Tuesday, December 12, 2023

The demise of US superpower: 'It's not just China, Russia and Iran'


Indications that the war in Ukraine may be about to end and that there will not be a favourable outcome for those nations that have invested their $£€, their weapons and their reputations in supporting the delusional crackpots in Kiev who believed they could win a war with their military superpower neighbour, and Russia is and always was a military superpower in spite of what the Zekenskyyyy fan club would have had us believe.

But it is not just military meltdown Ukraine is facing as the much hyped summer counter offensive, now universally acknowledged to have failed, but politically too.

Since Russian troops crossed the border into Ukrainian territory in february 2022 the Western public has been fed a narrative of an imminent Ukrainian victory, and a small, weak nation claiming victory after victory against a more powerful foe because it was, government, armed services and people, united in its unwavering commitment to a total military victory over Russia. This narrative was always a lie, held together by the government propahanda, a subservient media, and the delusional ranting of Ukraine's president, Vobblyvoddymyr Zenenskyy,  cocaine snorting former gay dancer and comedian whose main claim to fame was that his penis can play the piano. When put like that the man who was hailed by western leaders as a great statesman and a Chruchillian figure does not look quite so inspiraing, and as Zselensky's mistakes became too costly to ignore or conceal the myth spun around him started to crumble.

Yet in spite of the failure of Ukraine’s Nato-backed counteroffensive, which is now universally accepted, Zelenskyy continues to stick to the maximalist victory-at-all-costs narrative, insisting that Ukraine will go on fighting until every inch of lost territory, including Crimea, is regained, Russia is humiliated and there will be no peace deal with Putin unless Russia surrenders and accepts all Kiev's demands. 

Zelenskyyyyyyyy's and Ukraine's reluctance to negotiate is to some extent understandable: The Kiev regime have staked everything on achieving that objective, to back of now would probably mean the end of Ukraine as a nation. But a wiser or saner man would understand that to fight on will only have the same outcome in the long term, but with much greater loss of life.

But politically Zelensky is looking ever more vulnerable, Simon Shuster wrote in Time magazine recently, “Zelenskyy’s associates themselves are extremely skeptical about the [current] policy”, describing the president’s belief in Ukraine’s ultimate victory over Russia as “immovable, verging on the messianic”.

In November Ukraine’s commander-in-chief, General Valery Zaluzhny, told The Economist that the war with Russia had reached a stalemate and was evolving into a long war of attrition — one in which Russia has the advantage. Many took this to mean that the general believes that the time had come to negotiate a deal with Russia. Since then, the rivalry between the C-in-C and the president has escalated into an all-out power struggle. According to the Ukrainian news site Ukrainska Pravda, Zelenskyy views Zaluzhny’s popularity as a political threat and it is reported, the Army divided between those who are subordinate to Zaluzhny and those who are loyal to Ground Forces Commander Oleksandr Syrskyi, an ally of Zelenskyy.

According to his critics, Zelenskyy’s increasingly authoritarian grip on the country is not being received well by the population. “At some point, we will no longer be any different from Russia, where everything depends on the whim of one man,”  former boxer  VitalyKlitschko, now mayor of Kiev, told Germany's Der Spiegel. Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, Poroshenko’s former vice-prime minister, also spoke of “an authoritarian regression” which is also a probable factor in the way NATO leader's enthusiasm for supporting Ukraine has cooled in the past few weeks.

Failure to defeat Russia or even prevent Ukraine being crushed by Russian military might will be a damaging setback for the west at a time when geopolitical  and economic power seems to be shifting to the east, but the biggest loser, economically and politically, will be the USA

Though its power and influence have diminished in recent decades, the USA is still the main pillar around which the international order is based. While Washington is no longer the world’s only superpower, its influence is still vital to contain regional powers that attempt to challenge international order.

In recent years, intergovernmental organisations like BRICS have made efforts to circumvent the G7 “global elite”, while countries such as China, Russia and Iran have shown they are unafraid to test the international waters.

While their actions might not collapse the post-Second World War institutions in the short term, their efforts to challenge US global leadership could alter our accepted norms in the long-term and the failure of America's proxy war (for that is what the Ukraine conflict was as this blog has written HERE, HERE, and HERE

 It has taken a long time for mainstream media and political talking heads to wake up. It seemed to believe the global political balance was still in 2022 as it was in 1991 when the US was talked of as a hyper power. American decline obviously impacts the UK, which has virtually outsourced its defence to the US and repeatedly involved itself in America's police actions overseas, to our political and economic disadvantage. Britain needs to get back into the great game in order to defend the UK.

We should learn from Ukraine and the rush from Kabul. After a series of weak and wonky presidents and decades of prioritising minority rights over real problems and issues, the US cannot be relied on and Europe should come up with its own defence alliance as a top priority. Defence expenditure should be 3% of GDP, absolute minimum, and Civil Defence should be reinstated. If Trump is elected, it'll be the end of NATO and the US will be on the path to isolationism.

The weakness of the US was sensed years ago by terrorist nations and terrorist organisations which went on to exploit the weakness. The reluctance to take casualties hamstrings US military operations as it does not hamstring enemy nations. The Russians in Ukraine throw infantry into battle in 'meat waves' redolent of the Somme, and casualties are horrendous. The US would never do that. Acute sensitivity to civilian casualties also hamstrings American military operations. Russia doesn't care and neither, obviously, do the terrorist cells.

Russia understands that the US will do nothing to oppose its military expansionism in the West. Non-escalation is the new foreign policy reference frame of the US vis-a-vis Russian and Chinese expansionism. Faced with terrorist expansionism the Clinton administration didn't want to know, and the habit has survived. The clueless Biden is as weak as can be imagined. The free world, what's left of it, needs to start worrying, worrying a lot.

Unfortunately, Western governments have (i) squandered wealth in seeking to control the uncontrollable, as with Afghanistan, SARS-CoV2 and the climate; (ii) have distorted our economies through the over-extension of emergency QE (iii) have admitted large immigrant populations who share neither our history nor our historic values and (iv) have alienated swathes of their population by inane wokery and micromanagement.

This doesn't leave us at a good starting point for the challenges ahead. Nor does a government whose legislative priorities include making it illegal for a 30 year old to buy cigarettes whilst a 31 year old can do so.... and the licensing of pedicabs.

There is a growing coalition of countries who don’t want a US/ Western dominated world order lead by China and Russia but being quickly joined by India, Saudi Arabia, Iran at the head table.

China has effectively formed partnerships with half of Africa, Brazil and South Africa are partners in BRICS.

China does diplomacy and trade, Russia, North Korea and Iran do destabilisation of Western democracy. Russia, Brazil and Africa provide raw materials for growth, India provides demographics.

It is a stated aim of China to be the world superpower by 2050. This coalition is open and obvious in its intentions and covert and manipulative in its actions (Iran supporting Hamas, election manipulation, culture wars for example)

Basically this is happening. I don’t like Donald Trump but he called this. We are moving from a liberal rules based order into potentially more of an authoritarian big state system of oversight. The west took its eye off the ball, got greedy, took partnerships for granted and treated potential allies poorly.

There needs to be a diplomatic effort by the west to reestablish more equitable relationships with some of the countries being wooed by China - like India, African Countries, South American Countries, Saudi Arabia.

If a BRICS coin gets launched to challenge the dollar as is being mooted and there are enough takers from this coalition it will be game over for US as a superpower. The debt levels will cause an implosion if they are no longer in control of the main reserve currency and that will potentially open the door for a completely different type of world run in a much more authoritarian manner. 

All in all, the ill advised adventure in Ukraine, having not only failed to achieve its true objective of prompting regime change in Moscow has not only left us further up shit creek than ever before and not ony do we lack a paddle but it also loks as if our canoe is close to sinking.



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