This past week I have been observing international political events from the G20 Summit, North Korean missile test, the Syrian crisis and a host of others so as to prepare to write my weekly column.
From my observation, I deeply agree with authors and political analysts by the names of Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers when they argue in their analysis that there are some new power dynamics and a huge change in global world order.
These analysts states that the G-20 summit highlighted a transition in geopolitical power that has been developing for years. The process has escalated in recent months since President Trump took office, but its roots go much deeper than Trump.
The United States (US) is losing power, a multi-polar world is taking shape and people power is on the rise. Kevin Keese argues that the G-20 bordered on being a G-19, with the US a loner on key issues of climate change, trade and migration. These are some of the biggest issues on the planet. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been saying lately “We as Europeans have to take our fate into our own hands.” This is an indication they no longer see the US as the leader or even a reliable partner on some issues. In a summation of the G-20, Keese writes: “Hamburg will also go down as a further mile marker in Europe’s slow emancipation from the U.S.” It is indeed true that the US is surely losing world power. At the same time that Europe is setting its own course, Russia and China have been moving toward each other and acting in tandem, often with positions opposite the US. While Washington was trying to isolate Russia, it has been building new friendships and alliances. Like Reese and Flowers, I have also observed that Presidents Putin and Xi have met on more than 20 occasions over the past four years. Xi now refers to Russia as China’s foremost ally.
In that time, the US built a wall of bases and missiles around both countries, intruded on China’s maritime space in the Asia Pacific and fomented regime change in Ukraine to turn that country against Russia. US aggression is backfiring and creating a multi-polar world. After meeting with Russia, President Xi met with Chancellor Merkel to sign trade deals.
According to the two analysts, Presidents Putin and Xi met before the G-20 to continue to build their alliance. Putin and Xi made deals on trade agreements and energy sales, created a $10 billion joint investment fund and came to a common approach regarding North Korea.
North Korea is another issue where the US is out of step with the world. While the US was lobbying for an aggressive confrontation with North Korea over nuclear weapons, other countries were not joining in and Russia and China were urging restraint and diplomacy. Margaret Flowers puts it, “White House officials have been dismayed to see China and Russia teaming up to advocate for a ‘freeze for peace’ strategy in which North Korea agrees to stop moving forward with its nuclear weapons
The world knows that North Korea is not the real threat to world peace, the US is the problem, as another analyst William Boardman explains. Boardman says president Moon of South Korea, wants a ‘sunshine policy’ of constructive engagement with North Korea, including building economic ties. Already, divisions are showing between the US and South Korea, especially over the THAAD missile system. Furthermore, it has to be said that globalisation is leaving the US behind. Flowers argues that while Trump is calling for trade that puts America first, i.e. decreasing the massive US trade deficit through trade protectionism, other countries are taking a different approach. She reports: “At the BRICS meeting on the sidelines of the G-20, they called for a more open global economy and for a rules-based, transparent, non-discriminatory, open and inclusive multilateral trading system.”
Finally, another lesson from the G-20, is that people around the world are angry at political leaders who are failing them, including Donald Trump for holding back urgent action on climate change, fed up with globalisation that puts people’s needs far behind the profits of transnational corporations, and are demanding changes to a system that does not listen. Protests began before the summit and grew in size and anger as the summit progressed, always met with extreme police violence. The protests are large and loud.
The rioting got a good deal of attention, but people also expressed their concerns on multiple issues. A growing political movement is expressing what is so desperately needed. People look at world leaders posing in group photo to show an image of success as false emperors and empresses wearing no clothes. The realities are growing inequality, increasing impact from climate change and political systems that are less responsive to the people and more corrupted by transnational corporate power. The root problem for the G-20 is they are unable to break from free market neoliberalism that is bringing devastation to the world. The people must force them to face the reality that transformation to economic democracy is needed, a new economy where people share the wealth and have influence in the direction of economic policy. This new global alignment is a positive. The US has dominated the world for too long and must learn to become a cooperative partner.