While analyzing the ongoing events of today, one can get a strong impression that Washington’s “puppeteers” have decided to abandon the existing model of international relations and attempt to build a completely new one. The concept of globalization that has been pivotal for decades is now finally left aside, instead we are being presented with the concept of global instability, that would allow the US to preserve its domination over the world by destroying the stability of political formations, which will ultimately become the breeding ground for numerous conflicts. In the meantime, Washington will be manipulating opposing regional parties in different parts of the world to make them confront each other.
The globalization strategy, which was being implemented after the Cold War and aimed at ensuring American dominance in the developing world, has ultimately failed. The concept of this strategy lied in an attempt to achieve the re-orientation of Eastern countries toward the US by manipulating local political regimes into opening their markets to private investments, while forcing governments to minimize the role they played in the private sector. At the end of the process the US would have shaped the world in accordance with its political, economic, spiritual and cultural preferences, it would have created a new American international order in which the US would have been a recognized leader for decades to come.
The brightest Western minds from Hoffman to Robertson rushed to develop different concepts of globalization, to point out positive aspects of this process. Yet the absolute majority of this research stressed the inevitable displacement of traditional Eastern values needed to embrace the order. It’s particularly curious that globalization has been portrayed all along as a natural process, as if nobody was noticing that it would benefit only a single power. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank (WB) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) have become the main tools of this process, but in order to play this game states were required to agree with the so-called Washington Consensus, by launching an all-out privatization and liberalization of their respective economies. The dominance of the United States was to be secured by an indirect measure – through the control of the main financial and material resources, and most importantly – through the control of the “rules of the game” on the international stage.
Around the mid-2000s it became clear that this well-conceived strategy had backfired and US dominance could not be preserved by enhancing globalization further. At that time the United States had to face serious opponents, who were getting ever more determined to defy American dictates. It was determined in a practical way that in the globalization race, countries that did not proclaim “democratic values” succeeded further than others. Authoritarian regimes took the lead without promoting American values or obeying Washington elites. China and Vietnam can both serve as a perfect example of this statement. Even if one is to look at South Korea, Japan or Singapore, there are fairly authoritarian regimes in those countries even though they operate under the guise of obeying democratic practices. The East has won the race for globalization by replacing the private economy with minimal state formula with a new one – a mixed public-private economy with a dominant role for the state.
As for the spread of Western cultural stereotypes, even if it occurred somewhere, it was limited to urban areas, while the majority of the population of Eastern states remained faithful to their traditional views and values. Moreover, in some countries the active expansion of the Western mass culture intensified traditionalism and religious extremism. Therefore, instead of witnessing societies dominated by American values, the East saw the rise of a mixed model of states who sought to pursue an independent policy and did not want to follow the orders of the United States. Sino-American rivalry for supremacy in the East and South-East Asia, the policy of the Turkish President Erdogan, who seeks Islamization and turns to the East, the ongoing criticism of the United States voiced by Thai generals – those are just a few examples of the true “fruits of globalization.”
Naturally, such a course of events hasn’t pleased the masterminds of US policy which is why Washington has apparently decided to rewrite the script, by radically changing the rules of the game, and maybe even start a new one. Unlike with the globalization project, the West didn’t present any scenario to the world. Therefore it is difficult to tell when exactly the new game was stared, it is most likely that somewhere between 2005 and 2006, when the American invasion of Iraq was not followed by pacifying measures, instead the US intensified destructive processes and aimed at splitting the country into separate regions. Washington was happy to provoke clashes between the Sunni and Shia’a branches of Islam, and most importantly did nothing to stop the growth of extremist and terrorist organizations in this country.
The general outlines of this grand strategy became more or less apparent in 2011 with the beginning of the so-called “Arab Spring.” Everyone was asking the question: why were Americans aimed at toppling relatively stable regimes in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Syria, and why do they pave the way for the most extreme forces or even religious fanatics who hate the United States? – The answer can be seen clearly today, with the new strategy being manifested fully not only in the Middle East but everywhere “US interests” lie. The emergence and spread of the so-called Islamic State (ISIL), put the whole Middle East in a state of uncertainty and chaos, the disturbing events in Ukraine and Afghanistan, the attempts to undermine the power of military circles in Thailand, the government of Najib Razak in Malaysia, the ongoing opposition to any attempts to achieve an inter-Korean settlement and inciting conflicts worldwide – those are the traits of the new US strategy that can be defined by the promotion of global instability.
The point of this strategy is that by promoting conflicts America would be able to undermine sustainable national and regional associations, which crave for independence and also interfere with US ambitions. Washington hopes that, on the one hand, conflicts would weaken potential competitors, and on the other – will allow the United States to manipulate various players amid the conflicts.
In Southeast Asia, for example, they are building an entire chain of anti-Chinese governments. They are trying to win over Vietnam, while preparing an “orange revolution” in this country. The US is seeking to remove the Thai military government and replace it with much more American-oriented politicians. In Cambodia, the preparations are being made to ensure that pro-American forces win in the next election and sack the prime minister Hun Sen, who has turned this country into another of China’s major ASEAN partners. In Burma, which President Obama has visited twice, Washington is pushing local generals to start a new military conflict with China, while tensions are mounting in the area of Kokang, yet they promote “their champion” – human rights activist and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi to key positions in the state. If we add to this long list the righteous anti-China politicians in the Philippines, where American troops have already returned, it’s safe to claim that the US forms up a whole chain of countries, set up to unleash a conflict with China in order to undermine its image and absorb its potential energy in the conflict. In this scenario, there is no doubt that the whole region instead of enjoying successful and sustainable progress will be on a war footing and hugely dependent on the US.
A world full of internal and external conflicts, dependent on the will of American puppeteers and thus left for the taking of the United States – that’s the prospect of further implementation of the new US foreign policy strategy. We may now stop wondering why Americans are undermining the stability of even loyal political regimes, as they do in Malaysia, seeking to remove from power the Prime Minister Najib Razak and the main political force in the country in the face of the United Malays National Organization (UMNO). After all, it was the American Wall Street Journal that accused him of stealing 700 million dollars of public funds, which paved the way for massive anti-government unrest. It seems that the political elites in many countries, including those closely affiliated with the United States should prepare for social unrest and the “Orange Revolution.” For now there is only US interests that matter anymore, and there’s only as many rules as Washington is willing to obey.
Dmitry Mosyakov – Professor, Doctor of Historical Sciences, Director of the Centre for Southeast Asia, Australia and Oceania and the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, exclusively for the online magazine“New Eastern Outlook”.