The U.S. managed to establish dominance by resorting to soft power after attempting to destroy each and every country by use of hard power. We all sing multipolar world, multipolar world, multipolar world!
Readers of Strategic Culture Foundation have doubtless discerned the geopolitical buzzwords: multipolar world.
The Mauerfall, or in English, the much-hailed Fall of the Berlin Wall, was certainly a proverbial demolition of the world as we knew before: the world of polarities, the world of the contrasting and even oft-conflicting values between the USA and the USSR, gave rise to the age of unipolar world shaping up on the political horizon.
The USA at the time became the only world power. There was an overwhelming belief that the arms race and anti-Soviet propaganda were done away with at that point in history.
For some political analysts, the collapse of real socialism arguably represented the end of history of antagonism between the two political centers of power. For others, it appears to have paved a pathway to the conflict of civilizations on religious and cultural bases to name but two.
The third group saw in the thaw of the Cold War the beginning of global shifts in trade and business via the “free market” and the formation of the “global state”.
In retrospect, some of these forecasts have come true to date, some though have proven to be a mere delusion. Arguably, the war in Ukraine has given rise to a number of crucial changes and it is about to change further. The Fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 may have exacerbated the issues further or possibly brought on an eye-opening enlightenment for the EU nations at least.
At around that time, in 1989, George H.W. Bush came to power in the White House but this road to a political Pandora’s box is believed to have been orchestrated even earlier on by his predecessor, Ronald Reagan, who was famous and infamous for his anti-communism or even more so anti-Soviet beliefs and actions. One can now say without fear of contradiction that these anti-communist, aka anti-Soviet, sentiments at face value have in effect always been anti-Russia.
Yet, they appear to have changed their manifest forms and shapes many a time historically. Reagan’s hateful words, in calling the USSR an Evil Empire, are still haunting, so patently did these words distort reality.
Gorbachev’s rise to power in the USSR was welcomed with utmost appreciation due to his enormous and thus alluring enthusiasm for the renewal of formal relations between the USA and USSR.
The overwhelming atmosphere in the USA was truly a welcoming and wholehearted appreciation during the time of George H.W. Bush.
The Downfall of the USSR two years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall coincided with the so-called Neoconservatives or Neo-cons assuming power and dominance in U.S. foreign policy.
If you look the word up in a dictionary, it says that a neoconservative or a neocon “is someone whose politics are conservative or right wing, who believes strongly in the free market and thinks that their country should use its military power to become involved with or try to control problems in other countries.”
The U.S. Neocons seized their abundant opportunities in the wake of the Fall of the Berlin Wall and the Downfall of the USSR in which to their mind “liberal democracy” had won its ideological victory. Its meaning and ideological scope was depicted in 1989, when a political analyst in the U.S. State Department wrote a paper for the right-leaning international relations magazine, The National Interest, entitled “The End of History?”
The analyst’s name was Francis Fukuyama, whose article caused great controversy that he soon turned into a book. He did so in 1992: The End of History and the Last Man.
As the term and the phenomenon seemed to have evolved in due course, Paul Wolfowitz further elaborated upon it in 1991 and authored the “Wolfowitz’s Doctrine”. This conception prescribed that the USA should use its unique historical opportunity to not allow other potential rivals to emerge in the financial and political arena since apparently the USA was the “sole super power” capable of imposing rules on others. To some thinkers, there was a striking resemblance between the newly emerging Pax Americana to that of the ancient Roman Empire, i.e. Pax Romana.
Pax Americana was believed to be its historical equivalent in the early 1990s. U.S. leaders saw their chance to seize that golden opportunity and impose global hegemony. At the time there was an ongoing public debate in the U.S. on whether the USA should become a global power or not. Strangely, there was a growing number of people pushing for the USA to disband NATO, but the American neocon hawks eventually prevailed.
Here a quote from William Shakespeare is apposite: “Who soars too near the sun, with golden wings, melts them.”
The U.S. and its vassals’ decision to expand the NATO military alliance was taken in 1997, which then gave rise to the aggression against the former Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) in 1999. There then followed a number of other U.S. invasions, aggressions, orange revolutions, and regime-change operations, such as the ones in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, Sudan and currently the U.S.-led proxy war in Ukraine.
The parallels between all these might sound far-fetched and unfounded to a politically unaided eye. An opportunity to bury the U.S. vs USSR hatchets, to “beat swords into plowshares”, to cooperate in alternative ways by trade, culture, education, and so on, and to forge peace globally, failed miserably. It was in fact the USA that shrieked a resounding “No”, and opted for a fierce and often savage geopolitical competition, which has slowly but surely brought the whole world to the brink of a Third World War.
At the time of the unipolar world, while it lasted, the USA, aka G7 aka the Collective West, seemed to have ruled the world. Alternatively, some tend to use its more theatrical version, the “Deep State”.
One of the bigger paradigm shifts occurred after the first term in office for George H.W. Bush during the presidential election of 1992 with Democrat contender Bill Clinton running for his first term. A third candidate Ross Perot appeared suddenly, and some analysts tend to think that Perot was planted only to take away some share of the votes and in so doing prevent George H. W. Bush from winning his second term in the White House.
With this colossal change, the U.S. foreign policy somehow mysteriously melded into imperial globalism in which financial tycoons rule the stage. Financial capital managed to hijack and control everybody and everything into complete submission in which a plethora of other countries simply abided by U.S. diktats. That applied even to powerful countries such as Britain and Germany owing to the U.S. financially powerful structures buttressed by its military industrial complex.
By comparison, the EU countries appeared to have had more sovereignty during the Cold War than they have done since the U.S. asserted “full spectrum dominance”. One wonders, however, whether the Collective West ever showed any degree of resistance to U.S. hegemony.
In 2003, there was evident resistance by Germany and France against U.S. imperialism when they tried to oppose the Iraq invasion by the U.S. and Britain. But they were shamelessly ignored by Washington. It was blatantly obvious then that the USA would never allow any dissenting voices or political rivalry within the Global West, which is yet another paradox, whereby the U.S. wants to be a dictator per se, yet it waltzes around pretending to bring democracy to the world.
We witnessed the culmination of this in the current war in Ukraine, in which the USA brutally strong-armed the Global West into joining its proxy war against Russia. When Berlin hesitated, the U.S. blew up the Nord Stream gas pipeline between Russia and Germany. Washington still expects the EU to sacrifice its own fundamental interests for the U.S. sake. The war-mongering, profit-driven, power-hungry U.S. eliminates everybody standing in its way.
It seems mind-boggling how the USA succeeded in establishing its overwhelming dominance not only over the EU but globally as well. Washington managed to establish dominance by resorting to soft power, after they have destroyed others by using hard power.
There is no effect in the use of the soft power unless the hard power of guns and tanks has previously wreaked havoc in the country of their choice at any given point in time. The USA then managed to cajole others to fall for what they marketed as the Washington Consensus. The U.S. would steamroller a growing number of rules and regulations in economy, banking and finances, with self-ordained unilateral writ. And once each targeted country adopts the American rules, the U.S. pledges that the country is guaranteed to benefit hugely from its application in their own respective economic and financial contexts. In reality, though, any country which falls prey to it becomes colonized without their governments being aware of it. If a country conforms to the U.S. “miraculous system”, its economy may gain competitive advantage globally but that nation accumulates endless debts and poverty to the Washington DC snake-oil merchants.
Nevertheless, mercifully, this frightening concept of global hegemony has become overly ambitious. Simply put, the political Gulliver of blinded ambition could not have fit in the land of “differently abled” Lilliputians for too long.
Much to the U.S. surprise, a number of wise and level-headed nations have since put two and two together, and are spurning America’s presumed hegemony. This multipolar resistance is predominantly led by China and Russia. The dissenting majority accounts for around 85 per cent of the world population. The resistance to globalist imperialism, which is wrongly labeled “U.S. foreign policy”, has gained too much momentum even before the Ukrainian crisis. The growing sentiment is fiercely against the U.S. elites who presume to rule the whole world from one center of power.
Natasha Wright is а linguist and translator by profession and an aspiring political analyst. As is often the case, life takes us along its meandering pathways (her name and surname is a pen name thanks to her personal life history). Hopefully, she will go the same route as Noam Chomsky did, from the most profound linguistics to thought-provoking political writing.