By Mohammad Mazhari

U.S. failed badly in West Asia: academic 

May 28, 2021 - 11:48

TEHRAN - An associate professor in the department of political science from the National University of Singapore says that the U.S. will be the big loser in West Asia until it supports Israel.

"Until the U.S. does not decouple itself from Israel, the Americans will always be losers in the Middle East (West Asia) and will not win much support and sympathy in the Muslim world," Bilveer Singh tells the Tehran Times.

According to Bilveer, Trump's U.S. "failed badly in the Middle East (West Asia) and Asia. He was badly served by hawkish advisers who did more harm to U.S. interests than anyone else in the last 50 years or so."

For decades, Democrats and Republicans alike have stood by Israel, almost unconditionally, claiming the regime has a right to defend itself.

President Biden followed the same policy in the recent escalation in Gaza as Hamas fired hundreds of rockets at Israel in response to the eviction of Palestinians from their homes in Jerusalem and Israeli security forces stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque and targeted prayers.

But this latest violence marked a shift in the American political debate over Israel and its position in U.S. foreign policy. The criticism from the left was louder than the past, with progressives pressuring Biden to speak up forcefully in support of Palestinians, who saw a far greater civilian death toll in recent days.

This shift is tied to two main factors: the growing power of racial justice movements in the United States and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's embrace of the American right-wing in recent years.

Those forces sparked the biggest public disagreement yet between Biden and some American political circles.

Bilveer points to the influence of Zionist lobbies in the U.S. and the pressure they put on Biden to support Israel.

"The political culture and immense influence of the Jewish lobby will constrain when Biden as what he can do will be limited by the Jewish and Zionist hawks to pressure the U.S. including Biden to support their policies even if is negative for the U.S. as is the present Israeli aggression against the Palestinians."

Following is the text of the interview:

Q: What is your view of China's position in the new world order? Is China going to be a new hegemon?

A: China is a rising power; it still got a long way to go to reach the level and status of being a superpower where it can dictate and act like a gangster, as the U.S. has been; it will probably reach the status of a superpower in the next 10-15 years, assisted by the fact that the U.S. is a fast-declining power; the former USSR is only regional power with some global outreach; Japan is essentially a weak state and India got a long way to go before achieving great power hood. 

"The first Western power to play the politics of extremism in the Middle East (West Asia) was Britain which nurtured the Saudis and Wahhabis into an alliance in order to contain the Ottomans." So, yes, China will be a great power but whether it will be a hegemon is another story. I think China will emerge as a global economic power in the next decade or so, and the more the West, esp. the U.S., places blocks in its way, the faster it will rise. But hegemony in a new world and where there is no real order, is difficult. As a military and political power, China got a long way to go.

Hence, China will only be a hegemon, meaning able to dictate its way and rules in its immediate neighborhood but not further away in Africa, Latin America, or North America. Even as China rises as a powerful state, there are other states that can constrain China and hence, China's outreach and ability to impose its will and influence will not be that easy. It will have to negotiate, not impose, its influence in the coming years. Yet unlike the U.S., China does not use force as liberally as Western states. Today, Chinese leaders will ask – what is the use of force and what benefit will it accrue here – none. So, the logic today is not to use force but rather use diplomacy and economic power to gain its influence, something it has been successful for quite some time. The U.S. has been trying to engage and force the Chinese to use military power in order to weak and bankrupt her, including forcing states to become anti-China, esp. in Asia but so far, the U.S. has failed. All the American provocations in the South China Sea or Taiwan Straits areas are not working and only forcing states into the region to realize that China cannot be ignored; the Americans can come and go, but China is permanently basing here, and hence, Chinese power is a fact and reality that no one in the region can ignore.

Q: It seems that the U.S. under the Trump presidency undermined global stability, especially in West Asia. Do you see any change in the new U.S. administration’s policies?

Compared to Trump, Biden's U.S. is more constructive and creative in trying to impose and gain its influence. Trump was totally inexperienced in foreign policy, and he thought that he could make a deal anywhere as he would make business deals; he failed badly in the Middle East (West Asia) and Asia. He was badly served by hawkish advisers who did more harm to U.S. interests than anyone else in the last 50 years or so. Just look at how Trump and his advisers failed the U.S. and Americans when it came to COVID-19. 

I think Biden is more experienced and better adept rather than Trump in the complex world of diplomacy esp. with former Obama experienced officials to help him. 

"The Saudi Wahhabis have been the key sources of instability in the Middle East (West Asia) and Muslim regions in the world at large, including in Southeast Asia, because they want to spread their Wahhabi-Salafi-Jihadi ideology through their petro dollars [now in decline] in competition with Iran, the Shia leader, for the hearts and minds of the Muslims world over."So, Biden will be much more effective, constructive and will be trying to gain U.S.'s influence in a more constructive fashion. Except maybe in Israel where the political culture and immense influence of the Jewish lobby will constrain when Biden as what he can do will be limited by the Jewish and Zionist hawks to pressure the U.S. including Biden, to support their policies even if is negative for the U.S. as is the present Israeli aggression against the Palestinians. Until the U.S. does not decouple itself from Israel, the Americans will always be losers in the Middle East (West Asia) and will not win much support and sympathy in the Muslim World.

Q: What are the roots of emerging terrorist groups in West Asia? Some observers attribute it to poverty and injustice, while others think that these groups have been fabricated to secure Western powers' interests.

A: I don't think there is a simple answer: no terrorist is born; he becomes one over time. This is due to internal and external failures. The states in the Middle East (West Asia) have failed their people badly and this has created all kinds of conditions to promote extremism and terrorism. At the same time, external parties have exploited these internal fault lines to pursue their policies to create a cauldron of instability in the region so that the West esp. the U.S. and allies can control these weak and largely feudalistic Arab states, gain control of their oil and gas resources as well as the strategic (Persian) Gulf region. 

The first Western power to play the politics of extremism in the Middle East (West Asia) was Britain which nurtured the Saudis and Wahhabis into an alliance in order to contain the Ottomans. Since then, this practice has continued with new variants and complexities. The external players are not just the West but also champions of various Islamist ideologies such as the Saudi Wahhabis, who have been the key sources of instability in the Middle East (West Asia) and Muslim regions in the world at large, including in Southeast Asia, because they want to spread their Wahhabi-Salafi-Jihadi ideology through their petrodollars [now in decline] as well as in competition with Iran, the Shia leader, for the hearts and minds of the Muslims world over. 

I believe the Middle East (West Asia), being the centers of Sunni and Shia Islam even though not demographically, will continue to be the fountainheads of extremism and this will harm the world at large, as it has till today. Whether it is the al-Bannas, Qutbs, Osamas, or Baghdadis, a key export of the Middle East (West Asia) has been extremism and this will remain for some time.

Q: How may China's Belt and Road initiative change the regional security regimes? Do you expect development of trade ties between Asian countries that would help bring them closer together?

A: The BRI is a major game-changer; it is purported an economic strategy but with severe political, diplomatic, and even strategic implications. The Chinese have been at work in the world, esp. Third World since the 1970s and over the last ten years or so, have synergized all these projects, tactics, and strategies into the BRI, a largely capitalist development mode to build land and sea infrastructures that would benefit the economic development of the world at large. That is the great part of the BRI and China, and there is no competitor to this esp. at a time when the West is weak and declining, and the West's decline would be sped up by the COVID-19 pandemic and the general decline in global trade. 

In short, you ask yourself this question: what has the West give the world today? Political democracy when even in the U.S. and Western Europe minorities are at risk [Blacks and Asians are being attacked on a daily basis]. Economic growth when these Western societies are in decline and in grave, perpetual debt; Military security when they Westerners, though still powerful, are losing one war after another; remember, ISIS was defeated not by the U.S. but by Russia, Iran and Syria.

 So, what does the West have to offer the world? Nothing; China does not pretend it wants to export democracy or human rights, something which even the West is in great deficit; China just wants to develop the world economically and if you want this good, commodity, or service, then you go to China only; and no one wants the dysfunctional Western democracy, human rights, etc. when these societies themselves are historical purveyors of genocides and human rights violations and violence in the past; what did the Whites do to the native Americans, or the Whites do to the natives in Australia and New Zealand, or the Whites did to many natives in Africa, like the Germans in Namibia?

 So, the Whites, esp. the U.S., the UK, and Australia should stop playing the game of being champions of human beings when their hands are soaked with the blood of millions of non-Whites.

 So, in today's realities, China has much to offer, not the West, and this is why it would win this coming war, with the support of the rest of the world except for those who perpetrated crimes against humanity in the past. This war will be won through economics and if the West tries to use military power to stop this from happening, it will then be destroyed permanently.  

Q: How do you assess the 25-year partnership between Iran and China? Is China a trustworthy party when it comes to partnership?

A: I think no country can be trusted. China will not trust Iran and Iran will not trust China. That is political common sense. Just remember, through the 1950s and 1960s, Iran and the U.S. were one family, but by the end of 1979, they became sworn enemies till today. This is politics. Both China and Iran are civilizational states and they know what really drives close relations is the convergence of interests. As long as Beijing and Teheran can align their interests, they will be compelled to work closely together for mutual benefits. The 25-year Iran-China Partnership is a great start in this direction; a political commitment by both countries and leaders to work together and with many areas identified, including military, the challenge will be to put meat into the partnership and make it alive and relevant for decades to come. I believe Iran and China are natural partners and they will go a great length in developing close ties for the benefit of regional and global peace, and more importantly, for the benefit of their people. 


 

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