“It’s time for the west to grow up and join a new world in the making.”
– Seth Lievense
The world is changing, but the west is clinging on to a unipolar vision of the world that has passed. It’s attempts to discard this changing reality in exchange for a western worldview expressed in their politics and media are so ungrounded, it’s comical as it is dangerous.
This western bubble of reality laid down before the wests general public seems to hold up for now, although fragile and less and less by the day. Really, Russia again? Outside this western bubble however, credibility is lost daily as the west places itself on the sidelines of history.
The fundamental building blocs in western hard power and soft power are not under attack as the mediapolitical landscape could make us feel they are, it is more that they are revealed for what they are without the sugarcoating. As the multipolar world creates the political and economic power to pursuit alternatives and show new perspectives and interpretations, they now have the power to reflect the actions of the west mirrored back upon themselves as apposed to ‘just the way things are’ in the world.
Suddenly we are presented with another version of reality that also begs for a different version of history for the past decades. Our economic system seems to benefit the few as those few have a well managed grip on politics. Local business and craftsmanship, the real economy, have given way to the privileged multinationals and the financial world, the world of tax breaks and tax havens.
Whilst the real economy is breaking down, the central banks were printing money like never before to keep the banks and the familiar names afloat -so long as the Apple’s and Facebook’s and other household names keep the indices up, all is good. At the root of this infinite printing of money lies of course the petrodollar.
The 1973 deal with Saudi-Arabia where the US would support the house of Saud so long as OPEC would sell all oil in US dollars only and buy US bonds, creating an immense need for dollars in the world and preventing inflation as the Federal Reserves printing presses make way for the economic, political and military US might since. Since, the whole international trade system has been dollar based. If Bolivia wants to sell logs to Venezuela, it will still use dollars. And by US law, every dollar has to be cleared by the bank of New York, thus making this transaction subject to US law. And don’t you dare circumvent it.
Blocking Iran from the dollar-trade for not selling oil in dollars, and thus blocking it from the swift-system, and thus from world trade, was therefore the nuclear bomb in economics. Their currency devalued 50%. The earlier threats to the petrodollar –Libia selling oil for gold, Iraq for euro’s- have been met with heavy resistance.
Now, in Syria, it seems the world has changed. The predominantly Saudi-US creation of ISIS to destabilize the nations of Iraq and Syria into chaos has now failed. Could we again see Syria, Iraq and Iran work together to create the Friendship Pipeline (a.k.a. the Islamic Pipeline in the west), exporting oil from Iran to Europe? Or will it be more of the same political-economic-monetary-military export of the west, with freedom, democracy and human rights as it’s sugarcoating?
The demise of military hegemony
The success-story of the liberation of Syria by ISIS is a result of the Astana peace talks between Russia, Syria, Turkey and Iran, not the Geneva talks where the US made promises it broke within days on the ground. It is the cooperation of Hezbollah, Iran, Iraq and Russia (as tides changed, Turkey) that in spite of US-Saudi aid to ISIS managed to liberate the countries of Syria and Iraq.
The military power of Russia, with for example it’s S-400 anti-missile all over the middle east is a game-changer. It’s a defensive system that leaves air-intervention in a padlock. Turkey as well as Saudi Arabia buying these demonstrates once more the break down of this unipolar world. Where NATO’s version is unable to attack ‘friendly’ aircraft -friendly as defined by NATO-, the S-400 is neutral in this aspect and respects the autonomy of a country.
As for within Syria, where Iran and Russia are invited by Syria and are legal in respect of international law, the United States is seen as an invader by Syria. Also, but most importantly, Assad is popular in Syria itself and self-determination is being undermined. It must sound as alienating to a west man’s ears as Assad stressing education and health services in the rebuilding of Syria or the gas attack being from ‘moderate rebels’, not Assad’s government. At the moment 95% of Syria has been freed from ISIS (sometimes known as moderate rebels in the west), yet the United States is still making a last-minute effort to control the border of Iraq and Syria to prevent regional integration -or a pipeline. They will fail.