AMERICA ON THE RUN? A QUICK REPORT WORLDWIDE
Like a permanent leak, drip, drip, drip, each and every day brings new reports, discussions and arguments to the effect that the USA is on the run, in decline, strategic, diplomatic, et cetera, et cetera. For example of which, Bush's current trip to the Far East for the APEC Summit, inspired an analysis from the online journal Stratfor stating that:
"Bush will arrive in an Asia where North Korea has (somewhat) successfully tested a nuclear device, where Japan is openly discussing the merits of discussing the merits of a nuclear weapons program, South Korea seems to be coming into closer alignment with North Korea than with the United States, and China reportedly is shadowing U.S. carrier battle groups and planning to buy advanced carrier-based aircraft from Russia.
With its resources and priorities squarely centered on Iraq, the United States has paid scant attention to East Asia -- despite its involvement in six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear program and trade negotiations with Vietnam, South Korea and China. Asia, as a result, has been left to develop in its own natural direction, without U.S. "interference" and with emphasis more on regional concerns than global ones. The Cold War paradigm of global blocs has been swept away, and the post-Cold War sense of supreme and unchallengeable U.S. global hegemony has been shattered".(see: www.stratfor.com)
On the same day, analyzing the latest developments in the Lebanon, specifically the resignation of all the pro-Hezbollah ministers from the Sinora Cabinet, with the possibilites of the downfall of the Sinora's government, and new elections bringing to power, a pro-Syrian, Hezbollah backed, government; the American academic specialist on Syria, Joshua Landis, in an interview for the Council on Foreign Relations, opined that with the Iraq debacle, American influence in the Levant (the Lebanon, Syria and Israel-Palestine) was in
"as America’s authority starts to drain out of the region because of the Iraq debacle, Syria and its allies in Lebanon are trying to capitalize on a weakened America. America tried to stick its finger in the dike this summer by supporting this Israeli air war to try to destroy Hezbollah and to keep Lebanon securely within America’s sphere of influence. But they failed. And so Syria’s back on the march and the Shiites and Aoun are re-invigorated. And they’re making another assault on this pro-America government.
American power is diminishing in the region. And even if the United States can hold this government together for the time being, the Americans cannot win the battle right now. I think that Lebanon is going to have to make some kind of compromise. Unless if falls apart, it’s got to find some modus vivendi with Syria. Syria’s too powerful right now" (see: Council on Foreign Relations Daily Brief for 16 November in www.cfr.org).
In Afghanistan, the USA-NATO backed, President Ahmed Karzai, in an interview with Radio Free Europe, admitted that the security situation in the country has in the past two years, due to what he claims is Pakistani collaboration with elements of the Taliban (for the interview see: www.eurasianet.org) . A charge, with the Rome based, online journal, 'Power and Interest' agrees, since according to their recent analysis, the Pakistani authorities have recently concluded that:
As the international effort in Afghanistan failed to rout the remnants of the Taliban completely, the insurgency there grew stronger. This Taliban revivalist insurgency, which is predominately composed of Pashtun elements, drew its support and rear base from Pakistan. Now, five years after the U.S.-led intervention in Afghanistan, the conditions in western Pakistan have become restive, and Musharraf no longer believes that the situation is containable or acceptable without a change in policies....
As part of this assessment, Islamabad recognizes that it cannot afford to lose political influence with the Pashtun tribes on the border. For instance, if the Taliban and its Pashtun supporters are not defeated in Afghanistan, then the movement will flourish. For Pakistan, which is most concerned about its eastern front with India, it would be a strategic blunder to spark an insurgency in the west.
Therefore, Islamabad's dealing with tribal militants displays its revised assessment that the Taliban will not be defeated in Afghanistan. The reason, however, that Islamabad continues to launch occasional strikes against tribal leaders, such as the incident that recently occurred in Bajaur Agency, is because Islamabad is still subject to its interest of cooperating with the United States and its allies in the "war on terrorism." Pakistan, therefore, is forced to follow dual policies which are, at some moments, contradictory.
Therefore, Musharraf and the rest of the government in Islamabad are forced to walk a tightrope in the handling of Pashtun elements in the border region. Until it becomes clear which side is going to prevail -- either Kabul agrees to some form of a government power-sharing role with the resurgent Taliban, or the U.S.-led coalition turns the tide on the Taliban insurgency -- Islamabad will continue to pursue these contradictory policies. (see: 15 November newsletter from www.pinr.com)
Similarly, in a little noticed change of front earlier this week, the South Korea government, announced that it will in the future, not join in the American-backed Proliferation Security Initative (PSI), which aims to block using naval and other means, North Korea from possibly exporting weapons and other dangerous materials abroad. In making its announcement, Seoul, made clear that its fear of possible North Korean reaction to its joining the PSI, outweighed American pressure to join the initative. And, notwithstanding the fact that the failure of South Korea to join the initiative, as well as its repeated refusal to fully clamp down upon its perhaps One Billion dollars plus, trade with its northern neighbor, makes putting any real pressure on Pyongyang, almost fruitless. Something which was predicted here, back in early October at the time of the North Korean test (see: Council on Foreign Relations Daily Brief for 13 November in www.cfr.org)
The upshot to all of the above events is that it would appear that events are gradually, or not so gradually slipping out, not only of American control, but of anyone's control. In short, for perhaps the first time, since 1945, diplomatically speaking, the world faces the possibility of the return of 'International Anarchy'.