure that they are!

Except in the countries where the intellectuals and 'elite' have totally sold out..."

NDPP

Russia Cannot Be Squeezed Out of Energy Market   -  by Dmitry Minin

http://www.voltairenet.org/article186293.html

"The surprise energy agreement between Russia and Turkey was preceded by two other proposals: first, Israel was prepared to supply the European Union with gas that it would steal from its neighbors; on the other hand, Azerbaijan also stood ready to supply gas. Ultimately, only the Russian proposal turned out to be both serious and profitable..."

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

A very good article about the full spectrum war on Russia also includes some remarks about the end of the unipolar world.

See From Energy War to Currency War: America’s Attack on the Russian Ruble

Here is the relevant quote.

Quote:
In the words of Sergey Glazyev, Moscow is thinking of a «systemic and comprehensive» response «aimed at exposing and ending US political domination, and, most importantly, at undermining US military-political power based on the printing of dollars as a global currency». [22] His solution includes the creation of «a coalition of sound forces advocating stability — in essence, a global anti-war coalition with a positive plan for rearranging the international financial and economic architecture on the principles of mutual benefit, fairness, and respect for national sovereignty». [23]

The coming century will not be the «American Century» as the neo-conservatives in Washington think. It will be a «Eurasian Century». Washington has taken on more than it can handle, this may be why the US government has announced an end to its sanctions regime against Cuba and why the US is trying to rekindle trade ties with Iran. Despite this, the architecture of the post-Second World War or post-1945 global order is now in its death bed and finished. This is what the Kremlin and Putin’s presidential spokesman and press secretary Dmitry Peskov mean when they impart—as Peskov stated to Rossiya-24 in a December 17, 2014 interview — that the year 2014 has finally led to «a paradigm shift in the international system».

The rest of the article relates to a useful summary of US attack on Russia which rightly belongs in another thread.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Seumas Milne of The Guardian wrote:
What seems certain though is that, however much the west tries to recapture lost ground, the global order will not revert to the status quo ante. There may be growing conflict, but there will be no return to unchallenged US diktat or uncontested economic catechisms. Alternative centres of power are forming. Both internationally and domestically, the old order is coming apart. The question will be what replaces it.

All over the world, the challenge to the old order is growing

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

On the occassion of the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the UN, there are some meetings and discussion at that body over the future of the UN. What the Chinese and Russian reps had to say was very interesting.

No doubt the US regime will make some bellicose and threatening statement, while brutal arm-twisting and threats of regime change go on behind the scenes, to an empty room.

What kind of UN do we want?

RT wrote:
The UN would be effective in settling international disputes, if some member-states didn’t try to use it for dominating world affairs, Russian Foreign Minister believes, adding that such efforts led to bombings in Serbia, war in Iraq and chaos in Libya.

Lavrov had an interesting remark, quoting the UN's 2nd Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld: "The UN was not created to take humanity to paradise. It was created to prevent humanity from sinking into hell."

It's probably a useful reminder to calm excessively optimistic fantasies about the role of the UN.  

Some things mentioned in Lavrov's remarks: polycentric world order, attempts to dominate world affairs (not mentioning who but rather obvious, and enumerating the techniques used:  regime change, arm twisting, outside interference, unfolding media war that can actually lead to "hot" war (this is new), etc.).

The Chinese leader of the discussion also showed that it is not just Russia who has these polycentric views.

RT wrote:
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi – who chaired the debate, as China holds the rotating presidency of the UN Security Council for February – called the Cold War mentality worth "the ash heap of history." Relations between the countries should be built upon principles of equality and cooperation, he said, adding that "no country in the world has the right to impose its will upon others and displace legitimate governments."

Wang Yi also warned the countries of the threats of the use of military power, and expressed concerns over continuing attempts to rewrite history by bettering the reputations of Nazi criminals.

Without saying their names, one thinks of Canada, USA, and Ukraine and their recent disgrace at the UN over (refusing to) rebuffing Nazi propaganda.

Ash can of history, indeed.  Get with the program, you losers. The Nazis lost in 1945 but their supporters and fellow travellers keep trying to revive their odious views and practices in new circumstances. 

See Obama:

MORE: Obama: 'We have to twist arms when countries don't do what we need them to'

What a stark contrast between the declining hegemon, blundering and creating horrific oceans and lakes of death, igniting conflagrations everywhere it can, and the genuine best interests of humanity for a peaceful, safe, and, yes, kindly world.

That other world is possible, many have said this, but it's going to be a long and difficult fight.


voice of the damned

Kosmos: You do realize, right, that China is the country that was a pretty major collaborator with US imperialism for about a twenty year period, starting with the Angloan conflict in the 70s and continuing all the way into the 80s and 90s with supporting the Khmer Rouga against the Hun Sen's government. And now you think they're suddenly going to embrace a co-operative ethic on the world stage because...their leaders are giving boilerplate speeches about peace and kindness?

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

voice of the damned wrote:
Kosmos: You do realize, right, that China is the country that was a pretty major collaborator with US imperialism for about a twenty year period, starting with the Angloan conflict in the 70s and continuing all the way into the 80s and 90s with supporting the Khmer Rouga against the Hun Sen's government.

I didn't know about the role of China in Angola but the role wrt the Khmer had probably a lot to do with China's anti-Viet Namese policy as well. China's current role in Africa is one of a rival of the imperial powers and, as such, they can play a role of giving Africans a wider choice of who to deal with in economic development.

Quote:
And now you think they're suddenly going to embrace a co-operative ethic on the world stage because...their leaders are giving boilerplate speeches about peace and kindness?

Do you really want to compare an Empire that has 1,000 military bases around the world, outside its own territory, and any one of its much smaller regional rivals? A poly-centric world can be a safer world.

If you wish, go ahead and support the single hegemonic Empire. I'm sure there will be plenty of Americans who will share your 'sensible' views.

voice of the damned

the role wrt the Khmer had probably a lot to do with China's anti-Viet Namese policy as well Next...

voice of the damned

Well, actually they were scared of Soviet "social imperialism"(as manifested in a unified Vietnam) which was apparently such a threat to China that it justified their alliance with the nation you yourself describe as an imperial hegemon, in the propogation of a devastating war against the Cambodian people.

voice of the damned

And, contrary to your strawman, I'm not saying that the US hegemon is a good thing. I'm just saying that it's naive to take all this feel-good rhetoric coming out of China at face value. The Chinese would just as soon re-ally with the Americans if they thought it would serve their purposes.

voice of the damned

Oh, and yes, they did indeed partner with the US in supporting the right-wing factions in Angola, again on anti-Soviet lines. They also instructed China-allied Communist parties in Europe and elsewhere to support their countries' continued membership in NATO. Nowadays, of course, they bemoan NATO hegemony.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

I don't disagree that if it was advantageous for China to ally more closely with the USA, then that country would be expected to do so.

But the fact is that for the forseeable future, the USA is both anti-Russia and anti-China. Hence Obama's "pivot" to Asia.

These two states have seemingly overcome the old Sino-Soviet split and are doing many things together: BRICS, the development bank, oil and gas in a very, very big way, SCO, etc. Again, are you going to seriously argue against the blatantly obvious assertion, eg, about the endless wars and conflagrations that the US Empire continues to foment around the world? About how its foreign policy is about, and has been about since 1945, "full spectrum dominance" of the planet?

China and Russia can live and let live much easier than the USA can. There is simply no comparison.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Supplemental: even the liberal Huffington Post can't help but lift the lid a little to expose the horror.

Why Does the U.S. Keep Getting Involved in Conflict?

Quote:
Ukraine. Gaza. Syria. Yemen. Pakistan. If it feels like the United States is always at war somewhere, that's because it is. Not just Iraq and Afghanistan - the two wars we all know about. And, granted, we're not only talking boots on the ground. It's our money, our weapons and - more often in recent weeks - our Secretary of State, engaged in high-stakes diplomacy to uneven results. At his last count, investigative journalist Kevin Gosztola put the U.S. war count at 74. These are mostly unannounced and undeclared wars against enemies that have different aspirations, strategies and ideologies.

That is 74 wars at the time of the writing of the article.

The author then goes into the convulutions that the US State Department goes into to justify these endless wars.

Quote:
"Perpetual war for perpetual peace," is how historian Charles Beard described the national security doctrine of Presidents Roosevelt and Truman, and it largely remains the blueprint for U.S. foreign policy today. HuffPost Live looked at the reasons why last week in "Always At War," a three-part series I hosted ...

The "War on Terror" is one such example. It is, quite literally, endless war.

As Orwell wrote, imagine a boot in the face of humanity. Forever.

This is the future dominated by the US Empire. It is the first trully global Empire. If human being are going to survive into the future, it had better be the last. There are simply too many problems for which the clock is ticking, too many lethal weapons whose use will eventually become inevitable. Then William Shirer's grim prediction will come true.

The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich wrote:
“In our new age of terrifying, lethal gadgets, which supplanted so swiftly the old one, the first great aggressive war, if it should come, will be launched by suicidal little madmen pressing an electronic button. Such a war will not last long and none will ever follow it. There will be no conquerors and no conquests, but only the charred bones of the dead on and uninhabited planet.”

montrealer58 montrealer58's picture

The 'Pole' is no longer the sovereign state known as the United States. The controllers of the trillions of dollars which dominate this planet are dispersed across the planet. States known as "USA" and "China" and "Russia" exercise power on behalf of those trillions. As we know, capital likes to compete, and we will often see wars as a result of having capital being the ruler.

The money flows uphill, and the excrement flows downhill.

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

montrealer58 wrote:

The 'Pole' is no longer the sovereign state known as the United States. The controllers of the trillions of dollars which dominate this planet are dispersed across the planet. States known as "USA" and "China" and "Russia" exercise power on behalf of those trillions. As we know, capital likes to compete, and we will often see wars as a result of having capital being the ruler.

The money flows uphill, and the excrement flows downhill.

Very well put. Nationalism is just a distraction from the power of the trans-national oligarchs.

Slumberjack

Nationalism is for an audience of fans kept beguiled and at the ready, who can be counted on to applaud any and all things undertaken in the name of national state boundaries that no longer exists in the era of globalization.  The corporate state encompasses the entire world of competing factions and interests.

Agamben once said that "The novelty of the coming politics is that it will no longer be a struggle for the conquest or control of the State, but a struggle between the State and the non-state (humanity).  According to this conclusion, societal divisions centered around race, gender, sexual orientation, ability, nationality, culture, political leaning, financial status, etc; becomes intensified as the old excuses, contradictions and banners of nationalism become less and less convincing as distractions and drainers of energy, particularly when Capitalism and it’s contingencies has been revealed to the average citizen as quite unconstrained by national borders.

Under the circumstances, party politics is essentially a feckless struggle taken on by the citizens of no-where’s-ville in the name of nothing.  Capitalist innovation had long ago and largely without notice passed above and beyond the heads of the party faithful who still squabble amongst themselves over who can better manage the affairs of the powerful, along with our acquiescence to their never ending list of demands for more.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Michael Moriarity wrote:
Very well put. Nationalism is just a distraction from the power of the trans-national oligarchs.

I don't know if it's true or not, but there is a famous story in which Soviet leader Joseph Stalin was discussing the powerful influence of the Vatican.

"How many divisions does the Vatican have?" he asked.

So, in the same way, let's ask ... "How many divisions do the oligarchs have?"

Ans: In Ukraine, quite a few. But they're getting their asses kicked by a rag-tag bunch of rebels and resistance. Miners and truck drivers. It is still the US regime and its military (ok, its military industrial complex to be more precise) which plays the role as outlined above.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

What a stream of post-modern gobble-dee-gook, S.

Rail on about the various fragmented bits and pieces of reality that is the chosen method of mis-rule of the present. The Empire is real and it has its boot on the neck of humanity. Wake the f*ck up.

Slumberjack

What you're arguing about is which corporate boot heel your prefer to have imprinted on your neck.  The reality is that it matters not if the heel is Russian, Chinese, European hobnail or Yankee cowboy specials.  The term post modern is a fallacy and misnomer in itself, for the use of people far too emotionally invested in the so called 'politics' of their time to describe what they'd rather not understand, lest it interrupt their sleep.  We've never actually arrived at modernity to be positioned beyond it.  All of the so called modern connivances are still quite medieval, if not biblical in scope.  The only thing new and 'modern' are the murderous inventions.

Slumberjack

What ultimate difference is it really to be governed by politicians bought and paid for by Gazprom or Suncor.

voice of the damned

Slumberjack wrote:

What ultimate difference is it really to be governed by politicians bought and paid for by Gazprom or Suncor.

Or Exxon/PetroChina...

voice of the damned
voice of the damned

^ Heads up, but that RT article does something a little weird to this computer I'm on. A screen called hypercomments.com keeps coming up. But it stops happening when I delete the article from the screen.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Slumberjack wrote:
What you're arguing about is which corporate boot heel your prefer to have imprinted on your neck.   The reality is that it matters not if the heel is Russian, Chinese, European hobnail or Yankee cowboy specials.

To me you are in denial about the importance of prioritizing opposing an Empire that may very well wipe out life on Planet Earth. It seems pretty clear that a diversity of powers, none able to impose its will (Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, etc.) on the world by itself, would be an improvement over the present. About this you have literally nothing to say. 

Quote:
The term post modern is a fallacy and misnomer ...

An ideological phenomenon that has people fragmented and indifferent to critically important questions, as you seem to be in my view, has a real effect whatever perjorative you try to attribute to its use.

 

voice of the damned

On a more pessimistic note, the 19th Century was a multipolar world, insofar as the imperisl powers went. But it is debatable whether colonized people at that time were any better off than their equivalent numbers today. There were at least half a dozen nations involved in the scramble for Africa.

voice of the damned

It seems pretty clear that a diversity of powers, none able to impose its will (Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, etc.) on the world by itself, would be an improvement over the present. About this you have literally nothing to say.

You may be right about that. But two points. Even if mulipolar is better, that's probably just related to the competitive nature of multipolarity itself, not to the benevolent intentions of any of the competing powers. It's probably a good thing that Apple exists to compete against Micrsoft. Doesn't mean we need to take it at face value when Apple runs ads saying "We care about our customers."

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

voice of the damned wrote:
... Doesn't mean we need to take it at face value when Apple runs ads saying "We care about our customers."

Everything has to be evaluated on its own merit, even if it is a very good guide to initial understanding of practically any international  issue to note that "if the Empire is for it, then it's probably bad." We have far too many babblers who seem to operate from the opposite premise, i.e., "if the USA is for it, then it's probably good."

Pages