Farewell to the Century of US belligerent Foreign Policy

Saturday, November 20, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has blindshielded the world from other equally serious global issues like America's ongoing change of course. It's three months since the US beat a hasty, chaotic and humiliating retreat from Afghanistan upon defeat by the Taliban it ousted twenty years ago in a war of occupation where it installed and propped a puppet regime. The rapid and unceremonial collapse of President Ashraf Ghani's regime left US policy and craftsmanship in shumbles.

Within this period, but following years of domestic wrangling, the US has made small but noticeable concessions, returning to the WHO, Climate Summit, re-engaging with Iran and China over nuclear arms, and trade disputes respectively. Huawei Chief Finance officer Meng Wanhzou held hostage for three years by Canada on US's behalf was released under a deal not published. On climate change China appears to be on the same line with the US and rich western countries, after all it imports coal, iron and cereal import from them. After dragging its feet for months, the US is now competing favourably with China in donating COVID-19 vaccines to developing countries in what many call 'vaccine diplomacy'.

In a sense, the US appears to rediscover humility even when it still considers itself the only power in a unipolar world since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1989. Some analysits muse that perhaps, the fast charging world could be the beginning farewell to America's century of belligerent foreign policy. Since 1918, the US has waged non-stop destructive direct and proxy low intensity conflicts in developing countries until it crumbled in Afghanistan last August. Its policies rendered swathes of the world like Syria, Iraq and Libya into refugee, slave and jihadist market and the only rule is that which favours US interests.

It was the tough armistice conditions imposed by US and allies in 1918 that drove defeated Germany into despair that bred conditions for fascism under Adolf Hitler, in alliance Benito Mussolini (Italy) and Hideko Tojo (Japan) leading to the Second World war which ended when the US dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. Not convinced with its destruction of Japan, the US carpet bombed Korean for four years in which over two million died. Undone, for two decades the US again bombed out Vietnam back to the stone age and drowned it in chemical weapons before its first humiliation in war since 1776 war of independence.

Since the Monroe Doctrine 1823, and at various times, the US succeeded in inducing the world into a state of paranoia against whichever country that disagreed with it like North Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Cuba, Nicaragua, Libya, Iran, Iraq, and Syria, which were made to be the enemies of world or as G.W. Bush famously termed "axis of exil". Many might not know that it was the US that put knives in the hands of Saddam Hussein to fight lran, and the Mujahideen against Soviet Union, the offshoots of which are Al Qaeda and Islamic State today.

Last month US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan met Chinese Top Diplomat Yang Jiech in Zurich, Switzerland to try thawing ice in their relations over alleged theft of trade secrets, industrial espionage, unfair trade practices, democracy and human rights where America despite its own horrible record claims to be the international standard bearer.

US trade representative Katherine Tai held talks with China and issued a lengthy but lame duck excuses why China is out performing the US in science, technology, industry, commerce and diplomacy which honest US citizens will find very hard to accept.

Already China is outpacing in every major global industrial structure by research funding, number of patents registered, volume and value according to the US based Hudson Institute. China is dominant in labour, capital intensive industries, and leading in global trade. It's also leveling on hightech like supercomputers, microchips, artificial intelligence, 5G and large scale quantum computing, while the US appears stuck in propaganda, military technology, Boeing and exporting soyabeans.

The US has asked Qatari government to take care of its interests in Afghanistan because it's embarrassed to formally recognize the Taliban government, seen as benefactors of Osama bin Laden the alleged mastermind of the terror attack on New York twin towers on September 11, 2001. It had been anticipated that Biden and Xi would meet face-to-face in Italy or Glasgow during G20 summit and COP26 but Xi didn't travel there opting for virtual meetings instead. 

This week's virtual meeting between the two gives some hope that the dispute may not as yet degenerate into war although many  see recent US manouvres as aimed at containing China's global rise. In recent months it has tried to strengthen its hand around China in coordination with Britain, Canada, Australia, EU, Japan and India, the later two have territorial and other disputes with China pre-dating world war 1. While it took the US and allies seven decades to destroy the Soviet Union, China may be a harder nut to crack because some observers say  it's prepared for centuries of endurance.