Tuesday, 1 April 2008

US ON THE WANE EVERYWHERE

The decline and coming fall of the USA

K Gajendra Singh
March 30, 2008

"History is ruled by an inexorable determinism in which the
free choice of major historical figures plays a minimal
role", Leo Tolstoy

When I went back to Ankara in late 1992 to head the Indian
Embassy, many of my friends from the Turkish Foreign Office
from my 1969-73 tenure as First Secretary, were going out
as ambassadors to newly independent states in Central Asia
and the Baltic, following the breakup of the Soviet Union.
Looking at the creation of so many new missions, a cheeky
young Turkish diplomat in the Foreign Ministry said rather
mischievously than hopefully, that only if United States of
America broke up into 50 independent states, could he ever
hope to head like them a Turkish Embassy, in north America.
Turkish diplomats trace their traditions and archives to
six centuries of Ottoman rule over an empire from which
more than two dozen nations have emerged.

But the wish of the young diplomat is not going to be
fulfilled any time soon, if ever. But still—

An editorial titled ' Collapse of U.S. economy ' in
Belleville Intelligencer of 27 Feb, 2008 confirms , by now
generally accepted ill health of US economy . Harry Koza in
the Globe and Mail recently quoted Bernard Connelly, the
global strategist at Banque AIG in London, that the
likelihood of a Great Depression is growing by the day.
Martin Wolf of U.K.'s Financial Times cited Dr. Nouriel
Roubini of the New York University's Stern School of
Business, who outlines how the losses of the American
financial system will grow to more than $1 trillion, an
amount equal to all the assets of all American banks.

The next domino to fall will be credit card defaults, and
after that... who knows? There are so many exotic funds out
there, with trillions of dollars in paper - or rather
computer-screen money - all carrying assorted acronyms, and
all about to disintegrate into nothingness. Over the next
couple of years, scores of banks that have thrived on these
devices, based on quickly disappearing equities, will fail.

The most frightening forecast so far comes from the Global
Europe Anticipation Bulletin (GEAB), "The end of the third
quarter of 2008 (thus late September, a mere seven months
from now) will be marked by a new tipping point in the
unfolding of the global systemic crisis. "At that time
indeed, the cumulated impact of the various sequences of
the crisis will reach its maximum strength and affect
decisively the very heart of the systems concerned, on the
front line of which (is) the United States, epi-centre of
the current crisis.

"In the United States, this new tipping point will
translate into -get this - a collapse of the real economy,
(the) final socio-economic stage of the serial bursting of
the housing and financial bubbles and of the pursuance of
the U.S. dollar fall. The collapse of U.S. real economy
means the virtual freeze of the American economic
machinery: private and public bankruptcies in large
numbers, companies and public services closing down." "We
are not experiencing a "remake" of the 1929 crisis nor a
repetition of the 1970s oil crises or 1987 stock market
crisis. What we will have, instead, is truly a global
momentous threat - a true turning point affecting the
entire planet and questioning the very foundations of the
international system upon which the world was organized in
the last decades."

After the end of the cold war in the wake of the two World
Wars ,the decline of western hegemony over the East and
South during the last few centuries ,first exercised by
rapacious and brutal European colonialists and then from
Washington ,is now likely to morph into a fall because of
the new forces unleashed by the US led invasions of
Afghanistan and Iraq .The two debt financed wars have
brought US economy close to a recession ( Indian economy
including the realty sector would also be affected ,Indian
officials and media still remain oblivious if not dishonest
in spite of the fall in Indian Sensex). Forces and changes
have been set into motion which will completely alter the
existing international financial and strategic structures
and result in a new dynamics. Unless of course the
irresponsible leadership of USA, still with colossal powers
of destruction at its command or say a reckless Israel,
bomb Iran and hurl the world towards a rapid general
warfare between Israel & West vs Muslim nations and masses,
leading to even a nuclear holocaust and Armageddon. Verily
, it would then be the last Crusade vs Jihad !

Contrary to the self proclaimed congratulatory triumphalism
of neo-liberals after the collapse of Communism and
Socialism in end 1980s, celebrated from house tops by the
so called philosophers , think tanks and analysts with
delusions of permanent world domination of Western
financiers and corporate houses based on dubious theories
of 'the End of History 'or 'the Clash of Civilizations' and
even claims of Washington- the new Rome with absolute
control planned in the 'Project for American Century ' by
arrogant and historically ignorant Straussian neo-cons and
their supporters ; the religious , economic , scientific
and historic forces and currents unleashed during the last
few centuries are coalescing towards a major East-West
conflagration , which will bring about results quite
opposite to those dreamed up in Washington , London and
Paris.

The importance of petroleum in warfare and economy had
become obvious even before the Second World War. By 1940s ,
the British who dominated the Middle East and still ruled
over India, realising the importance of oil and the
strategic importance of Middle East as lifeline to India,
had created military alliances with most of the countries
of the Middle East including Iran to protect oil wells from
the Soviet Union. The British created a weak and dependent
Pakistan as a bulwark against any USSR overture into the
Gulf. After the Second WW, USA was formally anointed the
leader of the Western Christian nations although after the
end of the First WW the financial power centre had started
shifting towards the Wall Street from the City of London,
but the latter still has great leverage for manipulation.

From 1950s onwards , USSR made inroads into many Arab
states led by secular, and nationalist leaders like Gamal
Nasser of Egypt. West used religion and conservative and
hereditary rulers to counter the egalitarian waves of
socialism sweeping the Middle East, Asia and Africa. The
battle lines for influence and control between the West and
USSR ( and China) saw many ups and downs . An epochal
change occurred when Iran was lost in 1979 and US ally the
Shahenshah was overthrown by Khomeini led Shia revolution ,
threatening the Sheikhdoms and Kingdoms in the region.
Western world and its frightened allies in the region,
taken aback , encouraged and helped financially and
militarily Saddam Hussein to douse the leaping flames from
the volcano of Shia revolution with its belief in
martyrdom. Iran and Iraq lost over a million young men ;
the 1980s Iraq –Iran war only protected the vested
interests of the West and its allies in the region.

From the Middle East , Western strategic lever to
manipulate and control the region and its resources
extended into South Asia through an axis between the USA,
Saud dynasty, obscurantist Wahabi clerics and Pakistan
military. This axis along with support from other Muslim
countries and even China fathered , nurtured , trained and
financed with arms and billions of dollars ,the present
monster of militants and Jihadis to battle and force out
the Soviet forces from Afghanistan .The nurseries of
terrorism were left behind intact which morphed into Al
Qaeda and Talebans , the latter with full support from
Pakistan and the Gulf's Arab rulers and US acquiescence ,
which wanted a 'stable' Afghanistan for its Multinationals'
pipelines to carry energy from central to South Asia and
beyond. That project remains unfulfilled.

For his cooperation ,Pakistan President Gen Zia- ul- Haq
was suitably rewarded with money and military aid which
emboldened Islamabad to carry out an invasion in Kargil in
India .With abundance of arms ,Pakistan acquired a
Kalashnikov culture of violence while increased opium
production in Afghanistan , with Pakistan as an exit route
left millions of it citizens addicted to the drug. Gen Zia
Islamised Pak polity and completed nuclear bomb program
with acquiescence and even support form the West.

But Al Qaeda chief Osama Ben Laden , chosen for the Jihad
in Afghanistan by the Saudi rulers nurtured dreams of
taking over Muslim states gone astray and conquer other
peoples too. The victims were India and newly independent
central Asian states like Tajikistan , Kyrgyzstan and
Uzbekistan and Arab states which had supported and sent
volunteers to fight in Afghanistan.

In its strategy to defeat the Christian West and the
Crusaders in the Middle East , even on the sacred soil of
Arabia after the 1991 US led war on Iraq , Al Qaeda first
attacked US missions in East Africa .But the stunning
events of 9/11 showed up the fundamental contradictions in
the US-Saudi –Pak axis , with 14 of the 19 hijackers being
of Saudi origin ,led by an Egyptian and Al Qaeda's octopus
like tentacles deeply embedded in Pak military, ISI and the
establishment .

The hyper power USA then mounted an invasion of Afghanistan
, the objective being to control the region and extending
into central Asia with its resources . But the strains and
stresses in the Crusader-Jihadi axis became even more acute
after the US led illegal invasion of Iraq in March, 2003,
angering and pitting Muslim masses all over the world
against USA , UK and other western nations in the backdrop
of continued illegal occupation and encroachments on
Palestinian land by Israel since 1967 and daily killings of
Palestinians telecast on channels like Al Jazeera and
others.

This is acutely true in US-Saudi relations with the latter
being the leading Sunni Muslim state , protecting the holy
Islamic shrines in Mecca and Medina and blessed with vast
oil resources. With increasing public support for Al Qaeda
inside the Kingdom ,Riyadh is now in a quandary. Its power
and prestige have been eroded as a result of its rival Shia
power Iran's strengthened position in Iraq and the region ,
just the opposite of what Washington had foolishly hoped
for. President George Bush did not even know the difference
between Shia and Sunni Islam and Ahmet Chalebi ,a wily
Iraqi ,exiled after the 1958 overthrow of the Hashemite
dynasty , had sold to the willing in the Pentagon the
charade that US troops would be welcomed with flowers by
the Iraqis .No body ever cared to read the history of Iraq
or the region.

US invasion and occupation has divided Iraq into at least
three parts, Shia, Sunni and Kurdish ; it now appears
difficult to hold them together .Apart from exposing the
hollow claims of the US success of its 'Surge ' and
stability in Iraq ,the current fighting between the puppet
government Iraqi troops and Mahdi army ,the Moqtada –as
Sadr militia , specially in Basra and Baghdad is" a result
of an attempt to impose Colombian-style democracy on the
unstable country. Iraqi PM Maliki's goal, shared by the
like-minded allies among the Shia, Sunni and Kurdish
parties that dominate his administration, and with U.S.
approval and air support , is to kill off the opposition
and then hold a vote." Moqtda is fighting to retain control
for provincial elections in October, as" the winners of
those elections will determine the future of the Iraqi
state. Control of the country's oil wealth, and how its
treasure will be developed, will also be significantly
influenced by the outcome of the elections." Washington
which had coerced President Gen Pervez Musharraf after
9/11, under threat to bomb Pakistan back to stone ages (
some ally?), to align Islamabad in its so called 'War on
terror 'wanted Pakistan to destroy Al Qaeda , Pushtun
Talebans and Muslim Jihadis in Pakistan and Afghanistan,
with whom Saudi Arabia , Pak Army , ISI and the
establishment have umbilical connections since their holy
Jihad against atheist Soviet Union in Afghanistan during
1980s.( Israel now wants PLO to destroy Tehran aligned
Hamas-originally incubated by Mossad to counter Al Fattah.)

US has lost the war on the ground in Iraq and Nato is in
disarray in Afghanistan . At the end of 'Operation Iraqi
freedom ' transmuted into a ' war on terror' , really the
mother of all battles for oil, raw materials and strategic
space in west , south and central Asia , the frontiers in
the Middle East and even Pakistan are likely to be redrawn
, but not by the West but by the movements , militias and
peoples of the region. Say by Shias in south Iraq and
Pushtuns in Pak-Afghanistan border who might obliterate the
Durand Line officially , to begin with. But West has
invested too much in the region and its prosperity depends
on it. It is unlikely to give in or give up without a
bloody fight.

The Kingdom of Afghanistan was accepted as a defacto buffer
state by the British and Russian empires at the end of 'the
Great Game' in Central Asia in 19th century .By the end of
the 20th century , the British and Russian empires in Asia
had vanished and many new states have emerged out of them.
Thus the very raison d'etre of that buffer state no longer
holds good. The Afghan territory is under control of
different armed groups , foreign and local , with
Washington installed President Hamid Karzai, with US
mercenaries as his bodyguards, barely controlling the city
of Kabul. Look at new states sprung from former Russian and
British empires now , at Europe after the two world wars
and at the end of the Cold War . State and national
boundaries are always waxing and waning , some times
changing drastically. So what is new if Pakistan breaks
apart .Little effort has been made by its leaders since
1947 to even develop a territory based nationalism. China
would not escape further problems in Tibet and may be even
in Xinjiang.

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, USA went about
methodically in dismantling Russia and its near abroad and
succeeded, with ample help from a naive Gorbachev and an
often drunk or drugged Boris Yeltsin. The 9/11 assaults on
US symbols of power was exploited by the Bush
administration to spread its tentacles to Afghanistan and
beyond in central Asia . For USA the Cold War never really
ended and all means were employed to push Western military
arm NATO to encroach into and encircle Russian strategic
space. In central Europe it was carried out by dismantling
Yugoslavia, an Orthodox Christian Slav nation like and
friendly to Russia and by aligning Georgia and Azerbaijan
to Washington. US franchised street revolutions failed in
Belarus but succeeded in Serbia and Georgia and partially
in Ukraine. When USA tried the same in Uzbekistan and
Kyrgyzstan, Uzbek ruler Islam Karimov expelled the
Americans from the air base and Kyrgyzstan placed new
restrictions. The eastward movement of NATO has resulted in
the creation of Shanghai Corporation Organisation which is
now promoting military coordination and collaboration among
its members and possibly even a formal military alliance in
future to counter Nato.

In its backyard Latin America, USA maintained its dominance
under Monroe doctrine except for defiant Cuba under Fidel
Castro. But Washington is losing its sway and total
control, led against it by Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and
other leaders who represent and implement aspirations of
their people and not of the old elites in cahoots with
corporate interests in USA and Europe. US attempt for a
colonial style control of its oil has been brought to a
halt by fierce Sunni Iraqi resistance ; full Shia
resistance would also emerge. Defied by Iran and even
forced to engage with it , there are limitations to what
Washington, now caught in the Iraqi quagmire, can do in
Latin America . With a defiant nuclear North Korea, and
China, an emerging economic power house, the policies of
Japan, the second economic industrial power in the world
which can quickly transmute its formidable industrial base
into a lethal military machine, the situation in East Asia
remains pregnant with many unpredictable possibilities. But
certainly the US writ and influence are on the wane every
where.

K Gajendra Singh, Indian ambassador (retired), served as
ambassador to Turkey and Azerbaijan from August 1992 to
April 1996. Prior to that, he served terms as ambassador to
Jordan, Romania and Senegal. He is currently chairman of
the Foundation for Indo-Turkic Studies. Copy right with the
author. E-mail: Gajendrak@hotmail.com .

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