Article 1 September 7, 2022
A New System of International Relationships is Developing and it is to be Welcomed
05.09.2022 Author: James ONeill
One of the most interesting developments in recent years has been the decline in the political and economic importance of Europe. This trend can be traced back to the 1960s when the European powers were forced to give up their colonial holdings, in Africa, Asia and Latin America. This was most marked for Britain and France which between them held vast control over multiple nations which progressively achieved their independence. This was not always a trouble-free transition as the former colonial powers fought to retain their influence.
The relative decline of France and the United Kingdom was matched by a rise in the world to influence of the United States. The rise of the latter marked a series of bitter wars, is the former colonial states fought for the independence at the same time as the United States was seeking to expand its influence in the world. This was especially marked in the Caribbean, South America and Asia with the latter marked by an especially ferocious war fought in the Indochina nations of Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.
Well over one million of their citizens died at the hands of the Americans who essentially sought to replace the former French and British influence in their nations. The same is true of the Caribbean and South America, which the Americans sought as their legitimate sphere of influence following the direction of their former president Munroe. He gave his name to the infamous Monroe doctrine which was essentially a license the Americans granted themselves to hold sway over all the nations of the region of formally Latin America.
This was never more marked than in the case of Cuba. After the overthrow of their dictator Batista by the Castro government the United States waged an effective war against that small nation. Despite their long-standing antipathy to the Cuban government, the Americans have refused to relinquish their base at Guantanamo Bay. Their continued occupation of this base, contrary to the clear wishes of successive Cuban governments, must rank as one of the world’s most blatant colonial enterprises.
United States indifference to the wishes of local populations is not confined to Cuba. Earlier this century the United States invaded Iraq on the manifestly false claim that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction that were to be used against its neighbours. The claim was quickly exposed for the lie that it was, but now, 20 years later, the American forces still occupy the country and refuse to leave.
A similar story may be told about Iraq’s neighbour Syria which also suffered an American invasion in 2015. They similarly refused to leave that country. The blatant illegality of the occupation is reinforced in the Syrian case by the open theft of Syrian oil. Were it not for the Russian intervention in Syria in 2015 the Americans would have just overthrown the legitimate government of that country and replaced them with someone much more amenable to their ambitions to control the region.
The independence of Syria is further threatened by multiple air attacks from the Israeli regime, an act of blatant illegality that has drawn not a single word of criticism from the Americans. Were it not for the Russian presence in Syria it is beyond doubt that the Israeli attacks would be both more extensive and also clearly aimed at a change of government in that nation.
There are however clear signs emerging that the unfettered rule of the Americans is drawing to a close. This is most clearly evidenced by the emergence of multiple international organisations in which the nations of China and Russia play a central role. One of these is the five-nation grouping of Brazil, China, India, Russia and South Africa which in recent months has seen applications for membership from a diverse range of nations, including, most interestingly, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
The position of the Turks is perhaps the most interesting. Turkey is a member of NATO and if anything is certain in this world it is the antipathy of the NATO nations to any moves towards greater independence from Western influence by both Russia and China. Both nations are at the centre of multiple international organisations which, if they have anything in common, it is a move toward greater cooperation amongst themselves and a concomitant freeing of the shackles imposed by Western domination of older systems of national control and influence.
European and American influence, which has dominated international relations for so long, is at last showing marked signs of decline. In Europe’s case this decline has been accelerated by a number of moves that are clearly contrary to their national interest. Foremost amongst those has been the blatant antipathy shown to Russia and various threats to diminish their reliance upon Russian energy sources.
This is a classic example of political blindness dictating policy moves that are clearly contrary to their own national interests. The antipathy toward Russia evidenced by Ursula von der Leyen is a classic example of allowing blind prejudice to influence what should be a process of rational decision making. Fortunately for their citizens, some countries are showing a measure of resistance to these blatantly suicidal policies, of which Hungary is the outstanding example.
Adding to the measure of European frustration with the failure of their policies is that the Russians seem supremely indifferent. They have, for example, easily replaced their supplies of energy to Europe with increased sales to China and India, among others. Part of the irony in this situation is that the Chinese are in turn selling some of their Russian oil back to the Europeans.
Despite years of the United States wooing India in an attempt to break its long established and close ties to the Russians, the India – Russia relationship seems to be becoming stronger with the passage of time. The same is true of the Russia – China relationship which has also withstood blatant United States efforts to cause a rift between the two nations.
Instead, the relationship grows stronger by the day, as evidenced in particular by both nations working together to more closely forge the links with their world’s developing nations. This latter group, by far the largest contingent of nations, has clearly had enough of decades of United States bullying and is forging a new set of relationships. Despite increasingly desperate attempts by the Americans to depict China’s relationship with the developing nations as exploitative, the truth of the matter is that their relationships operate on a different level to the exploitative colonial era.
What we are witnessing today is the emergence of a wholly different system of governance. It has no relationship to the old exploitation ways of the colonial era. As such it is to be welcomed and every effort made to enhance its further.
James O’Neill, an Australian-based former Barrister at Law, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.