21 May, 2024


Palestine & Ukraine: Two More Nails In Imperialism’s Coffin? – Part III

By Sachithanandam Sathananthan

Dr. Sachithanandam Sathananthan

Part III: Birth pangs of a multipolar world order

The desperation in western capitals is more than palpable. The looming defeat in Ukraine – the fulcrum of Washington’s strategy to dominate Eurasia – has all but sealed the fate of the Neo-Conservatives’ Project for the New American Century to bring about a virtually endless global US domination. The rise of China, a resurgent Russia and the emerging BRICS are trashing NeoCon Francis Y. Fukuyama’s absurd ahistorical notion. Following the collapse of the USSR, he imagined an irrational hegemony of almost endless universal capitalist Liberal-Democracy, centred in the US, as the epitome of human political evolution in his “The End of History and the Last Man”. (Meanwhile he held several key academic positions in elite US universities.)

The wheels are coming off the NeoCon fantasy of US global domination. Russia is decimating Ukraine’s armed forces and thereby undoing Imperialism’s plot to transform Ukraine into a US satrapy in Eastern Europe. The Palestinians’ continuing Resistance against their genocide at the hands of the Israeli armed forces (IDF) in Gaza has laid bare the vulnerable underbelly of Israel, the US’ West Asian satrapy, by exposing the supposed invincibility of the IDF and potentially unravelling US Imperialism in West Asia (“Middle East” to former colonial powers). The US-led NATO countries are frantically redoubling their efforts to prop up Kyiv and Tel Aviv: the US  Congress voted $61 billion and $26 billion respectively largely for military assistance last month (April) to finance the two wars of Imperialism; Germany is the second largest arms supplier. The students protesting in the US against their government’s complicity in Israel’s genocide in Gaza have nicknamed President Joe Biden “Genocide Joe”, who celebrated the congressional vote in an Orwellian “Good Day for World Peace”. The fantasy, however, is being buried under the rubble in Palestine and Ukraine, cemented over by the unstoppable rise of China.

Washington apparently harbours delusions of stopping the march of history; it has offered $8 billion for Asia-Pacific, most of which is earmarked to further groom Taiwan as the US satrapy in East Asia (“Far East” to former colonial powers) to slow down, if not check, China’s development. The NeoCons’ desperation takes bizarre forms. For instance, the visiting US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen alleged China is over-producing and cautioned Beijing: “China is simply too large for the rest of the world to absorb this enormous [economic] capacity…the viability of American and other foreign firms is put into question.” Gone are the invocations to free trade, market competition and the confidence of winning. The US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken rubbed in a psywar tactic, of keeping President Xi Ping waiting for 15 minutes, before meeting him to demand China desists from trading in dual-use items that aid Russia’s war against Ukraine; and he delivered a thinly veiled threat of sanctions: “if China does not address this problem, we will”. Perhaps Blinken forgot that despite about 16,500 US sanctions against Moscow, Russian economy has diversified production, expanded into new markets and is growing. Beijing would likewise brush off US sanctions and surge ahead. In response to his undiplomatic threats, we suspect Xi Ping gently jogged Blinken’s memory that the US-led NATO has been financing and arming the same Ukraine from at least 2014; and he very likely reminded Blinken of US violations of China’s sovereignty by providing illegal military supplies to Taiwan, a province of China. So, it’s no surprise that a Shanghai-based pod cast mocked Blinken’s sabre rattling with considerable mirth: “Blinken went home with his tail between his legs”.

Apparently Blinken and Yellen lack the imagination to grasp Beijing’s perspective that Russia’s defeat in Ukraine is a serious existential threat since after the US neutralised Russia, China will be in Washington’s cross hairs. Beijing supports Moscow as a strategic necessity and the overbearing attitude of the two US officials must surely have pushed Beijing even closer to Moscow.

The spreading ant-Imperialist resistance

The collective West obfuscated Imperialism’s manoeuvres to salvage its wobbling aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean Sea – Israel – a forward post Imperialism implanted in West Asia to police the Arab nationalist opposition. Washington has, will and must unconditionally back Zionist settler-colonialism and condone the slaughter of Palestinians in order to defend and sustain US hegemony in the region by crushing the legitimate Resistance by Palestinians against Israel’s Apartheid system (see Part I). The assertions that Biden can stop the war in Gaza “with one phone call” to cut off military aid and that Washington’s “stupid” policy mandarins are making “self-defeating” decisions are outcomes of mis-readings by West’s Liberals who miss the “wood” (Imperialism as a world system) for the “trees” (interests of individuals or power elites).

The absurd discourse of the West’s mainstream media masks the necessary logic of Imperialism by attributing the US’ pro-Israel policy to the over-riding influence of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC); that partial truth hides Washington’s instrumental use of AIPAC to sustain the symbiotic relationship with its Zionist clients in Tel Aviv. Washington cannot abandon its regional policeman, Israel; if Israel’s military fails to crush the Palestinian Resistance, that would be a near fatal blow to the US Imperial project in West Asia.

The media’s disinformation imputes a threat to Israel’s alleged “democracy”, supposedly marooned in a sea of “medieval” Arab States. It packages Palestinians’ more than seven decades of anti-Imperialist struggle as a narrow “Arab-Israeli” ethnic strife or “Muslim-Jew” religious conflict, with not a little help from willing “ethnic studies experts” who invent theories of “identity conflicts” that apply a deceptive veneer of communalism to distract from Imperialism’s sacrifice of Jewish and Palestinian lives.

Simultaneously Imperialism expends Ukrainians as cannon fodder “to the last Ukrainian”, supposedly to “save” their assumed democracy from “autocratic ” Russia but in fact is shovelling Ukrainians into battle – the “meat grinder” – in the hope of economically and militarily enfeebling Russia as the first step to extend the US Empire over Eurasia. Russia’s Special Military Operation in Ukraine has blocked US-led NATO’s imperial ambitions and eviscerated Zbigniew Brzeziński’s delusionary project for US global hegemony (see Part II).

The former European colonial powers (Netherlands, France, Germany and Italy) are falling-on-the-grenade, so to speak, to salvage US military power – the decisive force under NATO’s umbrella – on which they crucially depend to keep afloat their own neo-colonial structures of wealth extraction from the “Global South”, in the vain hope of recapturing shades of their past imperial “glory”. The prime neo-colonial structure is London’s Commonwealth of Nations (Whose wealth is common?), propped up by the elites in Britain and most supplicant elites in former colonies, that seeks to bolster the weakening British hegemony. The French equivalent, Françafrique, is a coterie of French and collaborative African élites that target the people and their resources in French West Africa. The Alliance of Sahel States consisting of Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso continue to resist NATO-backed neo-colonialism. In March 2024, Niger ordered US troops to leave its territory, after expelling French forces the previous year. Mali similarly issued marching orders to France in 2022; Burkina Faso kicked out the French in the same year. Obviously their timely initiatives are informed by NATO’s brutal 2022 intervention, which, according to former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton’s secret emails, “was about killing Qaddafi’s well-laid plans to create a gold-based African and Arabic currency to replace the dollar in oil trades”. The order “came from circles very high in the US money oligarchy.” As with other political puppets, she, too, was a mere willing tool in the hands of the oligarchs.

The neo-colonial invasion, sanitized using the UNSC Resolution 1973, assassinated the country’s revolutionary Leader Muammar Gaddafi and ended his challenge to West’s domination and his hopes to shatter Africa’s shackles of colonialism; and Hilary Clinton famously cackled: “we came, we saw, he died.”

President Saddam Hussain too was murdered for similarly challenging Imperialism. He denominated the sale of Iraqi oil in Euros (away from petrodollars); his patriotic actions mainly precipitated NATO’s 2003 invasion, allegedly in search of the fictitious WMDs but in fact to defend the Petrodollar, to force Iraq to trade oil in US currency. The other objective was to rob Iraq’s energy resources estimated to be the second largest in the world. The attack was a warning for Iran and Venezuela whose leaders considered following Iraq’s lead.

The timing of the anti-colonial actions by the Alliance of Sahel States is not an accident. Their confidence reflects the perceived decline of the US-led NATO following its debacle in Iraq, abject defeat in Afghanistan and the imminent rout in Ukraine. The Palestinians’ unbending resistance, irrespective of its final outcome, already underlines the falling effectiveness of NATO, which largely funded and armed the IDF. Hezbollah’s successful military strikes on Israel’s northern border, driving Jewish settlers to the south, are highlighting the same. Tehran’s drones-cum-missile retaliation for Tel Aviv’s criminal bombing of the Iranian diplomatic mission in Damascus penetrated Israel’s ”Iron Dome” missile defence system, in spite of US and Jordanian assistance to defend Israel’s air space. The historic importance of the Iran’s actions cannot be exaggerated. For the first time since the end of WW2, a West Asian State (Iran) has acquired the military capability to strike Tel Aviv at will and by extension to take on US hegemony in the region, further confirming once again the relative decline of US power. The world neither respects nor fears the US.

The domestic blow-back

The decline internally of course didn’t occur overnight. By the 1990s the sluggish US monopoly capitalism limited the upward social mobility of substantial sections of the middle and lower-middle classes. Military Keynesianism ballooned the national debt and together with regressive taxation disproportionately enriched the upper class resulting in the notional 1% versus 99% – the skewed rich vs poor divide that had been largely the reality in the “Third World”. The worsening disparities in income and  wealth weakened the credibility of the US State as the neutral arbiter that ensures social justice. An outcome is the growing disenchantment with the State now voiced by widespread pro-Palestinian student protests in the US.

In a blatant disregard of the hallowed right of free speech, the US Congress passed legislation that deemed the pro-Palestine slogan “from the river to the sea, all shall be free” to be antisemitic and banned expressions of support; the naked repression and blatant violations of fundamental rights go hand-in-hand with similar authoritarian measures outlawing pro-Palestine campaigns in the UK, Germany and France.

In their desperation bordering on irrationality, Washington threw rule of law out of the window and has condemned the IIC’s investigation into Israel’s war crimes in Gaza, including the Palestinian mass graves, although Biden supported ICC’s same action in Ukraine against Russia. Twelve US Republican senators have threatened sanctions against ICC; their letter warns they would take any arrest warrant issued as “not only a threat to Israel’s sovereignty but to the sovereignty of the United States”; and threatened, “(t)arget Israel and we will target you”.

Their frantic reactions, flouting UN conventions, could also be interpreted as tactics to portray Republicans as defenders of the country’s honour, pander to public opinion that increasingly favours Palestinians and denigrate Democrat Biden in this election year. Right on cue, Democrat Nancy Pelosi is suddenly calling for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s resignation, no doubt to scapegoat him and salvage Democrat’s election prospects, though she has been a stout defender of IDF’s war in Gaza.

The end of white supremacy

While analysing US Imperialism’s machinations in Israel and Ukraine, though relevant, it’s important to place the two wars within their global historical context.

For two millennia or more the River Valley Civilizations of West Asia (Mesopotamia), South Asia (India) and east Asia (China) were centres of wealth and knowledge in Asia if not the world. In the 13th Century Niccolo Polo and his son Marco sought treasures not in Paris but in Kublai Khan’s China; Christopher Columbus went in search of wealth not to London but to “fabled” India in the late 15th Century; and Vasco da Gama sought the help of South Asian maritime traders to sail from the Cape of Good Hope, not to Venice but to Cochin on the west coast of today’s India around the same time. The centre of gravity of world power lay largely between China and India till the 17th Century.

Eric Hobsbawm’s “Dual Revolutions” – Britain’s Industrial and France’s Political – undergirded Western Europe’s hegemonic rise recently, between the 17th and 19th Centuries, as European colonial empires radiated out to dominate large areas of Asia, Africa and the Americas. The world’s economic and political centre of gravity shifted westwards to Europe and, later, to North America (excluding Mexico) in early 20th Century.

Anti-colonial liberation movements freed the colonies yoked to western empires through the second half of the 20th Century and dragged the centre of gravity of world power back to the East, ending the 3-Century interregnum. The increase in UN’s members and changes in their national complexion between 1945 and today – the overwhelming majority of them are from Asia, Africa and Latin America – is a clear illustration of the global shift in power relations.

The rise of China, resurgent Russia, the rapid growth of BRICS and the other anti-Imperialist trends confirm the birth of a multi-polar world, midwifed by the wars in Israel and Ukraine. The US-led NATO – the military wing of neo-colonialism – is desperately struggling to stave off the inevitable end of the approximately three centuries of domination by the western, white race.


Previous posts: Part I and Part II.

*Dr Sachithanandam Sathananthan is an independent scholar who read Political Economy for the Ph.D. degree at the University of Cambridge. He was Assistant Director, International Studies at the Marga Institute, Visiting Research Scholar at the Jawaharlal Nehru University School of International Studies and has taught World History at Karachi University’s Institute of Business Administration. He is an award-winning filmmaker and may be reached at: commentaries.ss@gmail.com

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    Analyzing Palestine & Ukraine reveals shifting geopolitical dynamics. Each development chips away at imperialism’s grip. With nuanced discourse, guided by a top marketing agency, we unravel complexities and foster global understanding, inching closer to a more equitable world.

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