By Prof. David N. Yaghoubian

Pivot to irrelevance

September 26, 2021 - 17:11

TEHRAN- In his lofty September 21, 2021 address to the UN General Assembly, U.S. President Joe Biden remarkably asserted that for the first time in two decades the United States was “not at war,” and posited a new era of diplomacy and partnerships to address perceived threats and an end to the de rigueur use of military force.

Biden also explicitly stated that the U.S. does not seek “a new Cold War” or a world divided into blocs. It is a fact that the United States has finally ended its nearly 20-year occupation of Afghanistan and the gravy train it sustained for the military-industrial complex, which according to the Brown University Costs of War Project, achieved none of its stated objectives at a sickening and shameful price of one quarter million lives, millions of refugees, and 2.3 trillion dollars.

However, at present, both the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) as well as the 2002 AUMF remain in effect, and with the U.S.-enabled genocidal war on Yemen still raging, recent U.S. bombing of Somalia, thousands of American troops still occupying Iraq and Syria, ongoing U.S. military involvement in Niger, and the maintenance of over 800 American military bases abroad the claim that the United States is no longer at war is deeply problematic.  So too are Biden’s assertions that the United States is embracing a new era of diplomacy and does not seek a new Cold War or a global division of rigid blocs. In light of the overt strategic “pivot to Asia” and blatant, ongoing efforts by the United States to generate Cold War 2.0, most recently advanced by the AUKUS nuclear submarine deal, Biden’s words ring hollow. This is certainly not the first time a U.S. president has attempted to gaslight the international community in a United Nations address and will likely not be the last.
In reality, despite the continual slaughter of civilians by the U.S. military—most recently in the drone strike that killed aid worker Zamarai Ahmadi, two relatives and seven children from his family in Kabul—and the desperate attempt by the US to secure “over the horizon” bombing capabilities to ensure its ability to massacre still more Afghan innocents, the ongoing U.S. withdrawal from West Asia, ingloriously completed in Afghanistan and soon to be followed by Iraq and Syria bodes well for peace and stability the region. 

As anticipated, a dramatic increase in regional diplomatic activity and initiatives pursuing cooperation and dialogue, and a corresponding decrease in inflammatory and threatening official statements and actions from U.S. allies in the Persian Gulf has paralleled the American military drawdown. Irrespective of whether this new diplomatic trajectory is related in part to the U.S. decision to remove Patriot and THAAD anti-missile batteries from littoral Arab States, these are positive developments for Iran and its neighbors. The slap in the face of imperial arrogance delivered by the IRGC at al-Asad airbase in response to the cowardly and criminal assassination of General Soleimani, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, and their colleagues is being followed up with the promised ejection of U.S military forces from West Asia. Securing peace and stability regionally will be the most fitting revenge against a perpetually warmongering empire and its death economy.
And yet, despite President Biden’s rhetoric at the United Nations, the U.S. empire, guided by the bi-partisan Washington consensus for eternal conflict, belligerence, and public debt-based “defense” sector and personal profit will continue on autopilot to pivot to Asia, and thus to subsequent bankruptcy and dissolution. What President Biden means when he states that the U.S. does not seek a new Cold War and favors diplomacy going forward is that the global community must recognize that the United States under his leadership is “back” and fall in line with the so-called “rules-based order” (not to be confused with international law or U.N. Security Council resolutions) that only serves American hegemonic interests and those of its scofflaw minions such as apartheid Israel. 

While Chinese diplomats have accurately and forcefully pointed out that the United States is in no position of power to dictate to China, the combined afflictions of American exceptionalism and greed leads sociopathic American political elites to interpret this as yet another profitable opportunity to pursue Full Spectrum Dominance.
In the short term the United States will double down on hybrid warfare, and especially economic sanctions directed against China, Russia, Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, and any other nations that oppose U.S. unilateralism, dollar supremacy, and/or global hegemony.  Simultaneously the U.S. will continue to increase its already absurd level of “defense” spending (at present in total more than the next eleven largest national military budgets combined) by printing still more dollars, pushing the national debt—now nearing $29 trillion—to new heights as military contractors continue to feed at a trough ostensibly paid for by future generations. 

In the long term, the American addiction to unnecessary military spending and economic sanctions in pursuit of global hegemony will result in three interrelated outcomes: the sharp decline of the dollar as global reserve currency as a growing number of nations creates viable alternatives to the dollar and SWIFT, domestic hyperinflation, and the eventual bankruptcy of the U.S. economy. Printing trillions of dollars to support foreign wars and occupations will no longer be sustainable. Without a dramatic course correction this outcome can be illustrated with mathematical certitude. Put simply, the shortsighted and hubristic pivot to Asia will ultimately constitute a welcome pivot to irrelevance for the American empire. 

David N. Yaghoubian is a professor of History at California State University San Bernardino. His research interests include Modern Iran, Iran and the United States, Arab-Israeli Conflict, and The Politics of Oil. He has published various scholarly works in these fields, including “Struggle and Survival in the Modern Middle East”.


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