china Foreign Policy nato Vijay Prashad

The Dangerous US Opposition to Eurasia Integration

Washington and its allies seek either to remain hegemonic and weaken China and Russia or to erect a new Iron Curtain around these two countries, writes Vijay Prashad. Both approaches could lead to a suicidal military conflict.
Max Ernst, Germany, “Europe After the Rain,” 1940–42.

By Vijay Prashad / Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research

Over the course of the past 15 years, European countries have found themselves with both great opportunities to seize and complex choices to make.

Unsustainable reliance on the United States for trade and investment, as well as the curious distraction of Brexit, led to the steady integration of European countries with Russian energy markets and more uptake of Chinese investment opportunities and its manufacturing prowess.

Closer linkages between Europe and these two large Asian countries,  China and Russia, provoked the U.S. agenda to prevent that integration or delay it. This agenda, now deepened during the recent Group of 7 (G7) meeting in Germany and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summit in Spain, is creating a dangerous situation for the world.

Bram Demunter, Belgium, “Linking Revelations and Beekeeping,” 2019.

This goes back to the financial crisis of 2007–08, which was spurred on by the collapse of the U.S. housing market and several key U.S. financial institutions. The crisis signaled to the rest of the world that the U.S.-centered financial system was untrustworthy. The U.S. could not remain the market of last resort for the world’s commodities.

G7 countries – which saw themselves as the guardians of the global capitalist system – begged states outside their orbit, such as China and India, to put their surpluses into the Western financial system to prevent its total meltdown.

In return for this service, countries outside of the G7 were told that, henceforth, the G20 would be the executive body of the world system and the G7 would gradually disband. Yet, almost 20 years later, the G7 remains in place and has arrogated to itself the role of world leader, with NATO – the Trojan horse of the U.S. – now positioning itself as the world’s policeman.

Claude Venard, France, “Nature Morte au Sacre Coeur” or “Still Life at the Sacred Heart,” 1991.

NATO’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has said that the organization will undergo the largest overhaul of its “collective deterrence and defence since the Cold War.”

The NATO member states, now with the addition of Finland and Sweden, will expand their “high readiness forces” from 40,000 troops to 300,000 who, equipped with a range of lethal weaponry, will “be ready to deploy to specific territories on the alliance’s eastern flank,” namely the Russian border. The United Kingdom’s new chief of the general staff, General Sir Patrick Sanders, said that these armed forces should prepare to “fight and win” in a war against Russia.

With the conflict in Ukraine ongoing, it was obvious that NATO would foreground Russia at the Madrid Summit. But the materials produced by NATO made it clear that this was not merely about Ukraine or Russia but about preventing Eurasian integration.

China was mentioned for the first time in a NATO document at the 2019 London meeting, in which it was said that the country presented “both opportunities and challenges.”

By 2021, the tune had changed, and NATO’s Brussels summit communiqué accused China of “systemic challenges to the rules-based international order.” The revised 2022 Strategic Concept accelerates this threatening rhetoric, with accusations that China’s “systemic competition … challenge[s] our interests, security, and values and seek[s] to undermine the rules-based international order.”

Four non-NATO countries – Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea (the Asia-Pacific Four) — attended the NATO summit for the first time, which drew them closer to the U.S. and NATO’s agenda to put pressure on China.

Australia and Japan, along with India and the U.S., are part of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad), often called the Asian NATO, whose clear mandate is to constrain China’s partnerships in the Pacific Rim area. The Asia-Pacific Four held a meeting during the summit to discuss military cooperation against China, erasing any doubt about the intentions of NATO and its allies.

Ma Changli, China, “Daqing People,” 1964.

In the wake of the revelations of the 2007–08 financial crisis and the G7’s broken promises, the Chinese adopted two pathways to gain more independence from the U.S. consumer market.

First, they improved the domestic Chinese market by increasing social wages, integrating China’s western provinces into the economy and abolishing absolute poverty.

Second, they built trade, development and financial systems that were not centered around the U.S. The Chinese participated actively with Brazil, India, Russia and South Africa to set the BRICS process in motion (2009) and put considerable resources into the Belt and Road Initiative or BRI (2013). China and Russia settled a long-standing border dispute, enhanced their cross-border trade and developed a strategic collaboration (but, unlike the West, did not formulate a military treaty).

During this period, Russian energy sales to both China and Europe grew and several European countries joined the BRI, which increased mutual investments between Europe and China.

Earlier forms of globalization in Eurasia were limited by colonialism and the Cold War. This marked the first time in 200 years that integration began to take place on an equitable foundation across the region. Europe’s trade and investment choices were utterly rational, as piped natural gas through Nord Stream 2 was far cheaper and less dangerous than liquified natural gas from the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Mexico.

Considering the chaotic Brexit situation and difficulties in getting the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership off the ground, much of Europe saw Chinese investment opportunities as far more generous and dependable than other alternatives. In contrast, risk-averse and rent-seeking private equity from Wall Street became less attractive to the European financial sector.

Europe was drifting inexorably towards Asia, which threatened the basis of the U.S.-dominated economic and political system (also known as the “rules-based international order”).

In 2018, U.S. President Donald Trump publicly chastised NATO’s Stoltenberg, telling him,

“we’re protecting Germany. We’re protecting France. We’re protecting all of these countries. And then numerous of these countries go out and make a pipeline deal with Russia, where they’re paying billions of dollars into the coffers of Russia. … Germany is a captive of Russia… I think it’s very inappropriate.”

While NATO’s language has turned to threats of war against China and Russia, the G7 has pledged to challenge China-led initiatives by developing the new Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGII), a $200 billion fund to invest in the Global South.

[Related: The US & China’s Belt & Road Initiative]

Meanwhile, the leaders at the BRICS summit, held at the same time, offered a sober appraisal of the times, calling for negotiations to end the Ukraine war and measures to stem the cascading crises experienced by the world’s poor. There was no talk of war from this body which represents 40 percent of the world’s population and BRICS’s strength may well grow as Argentina and Iran have applied to join the bloc.

Jamal Penjweny, Iraq, “Iraq Is Flying,” 2006–10.

The U.S. and its allies seek either to remain hegemonic and weaken China and Russia or to erect a new Iron Curtain around these two countries.

Both approaches could lead to a suicidal military conflict. The mood across the Global South is for a more measured acceptance of the reality of Eurasian integration and the emergence of a world order based on national and regional sovereignty and the dignity of all human beings, none of which can be realized through war and division.

Anticipations of a war at a scale not seen before evokes “A Personal Song” by the Iraqi poet Saadi Yousif (1934–2021), written just before the U.S. started its deadly bombardment of Iraq in 2003:

Is it Iraq?
Blessed is the one who said
I know the road which leads to it;
Blessed is the one whose lips uttered the four letters:
Iraq, Iraq, nothing but Iraq.

Distant missiles will applaud;
soldiers armed to the teeth will storm us;
minarets and houses will crumble;
palm trees will collapse under the bombing;
the shores will be crowded
with floating corpses.
We will seldom see Al-Tahrir Square
in books of elegies and photographs;
Restaurants and hotels will be our roadmaps
and our home in the paradise of shelter:
McDonald’s
KFC
Holiday Inn;
and we will be drowned
like your name, O Iraq,
Iraq, Iraq, nothing but Iraq.

Vijay Prashad
Vijay Prashad

Vijay Prashad is an Indian historian, editor and journalist. He is a writing fellow and chief correspondent at Globetrotter. He is an editor of LeftWord Books and the director of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research. He is a senior non-resident fellow at Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China. He has written more than 20 books, including The Darker Nations and The Poorer Nations. His latest books are Struggle Makes Us Human: Learning from Movements for Socialism and (with Noam Chomsky) The Withdrawal: Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, and the Fragility of U.S. Power.

7 comments

  1. The United Snakes of AmeriKKKa is a death-dealing country. Nothing the leaders do or say is about humanity. The end of other cultures and countries and languages and food systems and self-determination are the spears in AmeriKKKa’s poison-filled tools of death in DoD, Banking, Finance, Culture.

    And here we go with these inane and insane elites. Inhumane, and ruthless, even with their skinny jeans and weekend rock band hobbies.

    Blinken? He is Israel and Jewish first, and Biden certainly is Israel First, and is a closet Jew, according to his statements about his family marrying into Jewish royalty.

    That is the elephant in the room, no? Who are the elites, the rich, the meddlers, the heads of science and technolog and media. Who are these people? Nah, we can’t really look into who they are without being branded this or that, antisemites or anti-zombie.

    +–+
    Various right-wing groups across the Americas are preparing demonstrations in support of the one-year anniversary of the exaggerated and media-manipulated protests that took place in Cuba on 11 July 2021. In perfect lockstep, the Biden administration has issued further sanctions on Cuba—visa restrictions on 28 Cuban officials whom they have declined to name. The Black Alliance For Peace (BAP) denounces these efforts to smear the Cuban process and continues to stand in revolutionary solidarity with the peoples of Cuba.

    “It remains clear,” says BAP South member, Salifu Mack, “that the enemies of African people and the Cuban Revolution will not rest until total death and destruction are visited upon the island, all in the name of white supremacy and U.S. imperialism.”

    In announcing the 28 new sanctions on Cuba on 9 July 2022, U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken is quoted saying that the sanctions have been implemented to “support greater freedom and economic opportunities for the Cuban people.” The Biden administration has declined to name the 28 Cuban officials that they claim these sanctions have been applied to. BAP understands that sanctions targeted toward any person or group of persons, especially in a country like Cuba, which has struggled under the weight of 60 years of a U.S. economic blockade, severely limits the country’s ability to advocate for itself on the international stage. The U.S. economic blockade already excludes Cuba from international trade and banking, punishes countries which try to circumvent it, and overcomplicates immigration from the island.

    https://blackallianceforpeace.com/

  2. All peoples of the world are in deep.trouble because of Capitalist warmonger that rule most of the world.These cretins worship.nothing but profitsvand power and do.not care who dies or.suffers.I see the end of civilization and the death of our planet.

  3. Two things that should have happened in East Asia postwar are:
    1. Japan should have been allowed to come to terms with its WWII legacy of invasion, murder, atrocities and enslavement. It didn’t and the US coddled former war criminals and backed them so they remained faithful puppets. Today 75 years after WWII high tensions remain between China, Japan, Korea. Without settling those thorny issues the whole are is being pushed into another military confrontation the results which could be much worse than anything imagined.

    2. An Asian Common Market could have prevented simmering tensions from growing and contributed to the reconciliation and peaceful development of the area. The US for selfish reasons prevented the birth of such an Common Market. Japan is an Asian nation and the sooner it can integrate into Asia the sooner those tensions can be defused. It is too late now.

  4. Yes, inter-imperialist rivalry will lead to a suicidal nuclear war. The US/NATO forces just agreed that would be so. The only solution is Communist revolution: for the working class to throw out capitalism and seize all production and re-create the world for itself and the rest of the living world. Anything less is just groundless “hope”. The concept of private property in the means of production must be destroyed and replaced with collective ownership.

  5. Generals gathered in their masses
    Just like witches at black masses
    Evil minds that plot destruction
    Sorcerer of death’s construction
    In the fields the bodies burning
    As the war machine keeps turning
    Death and hatred to Mankind
    Poisoning their brainwashed minds…
    Oh Lord yeah!

    Politicians hide themselves away
    They only started the war
    Why should they go out to fight?
    They leave that role to the poor

    Time will tell on their power minds
    Making war just for fun
    Treating people just like pawns in chess
    Wait ’till their judgment day comes, yeah!

    Now in darkness, world stops turning
    Ashes where the bodies burning
    No more war pigs have the power
    Hand of God has struck the hour
    Day of Judgment, God is calling
    On their knees the war pigs crawling
    Begging mercy for their sins
    Satan, laughing, spreads his wings…
    Oh Lord, yeah!

    Black Sabbath-War Pigs

  6. Kool Aid for the mind
    Drugs to numb the pain
    Tech toys to amuse
    Military adventures to distract
    Trivia to fill the void
    Of a material existence

    Land of the free
    where a questioning mind
    is kept in a straightjacket
    and opinions contrary
    to mainstreet
    are greeted by silence

    We look up to the
    shining city on the hill
    where the MIC rules unopposed
    over a Mafia of elephants and donkeys
    guiding their flock of sheep
    to the slaughterhouse

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