By John Stanton
"A constructive U.S. policy must be patiently guided by a long-range vision. The alternative...and especially the quest for a one-sided militarily and ideologically imposed outcome, can only result in prolonged and self-destructive futility. For America, that could entail enduring conflict, fatigue, and conceivably even a demoralizing withdrawal to its pre-20th century isolationism. For Russia, it could mean major defeat, increasing the likelihood of subordination in some fashion to Chinese predominance. For China, it could portend war not only with the United States but also, perhaps separately, with either Japan or India or with both. And, in any case, a prolonged phase of sustained ethnic, quasi-religious wars pursued through the Middle East with self-righteous fanaticism would generate escalating bloodshed within and outside the region, and growing cruelty everywhere." Brzezinski, 2016
[American exceptionalism] is a reaction to the inability of people to understand global complexity or important issues like American energy dependency. Therefore, they search for simplistic sources of comfort and clarity. And the people that they are now selecting to be, so to speak, the spokespersons of their anxieties are, in most cases, stunningly ignorant. Brzezinski, 2010
Since the next twenty years may well be the last phase of the more traditional and familiar political alignments with which we have grown comfortable, the response needs to be shaped now. During the rest of this century, humanity will also have to be increasingly preoccupied with survival as such on account of a confluence of environmental challenges. Those challenges can only be addressed responsibly and effectively in a setting of increased international accommodation. And that accommodation has to be based on a strategic vision that recognizes the urgent need for a new geopolitical framework. Brzezinski, 2016
I am very worried that most Americans are close to total ignorance about the world. They are ignorant. That is an unhealthy condition...Brzezinski, 2010 *
Zbigniew Brzezinski's likely to be prophetic piece Towards a Global Alignment sets forth what he believes to be the likely future geopolitical construct which will see the USA-Europe, China and Russia as the dominant global powers and regional powers on the world stage. There is no guarantee of this outcome if the USA does not lead the way in constructing such a world through an altruistic approach to sharing power with its many former adversaries. A US national security strategy that seeks lopsided military and economic global power over its challengers is doomed to fail in the long term, the former national security advisor thinks.
Whoops! Forgot About India
Brzezinski has neglected to include India in his Nostradamian thesis. Narendra Modi, India's prime minister, has taken a page out of China's playbook and is cutting trade deals with regional neighbors as well as Russia and the USA. India seeks to boost exports as it desperately needs to export more to boost income at home.
India is hedging its bets with China, keeping a wary eye on the China-Pakistan relationship, and like other G-20 member states, doing some chest thumping before that group meets on September 4. India's Act East Policy seeks to tighten economic and diplomatic ties with the ASEAN countries. Modi's defense minister Manohar Parrikar is set to visit Washington, DC, shortly to sign agreements allowing the US to use Indian military bases for logistics and humanitarian operations, maritime cooperation and cybersecurity. He also is bringing a wish list of military equipment India seeks to purchase from defense giants Lockheed and Boeing. India is also in the market for the latest technologies included on the new US Ford Class aircraft carriers (advanced radars and electromagnetic aircraft launch systems) for its own indigenous brand of carrier. And it has cozied up to the US position on the South China Sea which most assuredly has upset Chinese leadership.
So India is clearly making an attempt become the fourth power pole with USA-Europe, Russia and China.
In Other News
Meanwhile, in the background, China has broken with its history and will now join the melee in Syria in a humanitarian or military advisory capacity. The July 15 attempt to overthrow the Turkish government is still reverberating across Western Asia. Afghanistan, Yemen, Iraq, Libya and Syria are little more than piles of rubble as 2016 comes to a close. The Islamic State is set to be pulverized anywhere is exists and any civilians or intact structures in close proximity to Daesh will be eliminated. The internally displaced and refugee populations continues to grow in ebbs and flows and is taxing the governments and citizens of Europe, Lebanon, Iran and Turkey. Add to this boiling stew the USA's own immigration issues with Mexico and Central America, a stumbling global economy and climate change and it's no wonder people everywhere are nervous drawing comparisons to events leading up to both WWI and WWII.
Secretary of Defense Ash Carter typically mentions some of these matters in his speeches and always reminds his audiences that the top five threats are Russia, China, Iran, North Korea and the Islamic State/Garden variety terrorism. The USA and Russia are at loggerheads and information warfare is well underway between the two Cold Warriors. Both are modernizing portions of the nuclear triads most notably the USA: The USAF seeks a ground based strategic deterrent (GBSD) ICBM to replace its silo based Minuteman III's. The USAF and Northrop Grumman are developing the B-21 bomber and are set to field upgraded nuclear bombs in Europe in a decade.
Beneath all of this is a burning hatred set ablaze by the historical activity set by the three power centers Brzezinski believes must settle the world: USA-Europe, China and Russia. And as for India hatred-of-others quotient, its defense minister recently said, "Going to Pakistan is the same as going to hell."
Brzezinski explains why Americans, Europeans and Russians are loathed by so many in every corners of the globe. It's worth quoting him extensively on this point because it is a remarkable statement/admission coming from someone who designed the Carter Doctrine which is responsible for embroiling the USA in so many conflicts in the Persian Gulf region.
"Periodic massacres of their not-so-distant ancestors by colonists and associated wealth-seekers largely from western Europe resulted within the past two or so centuries in the slaughter of colonized peoples on a scale comparable to Nazi World War II crimes. Let just a few examples suffice. In the 16th century, due largely to disease brought by Spanish explorers, the population of the native Aztec Empire in present-day Mexico declined from 25 million to approximately one million. Similarly, in North America, an estimated 90 percent of the native population died within the first five years of contact with European settlers, due primarily to diseases. In the 19th century, various wars and forced resettlements killed an additional 100,000. In India from 1857-1867, the British are suspected of killing up to one million civilians in reprisals stemming from the Indian Rebellion of 1857. The British East India Company's use of Indian agriculture to grow opium then essentially forced on China resulted in the premature deaths of millions, not including the directly inflicted Chinese casualties of the First and Second Opium Wars. In the Congo, which was the personal holding of Belgian King Leopold II, 10-15 million people were killed between 1890 and 1910. In Vietnam, recent estimates suggest that between one and three million civilians were killed from 1955 to 1975.
As to the Muslim world in Russia's Caucasus, from 1864 and 1867, 90 percent of the local Circassian population was forcibly relocated and between 300,000 and 1.5 million either starved to death or were killed. Between 1916 and 1918, tens of thousands of Muslims were killed when 300,000 Turkic Muslims were forced by Russian authorities through the mountains of Central Asia and into China. In Indonesia, between 1835 and 1840, the Dutch occupiers killed an estimated 300,000 civilians. In Algeria, following a 15-year civil war from 1830-1845, French brutality, famine, and disease killed 1.5 million Algerians, nearly half the population. In neighboring Libya, the Italians forced Cyrenaicans into concentration camps, where an estimated 80,000 to 500,000 died between 1927 and 1934. More recently, in Afghanistan between 1979 and 1989 the Soviet Union is estimated to have killed around one million civilians; two decades later, the United States has killed 26,000 civilians during its 15-year war in Afghanistan. In Iraq, 165,000 civilians have been killed by the United States and its allies in the past 13 years."
America: Home of the Stupid
Brzezinski states that the USA must tame this beastly world and that's only going to work if it shares the leadership mantle it has held for so long. But his own legitimate concerns with the intelligence of America's leaders and its people and their ability to deal with complex matters at home and abroad suggests that the USA will likely reach back to the heady post 911 days during which "full spectrum dominance" of the world was the USA's mission.
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are both tragicomic circus acts polluting the airwaves with banalities and clichés lending weight to Brzezinski's thesis that the USA and its leaders are stunningly ignorant. The US media machine, beginning with its sickening support for the 2003 Iraq War and now ending with its equally horrid coverage of the US presidential campaign and its practice of squalid 1950's anti-Russian and Chinese, dumbs down the American populace even further.
It is dark in the USA. There is not a leader or citizen brain in the country with a lightbulb on, or that can be switched on, to deal with the issues of the day.
Perhaps this is why Deep States or Shadow/Double Governments exist. And maybe it's why soft/hard coups happen.
John can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
* Thanks to Mike Whitney for publishing a piece at Counterpunch drawing attention to ZB's work
Turkey has found itself in a circle of countries subject to US and European sanctions. Are they dangerous for Ankara? What is Turkey going to do in response?