/ 6 May 2024

The US fears a multipolar world

Graphic Tl Williams Usvschina Twitter 1200px
(Graphic: John McCann/M&G)

On 24 April, senator Chuck Schumer, the majority leader of the United States’ Democratic Party, was beaming as he peered over his red-rimmed glasses when he announced the US’ $95 billion aid package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan. 

Schumer usually looks like an irritated school principal, with his glasses finely balanced on the bridge of his nose, but on that Wednesday he was different. He puffed his chest out as he said: “We’re feeling really good. You know it’s not every day you can say you made the world truly a better place. But I think the Senate can say that tonight and I am very proud of what has happened.” 

Schumer is typical of the Washington party political elite who believe that American foreign policy makes the world safer. The $95  billion is called an aid package; it would be more apt to refer to it as a war package. 

Ukraine gets $61  billion, Israel $26  billion and $8.12  billion goes to counter China in the Indo-Pacific. Let us understand that this is in billions of dollars; one billion is a thousand million. 

By the time Schumer and his Senate buddies had passed the legislation, the Biden administration had already begun preparing a $1  billion arms package for Ukraine, which will include vehicles, Stinger air defence munitions, additional ammunition for high-mobility artillery rocket systems, 155 millimetre artillery ammunition, Javelin anti-tank munitions and other weapons to be put to immediate use on the battlefield. 

In other words, $1  billion will be deposited into American military companies’ bank accounts immediately.

Many writers and analysts have highlighted the hypocrisy of the “developmental aid” and defence packages from countries such as the US, where the money for aid is actually corporate welfare for the US oligarchs and monopolist robber barons. Regarding this war package, the customary hypocrisy is the least of our problems. 

It seems that the US is threatened by the rapid rise of China. It would rather take the world to the brink of destruction than accept the demise of its global hegemonic power.

As Schumer glowed on American television screens, Antony Blinken, the US secretary of state, had already touched down in Beijing to meet the Chinese leader Xi Jinping. Blinken’s trip to China was not friendly nor co-operative; it could be interpreted as threatening. 

Blinken’s stare-down began as he made Xi wait for a couple of minutes before they met. YouTube footage suggests that as Xi paces around waiting for Blinken he asks his aide how long Blinken will be in China, and says “good” when he is told that Blinken will return to the US the same day. No love lost there, it seems. 

There are two full-on theatres of war — in the Ukraine and the Israeli genocidal assault on the Gaza Strip. There is a burgeoning conflict brewing between Israel and Iran, dragging in Syria and Lebanon on the side of Iran, and Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan supporting Israel. Iran, a recent member of the Brics group of countries, has become an increasingly close ally of China and Russia. 

With this war package and Blinken’s threats to China, it seems that another front may be opening up in Taiwan and the Indo-Pacific region. 

So let us outline this properly.

We have the war in Ukraine with Russia, which directly affects Western Europe, especially the economic powerhouse of the European Union, Germany. Nordic countries historically perceived as neutral, such as Sweden and Finland, have now joined Nato. 

Russian forces have more than just the upper hand against Ukraine and if this war is left to itself, it would not be far-fetched to predict Russia winning and Ukraine being forced to negotiate a peace treaty. 

The US war package will not allow Ukraine to defeat Russia, but it will help Ukraine defend itself and therefore prolong the war. Russian air and missile defence will be more than adequate cover against the long-range missiles included in the package. 

So we can expect an even more bloody conflict with tens of thousands of Ukrainian soldiers losing their lives. There will also be pressure on the European members of Nato to step in and do their bit, and in that way expand the war and its effects. 

A lot has been written about the genocide, war crimes and murderous assault the Israelis have rained on the Gaza Strip. About 34  000 civilians have been killed. 

The Israeli objective is to get rid of Hamas, but it has not achieved this despite carpet-bombing Gaza and bombing its neighbours, including Lebanon. Hamas remains in Gaza and is fighting back. Hezbollah in Lebanon still sends rockets into Israel. 

The Houthi in Yemen have continued to support the people of Palestine by attacking trading vessels linked to Israel, the US and the United Kingdom in the Red Sea. When Israel bombed the Iranian diplomatic premises in Damascus, it also said Hezbollah and Houthi are Iranian proxies. 

The war package continues with this logic, and will embolden Israel to claim that it is going after Hamas by attacking Iran. There will be pressure on both China and Russia to step in and assist Iran.

The US, which calls itself the leader of the free world, is doing nothing to decrease the wars in Ukraine and Gaza. It appears that America is fuelling these wars so that it can blame Russia and China (as well as Iran) for being warmongers. 

Previously, the world was led to believe that attacking Iraq was justified because it may possess weapons of mass destruction. This was proven false. Yet last week, the US issued further sanctions on Iran after its attack on Israel in retaliation for Israel’s attack on Iran’s embassy in Syria. 

The US Senate and Congress passed the war package with both Republican and Democrat support. The speaker of Congress is Republican Mike Johnson, who is under fire from Republicans, and he only took the matter forward because he got support from Donald Trump. When in office Trump did not seek a war between Russia and Ukraine, but if he returns do not expect that he will reverse current policy.

The press conference addressed by Xi and Blinken helps us understand that America’s global supremacy is threatened by the increasingly close relations between China and Russia. Blinken said that Chinese support for Russia’s industrial base is a threat and warned that if it did not stop, the US would have to act. Moreover, the rapid advancement of the Chinese economy in new technologies, especially solar panels and electric vehicles, is said to be a threat to American jobs. 

Under the ruse of Philippine insecurity, the US warned China not to do maritime manoeuvres in the South China Sea. Blinken lectured China on political tolerance in Taiwan and Hong Kong, while US police are going to American university campuses across the country to forcefully shut down students’ peaceful pro-Palestine protests.

A year ago, the former Chinese minister of foreign affairs, Qin Gang, warned the US and the world when he said: “The United States claims to be competing to win against China, rather than seeking conflict. But the United States’ so-called competition is total containment and suppression, a zero-sum game in which you die and I live. If the United States does not hit the brakes but continues to speed down the wrong path, no amount of guardrails can prevent derailing or a crash, and there will surely be conflict and confrontation.” 

We may be approaching that perilous period now.

Donovan E Williams is a social commentator. Follow him on X @TheSherpaZA