Thursday, March 06, 2014

The end of Pax Americana has implications

Like most of his comments, this is too good to waste, so I’ve pulled out this comment by Liberty Scott for a Guest Post…

…the key point is that the US, particularly the Obama Administration (although Bush wimped out over Georgia) has withdrawn from the world.

Putin effectively annexed two parts of Georgia, he frightened the US into not implementing a missile defence system in Poland and the Czech Republic (despite both countries being members of NATO and wanting it), and now he has taken part of Ukraine.

China is watching because it wants to see what would happen if it took the Diaoyutai/Senkaku Islands, or the Spratlys and Paracels. It will see that for the next two years at least, the US is led by a President who will say a few words but do nothing. The implications for this will be considerable.

NATO, once led by the US, is paralysed as it is split between its Members. The UK, which was ready to act on Syria had been kneecapped by the appeasers in its backbenches and the Marxist now leading the Labour Party. France feels, rightly so, that it has been doing enough in Africa to deal to Islamists that it isn't going to lead on Ukraine. Germany is terrified of being portrayed as replaying WW2, and so is impotent on any of this.

The EU, eager to replace NATO as a foreign policy instrument, is trying to be oh so earnest, but can't deliver either.
Meanwhile, Japan is watching, and considering repealing its wartime constitution because it fears it wont be protected by the US - despite paying the US for its bases for the past 20 years. South Korea is sufficiently armed to the teeth to feel confident it can take on the north.

Obama, by extending his peacenik opposition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and belief in US guilt for many of the world's ills, is engaging in isolationism unseen since before WW21. It's popular mind you, Americans are war weary and the mainstream view in much of the West is cynically anti-American.

However, if people weren't so happy with Pax Americana, wait till they see Pax Bruxellis, Pax Russia and Pax Sinica.

* * * *

1. But isolationism this time in the context of a US that had previously made ongoing commitments to protect various places around the globe -- not least the Ukraine, peacefully disarmed of its nuclear weapons after the breakup of the Soviet Union on the basis that the US and Britain would continue to protect it. In this context, withdrawal of these commitments in the disintegrating manner Obama has done and is still doing (as Scott points out also in the case of Japan) leaves a power vacuum aggressors are eager to exploit. – Ed.

Labels:

25 Comments:

Blogger Andrei said...

LOL - the huffing and puffing along with the hypocrisy on display is astonishing.

Do you think the USA would tolerate Russia installing a missile shield in Mexico for a nano second?

Or if Putin engineered the downfall of an Government on the USA's borders the the USA wouldn't move to protect its interests?

phhttttt

The West is a fading civilization but still ruled by arrogance and hubris while supporting itself and its cultural imperialism with borrowed money.

3/06/2014 09:33:00 am  
Blogger Blair said...

I think I can at least agree that the US should have the courage of its supposed convictions. If it wants to guarantee the territorial integrity of a nation, the least it can do is back it up with military action.

In this case, the US is not even sabre-rattling. It's bitch-slapping at the open air.

What they should be doing is working with the Russians to ensure the restoration of democratic government in Ukraine. Or else, stay out of it and insist that the Russians have a right to restore democratic order in their sphere of influence. But instead they are committing the double mistake of not only positioning themselves on the wrong side of the conflict, but doing so in such a weak manner that it threatens global security. This could have dire consequences for all of us.

3/06/2014 10:24:00 am  
Anonymous Monos Yuan said...

the west has traditions of tolerance, freedom, criticism, openness, the rule-of-law, and so on yet u think the west is ruled by arrogance and hubris and these traditions are "cultural imperialism". u somehow haven't noticed that because of these traditions western countries are the most ethnically diverse in the world. ppl came here because the west is a better place to live and we welcome immigration.

sure arrogance and hubris play a part in politics in the west but our traditions allow us to get rid of bad leaders. it ain't so easy for countries like cuba, iran, and north korea to get rid of bad leaders is it?

it is sad ppl like urself and Barack Obama do not understand why the west is better. it is sad u and Obama think it is arrogance say we r better. it is sad u don't care 4 the best civilization that has ever existed. and it is disgusting u want the decline to happen.

3/06/2014 10:42:00 am  
Anonymous Monos Yuan said...

my comment above was for Andrei

3/06/2014 10:44:00 am  
Blogger Blair said...

it is sad u don't care 4 the best civilization that has ever existed. and it is disgusting u want the decline to happen.

If that's the sort of spelling and punctuation "the best civilization that has ever existed" has produced, we are in deep deep trouble, and I, for one, welcome our new Oriental overlords!

3/06/2014 10:56:00 am  
Blogger Andrei said...

it is sad u don't care 4 the best civilization that has ever existed. and it is disgusting u want the decline to happen.

I didn't say it wasn't the best civilization ever or that I wanted it to decline - I said it was in decline, which it undoubtedly is. The fact that Barack Obama, a man of little substance, is POTUS might be construed to be a symptom of that decline

Anyway you can only borrow to maintain your standard of living for so long before payment comes due....

3/06/2014 10:59:00 am  
Anonymous Monos Yuan said...

blair - u've seen the spelling, punctuation and writing styles in old English script right? we got from there to modern english through a process of evolution. that required constant deviations from the norm. civilization didn't get in trouble 4 it. jst the opposite.

if ppl don't deviate and are not allowed to deviate then improvements can't happen. u think modern english can't be improved? or that improvements must be blessed by some authority? or that one mst write "properly" in order to give an impression of authority?

3/06/2014 11:23:00 am  
Blogger Libertyscott said...

Cheers PC.

Andrei, you've long shown a rather strange admiration for Russia's mafia don's regime, I'm unsure why. It certainly isn't consistent with believing in free speech, rule of law and equality before the law, let alone a rudimentary belief in basic freedoms.

No, the USA didn't tolerate the USSR seeking to place missiles in Cuba. As for your example, Mexico doesn't look to Russia to defend itself. Indeed, no countries look to Russia as a reliable ally, except those that make Putin look like a bastion of tolerance and transparency. Consider that while you appear to pretend the current Russia mafia state and the admittedly flawed and dysfunctional US are morally equivalent.

The simple point is that the United States not only has neighbours which are friends, but allies, and it still has many countries around the world proud to call it an ally, by their own choice, and welcome its presence and what it did in WW2 and in the Cold War to defend them from tyranny (and yes there are quite a few resentful of some of the vile regimes it supported and a few cases installed as part of that). Russia doesn't have that, beyond its long standing client states of Cuba and Syria, its kleptocratic former parts, like Belarus, and a handful of new generation regimes of thuggery, like Venezuela and Ecuador. Even erstwhile ally Serbia looks West now.

The West isn't "fading", it continues to globalise culture successfully and integrate with others, like in Japan, South Korea and increasingly China (much to the CCP's concern). The US may have been weakened by socialism and the West has been weakened by nihilism and welfarism, but Russia is hardly an example. Russia is a hedonistic land of criminal gangsters and kleptocracy, where anything can be bought at a price and its best and brightest are establishing boltholes in London, New York and elsewhere, sending their children to Western schools and consider that the only way you can get ahead in Russia is through connections and bribery.

There is, after all, nothing to Russia's economy beyond oil and gas, and certainly no hope of an Apple, Google, Toyota, The US may be heavily indebted, it may have many problems, but it still a bastion of free enterprise and is still a country where people from the world over flock to, to make something of themselves, and the fracking revolution is dramatically reducing its dependence on energy from dictatorships,

Russia, with a declining population, lack of any internationally competitive industry beyond extraction of fossil fuels, with most of its former "allies" (subjects) having turned their backs on it, is playing its nationalism card, like 1930s Germany - sabre-rattling and glorifying a past that it hasn't truly faced up to - that Stalin cost the country millions of life because of his alliance with Hitler and his sheer military incompetence.

However, go on, glorify the mafia state of Putin, that suppresses free speech, that subjugates most political opposition, that rules by decree and blatantly rigged elections, and manufactures scapegoats (whilst it unfortunately faces real ones, like Islamists, which it too has funded in the past), frightening its neighbours and backing mass murdering tyrants (Assad). Delude yourself into believing that this is something to admire, or perhaps your brand of Christianity glorifies shameless violence, strongmen and stomping on the faces of those who dare say no to them.

Do you actually miss the Soviet Union, or is it just that you admire authoritarian nationalists?

3/06/2014 11:25:00 am  
Blogger Andrei said...

Libertyscott;

There are many mischaracterizations and caricatures in your post above, too many to challenge perhaps.

I would say though that in the land of "free speech" it doesn't run to being able to recite the Lord's Prayer at a friday night football game, it does however allow for you to parade bare assed down a public street with a dildo hanging out your butt - kind of bizarre but there it goes.

But one important thing - Vladimir Putin does not "support" Assad - rather he recognizes that for now he is the legal and recognized leader of Syria and that if he is to be replaced it must be down by the citizens of Syria in a lawful matter.

And that arrogant Western Nations taking it upon themselves to promote and support his violent overthrow is not in the interests of the Syrian people, their neighbours or anybody else.

And anybody with a functioning brain will realize that if Assad is overthrown at the behest of idiot ivory tower American officials that peace and democracy will not break out with people gathering in Damascus to sing Kum Ba Ya in a gesture of reconciliation.

And Ukraine, a basket case nation has just had its Government overthrown at the behest of these dill brained American theoreticians (the second time these dolts have pulled it off) and Putin is just doing what any responsible National leader would do - securing the interests of the people of his nation.and he has thus far managed to do it without shedding a drop of human blood.

Which is more than we can say for the moron in the White house who has shed copious amounts of it during his hope and change presidency - who has taken it upon himself to make the world safe for gay marriage or something equally bizarre.

3/06/2014 01:05:00 pm  
Anonymous Dolf said...

Andrei,

To be clear: you like Putin because he's a homophobe.

Birds of a feather, I guess.

3/06/2014 03:48:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pax Americana is an oxymoron. The USA is responsible for more global mayhem than peace. Their bogus "war on terror" has literally terrorised the world.

The USA, founded on principles of freedom, has long lost its way - even to the extent of trashing its unique constitution - and equating the emerging fascist state that is America with the concept of freedom is an exercise in futility.

All this goes to prove that the idea of "limited" government is a scam. No government in the history of the world has been content to remain "limited".

3/06/2014 04:52:00 pm  
Anonymous Mr Lineberry said...

Scott - you raise a number of points

To each of them I say "so what?"

Can you explain why any of this matters? why it would even vaguely be of interest to anybody whatsoever?

For instance -

1. China takes over the Spratlys (whatever that is) and so what?
2. The EU can't deliver militarily - so what?
3. Japan repeals its constitution - so what?

You are clearly writing very earnestly, and implying great importance to the points you raise, but....what?

3/06/2014 05:23:00 pm  
Blogger Blair said...

It's fascinating that when one points out that Ukraine had a democratically elected government, and that it was overthrown by an illegal and undemocratic (and possibly fascist) rabble, and that Russia has an interest in, and a right to, the restoration of democracy in that country, all the naysayers have in response is personal attacks and quarter-century old cold war invective.

Russia ain't doing nothing that the US hasn't done many many times before. In fact, Russia is being far more hesitant and restrained than the US ever was.

3/06/2014 06:20:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Libertyscott is reciting neocon war-mongering propaganda. It is not correct.

Leave the people who liver over in Ukraine and Russia to settle their own matters among themselves. That means the USA government has to stop funding the destabilisation and street-violence and terror projects they are running (to the tune of $20-million per week in Ukraine alone).

USA is a fading economy. It is in so much debt it is impossible to pay back in three generations. There will be a reckoning and the consequences are going to be severe. For a start the US dollar will not stay as the world reserve. Be ready for that adjustment. It is going to hurt, even in NZ.

Amit

3/06/2014 06:45:00 pm  
Blogger Libertyscott said...

Andrei:
I disagree about Syria. Russia has a military base in Syria and has been arming and providing economic support to the hereditary Assad mafia regime since Hafez overthrew the previous government in 1970. They have long been allies. To claim he is the "legal" leader is meaningless. Hitler was the "legal" leader of Germany. So what? Even before the civil war, Assad and his father, and psychopathic brother imprisoned, murdered and tortured thousands of its subjects. There is no "legitimacy" here. If Russia withdrew its military base and stop sending ships of supplies to the regime, then you might have a case. In this case you've been duped by Putin's propaganda.

What's a "lawful manner" in Syria's Ba'athist one party state Andrei? What does the average Syrian, who if he calls for a change in government, would get taken away by the secret Police, tortured and told to be good otherwise his family gets it, do to "lawfully" change the government? Are you that naive? How would Jews in Nazi Germany "lawfully" have changed the government? It's breathtaking in its absurdity.

Of course I'm not advocating a repeat performance of Iraq, but I am advocating backing up words with actions. The use of chemical weapons on civilians is extremely serious, but the red line Obama put forward was meaningless, and now there are surprisingly "delays" and obfuscation in dismantling Syrian chemical weapons (guess who supplied those originally - "neutral" Russia).

Assad has no more legitimacy than the various opposition groups, whether Islamist or not. There WAS a chance to provide serious Western military support to non-Islamist insurgents, in the form of a no-fly zone (which effectively saved the Kurds in Iraq when it was put in place, well before the Iraqi war) and arming secular and Christian rebels.

On Ukraine you talk nationalist propaganda. "the interests of the people of his nation". Utterly hilarious. If Putin cared about that, he would ensure Russia had a judicial and police system that was beyond politics and was strenuously purged of corruption. He would stop the state intervening in contracts and property rights based on political whim, and he would allow the free speech that thrived for a while in Russia to no longer fear retribution for not taking his line.

Maybe the interests of Russians are best served by having a government that defends their basic freedoms, that doesn't dish out favours based on relationships and who pays them the most, and allows politicians to be removed by popular ballot and independent courts, not by a thug.

and whilst I despise Obama, to characterise him as having shed copious amounts of blood whilst in office is absurd, or was he meant to just cut and run from Afghanistan, to not execute Bin Laden and to not continue to strike at Islamists (even though Russia does so on its own territory with some blunt aplomb, or is only glorious Mother Russia could invade Afghanistan to defend the "legitimate legal" communist government there right?

Mr Lineberry:
On China and the Spratlys, consider whether you would have cared had Japan won the Pacific War, given how far it got on far fewer resources, and how much more capable China is. Think how NZ would be in that scenario, or the cost of war when it finally went too far. Japan repealing its postwar Constitution would pour petrol on such a war.

I couldn't care less about the EU having military capability, I don't want it to.



Blair: You implicitly accuse me of cold war invective, but then you do just the same saying "Russia ain't doing nothing the US hasn't done many many times before", which is just saying "invasion is ok".

You seriously think Russia cares about democracy? Have you looked at democracy and the freedom of political discourse in Russia?

Putin's propagandists have been awfully successful in spreading their bilge.

3/07/2014 12:28:00 am  
Anonymous Mr Lineberry said...

Liberty Scott - Japan winning World War 2; looking at the mess we are in today I say "if only!"

70 years later NZ would have (or not have) the following -

1. A refined, reserved culture based on respect, tradition and proper values
2. A work ethic
3. An enterprise culture instead of a welfare culture
4. No Treaty Settlements
5. No Charlene's and Trevor's being glorified as "kiwi battlers" (who have never battled for anything in their lives)
6. Women in their 'place'
7. And kept there
8. No glorifying of anti-heroes
9. No ghastly pop music on the radio
10. No welfare state
11. No anti smoking hysteria
12. No political correctness
13. Children leaving schools able to read, spell, write their own name
14. (you get the general idea....)

After nearly 7 entire decades of "Wankers of the World Unite!" being the moral and cultural standard in New Zealand, and the resulting dehumanising and moronry, can you think of anything which would have been worse about Japan having won WW2?

3/07/2014 09:27:00 am  
Blogger Andrei said...

Lol - Libertyscott haven't you realized that for all your blather about democracy our is only s Potemkin democracy, mere window dressing to keep us quiet and docile while our ruling class goes about its business, lording it over us.

Hell last election out of five candidates on my ballot paper three ended up gracing the plush green seats of the debating chamber where they have primped, preened and postured for the past three years while the rulijng class has advanced agendas that were never discussed in any election campaign.

We are serfs Liberty Scott, to be sure well fed, and pampered ones, this is because our masters understand we can be kept quiet and compliant by throwing goodies at us

3/07/2014 10:23:00 am  
Blogger Libertyscott said...

Mr Lineberry - hehehe, you really think that a subhuman inferior race such as yourself would have a role beyond being a serf (or policeman) living under the glory of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere?

Andrei - You really must stop reading the pre-1988 Soviet literature about democracy :) Still I take your point about some of the issues of liberal democracy, particularly electoral systems that avoid politicians being ejected, and the banality of the media (and culture). I do feel like a serf when I look at my taxes, which are enough to pay for several families to be housed, fed, clothed and entertained, whilst I plan very hard what to do with what remains after mortgage, food, clothing and essentials.

3/10/2014 10:45:00 pm  
Anonymous Mr Lineberry said...

Ummmm....Libertyscott?? did you just call me subhuman?? WTF??????

You are (as I understand it) an expert on various geopolitical matters due to your work, and all I was doing was asking some questions about issues you raise which I freely admit to not knowing much about, because you appear to be an expert on those matters (hint: it's called having an enquiring mind).

Sorry if it was all too much trouble for you Scott, but there is no need for nasty and unnecessary personal abuse!

3/11/2014 05:01:00 pm  
Blogger Sam P said...

Heh heh - Mr Lineberry, LibertyScott-San was speaking in his capacity as honoured spokeschairperson for the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. ie, as a Jap.

Reading your points I thought a similar thing to LS; you may have found certain policies of our Japanese overlords rather constraining - so much so that you'd have happily traded them for a bit of ghastly pop music.

Their 'work ethic', eg, was rather a 'get others to work while we point the guns' ethic.

Stopping the numerous bad chappies keen on pursuing such arrangements has been the unique & exceptional contribution of the West - the US, UK & its satellites such as NZ. That's why I'd say we take an interest in the goings on in far-off places like the Crimea.

3/11/2014 07:53:00 pm  
Anonymous Mr Lineberry said...

Oh I see Sam - right - think I got the 'wrong end of the stick' there for a moment.

I spent 2 weeks in Jap-land on holiday in 2010; seem awfully nice people - so cultured, respectful and 'quiet'.

I was in Osaka (lovely city!) and picked up a couple of male tarts in a brothel, one of whom owned a car, so him and his mate very kindly drove me around the Jap countryside for about 10 days ending up in Horoshima.

3/11/2014 08:46:00 pm  
Blogger Libertyscott said...

Mr Lineberry, I can confirm Sam is spot on. It wasn't an insult, but a reference to the Japanese disdain for other races. Ironic given the alliance with the Nazis as it would have come into conflict sooner or later. This racism is also endemic in China and Korea.

3/11/2014 10:05:00 pm  
Anonymous Mr Lineberry said...

Yes, sorry about jumping the gun there Scott - main problem with the interweb (you cannot hear a chap's tone of voice).

Back to the topic for a minute - was watching a retired US General on Foxnews last night (NZ Time).

He said the Russians only have 1 seaworthy ship in the Black Sea, most of the Russian troops are hopeless and poorly trained (and would probably mutiny if anyone actually fired at them), their guns almost certainly don't fire, and the Russian aircraft has no missiles to provide 'air cover' - and therefore military intervention to take back Crimea and kick the Russians out of Ukraine would be quite easy; the 50,000 US troops in Germany could do it in a day trip! haha!

Any thoughts? if this is the case why haven't the Russkies been 'removed' by now? is it a case of Obama being a limp dick or am I missing something?

3/12/2014 11:30:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So the retired US General reckoned that "the Russians only have 1 seaworthy ship in the Black Sea, most of the Russian troops are hopeless and poorly trained (and would probably mutiny if anyone actually fired at them), their guns almost certainly don't fire, and the Russian aircraft has no missiles to provide 'air cover' - and therefore military intervention to take back Crimea and kick the Russians out of Ukraine would be quite easy; the 50,000 US troops in Germany could do it in a day trip!"

Well, not much has changed then. See, there was this other military leader who thought along similar lines. He said about Russia, "Kick the door in and the whole rotten structure will collapse." He kicked, Russia didn't collapse and he ended up losing big when it didn't. The consequences of that decision were the deaths of many millions and the world made safe for communism for decades- not what was expected by the kicker.

He also said this, "If I'd known they had so many good tanks I'd never have attacked." Guess he got a few surprises. Funny how that occurs.

The US govt has not won its stated objectives by warfare for a very long time. The consequences always end up surprising the war spruikers every damn time. What makes anyone believe that the Ukraine adn Crimea and Russia and China will be different?

Either go there yourself and fight and die or stay right out of it and leave it to the locals umpty thousand miles away to sort.

Amit

3/12/2014 07:16:00 pm  
Blogger OECD rank 22 kiwi said...

"May you live in interesting times"

Obama so keen to disengage. Other elements of his Government so keen to carry on the NeoCon agenda. A Government at war with itself. Pax Americana isn’t dead yet.

3/26/2014 12:02:00 am  

Post a Comment

Respond with a polite and intelligent comment. (Both will be applauded.)

Say what you mean, and mean what you say. (Do others the courtesy of being honest.)

Please put a name to your comments. (If you're prepared to give voice, then back it up with a name.)

And don't troll. Please. (Contemplate doing something more productive with your time, and ours.)

<< Home