I want to post some thoughts about the latest APEC summit since most news agencies either ignored key events in the months prior to this meeting, or their approach to distribute “news bits” in the namesake’s most literal way possible prevents the grasp of an emerging new world: America’s status as the all-powerful world leader is being challenged, and she’s not so quick to give up or share her crown.
Meanwhile, media coverage about Internet-breaking booties and the coming Blue-Red showdown on immigration serves as an electronic head fake.
Let’s start with America and Russia’s spat over Ukraine, but a quick review of short-term history is required…
Ukraine—with all its political and economic warts—elected a President in 2010 who was not down with integrating his country with the EU.
The EU and America didn’t like the Ukraine President’s opinion about integration.
Ukraine’s people are pissed because they have no money—a usual state of being since 1991.
America, viewing a possible eastward expansion of NATO and the strategic importance of Crimea, backed a coup against this elected Ukraine President.
America also held internal discussions to choose who should become Ukraine’s next President—an outrageous move for a country considered to be the beacon for democracy.
Russia, likely viewed America’s strategy as an uncomfortable encroachment, and occupied Crimea. America became irritated and ordered economic sanctions as a way to cripple Russia’s economy into submission on the Ukraine issue.
An armed, Eastern Ukraine separatist movement is born, which receives Russia’s unofficial support.
Although Team Obama felt it was okay to back a coup, become involved in a country’s succession planning, and did not seem care who was behind the Kiev sniper massacre earlier this year, they are very bothered by the existence of Ukrainian separatists. Therefore, additional sanctions are imposed on Russia.
America and the EU hit the mute button on human rights violations as Eastern Ukraine civilians are torn apart by government bombs. Despite atrocities, the separatists kicked the Ukraine army’s butts.
A Ukraine ceasefire agreement was signed against America’s wishes. Reread the previous sentence.
Ukraine elected a new post-coup President, who happens to be the President America wants in office. America is unsurprisingly pleased.
Eastern Ukraine elected a post-occupation leader, but America refuses to recognize the elections and wants crank-up the sanctions.
In what does not appear to be a coincidence to me, Saudi Arabia has been lowering the price of oil. We already know the Saudis are bent out of shape about Russia’s support for Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, and there’s reason to believe the Saudis, with America’s encouragement, are lowering oil prices to smash Russia’s economy.
Moving to the present, it’s time to raise two rhetorical questions—what was left for Presidents Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin to discuss during APEC? And if America is trying to wreck Russia’s economy, what would be Putin’s motivation to help America resolve the nuclear issues surrounding Iran and North Korea?
Meanwhile, America’s heart probably sunk during the APEC summit when Russia and China announced a second monster gas deal that’s almost as large as the $400 billion deal inked in May—with no American firm getting a piece of the action. Unlike the first deal, price has not been finalized, but the partnership sends a strong signal about the East’s coming evolution of strength through partnerships. America walked away from APEC with a carbon emissions deal that will likely die within a few years.
Speaking of China, it performed three end runs bound to give America indigestion: announce plans for an Asian development bank to make up for its lack of representation in the West-dominated World Bank and IMF; collect the endorsements of all APEC members to develop an Asia-Pacific free trade area; announce more aggressive plans for a 21st century Silk Road development project that will link East and Central Asia with Europe, plus put serious money behind the venture. All three initiatives places China in a lead position, with the US framed as a spectator.
What does America offer as an alternative project? An Asia Pivot strategy that finds China surrounded by warships, along with the monopolizing, wage and jobs-destroying Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) treaty—also known as NAFTA on steroids—except it wants to exclude China, the most powerful APEC country, from the pact. Plus the treaty only includes 11 APEC member nations.
Tell me—what was left for Obama and China President Xi Jingping to discuss during the APEC summit?
Do you sense a pattern here? Countries, for good or bad reasons, are finding ways to drive economic development, or call some of the geopolitical shots in this world, without the Reigning Empire’s consent.
The US—with no clear alternative plan—appears to be an obstruction. But it still wishes maintain its empire status. But for whose benefit?
Clearly not the markets America wants to invade through TPP, or American civilians who are either ginned-up about building the Great Wall of America, or are fascinated by Ms. Kanye West’s rotunda.
I believe the only thing left for Obama, Putin, and Jingping to say is “May the best superpower win.”
But if recent events serve as a guide, the coming struggle for or against an American-led world is going to be explosive…
song currently stuck in my head: “visions” – luis gasca