The Global American Empire (or whatever you prefer to call it) seems to be unravelling. In a recent Wall Street Journal article, “The Rules-Based International Order Is Quietly Disintegrating” it was noted that Western institutions like the United Nations, the G-20, the World Court, the IMF and the World Trade Organization have fallen into disrepute and are routinely ignored or disparaged.
Evidence can be seen in the recent annual opening of the UN General Assembly in which Joe Biden was the only leader of the five permanent members of the Security Council to show up at all. Now it’s obvious why Russia’s and even China’s leader isn’t travelling to New York City. Even ignoring the threat of attack by homeless zombies and gang bangers America’s largest city is no longer neutral territory in this new cold war.
It’s not so much that the West has become suddenly weaker. That has been a slow, steady process. What has accelerated is the sense that the American Empire is no longer an honest broker between the various nations and power blocks. Recent behavior has demonstrated that the West has become capricious and underhanded in its dealings with other nations both large and small. Its actions in the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, Eastern Europe and Central Asia have been heavy-handed, arrogant and clumsy. In fact, the Africans have recently stated that whereas the Chinese provide assistance on projects, the West provides lectures on LGBTQ awareness. And that synchs up with the recent spate of coups in West Africa and the calls for the French and the Americans to remove their troops from the region.
The larger question is where does this trend lead? Much of America’s power is based on its reputation for stability and competency both economically and politically. None of those things seem true lately. The COVID lockdowns and the political theater that characterizes the Biden administration and its military actions in Afghanistan and Ukraine all reinforce the impression of a country racked with muddled thinking and dangerous instability. Because of this the actions of the Western nations no longer seem to have the clout they formerly possessed.
The prime example is the Ukraine debacle. The West has been using economic sanctions against Russia and military assistance to Ukraine to punish Vladimir Putin for resisting the West’s plan to weaponize Ukraine and bring a hostile military power to the very border of Russia.
Against expectations, the sanctions have failed to crash the Russian economy and instead have badly damaged the economies of several European states including Germany which received a large part of its energy supply as Russian gas until the United States sabotaged the underwater pipeline that supplied the gas.
And the war itself is not going as expected with Ukraine fighting valiantly but finding its manpower exhausted and facing economic and societal ruin through the disruptions it’s suffering through.
And the war has fostered a much closer relationship between Russia and China. China sees what has happened to Russia with Ukraine and they recognize a similar situation for themselves with respect to America’s attitude about Taiwan. And this strategic partnership between China and Russia is strengthened by their economic and monetary relationship in the BRICS economic grouping which in addition to those two countries, includes India, Brazil and South Africa and soon will expand to include Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
So, all in all, “the West” is facing serious challenges to its economic and military supremacy for the first time since the end of the Cold War. And without a doubt the trouble is almost completely self-inflicted.
The article finishes with this summary of the latest woes:
“States are imploding and the rule of law is disappearing across large parts of the world. In Latin America, narco-trafficking crime organizations have infiltrated or supplanted weak states. Something similar is happening in the Sahel, with jihadist groups and bandits openly defying the authority of shambolic governments. Russia, China and Iran are happily fishing in these troubled waters, with few signs of effective Western responses to a growing security threat. The ignominious collapse of French power across Africa has been more dramatic, but the palsied incompetence of American responses to the erosion of civil order among our own neighbors is at least equally disgraceful, and equally grave.”
Up until a few years ago I would have viewed this upending of the supremacy of the Western world order with horror. Now I think it may be for the best and may clear the way for America to return to its correct mission, serving the needs and goals of the people who live here and let the world muddle through on its own.