Henry Kissinger, who served as Secretary of State in the administrations of Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, in his recent book published under the title “World Order”, has made an attempt to shed light on Washington‘s approach towards present-day challenges, such as the Islamic State in the Levant (ISIL), the Ukrainian crisis, the Syrian war and the relations with Iran. While going through the pages of this book, one can get a grip on the true nature of US policy in the Middle East and that has little to do with the actual fighting against international terrorism, while its prime objective has basically remained unchanged – an attempt to shape energy markets.
Kissinger is known as a master architect of international affairs and, to some extent, a philosopher, who was employed as a national security adviser by virtually all recent US leaders. He is extremely savvy in foreign relations and especially in regards to US Middle Eastern policies. But he’s no mere observer, in fact Kissinger has been affecting the development of American strategy in the region for decades. As for the “new world order” that has recently become the talk of Western think tanks, Kissinger made a handful of rather peculiar remarks on this topic in his book.
According to Kissinger, a world order is created by the strong, that is, in his opinion, – the United States. Europe has made a shot at it after the First World War, although the communist revolution in Russia in 1917 and the results of the Second World War brought the Soviet Union and the socialist camp to the forefront of international politics with the Marxist Doctrine being put to practice in order to create a new world order. The Soviet Union leaders believed that communism could spread like a fire across the globe, but when it didn’t, they acquired a different formula that was based on the principle of relatively peaceful coexistence of the two systems: socialism and capitalism. The world became bipolar, while the “Third World” countries, including Islamic states, were turned into areas of constant confrontation. The Cold War ended with the collapse of the USSR and the dismantling of the socialist camp. But Europe has missed its chance to become the new leader yet again. Today it seems to be stuck between the past and the future, unable to decide what to do next. Meanwhile, the new economic, social and political environment may give the impression that the only state capable of creating a “new order”, is the United States.
Once the Soviet Union ceased to exist and turned into a group of individual nation-states, the United States rushed the implementation of their vision of a “new world order”. But what was created in the process, didn’t look like a fair and reliable system. Therefore, in 2001 the US fell victim to its own aggressive ways. Washington has tried time and time again to force Western style democracy down other people’s throats, without any consideration for national, religious and historical background. Even Russia that has managed to retain its integrity as a global power with a huge nuclear arsenal and numerous oil and gas deposits, along with largest NATO member states (Germany, England, France) is perceived as unequal. Washington has appointed itself a policeman, a sick version of Judge Dredd, that can carry out a verdict and punish the alleged offender single-handedly, while paying no heed to the international community. The UN and its Security Council, has been transformed by the White House into an obedient servant, that can provide a flare of legitimacy to US actions. When it fails to do so, Washington is pushing its agenda through NATO, or going in on its own, taking a number of satellites along with it, to make another war look like a team effort. In addition, American think tanks have overlooked the phenomenon of China’s rapid growth, which has recently become the world’s biggest economy and may be aiming at ruling the new century should the West fail to restore its partnership with Russia. And then, according to Kissinger’s logic, the international rules will be established by Beijing as the strongest player in the international arena.
All of this is no coincidence, and Washington can only blame itself, since the United States unleashed a wave of “color revolutions” in the Middle East in 2011, in a hopeless attempt to maintain its global dominance, since this region is particularly rich in hydrocarbons (up to 65% of the world’s oil reserves and up to 50% of the world’s natural gas reserves are concentrated in this area). But the triumph of the American “democratic model” was nowhere to be found, instead the whole region plunged into chaos and instability. An attempt to take advantage of radical and moderate Islamist groups resulted in Washington’s loss of control over the rapidly developing situation. The leading Western planners such as Kissinger, Brzezinski and Huntington had no idea that their “brilliant” plan would encounter the fierce resistance of radical Islam, which loathes the Western model of development. Although the above-mentioned “masterminds” of the US political science assumed that “moderate Islam” followers would weaken the influence of radical Islam, but these assumptions were not meant to come true. The primal threat to security in the Middle East today is radical Islamism, the rise of which led to the creation of the Islamic State- a new type of state, and a new type of civilization.
The clash of civilizations predicted by Huntington some 20 years ago hasn’t become the deal breaker in the process of forming a new world order launched by the United States. No ethnic or religious differences led to the current global confrontation and chaos in the Middle East and Ukraine, or the South Stream face-off. The redistribution of wealth described by Karl Marx more than a century ago is the underlying cause of the state the world has found itself in today. This time around Washington has started the redistribution of the main source of economic development – hydrocarbons. “Those in in control of the oil and gas flows, are in control of the global economy, therefore they rule the world. The shale revolution in the United States failed to provide Washington with the desired outputs, so the White House decided to take Russia’s share of the market. Ukraine is a mere pretext for the launch of sanctions in the ongoing US aggression against the Russian Federation. The battlefield of choice in this aggression is the conflict-ridden Middle East. It explains the rapid rise of ISIL in Iraq and the ongoing confrontation between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Washington’s attempts to weaken Iran by sanctions have little to do with its nuclear programme, since Iran boasts the world’s second largest reserves of oil and gas after Russia.
But the creation of new world order didn’t start in 2011 with a wave of color revolutions, it all began much earlier, to be specific in 2003 with the invasion of Iraq, which is as rich in oil and gas reserves. The destruction of the Saddam regime wasn’t provoked by the noble urge to destroy the nonexistent WMD programme. It is symbolic that this aggression was led by George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld – chief lobbyist for the US oil industry, the most influential economic and political clan in the United States, on par with arms manufacturers.
This aggression was followed by the bombing of Libya under the pretext of establishing a “democratic society” there, yet it was the same old struggle for hydrocarbons.
As for the ongoing conflict in Syria that is allegedly provoked by the urge to topple the “bloody dictator” Bashar Assad , it is instead in order to build a gas pipeline from Qatar, through Saudi Arabia and Jordan to the Mediterranean coast of Syria, and then – to Europe in order to counter Russia’s South Stream pipeline and gain control over gas supplies to Europe.
As for the alleged US support of the “democratic values”, how come it is still allied with the conservative Arabian monarchies? After all, these countries’ regimes are the clearest examples of dictatorship and have nothing in common with American ideals, yet Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait and Qatar — are the richest oil and gas states, so Washington couldn’t care less. After all, Americans troops have never been seen in poor countries, where there is no oil, gas, gold, or diamonds to be looted. In such states the White House won’t promote democracy even if a truly violent dictator was oppressing and murdering their fellow citizens.
In his book Kissinger acknowledges that “new order” can not be created by one state. Any truly global system must enjoy broad international support. Kissinger is assured that there can be no other leader than the United States. But why is that? What prevents China from taking the lead, when it’s economically stronger than the United States and has a larger population? And what role should the UN and its Security Council be playing in this “new order”? Washington discredited the US with all the bloodshed in the Middle East. Due to the White House’s actions hundreds of thousands of people were killed, thousands are yet to be murdered. For this reason alone Washington should abandon its hope of becoming a leader of the new world order.
Peter Lvov, Ph.D in political science, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.