US war hawks’ Eurasia goal: Prevent Russo-German coalition, China’s OBOR project

US wants to stop a coalition between Germany and Russia because the combination of German capital and technology with Russian natural resources and manpower can counter American dominance. Its move to destabilize and throw countries “off balance” in Eurasia threatens China’s “One Belt, One Road” project that would help Eurasian economic integration and reduce ungoverned space for terrorist organizations to thrive. The world now waits to see if the US November election can usher in a new era of a multi-partner world to confront global challenges

It seems the American people and US allies from Europe to Asia are increasingly disenchanted with Washington war hawks’ policies that are threatening global stability.

At the Democratic National Convention, angry delegates shouted “no more war” when former CIA director and defense secretary Leon Panetta began to criticize Trump.[1]

panetta tweet

Although Panetta appeared to be surprised and taken aback, the delegates’ frustrations should be understandable. After the Beltway war hawks wasted trillions of taxpayer dollars in endless counter-productive wars in Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq and Syria that have destroyed their countries and empowered Islamic State (IS) and al-Qaeda, and mortgaging the prosperity of America’s future generations with a $21 trillion debt burden, Americans have had it.

And so have US allies from Europe to Asia.

In Asia, the Philippine president accused US of importing terrorism into the Middle East with its regime change policies, the Japanese are protesting to kick out US troops on Okinawa, and the Singapore prime minister chastised Uncle Sam for excluding its largest trading partner China in the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). [2]

In a Wall Street Journal interview, Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Long questioned US intentions for its “Asia Pivot” and stated Asian countries “do not want to have opponents or hostilities when it is not necessary” and asked, “To develop a trans-Pacific relationship, you have to deepen the trans-Pacific trade and investment ties, which have done so much to benefit the people of both sides…If in fact, you are re-balancing towards Asia with aircraft carriers and airplanes, what is it in aid of?”

Peter Lee of Asia Times observed Singapore and other Asian partners are worried about US actions that may increase tensions and destabilize the region, and want more than “US military leadership of the anti-China side of a polarized East Asian security regime.”

Likewise in Europe, the Brits told US to mind its own business regarding their sovereign decision for Brexit,[3] the German foreign minister accused US-led NATO of warmongering,[4] the Bulgarian prime minister rejected joining a NATO fleet against Russia in the Black Sea,[5] and a German MP blasted the US as the biggest threat to European peace and stability.[6]

Addressing the German parliament in July, deputy chair of Die Linke party Sahra Wagenkhneht protested, “The Americans are placing nukes in Germany, supposedly to counter Putin’s aggression in the Baltics.  Do the Americans seriously expect us to believe in such stupidity?”

With Germany now suffering increasing terrorist attacks and being overwhelmed by the flood of refugees caused by aggressive US regime change policies, Wagenkhneht accused US of peddling NATO’s article 5 on collective defense when in fact it is breaking NATO’s Article 1 that states the alliance is not an offensive alliance, adding “It’s become quite clear the entire Middle East fiasco is observed only from one angle, as the alliance sees fit.”

Now, it appears US sees Russia as the next target after destabilizing the Mideast, and is piling on soldiers and weapons from the Baltics to the Black Sea.[7]  It is sending weapons to Ukraine, as well as positioning tanks, F-22 Raptor stealth fighters, B-52 heavy bombers, A-10 “tank busters” and other heavy artillery in Central and Southeast Europe in preparation for war.

US divisive goal in Europe

According to STRATFOR chairman George Friedman who advises the US security and intelligence community, while the US sees Russia as a threat, it sees Germany as a potential threat.

In his February speech at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Friedman stated the primordial interest for US is to stop a coalition between Germany and Russia, because the combination of German capital and technology with Russian natural resources and manpower is the only one that can counter US dominance.

Given NATO’s goal is “to keep the Russians out, the US in, and the Germans down,” US is now beefing up NATO and focused on establishing a “cordon sanitaire” or buffer zone (see map below) from the Baltics to the Black Sea in Central and Eastern Europe, and separate Germany from Russia.[8]

Russia-German buffer zone

Friedman sees Germany is “Europe’s basic flaw”, and blamed the EU crisis less on Greek debt than Germany’s manipulation and domination of the Euro to create a continental market for German exports.  He expressed concern that Germany is “economically powerful and geopolitically fragile”, and if split off from its EU ties, it could look east toward Russia.

In Eurasia, Divide et impera China’s OBOR?

 While establishing a cordon sanitaire in western Eurasia, Friedman recommended the best US policy in central Eurasia is “divide et impera”, similar to what Reagan did by funding both sides in the Iran-Iraq war so they fight each other and not the US.

Since US lacks the resources to occupy all of Eurasia, Friedman assessed the best policy is to support various contending powers (e.g., India, Pakistan) so they concentrate on themselves with political, economic, and military support, or conduct “spoiling attacks” such as in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan to “throw them off balance like we did with al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.”

However, al-Qaeda is stronger than before in Afghanistan and now Syria, and US support for Syrian jihadists have spawned IS that now threatens the three continents of Africa, Europe, and Asia.[9]  US strategy of throwing countries “off balance” to maintain dominance in the Mideast is actually what has helped fuel the global jihadi movement.

Moreover, destabilizing and throwing countries “off balance” in Eurasia threatens China’s “One Belt, One Road” project (see map below) that would help Eurasian economic integration and reduce ungoverned space for terrorist organizations to thrive.

silk-route-map

With IS and al-Qaeda on the march that has become a global game-changer threatening US, China, Russia, India, Germany and many other major civilizations across Eurasia, an increasingly multi-polar world could actually mean a multi-partner world should US choose to partner with these countries to collectively confront this emerging global challenge.[10]  NATO Defense College in March published a new volume on cooperative security between great powers for these non-traditional security threats.

Moreover, one ponders if it is prudent for US interventionists from both the neoconservative and neoliberal camps to still focus on a geopolitical chessboard of Cold War “great games” to throw more countries ‘off balance” to create more ungoverned spaces.

Unfortunately, as Amb Chas Freeman from Brown University’s Watson Institute observed in his article “The end of the American Empire”, the US is in a habit of using military power to supplant rather than support diplomacy, and has not yet cultivated the habit of asking “and then what?” before beginning military campaigns.[11]

As such, the world now waits and holds its breath to see if the US November election would usher in a new era of a multi-partner world to confront global challenges such as counter-terrorism, or enter in to a new Cold war of ramped up regime changes for confrontation and domination in a multi-polar world.

Dr. Christina Lin is a Fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations at SAIS-Johns Hopkins University where she specializes in China-Middle East/Mediterranean relations, and a research consultant for Jane’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Intelligence Centre at IHS Jane’s.

(Copyright 2016 Asia Times Holdings Limited, a duly registered Hong Kong company. All rights reserved. Please contact us about sales, syndication and republishing.)

[1] http://www.politico.com/story/2016/07/dnc-2016-leon-panetta-chant-226335

[2] Gareth Porter, “US ‘Regime Change’ Madness in the Middle East”, Common Dreams, 4 January 2016, http://www.commondreams.org/views/2016/01/04/us-regime-change-madness-middle-east; “President of the Philippines: “It is the US that Imported Terrorism into the Middle East!”, Middle East News Agency, 9 July 2016; Jonathan Soble, “At Okinawa Protest, Thousands Call for Removal of U.S. Bases”, New York Times, 19 June 2016.

[3] Karla Adam, “London mayor tells Obama to butt out of EU. Debate”, Washington Post, 14 March 2016; “Obama urges ‘friend’ U.K. to stay in EU but Brexit camp tells him to ‘butt out’, The Japan Times, 22 April 2016; Benjamin Brackett and Dominic Hinde, “Britain offended by Obama pressure to stay in EU: Sort of 1776 in reverse”, Washington Times, 13 April 2016.

[4] Justin Huggler, “German foreign minister accuses Nato of ‘warmongering’ against Russia”, Telegraph, 18 June 2016.

[5] Georgi Gortev, “Bulgaria refused to join NATO Black Sea fleet against Russia”, Euractive, 16 June 2016.

[6] “German MP: US is a threat to European peace, not Russia”, Macedonia Online, 12 July 2016, http://macedoniaonline.eu/content/view/29783/54/

[7] Marc Champion, “Baltics to Black Sea: NATO Unity May be Tested by Next Challenge”, Bloomberg, 9 July 2016; Otto Kreieher, “Atlantic Council argues for NATO Naval Force in the Black Sea, Coordination in Arctic”, US Naval Institute News, 21 June 2016; Juliane E Barnes and Thomas Grove, ‘NATO Set to Approve Baltic Force at Warsaw Summit”, Wall Street Journal, 7 July 2016, http://www.wsj.com/articles/nato-set-to-approve-baltic-force-at-warsaw-summit-1467894778

[8] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AgvtMeC_7_o; https://www.thechicagocouncil.org/event/europe-destined-conflict

[9] Bill Roggio and Thomas Joscelyn, “US military admits Al Qaeda is stronger in Afghanistan than previously estimated”, The Long War Journal, 13 April 2016;  Yara Bayoumy, Noah Browning and Mohammed Ghobari, “How Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen has made al Qaeda stronger-and richer”, Reuters, 8 April 2016; Jordan Schachtel, “US-backed Moderate Free Syrian Army Factions Join ISIS Terror Group”, Breitbart, 8 July 2014; Daniel Greenfield, “Al Qaeda: Bigger, Stronger & More Dangerous Than Ever”, Front Page Magazine, 8 January 2014.

[10] Christina Lin, “China’s Pivot West: Opportunities for Cooperative Security”, in NATO and Asia Pacific, Forum Paper 25, NATO Defense College, March 2016, http://www.ndc.nato.int/news/news.php?icode=915

[11] Chas W. Freeman, Jr., “The End of the American Empire”, War on the Rocks, 11 April 2016, http://warontherocks.com/2016/04/the-end-of-the-american-empire/



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