The balance of international influence just shifted - hard
Many readers may not have paid much attention to the meeting last week of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). That would be very short-sighted, because a number of developments there demonstrate a significant, possibly permanent shift in the international perspective and alignment of the nations of the world.
One of the most interesting aspects to come out of the meeting was the visibly changed relationship between Russia and China. Thanks to international sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, Russia has basically had to kowtow to China, acknowledging its economic and political leadership. Peter Zeihan summarizes the situation in a less-than-two-minute-long nutshell. I highly recommend watching it.
That puts China in a very strong position vis-a-vis Russian client states and its sphere of influence. In so many words, that is moving rapidly to become a Chinese-dominated sphere of influence, with Russia just one more among the nations involved. The situation also holds long-term implications for China's interest in the vast, largely untapped natural resources of Siberia and the Russian Far East. In return for its ongoing geopolitical and economic support, China
can will demand (and get) significant concessions in those areas. If I lived in Siberia or Russian territory east and south of it, I'd start learning Chinese right now, because I'd know I'm going to need it sooner rather than later.
The main thrust of the SCO meeting, however, is its demonstration that many of the nations of the world are sick and tired of the Western-centric, First-World-oriented politics and economics of the past. As the First World economies of the west decay, other nations are looking east for their salvation, and a new beginning. Given China's rapacious economic neo-colonialism in Africa (there's no other way to adequately describe it), that may be unwise of them - but frankly, they don't have much alternative right now.
Larry Johnson shares his thoughts. I find it hard to disagree with him.
I am certain that most Americans do not have a clue what transpired this week at the meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (aka SCO). It is a clarion call, a defiant declaration, that the countries, which account for over half of the world’s population, are no longer going to defer to the United States. The attendees included Russia, China, India, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
The speeches by Russia’s Vladimir Putin and China’s Xi Jinping are especially noteworthy. Both countries put the United States on notice that the United States and NATO will be treated as a sponsor of terrorism because they supply weapons to Ukraine that are being used to attack civilian targets. You may accuse me of exaggerating because neither Putin nor Xi mention the United States or NATO by name. But the actions of the NATO allies in Ukraine are seen by both Russia and China as acts of terrorism. I am reprinting the salient portions of each speech below.
Russia and China also put the west on notice that Iran is no longer going to be treated as a pariah state. Iran is welcomed emphatically by both Putin and Xi as a member of the SCO. Going forward, this means that Iran will do business with all members of the SCO under the rubric of a new financial order being organized by Russia, China, India and Brazil.
I am sure this is jarring news to the western allies. They have enjoyed the luxury of the dominance of the U.S. Dollar as the international reserve currency. It was the Golden Rule at work–those with the gold make the rules. The United States faces a dilemma because it insists on levying international sanctions on any nation or leader who refuses to toe Washington’s line, but the blow back effects of those sanctions are savaging the European economies and will hurt America as well.
China and Russia now realize and affirm that the United States is no longer a reliable, trustworthy partner. They see the United States as a petulant child that, in the past, coerced others by throwing temper tantrums and launching ill-conceived, foolish foreign military operations.
Most important, but not said, the leaders of the SCO realize that Washington is leaderless. Biden is a demented buffoon.
. . .
In the past, the United States controlled the ball and set the rules for the game. The countries of the SCO are no longer going to let the United States dictate where, when and how the game is played. They are bringing their own ball and setting up their own rules ... There is a new and potentially more powerful player on the world stage and the United States may be relegated to the peanut gallery and forced to watch.
There's more at the link, and it's all worth reading.
Note the names of the countries involved. India... Turkey... Iran... Pakistan... Egypt... Saudi Arabia... all of them are regional powers in their own right. Iran, in particular, is virulently anti-US and anti-Israel. All of them now have a much more powerful international base of support. Terrorism from Iran and Pakistan (both hotbeds of it) is likely to expand along with their economic ties. Furthermore, the raw materials produced by these nations, which we need as much as anybody else (e.g. lithium for batteries, oil and other fuels, vital industrial minerals, etc.) are more likely to be sold to other nations than to ourselves. (We can expect many such trades to be conducted in other currencies, too. The US dollar is on the cusp of losing its status as the preeminent international reserve and trading currency. For example, Saudi Arabia is discussing selling oil to China in exchange for renmimbi, and is talking to India about accepting rupees as well. So much for the petrodollar...)
Worse, Israel surely now realizes that Iran will feel empowered to act upon its oft-repeated promise to destroy the Jewish state, because it will no longer feel constrained by American threats. It now has a counter to them - or so it will presume. Will the feckless Biden administration act to protect Israel from this existential threat of destruction? I have my doubts. So, I'm sure, does Israel. I'd say the likelihood of nuclear war in the Middle East just increased greatly - and if that once begins, where will it stop?
The geopolitical map is changing right before our eyes, and not in our favor. My best guess is that the western powers (what used to be called the First World) are about to see a significant reduction in their influence and pre-eminence around the world. I don't think our governments - or the World Economic Forum and its acolytes - are prepared to acknowledge just how damaging that might be to our interests. The WEF in particular has been trying to reshape human society in terms of its Great Reset program. I rather suspect that program has itself just run headlong into its own SCO-centric reset. Will the WEF acknowledge that, or will it still try to force its program upon the world willy-nilly? I don't think it's any longer in a position to do that - except in the west, where our governments have been largely co-opted into lock-step obedience.
Interesting times . . .