Righting a wrong: Burying decades of US-led wars

Mohamad Hasan Sweidan, Orinoco Tribune, December 26, 2023

Today’s global conflicts – whether in Eastern Europe, West Asia, or East Asia – are spawned by a fading US hegemon desperately clinging to power.

“One era is ending, a new one is beginning, and the decisions that we make now will shape the future for decades to come.”

With these words, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken defined the “turning point” of the American era, the transition from one world order to another.

“In this pivotal time, America’s global leadership is not a burden. It’s a necessity to safeguard our freedom, our democracy, and our security,” Blinken said in his address to the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in September.

Official US documents, including last year’s National Security Strategy, underscore Washington’s conviction that waiting is a luxury it cannot afford; that it “will act decisively” to maintain its global leadership. As such, the US involvement in conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza, as well as the militarization in Southeast Asia, must be seen through this lens of international dynamics.

Broadly, tensions in Africa and Asia are interconnected with the west’s frenzied initiatives to maintain a dominant position and decisive role in the new multipolar order.

From Eastern Europe to West Asia 

Since the outbreak of war in Ukraine, the US has strategically tied its support for Kyiv to the defense of the “rules-based order.”

With clichéd sound bites, President Joe Biden characterized the conflict as “a battle between democracy and autocracy, between liberty and repression, between a rules-based order and one governed by brute force.”

Many Atlanticist leaders echo the sentiment that unwavering support for Ukraine aims to deter Russia from challenging a world order where the west holds sway.

Most prominently, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz articulated this perspective in his Foreign Affairs article published in early 2023 titled The Global Zeitenwende, (“an epochal tectonic shift”) in which he posits that Russian President Vladimir Putin is challenging a world order where Washington is a decisive power.

Scholz emphasizes the need for collective action by those who believe in a rules-based world order, even cooperating with countries that do not embrace democratic institutions but endorse the US-led principles for global governance. That western rules-based paradigm, it should be noted, is one in which international law and the UN Charter have long been discarded in favor of power and advantage.

Today, those dueling visions are playing out in the Ukraine war: a confrontation between the west seeking to maintain its global superiority and Russia striving to disrupt this dominance. Moscow’s rationale for the war is to prevent NATO from expanding to Russia’s borders, as confirmed by the western military alliance’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.

Similarly, the war in Gaza must be seen through this international lens, with Israel representing western interests in West Asia and any harm to the occupation state viewed inherently as a blow to US influence in the region.

As Washington stands at this crucial turning point, according to Blinken, the cost of a blow to Israel is deemed too high, underscoring the resolute US defense of its global influence in the devastated towns and cities of Gaza.

Neo-colonial maneuvers

There are important nuances between these two US-backed wars, however: Ukraine is seen as a tool used by Washington to achieve its interests, while Israel is considered an American interest in itself. That Biden once famously asserted that the US would need to create an Israel if it did not exist illustrates its status as a neo-colonial outpost, protecting western interests in the region.

This also explains the noticeable shift in US interest away from Eastern Europe to West Asia after the Palestinian resistance breached the occupied territories on 7 October to target military personnel and take prisoners. The deliberate shift of American attention from one war zone to the other was neatly exemplified by the Washington Post’s swift removal of the ‘War in Ukraine’ tab from its homepage.

As previously mentioned by The Cradle, “Israel’s ongoing war on the Gaza Strip is best understood to be a US-backed one,” one that is being fought to safeguard US influence and interests in West Asia. However, the maneuvering room for Washington’s allies is shrinking dramatically. Unlike the diverse strategic options West Asian countries explored during the Ukraine war, Gaza offers no such latitude. It is fundamentally Washington’s war, demanding collective mobilization to defend the US position.

It is also telling that the US-led multination task force, Operation Guardian of Prosperity in the Red Sea, is already facing major set-backs since its recent inception, with some members pulling out and others choosing to remain unnamed.

White House National Security Council Strategic Communications Coordinator John Kirby had to awkwardly caveat the secrecy like this: “There are some countries that have agreed to participate and be part of the operation in the Red Sea, but they have to decide how much they want that to be public. And I’m going to leave it to them so that they can describe it somehow, because not everyone wants to be public.”

For example, the role of NATO member Turkiye has transformed into that of an energy transmission station for Israel, while the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Jordan serve as a transit bridge for goods bound for the occupation state that Yemen prevents from passing through the Red Sea.

Notably, shipments from Turkiye to Israel surged to 355 after 7 October, with many linked to the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and individuals close to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, including his son Buraq. Even Egypt, restricted to allowing aid trucks through the Rafah crossing, could not facilitate aid to Palestinians without US approval.

How conflict spreads

In international relations, there are two main theories that address the relationship between power and the spread of peace. The first is the hegemonic stability theory which posits that the international order is likely to remain stable when one country is the dominant global power. The proponents of this theory believe that the existence of a single hegemon deters all powers in the world and prevents them from spreading tension.

However, given the reality that the United States has dominated a conflict-ridden global order for four decades, it can be argued that the presence of the hegemon did not lead to global stability. Rather, the dominant was the major source and catalyst for spreading tension around the world. It is sufficient to look at the distribution of US bases in the world and the proliferation of military agreements signed by Washington to understand how the US consistently provokes rivals and challengers, and creates strife.

United States military presence in West Asia

The second is the balance of power theory, in which states seek to protect themselves by preventing any country from acquiring enough military power to control all other nations. If one power dominates – such as the United States – the theory predicts that weaker countries will unite in a defense alliance. 

According to this theory, a balance of power between competing states or alliances raises the cost of tension for everyone and ensures stability in the world. Thus, achieving peace today requires a rise in the level of power among Washington’s rivals, power which will provide the deterrence required to limit the spread of tensions around the world. Increasing the capabilities of Washington’s rivals is now a key requirement for all peaceful peoples and nations. And according to the balance of power theory, uniting against Israel is the most successful way to stabilize West Asia and its environs today.

Post-unipolar realities 

As the war in Gaza is unequivocally an American war, a vertical division emerges in West Asia, dividing those siding with Palestine and the Resistance Axis from those aligning with Israel and the Zionist project. Washington’s allies cannot stay neutral as the US leads the battle directly.

This clarifies the positions of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the UAE, Egypt, Turkiye, and other West Asian countries choosing to align with the US at the expense of Palestinian interests.

Observing Washington’s policies reveals global tensions spurred on by the pursuit of US influence. From Eastern Europe to West Asia and Southeast Asia, the US works to counter Eurasian powers Russia and China, and other influential countries, such as Iran and North Korea.

Since the end of the Cold War, Washington’s unipolar moment has resulted in more wars and destruction imaginable in decades often characterized as ones marked by peace. A more stable world order necessitates the achievement of a global balance of power by weakening the US and empowering new rising powers. Thus, peace and stability in West Asia hinges on the weakening of Israel, a colonial project so intricately tied to Washington’s hegemonic agenda.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *