12.08.2018 Author: Martin Berger

Washington Can’t Get Enough of its Newly Rediscovered Gunboat Diplomacy


The steps that the Trump administration has been making so far all point out that the White House is reluctant to address international challenges through cooperation with other major geopolitical players, even though cooperation would seem to be the only viable option in the increasingly multipolar world. What this basically means is that Donald Trump has chosen gunboat diplomacy as his tool of choice, demonstrating to the rest of the world that America will enjoy all the privileges it can get it, while taking no obligations.

There’s been an unwritten rule in Washington that remained uncontested since the end of WWII, according to which US presidents could introduce new notions to America’s foreign policy, but they would never undermine the commitments made by their predecessors. Trump has effectively turned his back on this rule by putting to the sword the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). This political agreement between Iran and a group of states was widely heralded as Obama’s two-term legacy. It took the 5+1 group a lot of time to finalize JCPOA that was finally singed in July 2015. However, this wasn’t the only ‘achievement’ of the Trump administration, as it has also announced the withdrawal from the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change mitigation along with the decision to leave the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Professor Timothy Snyder, a leading academic at Yale University stated in an interview with the Süddeutsche Zeitung that the sitting US president https://www.thenation.com/article/american-special-forces-are-deployed-to-70-percent-of-the-worlds-countries/2starts his morning with picking ways of making people mad. The political scientists is convinced that Trump tries to distract people with imaginary problems and pseudo-conflicts, so he can destroy the system of American governance at a leisurely pace.

At this point it’s clear that Washington is reluctant to recognize the reality of a multipolar world taking shape all around it. It seems to be hooked by its ability to dictate its will to other states, while ignoring all opinions voiced at the international stage, even when these opinions are voiced by America’s faithful allies.

The rapid aggravation of Washington’s relations with North Korea only draws it close to a conflict with China, that will not abandon its ally. It would seem that the US has had done enough evil to Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, but the Trump administration carries on its rush towards new wars with all guns blazing. It’s been noted that the most disturbing part of President Trump’s first State of the Union address was his war-peddling bombast on North Korea. There’s well over 27 thousand American deployed in South Korea, but somehow Donald Trump still tries to argue that it’s Pyongyang that is a threat to regional stability.

However, American carrier groups that are sailing across all seas and oceans are not the only reason why Washington thinks that it can get away with its newly rediscovered gunboat diplomacy. It’s curious that American troops were deployed in well over 150 countries, and Special Forces in 138 countries as of 2017. According to a Pentagon spreadsheet, here were significant deployments of over 1,000 troops in 19 countries: Afghanistan, Bahrain, Belgium, Cuba, Djibouti, Germany, Iraq, Italy, Japan, Jordan, South Korea, Kuwait, Qatar, Spain, Syria, Taiwan, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom.

It’s mind-boggling that US Special Operations Forces have been deployed to three quarters of the nations on the planet, while there’s no transparency as to what they were doing in these countries and whether their efforts were promoting security or provoking further tension and conflict.

he same is true of our many brushfire conflicts around the globe, which many of the warmongers whispering in Trump’s ear want to pour gasoline on. It’s seems that most of them are moved by the fact that the events that are taking at the other side of the globe is a direct result of their designs, regardless of the consequences of these events.

As it’s been noted as Jeremy Scahill in his book Dirty Wars, the actual US record in this kind of brushfire conflict is almost universally abysmal. It’s akin to what British colonial troops used to do back in the heyday of that global empire. It’s a safe bet that pretty much all of these troops can come home now.

This resulted in Washington issuing an ultimatum to a handful of countries of the world, including the European Union, Canada, China, Russia, demand them to surrender their national interests or face American sanctions and tariffs.

It’s been noted that America’s new penchant for unilateral sanctions is now jeopardizing long-standing relationships with allies. Upon the Trump administration abandoning the Iran deal, it faced a European response in a form of an updated law prohibiting European companies from complying with certain US sanctions. As a result, the United States did more than lose a helpful partner, it found itself bogged down in a transatlantic tit for tat.

The attempts that Brussels is making to save the JCPOA, while sidestepping everything that Washington will throw its way in retaliation, may give rise to a “coalition of the sanctioned,” or ecosystems of sanctioned countries and companies that operate freely upon accepting their sanctioned in the US status.

In a situation when one string of groundless accusations against Russia is followed by another, we see an ever increasing number of states questioning the official Western narrative. With the official investigation of the so-called Novichok incidents giving no convincing answer, Washington is still willing to assume the role of the prosecutor, judge and executioner at the same time. Recent examples are not encouraging. The track record is not encouraging. By constantly expanding its demands, the United States may have given the impression that its negotiations are not in good faith, and that rather than trying to reach a diplomatic resolution, it is simply trying to punish the target.

There’s hardly any worse way of approaching the rest of the world that the one Washington has been manifesting. Behind the smoke screen of loud accusations and tough rhetorics, it may elude the attention of the many that the United States itself may need the assistance of certain individual countries more that it’s willing to recognize. As the number of hot spots keeps multiplying, along with the number of dissent voices, it becomes crystal clear that Washington is in no position to rely on gunboat diplomacy anymore.

Martin Berger is a freelance journalist and geopolitical analyst, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.