The beginning of the end of American hegemony: how and why?


Therefore their own plans were held back – they took three weeks. And for the first time in history we had two versions of reality: normally you get two. If you go to the 1991 Gulf War there were two companies, CNN and BBC sitting in Baghdad. If you saw anything you saw it on CNN or the BBC.
For the first time in human  history when a war was being fought we  had two sides: Al Jazeera and the Anglo-American television channels. What  really got Rummy very upset wasn’t simply that Al Jazeera was doing something. Many many companies outside Europe and even in Europe, in Germany, Russia and Latin America  bought clips from Al Jazeera (Arabic) and showed them.
The arrival of Al Jazeera (English) breaks the mold. They  publicly said we are looking at the world from the Arab and Muslim point of view. Fair enough. Why not? Maybe tomorrow we will have a 24 hour channel showing the world from Germany’s point of view. France already has France 24. In December, France 24 came on line in both English and French and that’s it.  For the first time the Anglo-American monopoly on television news has been broken. It is great news.  It is very important in the way we are fed information.
 And finally I come to  moral authority. This whole thing about the great American  belief in the  rule of law etc etc Sadly it is gone. Uncle Sam’s America completely destroyed the moral authority of the USA.  Uncle Sam is the patient and I am the doctor and I have seen the symptoms.
Then we can look at the other challenges. What is really happening and where are the other centres of power?  We can take a very quick example of Russia. Russia went through a period when it was chaos.  There was Yeltsin who was supposed to drop by and meet the Irish Prime Minister and he couldn’t get out of his bed because he was drunk.  Not only was he drunk – Russia basically became a colony of America.
That period is over. Now there is Putin and he has established a particular order and he is centralizing the government. Putin is being helped by high profile grants. Russia is producing the second largest petroleum right now.  The world demand for hydro carbons is rising very fast. In China petroleum consumption rose by 15 percent. In India the same thing happened, eight to ten percent. The demand is so high that those countries which have hydro carbons are in a very strong position.
And as the world economy develops the importance of these countries rises. Russia is very important.  At the annual security conference in Munich in February Putin said: “One country has overstepped national boundaries in every way. This is very dangerous. Nobody feels secure anymore because nobody can hide behind international law. Political,  economic, educational and cultural policies are being forced on other nations by this one country”. I don’t have to tell you which one country he is talking about – the USA.
He publicly said that we no longer want or accept the dominance and hegemony of America. This was in February. The generals of Russia  produced their own document on  11th April.  It says that the myth of the unipolar world fell apart once and for all in Iraq. “A strong, more  self confident Russia has become an integral part of the positive  changes in the world”.
The challenge is no longer implicit.  It is quite open. We no longer want this American finacy and imposing its values on other countries in economics, culture and so on. That is not simply a challenge which can be ignored because Gas Prom of Russia will become the number one company in the world, according to the head of Exon Mobil.
Already 60 percent of all the gas exports from Russia are going to the European Union.  The whole EU gets 25% of its gas from Russia. Russia is a very important factor and it will be rising forth. I am talking about a multi-polar world in which the British and Russia are playing a very important role. It is developing its own foreign policy. Putin invited Arab leaders to go to Moscow.
There are very strong links being forged between Russia and China. Last year Russia and China held joint military exercises for the first time in history. Therefore Russia is a very important factor. After giving his speech in Munich, where did Putin go? He went to Riyadh. They now want to set up a gas OPEC like the oil OPEC. Russia is number one in gas and these countries now want to have  better control of their gas reserves. So Russia is a rising world power for reasons which have nothing to do with Iraq.


They are using hydrocarbons as a lever. And in terms of hydro carbons as a lever of foreign policy The Americans were the first to do it because America was the number one producer. In  WW1 for example, when they entered the war in 1916, the American president Woodrow Wilson said that when the war finished there would  be equal access of American companies to oil in the Middle East. Before that the British and American companies were keeping the Americans out but after WW1 they opened up possibilities  for American companies.


There is a wonderful quote in 1945 written by a leading State Department official (which will appear in my next book which is not out yet therefore no commercial) :"For the past 35 years no commodity has been more important in foreign affairs than petroleum".  It was in 1910 that the Americans switched from coal to oil to run their ships to make them faster and more efficient.


You hear comments that America is isolationist, they are going to go back. Even when America was isolationalist they were never isolationist in Latin America. In  1823 the Munroe Doctrine said you Europeans keep out, they  are ours, they are in our backyard. So the whole policy of economic domination was perfected by the Americans by practising them in Latin America. Why do you think America is comparatively industrially backward?


Because Bush and company were very busy trying to find a WMD under the bed of Saddam Hussein and they failed to find it. They spent all that energy. So what happened?  That fellow Hugo Chavez he is giving us a bad time. There is the Organizational American State (OAS). Every three years they have elections for the secretary general. From the first time the American favorite was defeated. And the man who became general secretary was Jose  Insulza. He was a Chilean. And for the first time America did not get its way in its own backyard. Why? Because they were paying too much attention looking for the WMD’s .


Hugo Chavez? What does he want? He has a country of 25 million people. But the way he goes on.  He is publicly attacking America. So they tried to have a coup against him in 2002. It failed. Why? Two reasons. Hydrocarbons. Venezuela has the  largest reserves of hydrocarbons outside the Middle East and America wants them. America is importing 60 percent of the oil it uses. In America there are  half a million oil wells and an average oil well in America produces ten barrels a day. An average oil well in Kuwait and Qatar produces 2000 barrels a day. America is therefore weak. The strength of Chavez rises because he has hydrocarbons.  Plus the ideology.  I will spend a bit more time on what is happening in Latin America because we do not understand Latin America as we should.


Latin America is a settler society. Of course the original people who they call  the American Indians are the original inhabitants. They were defeated by the Spanish and other European colonisers. What is happening now in many of the countries like Bolivia and Peru is that  the indigenous people who are in some cases the majority, the largest bloc – 50 or 60 percent,  are coming together.


Chavez is not a European. He is part African and part American Indian. He is the darker skinned Latin American. And the Europeans and Americans get very angry about who this fellow is. The dark fellow is doing all these things. Those indigenous people are starting  to exercise their power and are  pressurising  the settlers out of their positions of power. This is a profound change. In that  particular context Chavez is becoming important. That change is irrespective of what G W Bush did in Iraq.  Those factors have to be taken into account.


Turning to China, China in itself is  simply not becoming a very important economic power  – it is also turning that into a  military power. Last year, China’s military budget went up 18%. The new budget is 18% higher than last year. They are also of course competing with the Western world in getting the hydro carbons from Central Asia from Kazakhstan, from Uzbekistan. They are all over the world and also in Africa, from Sudan to Angola.


As far as Africa is concerned, China is the number one foreign power. Six months ago in Beijing, 48 heads of African states were invited. When the Chinese look for hydrocarbons they say we will help you to build bridges, railways, roads and telephone systems. When their state managed oil company goes, other companies go together.  They help a country like Angola, Nigeria or Sudan to build up the infrastructure as they are looking for hydrocarbons. China is becoming an important factor and therefore China is another pole of the multi polar world.


More importantly  China has the Shanghai Corporation Organisation. It started in 1996 and was confined only to the neighbours of  China.  It  started as a kind of co-operative organization to work against drugs and so on and so forth. It expanded and they invited Uzbekistan to come in even though it is not on the borders of China and Russia. They also gave observer status to Pakistan and India. . Their headquarters is  in Shanghai. They are trying to build economic co-operation. Because they gave observer status to Pakistan and India, America applied for observer status but it was rejected.


America had observer status at  the South-East Asian Organisation but not at the SCO. We can see already that these different forums are arising and becoming very important and that is the beginning of the multi-polar world. But then again I have to repeat what I said at the beginning: that doesn’t mean there will be some kind of coalition  against America. That is not the kind of scenario that is going to come about.  What will happen, what is already beginning to happen is that the monopolistic power of America is being drained and eroded.


We have to go back and see what Bush said. He talked about exceptionalism and unilateralism. America is a unique country, it is morally superior etc.  That particular attitude is the beginning of the end because what happens in all empires and superpower situations is that the superpower over extends itself. At the same time it starts something which is not going to happen over night – it is a trend. And I have explained here that none of this can be put down to Iraq.


There are  also certain secular trends which are independent of Iraq. Even if Iraq had not happened there would still be a need for hydro carbons and any country having hydro carbons would gain importance. Two, because of globalization this division of labour is changing. If you have cheap and skilled labour they become the manufacturing part of the world and the capitalist countries become more and more service orientated. So this particular trend is already happening and it is favouring countries like China and India because they have a lot of skilled persons and you can train a doctor or a software engineer much more cheaply than in America or in Britain.


Those trends are independent and they are going in the direction of bringing about the erosion of the American primacy in the world.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *