Hear me out: The United States and Russia should pursue mutually beneficial relations in the Arctic. This region is one of the last frontiers yet to have recognized territorial boundaries and operates on vague international norms open to dispute. The US has sovereign territory in the Arctic and other interests including natural resources and trade routes. The time is now to start seeking advantageous bilateral partnerships to secure greater US influence in the Arctic. The US and Russian Federation have common Arctic interests: international cooperation, conflict avoidance, and denying China economic potential via trade routes. To further American prosperity and values, the US should seek greater Arctic influence via partnering with Russia rather than continuing to couch Moscow as an adversary.
US Arctic Interests
The US is an Arctic state. What happens in the Arctic, from international maritime trade to military aerial maneuvers matters to Washington. Increasing Arctic activity begets competition, and competition may eventually lead to conflict. Neither the US or Russia desires an Arctic fight. Washington’s continued insistence that Russia is a threat in the Arctic only advances toward conflict.
If the Northern Sea Route (NSR), Northeast Passage (NEP), and Northwest Passage (NWP) are left to the international law to regulate, China will be able to instate its Polar Silk Road and obtain unparalleled economic potential. It is imperative for the US to pivot its focus to this region in an effort to influence future Arctic activities. Moscow is vying for Arctic control via the NSR and is taking advantage of the ambiguous international norms in the region. The US has a choice to make: proactively collaborate with Russia or continue the tired Soviet-era rhetoric of labeling Putin and the Russian Federation an enemy. In looking at Russia’s evolving Arctic rhetoric, there is far-less threat than there is opportunity.
Russian Policy Analysis
Russia views the Arctic as a leveraging point to international great power status. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Transport and Energy in Russia focuses on Arctic cooperation, whereas the Russian Security Council and Ministry of Defense emphasizes concern towards national security and thus lean towards military control over the region.
The 2008 Russian Arctic strategy document – the Foundations of the State Policy of the Russian Federation in the Arctic for the Period Until 2020 and Beyond – was approved by then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and still signals Russian Arctic ambition today. The Foundations of the State Policy emphasizes peaceful Arctic cooperation. In 2013, Moscow expanded their official Arctic strategy and included less ambiguous lines of effort towards defending Russian territory like “developing the Russian icebreaker fleet, modernizing the air service and airport network, and establishing modern information and telecommunication infrastructure”. Russia’s 2020 iteration (2020-2035) contains similar rhetoric as the 2013 version, emphasizing natural resource protection, establishing trade routes, and mitigating “territorial vulnerabilities” due to melting ice. However, the latest version dedicates greater discussion to evolving national security and threat perceptions.
Although Russia’s additions to its Arctic strategy focus on defending its “primordial homeland”, the narrative of international cooperation, promotion of peace and stability, and mitigation of military confrontation permeate the verbiage. Putin emphasizes a multipolar international order and sees Arctic cooperation as dependent on regional powers promoting collaborative governance on the international stage. For Putin, US forward basing and NATO involvement are seen as deliberate attempts at encircling Russia and thought to be antidemocratic. This presents an opportunity for the United States to reframe the conversation and revisit its long-held perception of Moscow as an anti-West adversary.
Russia is proactively preparing itself to cooperate with the US in the Arctic. Whether or not these public statements should be trusted, the international community has heard them. In order to mitigate tensions and promote international cooperation Russian claims it seeks, the US should pursue a balancing approach rather than continue to label Moscow as the enemy. Emphasizing the multipolar international system allows each regional power to defend its homeland and collaborate bi- or multilaterally with other powers in contested regions to mitigate conflict.
Why has the US not partnered with Russia thus far on anything of consequence?
The US has sought to spread democracy throughout the globe because democracies promote peace and traditionally work well together. However, Russia may never be a functioning democracy. Russia is an opportunistic state seeking to restore its great power status. Moscow claims to be a democracy but fails to meet Western standards. Fostering a more productive relationship with Russia requires the US to accept that Russia will never a Western democracy. But this does not mean Russia should forever be a threat to the West. There are more pressing security threats to the Arctic than that of Russia’s desire to return to great power status and defend its homeland.
If the US treats the Arctic as a partnership venue rather insist upon its ideological differences with Moscow, Washington may be able to divest Moscow from emerging economic relations with Beijing.Adopting an Arctic balancing approach allows Russia the maneuverability to operate in the region absent perceived challenge. This will promote favorable US-Russian relations, serving as a compelling incentive for Russia to help distance China from the Arctic equation.Consequently, international security threats from China and its growing economic coalition will be weakened.
The Perils of Arctic Action v. Inaction
Russia’s innate opportunistic proclivity means its will continue pushing the politico-social boundaries. Take the Lomonosov Ridge dispute for instance. The Russian Federation took advantage of ambiguous international norms and rules and submitted a territorial extension proposal to extend its territory via the Lomonosov Ridge to Greenland’s exclusive economic zone. The UN is starting to look favorably on this. Washington can use this situation to support Russia and garner Putin’s trust. This will cause friction between the US and Greenland (an autonomous island within the Kingdom of Denmark – a NATO member and US ally), but the benefits outweigh the cost, especially if the United Nations deems Russian’s proposal justifiable via sufficient evidence.
This is purely a value proposition. Denmark is a relatively weak NATO member state that the US derives minimal value from, whereas Denmark gains significant security benefits from the US at little cost. Partnering with Russia and letting it have its Arctic claims in exchange for the de-escalation of European tensions, as an example, is more beneficial than supporting Denmark. By publically voicing support for Moscow’s claims, the US can display a multipolar foreign policy that it has lacked in recent decades that may consequently enhance international support for the US, at least in Russia’s eyes as the most likely would-be Arctic adversary
This support can be utilized in various foreign policy facets such as trade, strengthening relations, and pivoting other nations away from dependency on China. Currently, some nations may be turned off by the perceived over-involvement of the US in other countries’ affairs. Taking a step back and employing a balancing approach to American foreign policy will empower others. Whether or not China’s Belt and Road Initiative is actually utilizing debt-trap diplomacy is arguable. However, indications of such speak to China’s evolving global power and influence over weak and vulnerable states. If the US approaches the Arctic ambiguity with a multipolar, internationally empowering methodology, it will starkly contrast with China’s BRI and Polar Silk Road plans. A new, favorable light will be shed on the US and can be advantageously utilized to garner influence in various bilateral relations that may advance Washington’s position relative to Beijing in evolving international discourse.
Avenues for Bilateral Cooperation with Russia
The first issue that needs to be resolved is deconflicting US and Russian Arctic ambitions. The Russian rhetoric revolves around mitigating territorial vulnerabilities, advancing regional resource extraction (mainly oil and gas), and improving the living conditions for the native population. Additionally, the latter involves preserving the Arctic ecological balance and environmentally friendly policies. Moscow is principally interested in investing energy sector technologies, which fall under Western sanctions. This is where the US has an opportunity to collaborate with the Russian Federation. According to the US Air Force Arctic Strategy, stability and diminished security threats, protection of the homeland, and cooperating bi- or multilaterally with other arctic nations are the main foci. The US has an opportunity to promote American prosperity via a bilateral relationship with Russia in the Arctic in via several courses of action (COA): work bilaterally with Russia to help develop oil and gas extraction in the region; be a proactive force in the bolstering of ecological conservation laws; or be a stronger proponent of internationalized yet controlled trade routes through the Arctic.
Although ecological safety seems to be of great importance to Russia in its strategic rhetoric, the Russian actions taken in the Arctic do not logically follow this strategy. Consequently, US bilateral pursuits emphasizing environmental protection laws with Russia are not the most prospective route. However, Washington has an obvious interest in fostering relations with states controlling the earth’s natural resources, specifically oil and gas. Moscow sees energy-dependence as one path to becoming a great world power. When these two points are placed in the context of the fact that the Arctic harbors an estimated 13% of the world’s conventional oil and 30% of its conventional gas resources, it would be in each nation’s benefit to invest in developing the technology in the region to extract them. The US can start the diplomatic conversations required to start such a project and be a significant source of financial investment considering America’s world-renowned economic prowess. This gives the US an initiation advantage and provides an inlet for it to stake claim to some of the Arctic prosperity. Additionally, Russia claims most of the Arctic waters and by proxy any future trading routes through the region. The US can seize the opportunity to prove itself as an invested Arctic state and initiate mutually beneficial international trade travel laws. In this scenario, the US can leverage Russia’s precarious relationship with China to provide reasoning behind stricter shipping laws. This benefits Russia by diminishing security threats from a more frequently traveled trade route, while simultaneously denying China seemingly limitless economic potential which is also favorable to the US.
Acting on the Discovery of Mutually Beneficial Arctic COAs
There are several converging and diverging desires to be considered between Washington and Moscow when it comes to the Arctic. Multipolarity (or at least international cooperation), stability, definitive rules which mitigate security threats, and denying China unlimited access to Arctic waters are some desires that coincide between the nations. On the other hand, the desires start to diverge when it comes to militarizing the region and the potential territorial expansion efforts that Russia seems to be toying with. However, when the economic incentives eventually subside or become subordinate to security threats, great power competition will ensue. In order to be prepared for this possible competition, the US must play a proactive role in promoting stability via positive relations with Russia vice injecting continued tension through antagonistic rhetoric.
There are more converging aspirations in the Arctic for both the US and the Russian Federation than there are diverging ones. Putin has placed himself in the international spotlight by publicly stating that he seeks international cooperation and a multipolar system in the Arctic region. Partnering with Russia in the Arctic is not only possible, it is necessary. If left unattended, the politically ambiguous Arctic will become the perfect environment for great power competition to formulate and has the potential to be a serious security threat to sovereign American soil. Now is the time for the US to come to terms with Russia as a potential partner for the greater good and to promote American prosperity.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and are not the official position of the United States Air Force or Department of Defense.
How terrible the consequences of the Cold War can be
After World War II, the conflict over superiority between the United States and the Soviet Union began. The US-led NATO and the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact were formed. Apart from this, of course, NAM is also formed. As a result, the world is divided into three parts. NATO and Warsaw Pact are in competition with each other. It caused widespread conflict and violence around the world. In many countries there is a change of power. Most countries increase military power. In this situation, the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. As a result, America became the sole superpower and imposed arbitrary capitalism, free trade and domination in the world. With China’s unimaginable economic and military progress these days, it has inevitably come to dominate the United States. As a result, the United States considers China as its main rival.
It has already taken steps to suppress China by declaring its main enemy, the main tool of which is sanctions. China is also responding to America’s every move. Yet America did not give up. New President Biden has formed an anti-China military alliance – QUAD and AUKUS. The QUAD formed on March 12 with the United States, Australia, India and Japan. On September 15, the top leaders of the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia signed the AUKUS Agreement. As a result, Australia will be able to build a nuclear-powered submarine for the first time, much faster than conventional submarines, harder to identify, submerged for months, and capable of launching long-range missiles.
Earlier, the United States gave this technology only to the United Kingdom in 1958. Currently, only six countries have nuclear submarines. Namely: 70 from USA, 40 from Russia, 19 from China, 10 from UK, 9 from France and 3 from India. Australia is going to be associated with it. In addition, there are nuclear bombs in the United States, China, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, India, Pakistan and Israel.
However, many countries, including Russia and China, have strongly opposed AUKUS. Russia says AUKUS is basically a hostile move against China and Russia. The alliance’s infrastructure puts the whole of Asia at risk. China says the deal poses a serious risk of nuclear proliferation. It will also threaten regional peace and stability. This is contrary to the spirit of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Earlier, the two countries had strongly opposed the two QUAD’s. Malaysia has said it will cause tensions in the Indo-Pacific region.
Pakistan says the establishment of AUKUS reflects the mentality of the Cold War. This alliance could bring a cold war to Asia. However, Indonesia has backed AUKUS. Extreme tensions have arisen between China and Australia since the establishment of AUKUS. France is also extremely angry. That’s because France and Australia signed a 90 billion deal in 2016 to build 12 submarines, which Australia scrapped after the establishment of AUKUS. So France is extremely angry with Australia. In this regard, the Foreign Ministers of the European Union have expressed their support and solidarity with France. France is also furious with the United States.
French Foreign Minister says President Biden is pursuing former President Trump’s one-sided policy, short-sightedness, brutality and disrespect for partners. America is trying to resolve this anger of France. After the establishment of AUKUS, it seemed that the QUAD was over. But no it didn’t. The top leaders of the QUAD met at the White House on September 24. In addition to these two alliances, the United States is creating a military zone in the Middle East. The US Fifth Fleet in the Middle East announced on September 8 that the United States was forming a joint naval drone task force in the Persian Gulf with Israel and several Arab countries in the Persian Gulf. It will include airborne, naval ships and underwater drones. Apart from this, America has good relations with some other countries. Notable among them are South Korea and Taiwan.
European countries have been members of NATO since its inception. But due to the unilateral policy of the United States, the EU is now talking about leaving NATO and building its own security system. The president of France said on September 28 that the EU must build its own security system. In addition, the EU countries have good relations with China. Speaking at the 11th China-Europe Strategic Dialogue on September 28, Borel, the EU’s chief security officer, said developing relations with China was an important EU agenda. Maintaining close and smooth communication between Europe and China is very important. In this situation, the EU will not be easily involved in anti-China activities at the instigation of the US. So is Turkey, a NATO member and longtime ally of the United States. Relations between the two countries have recently deteriorated over Russia’s S-400 air defense system. Turkey is importing these weapons from Russia despite US objections.
According to the Turkish president, if the United States had sold the Patriot missile system to Ankara, Turkey would not have bought the S-400 from Russia. In this situation, the presidents of Russia and Turkey met in Russia on September 30. During the meeting, Putin said that Russia-Turkey cooperation is running smoothly. Pakistan has become closer to China by severing its long-standing friendship with the United States. The United States has withdrawn all troops from Afghanistan after losing the war to the Taliban.
In addition, it has decided to withdraw all troops from Iraq this month. The country’s foreign minister has called for the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Syria. There are many American troops there. Iran’s Supreme Leader Khamenei has called for an end to foreign military intervention in the region. On the other hand, the United States is talking about a return to Iran’s nuclear deal. Even so, Iran-US relations will not be good. Because America has done the most damage to Iran. Meanwhile, America’s relations with most countries in South America, North America and Africa are not good. Many countries, including many Muslim countries, are unhappy with the United States for its blind support for Israel’s aggression. Many countries have been hit hard by America’s war on terror since the infernal events of 9/11. Muslim countries have suffered the most.
These countries will not easily forget that. The United States has stockpiled the Coronavirus vaccine. As a result, poor countries have been deprived. So they are extremely angry with America. In terms of global relations, the opposition is heavier than the United States. Second, the war on terror has cost the United States nearly 9 trillion over the past 20 years, in addition to killing and injuring many soldiers. But the result of this war is zero. As a result, the Americans have become extremely angry. That’s why President Biden told the United Nations on September 21, “The US military should not be used as a solution to every problem in the world.” Above all, there is NATO. In fact, President Biden’s comments seem to be deceptive. In fact, America is still pursuing a belligerent policy.
Iran, Russia, China, Syria, Palestine, North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba, Algeria, Angola, Belarus, Bolivia, Cambodia, Eritrea, Laos, Nicaragua, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Islands have formed an alliance with these 16 countries. The motto of this alliance is equality, peace and prosperity. This alliance is basically anti-US. On the other hand, after the defeat of America by the Taliban, an undeclared alliance has been formed between China, Russia, Pakistan, Iran, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan. Apart from China and Russia, other countries are also anti-US. These two anti-US alliances could become one in the future. Other anti-US countries may also be involved. It is pertinent to note that in recent times, China’s activities in the field of relations, investment and trade have increased tremendously in the world. According to a BBC report, China is paying twice as much as the United States and other major world powers for development assistance.
Extremely hostile two-polar military alliances have intensified lobbying to strengthen their sphere of influence. At the same time, the military power is increasing. According to a report by the Stockholm International Pitch Research Institute, ‘global military spending increased by 2.6% to 1,981 billion in 2020, even in the wake of the Corona epidemic. Military spending continues to rise this year. Above all, the military powers are constantly testing new modern weapons. For example, last month the United States conducted a successful test of a hypersonic missile, which is five times faster than sound. That is 6,200 km per hour.
Earlier in July, Russia said it had successfully tested a Zircon hypersonic cruise missile, which has no rival in the world, the country’s president said. China last month unveiled its state-of-the-art air defense technology, the CH-6 drone, which is used in intelligence and military operations. In addition, WZ-7 drones and J-16D fighter jets used in border surveillance and sea patrol have been flown. The J-16 aircraft is capable of creating jams in enemy electronic equipment. China has already prepared its troops to lead the global cyber war. North Korea, Iran and Turkey have occasionally conducted successful tests of sophisticated missiles.
North Korea recently conducted four successful missile tests in a week, which is a hypersonic. Greece signed a 5.8 billion arms deal with France on October 2. Turkey says the deal will pose a threat to regional stability. The Iranian military conducted a military exercise in Sanandaj province on October 1. The lawmakers called it an “extreme warning” against the presence of Zionist Israel in neighboring Azerbaijan. Recently, China has been increasing the number of troops on the Line of Control (LoC) in Ladakh. Indian Army Chief Naravane said the matter was a matter of concern.
So far, however, four US-led military alliances and one Sino-Russian-Iranian military alliance have emerged. In addition, an alliance initiated by the EU could be a peace alliance. Countries that are reluctant to join a military alliance can join it. After all, NAM is still there. The current trade and regional alliances may be broken by the push of these alliances. The current Cold War could turn into a world war in the future. It is difficult to say who will win then. However, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that no one will survive to see the consequences of a future world war. That is why the UN Secretary-General has warned the United States and China about the “Cold War” and called on the two countries to rebuild their relations.
Whether it is the Cold War or the World War, it is necessary to abandon that path and focus on the solution of the current global crisis such as the rise of the atmosphere, the Corona epidemic, the global recession and the increase in poverty, and peace and prosperity. Last year, a global conference was held at the initiative of the United Nations, involving more than one million people from 193 countries. In it, 90 percent of the negotiators called for resolving the current common crises in the world through multilateralism. In the interest of world peace and security, world leaders need to pay attention to this.
The U.S. Might Finally Be Ready to Back Down, to Avoid WW III
Recently, tensions have been rising between, on the one hand, America, and on the other, both Russia and China. A nuclear war that includes the United States would destroy the entire world, because it would be not only nuclear, but major-power nuclear, which would entail so many nuclear explosions (perhaps all within less than an hour), so that nuclear winter would extend over not only all of the northern hemisphere, but probably also over all of the southern hemisphere (though more slowly there). Unfortunately, no scientific study has been published analyzing what the result would be of such a war, but studies have been published of likely outcomes from minor-power nuclear wars, and the results have indicated nearly as catastrophic outcomes as I’ve summarily indicated here for a major-power nuclear war.
The culminating public event displaying that a U.S. backdown has occurred would be Biden’s granting Putin’s bottom-line red line (which, if not granted but instead crossed, would precipitate a Russian attack against the U.S.), committing the U.S. to never crossing that line, and this back-down would consist of a mutually accepted and implemented agreement regarding Ukraine and its two break-away regions (the currently independent Donbas, and Russian Crimea). In the case of China, Biden would also need to grant Xi’s bottom-line red line, which would be for Biden publicly to accept the 28 February 1972 U.S.-China agreement called the “Shanghai Communique”, in which the U.S. Government agreed with China to the promise and commitment that “The United States acknowledges that all Chinese on either side of the Taiwan Strait maintain there is but one China and that Taiwan is a part of China. The United States Government does not challenge that position. It reaffirms its interest in a peaceful settlement of the Taiwan question by the Chinese themselves.” However, there would also need to be an addendum made to the Shanghai Communique, to the effect that if the Government of Taiwan refuses to publicly and officially acknowledge that it is part of China — no longer a colony of Japan, such as it had been during 1895-1945 (and it had been a province of China during 1683-1895), and also not a separate (i.e., independent) nation — then the United States will not oppose a militarily imposed restoration of Taiwan as being a Chinese province.
The Shanghai Communique goes considerably further than that, however, to commit the U.S. Government to never doing some other things that, during the past decade, the U.S. Government has increasingly blatantly violated (done); and, so, the three most crucial Shanghai Communique commitments regarding Taiwan will be specifically quoted here (and one of them has just been quoted but will be quoted again, in the context of the other two, so that readers may more clearly recognize the blatancy with which the U.S. Government has recently been violating the Shanghai Communique):
“the two sides agreed that countries, regardless of their social systems, should conduct their relations on the principles of respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states, nonaggression against other states, noninterference in the internal affairs of other states, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence.”
“Both sides are of the view that it would be against the interests of the peoples of the world for any major country to collude with another against other countries, or for major countries to divide up the world into spheres of interest.”
“The U.S. side declared: The United States acknowledges that all Chinese on either side of the Taiwan Strait maintain there is but one China and that Taiwan is a part of China. The United States Government does not challenge that position. It reaffirms its interest in a peaceful settlement of the Taiwan question by the Chinese themselves. With this prospect in mind, it affirms the ultimate objective of the withdrawal of all U.S. forces and military installations from Taiwan.”
For the United States to accept either of those two red lines — Russia’s and/or China’s — (i.e., to agree that the U.S. accepts it, and will not oppose it), would be for the U.S. to back down in order to avoid a WW III. In other words: it would display the U.S. Government’s current decision that its #1 national-security goal isn’t to expand its current empire, but to avoid any WW III (avoid any U.S. war against either Russia or China).
This now seems likely to happen regarding Russia’s red line, as was indicated by Russia’s RT News on October 13th, under the headline “Kremlin says US & Russia agree Ukraine must give Donbass special autonomous status”. That would be Biden’s granting compliance with Putin’s bottom-line red line regarding Donbass. The next day, RT headlined “Strained relations between US & Russia could soon be on mend, Moscow says”. It stated that, after meeting with Kremlin officials in Moscow, “Victoria [Nuland] took with her to Washington a rather long list of those issues that were identified by the Russian side for the need to resolve them as soon as possible.” Nuland is the queen of the neoconservatives (or U.S. imperialists, or “super-hawks,” or “MIC darlings”), and had been sent to Moscow in order to push as hard as possible to get concessions from Russia. She was previously instrumental in the 2014 U.S. coup against Ukraine that captured Ukraine for military training and aid, and potential inclusion in the EU and in NATO — which coup (that she principally organized) actually sparked the current active restoration of the U.S.-Russia Cold War. This is probably why Biden chose her for that assignment. (It’s like sending a victim’s torturerer to find out what what the victim needs.) Whether Biden will decide in accord with her recommendations is unknown. If he does, then he will be continuing with President Obama’s plan (that she had designed) to ultimately place U.S. missiles on Ukraine’s border with Russia, so as to achieve “Nuclear Primacy”: the ability for the U.S. to destroy Moscow within less than ten minutes — too short a time for Russia to launch any retaliation. This would also indicate that China likewise is in severe jeopardy; it would warn China that it needs to presume the worst about the U.S. Government’s intentions.
If the United States will not comply, then one possible result would be that Russia and China will, then, jointly, and publicly, announce that any invasion against either, will be dealt with as constituting an invasion against both.
On the other hand, if Biden caves regarding Russia, then China, too, would likewise be much safer. For him to cave would be for him to accept not only that Ukraine must comply with the Minsk accords regarding Donbass, and that Crimea (which the Soviet Union’s dictator had arbitrarily transferred from Russia to Ukraine in 1954) is a province of Russia, but also that Taiwan is a province of China. (If Biden were to comply with Russia’s demand but not with China’s, then his subsequently invading China would almost certainly be met by Russian forces, and not only by Chinese ones, and thus America will likely experience yet another defeat — or else the entire world will, by means of a nuclear war between superpowers.) If he won’t agree with at least those three requirements (red lines), then avoiding WW III will be unlikely, if not impossible. That refusal would indicate the U.S. Government’s placing higher priority upon expanding yet further its empire, than upon avoiding a global nuclear war.
Neither Russia nor China will accept being a part of the U.S. empire. The question now is whether or not the U.S. Government will finally accept that fact. For it to do so would violate all U.S. international policy since FDR died on 12 April 1945. This would be a turning-point in world history — the apogee of the American empire, which was first imposed by Truman and Eisenhower (mainly via coups). But, so, too, would Biden’s continuing forward with the Nuland-led Obama policy on Ukraine produce the apogee, which then would mean WW III (effectively, the end of human history). The American empire might end by the U.S. Government’s accepting that it’s downhill from here on, and the empire’s gradually fading away. Or else, it will end with WW III. This is the choice that now faces Biden. That decision will probably come under this President — and maybe very soon.
On October 15th, the highly informed and extraordinarily honest analyst of geostrategic diplomatic affairs, Alexander Mercouris, headlined “Nuland’s Moscow Trip Ends with Disagreement on All issues, Russia Considers Freezing Relations with US”, and he provided an extensive description of the results from Nuland’s negotiations this past week in Moscow with the Kremlin (and of the U.S. news-media’s virtual blacking-out of even the fact that she was there — and the little U.S. coverage that there was, was mocking Russia, and presented nothing of what the Russian negotiators had said, but only what Russia’s enemies were saying, such as “Apparently, Moscow’s misogynists would rather not deal with a woman at all”). Mercouris’s take on the matter was that Biden will likely continue doing what Nuland and other extreme neoconservatives against Russia want to be done. If Mercouris is correct, then we’re now at the brink of WW III. But whether that war would start against Russia, or against China, one can only guess.
If this sounds crazy, WW I also started as being crazy, and the publics in the respective combatting countries were kept in the dark about everything except the propaganda. The publics overwhelmingly believe the propaganda, no matter how consistently it has subsequently become documented to have been based on lies. For example: this news-report is being simultaneously submitted to virtually all news-media in the U.S. and allied countries. Let’s see how many of them publish it. After all: it’s definitely not propaganda. Everything in it is documented via the links, all of which are to extraordinarily relevant and reliable sources. Propaganda does not do that. But few people even notice this. That’s how imperialists routinely get away with mass-murders, such as in Iraq, Syria, and Ukraine.
How The West Subdue Us: An Approach of Colonial and Development Discourse
Talking about development and colonial discourse, I am reminded the story of John Perkins in his book “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man”. This book was written in 1982 when the tension between the west and east blocks is heating up. Two blocks are vigorously fighting to get influence over third world countries. The book contains a dramatic confession. He told how the financial donors institutions together with America conspired, regulated, and designed in order to control the resource in third world countries. John Perkins himself worked at one of these institutions. He was tasked with seducing leaders to accept debt loans through the World Bank, USAID, and other foreign aid organizations. This mission was carried out with a group called as the Economic Hit Man.
Further, the Economic Hit Man (EHM) have to ensure the targeted countries fall into the debt trap. After they owed were no longer able to pay the debts, it were obliged to surrender the concession of their natural resources. The trap which EHM uses to capture prey include: by making misleading financial reports through economic calculations and predictions, manipulating fraudulent elections by supporting candidates Pro-American interests, bribery, extortion, sex, and even murder. The last case happened to Jaime Roldos, the former President of Ecuador who was nicknamed “Castro” in his country. He was killed in a helicopter accident that he was riding. The helicopter crashed and caught fire on May 24, 1981. Many media at that time accused the CIA behind the murder.
Besides Ecuador, other countries that finally entered America’s debt trap were Indonesia. After the crisis hit Indonesia’s finances between 1997-1998, inevitably it signed a new IMF debt pact with various provisions and conditions were detrimental to the country. The pact which reflected on the Washington Consensus is an American strategy to subjugate troubled economic countries.
Ecuador and Indonesia case is only a small example of how the world condition after colonialism ended. It does not mean they reached independence as a whole since the occupation is no longer focused on exploitation and physical violence rather through structural hegemony and various infiltration. To understand how hegemony works comprehensively, there are two discourses framing the history of subjection namely colonial and development discourse.
Discourse is a term created by Foucault. Foucault defines it as a way and means to uncover what is not visible with the naked eye. In the discourse, there are knowledge and strength which form a shared power. The hidden power in it was unconscious to hegemony the subject for how they act as expected. Discourse itself does not come from a vacuum, it exists and is produced, organized, deliberately controlled by the authorities and disseminated as an instrument of subjugation (Arturo Escobar, 1984). It was spread by the west to the third world countries through forced civilization. Western try to place the third world as a slave over their prevails values and knowledge imposed since the colonialism period. So that many countries in the third world fall into the western grip. Then its image becomes an elegant illustration in the mind people of the third world. From here, discourse appears as a tool for hegemony and it was intensively launched along with the colonial and post-colonial period.
How Do Colonial and Developmet Discourse Run
Gradually, discourse topic was inspired many scholars to examine and uncover the hidden interests of such submission processes. One of them is Edwar Said. Edwar Said wrote about what he called in the colonial discourse as Orientalism. For him, Orientalism is a study about eastern world carried out by western people (Europe) with a focus not only on their history and culture but also to a phenomenon political epistemology that contains broader historical consequences ( Eiman Osman, Postcoloniality and Development: Development as a Colonial Discourse). In short, colonial discourse is an extension of the narrow meaning of oppression. Colonial is not just physical exploitation rather attacks and deprivation of the cultural, political, economic and institutional values towards the colonized countries where local values are replaced by the new one brought and instilled by western. They lose their identity. Then they were born with a new “western” identity. It was considered as a strategy to perpetuate the power relations of western state over third world countries. This is clearly illustrated for example in the process of institutionalizing English language education in India and South Africa and it was a part of colonial government politics, as examined by Gauri Viswanathan (1990) and David Johnson (1996).
While colonial discourse emphasizes aspects of attack on culture, ideas, value systems in society – which go hand and become an inseparable part of physical violence, development discourse is a prolongation of new style of occupation beyond physical coercion. It was a new form of conquest. The expansion of this kind of discourse is rife after the cold war in which the West turned to focus on providing economic stimulus to third world countries, as well as a counter to communism.
Explicitly, development discourse is a western manipulation strategy that frames their good intentions by pretending to participate and help the third world in post-colonialism. The debt bondage which occurred in Ecuador and Indonesia that described above is a simple model of how development discourse works. It is a new imperialism under development guise.
Therefore, to understand a whole about development discourse is the best way to realize how western perceives the third world or vice versa. In fact, the perception as most civilized country had encouraged western to be a patron to control economic, political, social, and cultural systems within these countries. Its aim is not only to degrade the progress of development but also to shape the reality and self-image of the third world according to western will. Escobar neatly defines development discourse as follows: “In this way, development will be seen, not as a matter of scientific knowledge, a body of theories and programs concerned with the achievement of true progress, but rather as a series of political technologies intended to manage and give shape to the reality of the Third World” (Arturo Escobar, 1984).
Dismantling Development Discourse
According to Escobar, there are three important factors to analyze and dismantle development discourse in third world countries. First, through historical conditions, second, restructure of discourse, and third, the deployment of development.
Historical conditions lead us to the portrait of the world at the end of the cold war where capitalism holds control of the course of the global economy. The third countries which are now adopting the same political system (imposed by the west) were initially given the hope that they would be assisted by international institutions that would deal with development issues in their country. Economic studies in newly independent countries are actively carried out. This is the initial phase of transition control in a more subtle direction. In this stage, many of them volunteered to receive program and debt assistance offered by international financial institutions before finally entering the trap of their power.
While restructure of discourse is operated not only to change the old structure that applies in third world countries as well as to focus on the economic structure but to touch all aspects, including social and politics so that these aspects will become institutionalized which perpetuate and sustain western domination over the lives of third world. This happens at all levels, from rural to urban, local-regional, national-international.
In the deployment of development, there are several main strategies. First, through a variety of labeling. Initially by perceiving that the third world is backward, uneducated, abnormal, and embedding other negative terms. Second, through the formation of professional fields. Here various types of specialization are formed which are directed at their respective fields. Specialization in the field of science, including economics, politics, is intended to make science look neutral so the course of development which is much assisted by elements of science is not deemed politically. The third is through the institutionalization of development. As Escobar calls it “This process took place at various levels, ranging from the international organizations and national planning bodies to local level development agencies. These institutions became the agents of the deployment of development, the network of new sites of power which, taken as a whole, constituted the apparatus of development “(Arturo Escobar, 1984).
In short, everything that we believe so far is the fruit of our past and the cultivation of western values. So do not be surprised if some of us still consider the west as the center of civilization orientation.
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